The Battle of the Ottoman

Keep perspective in the middle of harried parenting moments


Baby Hannah is only five-weeks-old. So I nurse her minimum every three hours in her pink nursery. I’ll say it again. MINIMUM EVERY THREE HOURS, all day and all night long.

(Ladies and gentlemen, that is a commitment.)

When I just had one baby, nursing was a calm, beautiful respite from the busy day’s harried pace. Not anymore. Now I have a high-energy five-year-old boy and a curious two-year-old girl that are ENAMOURED with the process. They want to be within 2.5 inches from the baby’s head or bouncing off the nursery walls like Red Bull poster children.

I try to keep perspective. I try to remind myself how sweet it is that they love their baby sister so much. (I.e. During the day, they constantly ask where Hannah is. If I tell them she’s napping, they look like they just lost the lottery by one number. SO SWEET.)

(PS Is it wrong if I purposely hide the baby from the over-loving two-year-old for the baby’s safety?)
(PPS Is it considered LYING if I tell the two-year-old I don’t know where the hidden babe is? #ParentMorality)

But bottom line: it’s hard to nurse when you have two loud, jumping hooligans distracting you and the baby. I cannot bear to order them out of the room. But it is stressful parenting these wild beasts I made when I can’t enforce any commands because I cannot physically move. So I just threaten, like any level-headed parent: “Samson! Give Esther her doll back, OR ELSE!”

Last week, however, something changed my heart on this new motherhood challenge.
It was time to feed the baby. Samson and Esther darted in front of me to pop open the white nursery door, cooing, “Hannah! Hannah!” I tenderly pulled up the sleeping baby from her black crib, so deliciously tiny and warm. Baby Hannah arched her back, like only a newborn baby can. I set her down on the changing table, with Samson and Esther flanking me on either side, intently watching the diaper changing process on tip-toe.

(If it is a “number two” diaper, they explode into laughter and melt on the floor, giggling their heads off. Why this is so funny to them, I have no idea. I am a Jane Austen buff. I obviously do not exhibit or model this type of crude humor. *clears throat* Clearly, they must have picked it up from SOMEONE ELSE who’s name begins with a “D” and rhymes with “mad”.)

I sat down to nurse the baby in the same black wooden glider that I used to nurse Samson and Esther. I was dreading the usual antics: Esther and Samson fighting over who gets to sit on the gliding ottoman, WHERE MY TIRED FEET SHOULD REST. (Aka one of them sits/swings wildly back and forth on top of the ottoman, slamming the thing into my shins, until they violently fall over and crash it on top of my feet.)

Sure enough, Battle of the Ottoman no. 39484 began. Back and forth they argued over who’s turn it was to sit on the prized ottoman. Finally, like the mature mother that I am, I covered my eyes with the only free hand I had and yelled, “GUYS! PLEASE STOP FIGHTING OVER WHO GETS THE OTTOMAN. WE TAKE TURNS! EVERY DAY, WE TAKE TURNS! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE STOP FIGHTING OVER IT!”

Surprisingly, Samson popped off the ottoman like a jack-in-the-box, and fled the room. Esther greedily pounced back on the prized seat, rocking back and forth wildly. Then suddenly I saw the front of our massive brown leather ottoman plunging into the nursery. Samson was pushing it with all his might from behind, like a little white-haired Hercules. I watched with silent big eyes because, again, I can do nothing physically while nursing. He steered it in, right behind the ottoman.

“Wook, mom! Now I have a seat, too!” he piped, hopping on top of the gigantic, out-of-place piece of furniture.

There sat my blue-eyed Samboy looking up at me, with his little arms folded proudly across his chest. My tiny man felt he had solved the problem. Now everyone had a seat. Suddenly all the stress and tension of two high-energy children constantly mauling me while trying to nurse just melted away. Samson just wanted to be together and included. I looked down at my feet at little Esther. She was wearing her favorite pink princess gown and had fresh post-nap frazzled hair. My favorite part: her little, fat toddler hand resting on my knee. She, like Samson, just wanted to be together and included.

Yes, these are long, lonely isolated days. Yes, I am exhausted from caring for three little ones. But every time I walk into Hannah’s nursery and see that big, out-of-place ottoman, I smile. There will come a day when we won’t all be together, all day long, every day. So I’m going to enjoy these moments with my little wild darlings while I can. I truly wouldn’t trade these days for anything!

TAKEAWAY: Can you stop in your busy day as a mom to find ordinary, extraordinary moments with your little darlings in the midst of busy caretaking? Can you fast-forward to what it will be like when your children are teenagers, so you can see today’s beauty: like a little hand resting on you for security or your pre-schooler wanting to be with you? Remember to look for the good so you can truly enjoy the little years!


Want more stories like this? Order my new book Stop and Smell Your Children: Laugh and Enjoy the Little Years now on Amazon here or on my site here.



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