If you know me and my children, you know one thing: I have no idea what I’m doing with the third one. She is a whole new kind of child for me, and I mean that in the most loving way possible! She is non-stop, climbing things, opening every drawer and cupboard and pulling things out and banging them together, going up (and now down) the stairs, ripping pages out of books, standing on the (edge of the) fireplace, screaming and stomping her feet for her cup of milk, standing (dancing) in her high chair, and sneaking upstairs during her brothers’ naptimes to wake them up by banging the door down and screaming at the top of her (surprisingly large) lungs. That may have been a severe run-on sentence, but alas that is the only way to describe my Nora.
Normally, after giving the schpeel about how crazy Nora is and how I am new to all of this baby-proofing stuff (my boys would literally sit on a blanket with toys and just play), I follow it up with some nice words about how she is a really good eater and a great sleeper. Well…until last week. Last week she decided to give up on sleeping, and instead scream her head off every time we place her in her crib. After three or four attempts (and way more milk than she should probably be drinking), she would give up and sleep…until about 2am. It was like having a newborn all over again, and seriously people we are not ready for that! By yesterday morning, I was going on three or four nights of close-to-no-sleep. And without the added luxury of post-baby adrenaline and lovey-dovey-new-babyness, I was exhausted. On the bright side, due to a teachers’ inservice day, both my son (in pre-school) and I had the day off. No plans besides going to the grocery store.
And yet, sometimes the days without plans can turn into the most disastrous. And so it was for us (me) yesterday. I awoke to little miss Nora kicking me in the face, and her brother Cooper laying on my legs (which were now both asleep). As I reached for my phone on the nightstand, to see what time of the day/morning/night it might be, I noticed that my oldest child was also in the room, asleep on his own pillow and blanket on the floor next to my bed. I checked the time (too early), and then the weather. 50 degrees. Fall has finally arrived, and although I do love it so much, the changing weather means one thing in this household: changing wardrobes. My children, as it turns out, have enough clothes for seventeen children (or possibly more). Sometimes garage sale prices on kids’ clothes are just to tempting, let me tell you… and then, every three or four months, they out-grow the clothes and the weather changes. And so begins the cycle of bringing down totes, unloading, trying on in-between sizes, and packing up (some kept for my middle one, the small things sent to friends and family who need them).
Yesterday, I just wasn’t in the mood. But, it was 50 degrees, and they can’t go out in tank tops and shorts, right? So, my oldest tried on approximately seven pairs of pants (all of which fit him just fine, but since he is accustomed to his almost-too-small clothes, he complains that these are “too big and I will step on them with my shoes!”), and my middle tried on even more (it looks like all of his growth has happened in his legs…). Forty five minutes later, I had them both in long sleeves and pants that (kind of) fit them, and I had unpacked/sorted three or four totes. And then I walked into Nora’s room, where she had been quietly playing. Quietly playing, just so you know, never means anything good with her (or probably any child under two years old!). Every single toy in her room had been dragged out of the toy box, along with all of the books, and the curtains (which her brother had pulled straight out of the wall while trying to climb into her crib last week)…everything there, in a heap, and my daughter smiling in the midst of it.
My phone rings. It’s my mom (it always is). She asks what we are up to on our day off. I relay the message that we are doing the dreaded wardrobe-change, to which she replies, “oh, it’s pretty nice out today”. Ugh. I check my phone again. The temperature has gone up 10 degrees, and we aren’t even out the door yet. Stupid Fall.
After a super late breakfast (not the first mom fail of the day), we loaded up into the van to head to the grocery store. No wait, I put Cooper in his seat and immediately smelled a diaper change was needed. Fix that problem, then back in the van to go. Thank goodness our list was short. I brought along a cup of milk for Nora, and laid her down in our super-cute cart cover to take a rest while we shopped. She was happy for about six minutes, until her brothers picked out a donut and she saw them. No more laying down. Sit up, have a couple bites. No wait, she wants the milk and wants to lay down. Nope, now she wants another bite and needs to sit up and see what’s going on. You get the picture (and keep in mind, every time she sits back up, I have to buckle her in, because, well you know why). Like I said, thankfully we had a short list.
All the while we are walking around the store, I’m holding on to two lists: one for my groceries, and one for the amount of cash I need to get back with my debit card to pay my mom for some things she picked up for me last week. And so, I pull out my debit card, pay for the groceries, and we’re on our way. And I didn’t even realize that I didn’t get any cash back.
