7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 184)

— 1 —

I feel like I’ve taken out a cosmic balloon loan, where you get low payments for years, then, BOOM, you’re hit with a huge bill that causes you enough pain that it far outweighs any smooth sailing you had before. You see, our fourth baby was the easiest baby anyone has ever had (“baby Joy, ” indeed). I actually took her to the doctor once to report with deep concern that she slept peacefully 12 hours a night, took long naps, and interacted with everyone cheerfully and quietly when she was awake. She almost never cried. I felt certain that there must be something wrong; surely babies this easy did not really exist. Little did I know that I had merely been put on some kind of baby temperament balloon loan plan…

And now, my balloon payment has come due.

Baby number five, who is almost fourteen months old now, is the loudest, most screamingist baby in the world — perhaps in the entire history of the world, as well as of any other extraterrestrial worlds that humankind has yet to discover. I am going to get a decibel meter just so that I can prove to everyone that I have been given a special cross in this department. When nothing is bothering her, she’s fine. She’s a normal, happy baby. But as soon as anything goes wrong (like, say, the muscles in my arms giving out after holding her in front of the light switch for 9 minutes as she turns the lights on and off over and over again and exclaims, “YAIGH!!!” [“LIGHT!!!”]), she breaks out the tornado-siren scream. It is five to ten solid minutes of back-arching, red-faced, lung-exhausting noise, only to be started up again if anything else should displease her.

I know that some of you may want to offer helpful suggestions, and I welcome them. But know that I have been extremely incentivized to try it all. I mean, if it would make this baby happy if I carried her around in an upside-down sling while going about my business walking on my hands, I would do it.

— 2 —

Sooo…after I wrote that last take I decided to pause and explore the option of getting a decibel meter for my Android, because, yes, I was THAT serious about getting some solid metrics so that I could quantify my suffering for all to behold (the saints did stuff like this, right?). As soon as my older children saw this glowing meter in which the little red dial moved every time they made noise, they begged to get some time with this enchanting device. I said sure, as long as they went out into the garage. We are, after all, homeschoolers. I could send them off with this thing and consider it to be at least a couple of days’ worth of science lessons.

What I had not considered, however, is that there is really no way to make an extremely loud noise that is also a happy one. I came downstairs to hear the same noises I would encounter if a horror movie were being filmed in our house. The kids were out in the garage making these hideous shrieking terror-noises, with as much volume as their lungs and their vocal chords would allow. It then occurred to me that our garage is not at all soundproof. Thus, in addition to all the other craziness our neighbors see coming from this house, they are now puzzling over what on earth was going on in our garage of horrors.

— 3 —

I am officially ready to come out as someone who absolutely depends on having some babysitting help in order to function. I don’t mean that I need a professional nanny with 30 years of experience or that I need full-time help. But can I survive without a few hours a week of an extra pair of hands in the form of the daughters of family friends? I’ve been running that experiment for the past two weeks, and the answer is a resounding NO. At least not in this phase of life.

I’ve realized recently that I can deal with any two of the following three situations:

  1. A husband who regularly needs to work long hours.
  2. A temporary combination of kids’ ages and temperament which means I can never seem to get them to do naps/quiet time at the same time during the day.
  3. No babysitting help.

There have been plenty of times when I had #1 and #2 going on, and a long stretch when we suffered through #2 and #3, but this is the first time in recent memory that I’ve had all three for any significant length of time. And I’m not sure that I’ll survive it.

If there has been any positive element to all this, it’s that it’s given me a deep and profound sympathy for moms who have all three of the above situations going on, but are unable to change any of them. I’ve been praying for them and offering up all my whiny suffering for them!

— 4 —

It is during times like this that I rely on my favorite mom blogs like other people rely on air. When I actually get a free moment, instead of paying bills or going through email or pretending that I actually did see the mound of Cheerios poured out on the kitchen floor, I flop in front of my computer and read my “keepin’ it real” blogs and weep to know that someone else understands my life. I mean, at this point Ana of Time Flies could post a notice that she now demands a $100/month subscription fee in order for readers to have access to her posts, and I would just have to pay it. Same thing with Grace and Dwija and Cari and a bunch of others that I would type out if I had enough energy to continue to operate my keyboard.

