Suddenly, almost miraculously, thinks are getting easier around here. I feel like we are finally past all the just plain difficult ages, and just facing the challenging ones. It is actually starting to feel like we live in a house full of people and not a house full of monkeys.
This fact really hit home when we went for a quick overnight to RI a few weeks ago. We drove around and checked out houses and neighborhoods, went to the zoo, walked in Newport and spent a night in a hotel (with a pool, did Charlotte mention the pool? There was a pool.). We did all this with one duffel bag between us. No more hauling diapers or formula, no more having to pack cribs and strollers, just toss some clothes in a bag, grab a thing of goldfish and some water bottles then, hit the road. Amazing.
The situation is helped greatly by the fact that Liz completely outgrew her carseat. Not so much the weight, it is good for 20 more pounds, but in height. She is just plain too tall, or really long in the torso, for her convertible car-seat. After much angst and a discussion with out pediatrician, she is now in a high-backed belt positioning booster. Yes, I am aware that models exist where you can 5-point until kids are 47 years-old and that almost three is very young to make the transition, but given her predicted rate of growth, this is the best long-term solution. Let me tell you, this is a whole new world. Now the two of them get in the car, click their seat belts, I do a quick check that we are all secure and well positioned then we are off. The days of constant screaming in the car seat (probably because the crotch strap thing was widly uncomfortable) and wrestling 40 pounds of toddler into a harness are done. I don't regret the choice for a second.
Also: naps! Charlie gets off the bus so tuckered out from school that she will take a quick nap. Not long mind you, maybe 45 minutes, but hey, that is 45 minutes that makes the rest of our day so livable. The day is now: get up, eat breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, do hair and head to the bus. Liz and I spend the morning doing stuff together and then when Charlie gets home, it is lunch, nap and then long afternoons enjoying two kids who are not overtired, sniveling messes. Can I get a hallelujah?
It is not all easy, Liz is four times the toddler that Charlie ever was, she is certainly a challenge. However, now the challenge is dealing with her transformation into a human being and not with lame stuff like potty-training and learning to put on your own shoes. Sure she is hysterical like 98% of the day, but I am not changing diapers and scrubbing sippy-cups so who cares?
With parenting, you are never really out of the trenches, but sometimes the trenches can feel a lot less dark and wet. At least the artillery fire is slowing down a bit around here. We are going to make it.