Time to push the cart to the van. Wait, where did I park? Did we come out the opposite door that we went in? I can’t remember. Seriously, I couldn’t remember. This never happens to me, and yet I was completely lost. I pushed the button on my remote, attempting to hear the horn honking. Nope, I couldn’t hear it, which meant we were obviously far from the van. I finally remembered that we entered through the other door, so I grabbed my oldest by the hand and started to push the cart, with all of the groceries and my two smallest children, across the parking lot. We made it about twenty feet. The cart jolted, and I looked down to see that we were completely stuck in the drain on the ground. And I mean stuck. That cart wasn’t going anywhere. I let out an exasperated sigh, and picked up the two little ones (and my purse) from the cart, attempting to hold onto my oldest one too, and we walked across the parking lot to the van, all the while still pushing the button on the remote because I still had no idea where I had parked (I have no idea what got into me!). We found the van, I loaded them up, and then I drove the van back over to our cart of groceries and loaded them up. And then, my friends, I left the cart right there in the drain in the middle of the parking lot. Yup, that was me.
It was about that time that I realized that I hadn’t gotten any cash back. Oh well, I thought, I have a check that needs to be deposited, I will run by the bank. I drive through the ATM, deposit the check, and forget to withdraw any money. As we drive out of the bank parking lot, I sideswipe the van on the curb (seriously, our ATM is one of the narrowest driveways ever, and is not conducive to moms in vans), and then I realize I’ve also forgotten the cash yet again, and I drive around the block to go through the tiny ATM driveway yet another time. By this time, it’s Nora’s turn to need a diaper change, and just the thought of having to put the groceries away is making me want to cry (pathetic, I know).
By the time we actually got home, all three kids were starving. You know how that goes, you’ve been there. I put some water on for macaroni and cheese and started to put everything away. The boys were playing in the living room, just ten feet from me, when I hear a loud noise and a blood-curdling scream. I run across the room to see Sam holding onto his head and Cooper looking at me with a guilty face. Cooper is known for throwing toys, but this was by far the worst. I looked down at the floor and saw that this was no toy: this was my mortar and pestel, made from very very heavy wood, that my friend had given me from Puerto Rico. He had thrown it at his brother’s head.
Cooper went to time out, Sam was sitting on the couch with his mommy getting some extra snuggles and love (the goose egg on his head was growing by the second…), and then I remembered lunch. The pasta was way over-cooked (good thing the kids don’t notice), and it was getting closer and closer to nap time. I put Nora in her high chair, and handed the boys their plates. I turn around to get Nora’s plate, and as I look up I see her: standing, as always, in the high chair, teetering dangerously on the edge of the tray (side note: I am not as terrible of a mom as you might be thinking…we do put the buckles/straps on her, but she twists her way out of them every time). And then, in slow motion, I watched her fall. I grabbed, jumped toward her, but didn’t get there in time. Thankfully, her shoulder broke the fall and it wasn’t her head hitting the floor all at once. But oh my gosh, did she cry (with good reason!). And Sam was still crying from his battle wound. And I knew it was only moments before Cooper would be crying (only because it was now nap time).
Fast forward about thirty minutes: the boys have fallen asleep watching their new Lego Batman movie, and Nora is playing (surprisingly quietly) in the living room with her dolls. I get my laptop out to work, and as I walk by the bookshelf in my office, there it is: Noisy Nora. The book my mom would read over and over to me as a kid, the book that I showed my high school boyfriend and told him “this is what I want to name my daughter someday”, and the book that my husband (aka that same boyfriend) and I pulled out and showed to my mom just minutes after my little girl was born, our way of telling my mom what the baby’s name was. And then I had my “aha” mommy moment.
Have you read the book Noisy Nora? If not, you should. It’s a tiny little book by Rosemary Wells, about an adorable little mouse named Nora, and it will always be one of my all-time favorites. It goes like this:
Jack had dinner early, Father played with Kate, Jack needed burping, so Nora had to wait. First she banged the window, then she slammed the door, then she dropped her sister’s marbles on the kitchen floor….Jack had gotten filthy, Mother cooked with Kate, Jack needed drying off, so Nora had to wait. First she knocked the lamp down, then she felled some chairs, then she took her brother’s kite and flew it down the stairs. Jack was getting sleepy, Father read with Kate, Jack needed singing to, so Nora had to wait. “I’m leaving!” shouted Nora, “and I’m never coming back!” And they didn’t hear a sound, but a tralala from Jack. Father stopped his reading. Mother stopped her song. “Mercy!” said her sister, “something’s very wrong!” No Nora in the cellar, no Nora in the tub. No Nora in the mailbox, or hiding in a shrub. “She left us!” moaned her mother, as they sifted through the trash. “But I’m back again!” said Nora, with a monumental crash. (as she stumbles out of the broom closet with a pile full of stuff, and then they all laugh and play)
And so there it was, staring at me in the face in the form of a tiny children’s book. And you know what it said to me? “You asked for it”.
I named her Nora, and she is the noisiest Nora around (by far!). But she is also the cutest, sweetest, most adorable Noras in the entire universe, and our family wasn’t complete until she joined it. Yesterday was one of those days…but you know what? At the end of the day I got to tuck all three of my kids into their beds (Nora three times), and there isn’t anything in the world better than that.