I suppose at some point my husband might notice that I had cut meat and vegetables and legumes and fruit out of our grocery list, and perhaps might wonder why we now only ate tiny cups of rice for dinner each night. But when I explained that I was using the hundreds of dollars per month that I used to spend on food to be able to read my favorite websites, he would surely gaze into my eyes and say, “Honey, I don’t want food. I just want you to have access to your favorite mommy blogs.”

— 5 —

I know that nobody wants me to stop talking about this, and you’re all yearning for more details about the way in which my suburban first-world life is difficult for me right now, but I am going to tear you away from this scintillating subject to tell you about a great book I recently discovered: Moved by Faith: Stories of American Catholic Radio.

I was sent a copy of this book since my story appeared in it after I was on Judy Zarick’s radio program, and I was amazed by how good it was. When it arrived in the mail I thought I would just flip through it and get back to whatever I’d been doing, but I ended up sitting down and reading half the book in one sitting. Each story is brief (in fact, my only complaint about the book is that some of the stories are too brief — I wanted to know more!) and shares a moment of God working powerfully in someone’s life. If you’re looking for a quick but powerful end-of-summer read, you can’t go wrong with this one.

— 6 —

The BlogHer network contacted me recently, saying they were interested in syndicating a post I’d written. I have to admit that I was surprised when they said that the one they wanted was my story of my recent conversation with my gay friend about Catholic teaching on human sexuality. The viewpoint I expressed there is not always a popular one, and so I never expected a secular network to pick it up. But BlogHer has always maintained that they are interested in hearing all different perspectives on the big issues of our day, and this isn’t the first time I’ve seen them follow through on that. So thanks to the gals at BlogHer for syndicating my post, and bringing the discussion on this most heated of issues over to their place. You can read the post at their place here.

— 7 —

If you’re coming to the CNMC in Dallas at the end of this month, shoot me an email and let me know! I’d love to say hello.

————————-



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Comments

  1. says

    My husband and I are colic survivors. If you’ve had a baby with colic, you know that the term “survivor” is an appropriate one. 🙁 I offer an empathetic “I’m sorry” in lieu of a pseudo-helpful piece of advice that you’ve inevitably already tried. Keep on swimming.

    Excited to hear that BlogHer picked up your piece! My the flaming be minimal.

  2. says

    Your #5 sounds like my #4. I had 3 EASY babies like you explain your Joy to be, and now this one, oh mannnn…

    Can’t believe I got the 1st spot. First time ever, I think!

  3. says

    I’m sorry Baby #5 is wearing on you. I’m experiencing life with a baby who actually sleeps (My sweet Baby #5, Maeve), and I almost don’t know how to act. I ask my husband, “are you sure she’s OK?” None of our other kids were like this.

    One moment at a time for you — I know it’s rough.

    I’m THRILLED your post is on BlogHer. I didn’t comment on the original, but I was so impressed – you handled that situation with so much grace.

  4. says

    Wow, that’s really awesome about BlogHer picking up that post. I know it was really interesting for a lot of people to read since I’m sure I’m not the only one deeply struggling with what my stance should be in all of the new issues coming up. It makes me glad that I’m not living in the US 🙂

    Do you plan on sharing your take on the Chick-fil-a situation? Would love to hear it.

  5. says

    Jennifer, I just want to say that I look forward to reading your “7 Quick Takes Friday ” posts, each week. It’s what I live for. 🙂 You are one of the people that inspired me to start blogging more, ever since I saw your appearence on EWTN’s “Life on the Rock “, a few months ago on YouTube. Then again on the “Journey Home ” with Marcus Grodi, just recently. I’m actuality thinking of starting such a section on my own blog. Thank you, keep up the good work & Goo bless you & yours!

  6. says

    Jen,
    You have pretty much made my morning over here- I am still smiling. Thank you, thank you!!!

    And I have been wondering if I am just a serious WIMP for feeling like I need some babysitting help every week- you have helped me not feel so wimpy. I am off to research some local teenage girls… wait that sounds weird, but you know what I mean.

  7. says

    Regarding #3 . . . yes, we have all three of those happening right now, and that’s pretty much our norm. Actually, you could change “working long hours” to “out of town for several weeks” and that’s more accurate for us right now. No one naps, and no babysitting help or family nearby. I did finally break down and join the Y recently . . . they get to play for a bit and I get a quick workout in, during which I can also process a thought or two. It helps.

