My first two children were A BREEZE. Like, I probably shouldn't brag, and I know there were trying times, but for the most part they were happy, healthy babies. I could give them a bottle, leave them with a sitter, or put them in a swing while I did chores or homework. I secretly rolled my eyes when I heard people complain about how hard it was having children, or wondered if mine would one day turn into the little monsters I kept hearing discussed.
The good news is they didn't. They have their moments, but they are both pretty darn good kids. So good in fact they both came home from school the other day with Leader of the Month awards, which are pretty coveted. I'm so proud of them!
But see, we thought we just had this parenting thing figured out. We were warned of the wrath of a third child, but took it as a joke and all in good fun. "Suuure, she'll be the hard one." We imagined an occasionally extra fuss shrugged it off.
Nope. That voodoo came true. Maddie is HARD. She's sassy, LOUD, demanding, has completely taken ownership of my breasts - they're literally hers and just stuck to my body, insists on being held 90% of the day, and doesn't nap/sleep unless she is laying ON TOP OF YOU. Things like work, school, grocery shopping, and going to the bathroom have become major challenges.
But you know what?
She's also the sweetest baby I've ever met. Her neediness reminds me that she is little and won't need me for long. I'm grateful for her cuddles, since the big kids are always on the go and we don't have "chill time" like we used to. Her non-existent eyebrows are always raised in wonder at the world around her and she clings to me as we explore sounds and sights. Her sweet belly laugh is the most amazing sound I've ever heard, and her gummy smile makes everyone's day a little brighter.
There might be stressful moments, but I think I really NEEDED this little firecracker in my life. I'm a better mommy and a better personal from it. I've learned much more patience and understanding, and she has forced me to slow down and enjoy this fleeting phase while it lasts.