  8. says

    See my third sounds like your fourth. She is so loud and piercing that we all fear her. I am praying that your theory on the loan things works. We have so paid it forward with our 3rd and I pray that any and all future children will be quiet saints.

    Also I will pray for you! I spent a winter with no babysitters, a husband in Afghanistan, and two chronically sick toddlers, while pregnant. There were somedays were we just took turns vomiting. Good luck!

  9. Lena says

    I think when people lived in extended families or lived close to families members and there were more stay at homes mom, there were more babysitters, but they weren’t called babysitters. They were called cousin, or aunt, or grandma, or neighbor.

  10. Lena says

    Another thing, I read the comments at BlogHer. Some people sure don’t get it, but the important thing is that you wrote it and exposed it for people to see. Maybe somebody will ponder it. The seed will take root somewhere.

    • Amanda says

      Yes, absolutely. I read through some of the comments as well, and am always amazed at how far our country has gone. We are so mired in sin that we often don’t have the grace to see the truth. I definitely commend you for sharing it over there, though. I LOVED the original post and thought you did an excellent job of explaining how EVERYONE is called to sacrifice in some way sexually, a concept that is just so foreign to our contracepting culture. Blessings on your day!

  11. says

    First of all: thank YOU for turning me on to Grace’s blog. Hilare.

    Second: I love that BlogHer picked up your article. I have always found that they seem to publish a lot more from the other side of the scale, and I wished that the would represent our point of view more often. Big props to them for picking up your racy and very poignant piece. Oh and props to you for writing it, obvs.

    Finally: How do you deal with comments and contention when you publish not-so-popular view points? It seems that those who agree often remain in silent agreement while those who dissent are very loud about it. I would love to hear your advice on dealing 🙂

  12. says

    Re: child who screams all the time, for no reason and for every reason-

    There is no solution. None. My son is this same way and is nearly 5 and still. BUT my husband was apparently one of these children, and he grew up to be clever and awesome enough to snag a spouse like me so….prepare yourselves for a son-in-law who’s going to embarrass you at weddings and laugh way too loud when children are trying to sleep! Yay!

  13. TheresaEH says

    Here is a book suggestion I wish that had been available when my kids were little
    “The temperament God gave your kids” by art and laraine bennett…catholic psycologists

    Um, about BLOGHER, I was reading a post about the big BLOGHER convention last weekend and call me silly and old fashioned but it seems like they cheapened it by giving away sex toys! 🙁
    here is were I read the story.
    http://melanieinthemiddle.com/2012/08/blogher-12-and-a-giveaway.html

  14. says

    I have a sneaking suspicion that I, too, have somehow secured the parenting version of the adjustable rate mortgage. Not only is my two-year-old incredibly good-natured, a good sleeper, and an expert at entertaining himself (as he was all through babyhood) he also didn’t walk until he was 22 months old. Which was frustrating and a little scary and even at times embarrssing, but once we realized there was nothing “wrong” with him, we just accepted that he’d do it when he did it. By the time he decided to walk he was old enough to understand certain instructions and avoid lots of dangerous stuff that younger walkers get into. Now that I’m pregnant again I joke (to cover up a deep anxiety) that our next child will be what Dr. Sears calls “high-needs” and require that we hold him/her constantly for the first eight months of his/her life, then learn to walk, and therefore require us to follow him/her around with band-aids, a vacuum cleaner, and the number to the local poison control center. And our oldest will then assume the superior attitude that our older dog uses when the younger pets act out, saying-without-saying, “Now look at this. We could have avoided all this misery if you’d been content with just me. I informed you thusly.”

  15. elizabethe says

    re: child who screams at everything.

    Jen. I so feel for you and pray for you. My first was like this and my second also (although my second slept, which my first didn’t.) and I’m very sensitive to noise and tones of voice, so it drives me bat-guano crazy when they scream.

    My very strong advice: You can’t fear the screams. Set limits to what you will do for her, and if she needs to scream about it, so be it.

    Solution: give her a screaming place.

    My kids have a corner of the hall where they are allowed to scream and have a tantrum, and when they dislike something I do I say “I’m sorry you don’t like this, but I can’t hold you anymore right now. If you need to scream that’s fine, but you have to do it here.” And then put them there and let them scream. If they come out, guide them back there very matter of factly (oh, I see you’re still screaming, here’s your screaming place) and keep guiding them back until they stay or stop screaming (this might take a while, but it will work eventually).

    Hopefully she will eventually learn that screaming doesn’t work for her and stop responding that way, and even if the screaming doesn’t stop for a while, at least you have a way to respond and wont’ feel helpless. They need to learn that, frankly, screaming is unacceptable. (the same with whining when they get older, I make them leave the room if they whine, as well).

    I started doing this when my oldest was 3, and I wish I had started a lot earlier. I did it fairly early with my second (who is now 3) , and it really helps me to have this rule and helped his behavior as well. 14 months old is not to early to start doing this. It really isn’t. Esp. if you don’t view it as a “punishment”; it’s simply a fact of life — when we poop in a diaper, our diaper gets changed, even if we don’t like it, when we ride in a car we wear a seat belt, and when we scream, we have to go to our screaming place. That’s all. You can sit with her in the screaming place if you don’t want to leave her alone. Good luck with your sanity.

    • says

      I just have to say thank you for your screaming place idea. My daughter is almost 3 and we are dealing with tantrums, and the “screaming place” might be just what she needs. I have a hard time keeping my cool when she does it, but this might help. Thanks for the idea!

  16. says

    Oh Jen. Let’s have a margarita together. At someplace with a large patio and a high tolerance for mewling infants in bars.

  17. says

    I’m sorry that your baby is causing you trouble! My mom has told me that I was like that… but she ended up putting me on the dryer because it was the only thing that calmed me down!
    Your post that you linked was one of my favorites that you’ve written! I’m glad it’s getting noticed elsewhere!

  18. Maggie says

    I agree with the screaming place. As the mom of a daughter who would have won the gold medal in the most strong willed child EVER, buy some earplugs, and pick a tantrum zone and walk away.

    My mother in law stayed sane parenting her very large family by having a neighbor watch the kids while she attended daily mass. Mmmm, it sounds like there might be a ministry there. Maybe provide childcare at church for moms to attend daily mass. Or maybe a group of stay at home moms could create a rotating schedule watching each others kids? Now my wheels are spinning.

  19. says

    I’m going to find that app for my phone. My neighbors all know to pretend like they don’t see/hear/smell anything that comes from my house, so I don’t have to worry what they’ll think. They’re broken shells of their former selves, my neighbors are.

  20. E says

    Jen, how much help do you get with the kids? I don’t have kids myself, but when I was in grad school one of my classmates had a baby (she was on her own with her husband living in another country while she studied in the US), and he was the screamingest baby I’d ever met at the time. And none of her classmates, myself included, objected at all to taking the screaming baby for a little while just so the mom could get some work done or go to the library where screaming babies are unwelcome. I’m sure some of your friends or even your neighbor girls would be happy to take the baby off your hands a couple times a week, even if she screams the whole time. I don’t see how anyone could keep their sanity with a baby fussing 20 hours a day!

  21. Dani says

    I checked the BlogHer site last night, and by that time, there were already 20 comments, most of them disagreeing with you, and many of those being hateful about it, too. No surprise. So much for tolerance, eh?

    But, like Lena, I am glad that you got your points out there, and pray that the post will make people think. I’ll bet that the folks who said that they couldn’t read all of it couldn’t do so because it was making sense, and given a choice between common sense/truth and their “Me! Me! ME!” attitude, the latter won out when they stopped reading. Hopefully, the latter has won only only temporarily.

  22. says

    I can’t make it through the week without my keepin’ it real mommy blogs. Ana, Grace, Dwija and Cari are also at the tippy top of my list! LOVE THEM!!!

    And where are all the young mommy’s helpers??? I am going to demand that my children act as mommy’s helpers when they are older. I will pay them for it so the mom doesn’t have to. I couldn’t imagine trying to survive if my husband worked long hours!! We’re already moving to Texas so that we can get him to avoid working nights. (But hopefully Tyler, TX doesn’t have scorpions????)

  23. says

    I have a baby screaming solution. Drink two of your awesome margaritas (Grace sent me the recipe!) and the screaming gets a whole lot easier to deal with 🙂

  24. says

    I was lucky that mine was a fusser rather than a screamer, although I didn’t think so at the time. Now his wife is expecting their first. We will see which type he turns out to be!

  25. says

    Regarding #1 and #2, I have Daughter número tres that regularly screams so much, I have to wonder what the neighbors think I’m doing to her. Usually it’s just time-out on her bed. Or what I Alternately like to call it — “think time”. I do not know what to do either. We’ve had solutions that worked for a while, but nothing making any permanent changes.

    But (praise the Lord), God gave me my first baby when I was twenty , so now she is a baby-sitting teenager (as of last month)! Whoop whoop! Although I do regularly get texts from her saying, “Mom, come home now. She’s driving me crazy!” 🙂 oh well. Point is, it’s not just you. Or me. 🙂

  26. says

    My fifth child was also a radical change from the first four. My fourth would rock himself in his infant carrier at church! With #5, we were in the foyer from the time she was four months old. She’s still very challenging, but we have learned ways to head off the meltdowns. It does get better! And our sixth child, while mischievous, is more like the first four. 😉

  27. Mina says

    This is more of a comment on your blog as a whole than on this particular post, so I apologize in advance for being off-topic here. I simply wouldn’t know where else to put it. And feel free to delete this comment if you find it offensive.

    Anyway:

    Allow me to give you the simplest definition of Atheism I can come up with: “There is always more than one reason.”

    If you look at every moment of your own life experience, as well as the experience of others, you’ll very likely find that this is the most well-tested, time-proven statement in human history. Yet all faiths, without exception, claim to somehow be above it. With no insult intended, that is not the humility you pride yourself on, but the epitome of arrogance and vanity.

    • says

      Mina- I see that you are trying to be kind- but as you say, your comment is off-topic. You could have emailed her this or waited until she posted on a theological topic.

      you wrote: “There is always more than one reason. If you look at every moment of your own life experience, as well as the experience of others, you’ll very likely find that this is the most well-tested, time-proven statement in human history.”

      I don’t see the sense in this. Theologically, the Catholic Church states that truth is found in many places/religions/philosophies. The Church has the fullness of truth. Scientifically and historically, there can be “one reason” for something occurring…so I don’t understand what you are getting at

      • Mina says

        “You could have emailed her this or waited until she posted on a theological topic.”

        I considered sending her an e-mail, but I didn’t want to intrude into her personal space, so to say, with criticism. Again, I apologize if anyone is bothered by this.

        “I don’t see the sense in this. Theologically, the Catholic Church states that truth is found in many places/religions/philosophies. The Church has the fullness of truth. Scientifically and historically, there can be “one reason” for something occurring…so I don’t understand what you are getting at”

        All faiths claim that there is only one ultimate reason for our existence – their respective deity (even the polytheistic faiths I know of have one single mother/father-deity from which all others supposedly originate). Also, I would strongly dispute that either scientifically or historically there has ever been an event with a monocausal explanation.

  28. says

    About your baby, I understand and sympathize and have no advice for you. With my own, I would actually keep a log on how long and often my baby cried each day; I found out that I had only a few times of “peace” which added up to only 15 minutes a day. No lie.

    (Turned out he had autism, which at that time, I didn’t know.)

  29. Patty says

    Jennifer,

    HUGS to you! My baby #3 wailed EVERY TIME we put her down, and ONLY tolerated being held by my husband or me, even when she was tiny. Baby #7 was pretty clingy, and I carried him around in a sling much of the time. That helped a ton.

    Now my youngest two are 12 and 16, and if I didn’t live a couple of states away from you, I’d drive the three of us over to your house for some mother’s helper time (my kids with your kids) and mommy conversation. It honestly DOES get better. With parenthood the days can be long, but the years are short. Trust me on this.

    I am amazed at all you moms with young ones who write blogs and (gasp!) books. I don’t think I could have done all that at that stage of life.

  30. Patty says

    P.S.

    With fussy babies, if nothing else worked I took them outside. It didn’t seem to matter what the season or weather was. In the cold weather, I’d bundle them in a quilt and sit on the swing in the back yard, or just stand on the front porch. I don’t know why, but they always quieted down.

  31. says

    Funny, I have a toddler right now who also plays the light switch game. Every once in a while he’ll let me put him on a chair so he can play, but he’s 20 months and that’s a recent development.

    I wanted to recommend a couple of books for you.

    1) Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
    (reviewed here http://jessicamcmaken.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/book-review-raising-your-spirited-child/)

    2) Living With Intensity
    (Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Living-With-Intensity-Understanding-Excitability/dp/0910707898)

    All of my kids have been somewhat spirited/intense. These books are life savers. I have other recommendations if you like, but start with these.

  32. Becky says

    It seems, if I am reading you correctly, that you think that your baby is not screaming from undiagnosed pain, but from the frustration of non communication. The baby wants you to do something specific, and you are not doing it. If this is the case I have several suggestions, all of which work sometimes. First, try to increase the baby’s activity, doing things that take more energy for the baby than from you. If the baby likes to turn the light on and off she would probably like a toy that makes noise or reacts in some way when she does something- try giving her toys that do something, but don’t hold her while she does them. Lots of outside time, lots of swinging. If she then cries because she is so tired, that one has a time limit- she will go to sleep. As often as possible, even if you think that she is too young to understand, explain to her that you understand what she wants, but you are not going to do it right now. Don’t go into too much detail (I have to fix dinner for Daddy, so that he will have the strength to go to work to earn the money that pays for…) but it is amazing how often even a very young baby can understand what we are saying, and they are crying from frustration because they think that you don’t understand what they want. If you acknowledge it, they can often (not always) accept that communication is not enough, they still can’t have what they want.

    For the times that is not enough, when you are going to stop doing what she wants before she is ready, this is really important: stop when you have had enough, don’t keep on until you are at the point of collapse. You will be better able to handle the ensuing disagreement if you are not exhausted.

    And all of us who had babies like that are praying for you.

  33. Maria says

    My mother gave me phenobarbitol, lol. I wonder what your child will feel like one day is your child discovers your feelings about your child’s lungs…

  34. says

    Howdy! I just found this video, and I immediately thought of your post about Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Apparently, Wally de Backer (aka Gotye) took a bunch of those YouTube covers of his song, stitched them together, and made a steaming pile of awesome out of the whole thing. I thought you might be interested in checking it out for yourself, so here’s the link: http://youtu.be/opg4VGvyi3M

    Thanks and Gig ‘Em!

  35. Mama Benedikt says

    Jen, you have my empathy and prayers. Our 1 1/2 yr old doesn’t scream incessantly, yet, bangs his head on whatever is available, such as the wall, tile floor, my collar bone, etc. He goes limp, when I try to pick him up, etc. I know that if I stay calm it helps. That is HARD. My husband is away for military. Trying to do everything is not possible. I wish I could live with mess. I wish we had money for a housekeeper. Just a little quiet time for this mama. I would love a margarita…actually something stronger LOL! And this is only our first! When he sleeps, I just stay with him and relax, use my phone, etc. This really helps. I know you probably can’t make a definitive nap time for all your children or can you? You are homeschooling… I do agree with channeling her energies. Have you tried music? What about comedy? When she is screaming, make a funny face or do something she would laugh at. Her focus is redirected. Still, this is your unique situation, so do your best and give God the rest.
    Also, I went to the BlogHer site and commented on their FB page. Adults can be so immature and cruel. I wonder whether anyone ever learned how to communicate and not act like they are on the play ground at recess…God bless you, Jen! You exposed yourself, knowingly to packs of wolves/a lions den, so that Christ’s light may shine. God bless you!

  36. katherine says

    As a mother of 6 kids under the age of 10, my #4 was the blisfully quiet and always happy model you described. Unfortunatly he is sandwiched between two of the emotionally needy, hyperactive, meltdown induced variety. (When I say meltdown, I don’t mean a few hollars, I mean a child who would beat his head into a cement sidewalk everytime he didn’t get what he wanted at a store. All my other children’s lives were on hold for a few years because because we were constantly having to leave stores, church, parties, school etc. and we couldn’t even begin to think about a babysitter.) The advice I would give is to teach self control as early as possible. My poor child was never in control of his emotions, his emotions were always in control of him. After many years of loving and my attempt at kind discipline he is a happier person because he has limits. Wish me luck since I am on round two now.
    God never gives us anything we can’t handle.

  37. says

    We only have two kids, but I’ve often said that if our second baby had been our first, she’d have likely been an only child. Blessings to you, friend!