The aging process has this sinister way of sneaking up on you.
One day you think you look young and the next day you see a picture of yourself and you wonder when that turkey neck showed up. Actually, you wonder whose turkey neck it is, and when you realize that it is yours, you delete the picture and pretend you never saw it. Because if you delete it, it never happened, and your neck still looks fine. As I said, it is sinister. Sneaky. Surprising. And some other “s” words that I am not allowed to use but have been very pent up inside of me since Dil #1 has been around.
Please forgive me for repeating some facts that you might already know, but I am trying to paint a literary picture for you. God blessed me with three monkeys in less than four years. Son #1 and Son #2 are 15 months apart, and Son #3 completed the trifecta less than three years later. So for a month — exactly a month, since one birthday is September 1 and the next birthday is October 1 — I had three children under the age of 4.
For the past several weeks, I have been an integral part of Gd #1’s life. I have enjoyed, relished, and treasured every single second. I was good with the late nights and was very honest with Dil #1 about how I don’t do early mornings. More like I can’t do mornings. But wait, with three monkeys under the age of 4, I clearly did mornings. I still remember feeding Son #2 at 3:30 in the morning, crying to Husband #1, “Son #2 is 8 1/2 months old and he is still getting up three times a night! Will he ever sleep through the night?!?!?” The nights of Son #3 having croup — if your kids have never had croup, consider yourself lucky. Aside from your child sounding like a seal, it can be pretty scary. There were some nights when I would take Son #3 to the ER for a breathing treatment, drive home as the sun was rising, finally get into bed, and have husband #1 wake up and say, “How was your night?” having absolutely no idea what had happened. (See, there are valid reasons why I have wanted to strangle him!) He says it only happened once, but I know the truth.
And then there was the Teaneck Swim Club. Getting three monkeys ready, packing towels and snacks and toys and diapers and lord knows what other paraphernalia. Getting them out of the van, helping them change, supervising swimming, dealing with giving out the snacks and sharing the snacks, trips to the bathroom and on and on and on. I did all of that, by myself. Just me. Well, we decided to take Gd #1 to the pool. Two friends were nice enough to have me cash in on the “Come over to swim any time” invitation. So when we decided to put this on Gd #1’s schedule, we had to be prepared. Dil #1 found swim diapers and an amazing float for babies who still can’t sit up on their own. We got the okay from the pediatrician to take her in the water. We got her an adorable sun hat to protect her precious skin from the sun. We were prepared.
And there we were. Husband #1, Son #1, Dil #1, Babka #1, and one 11-week-old baby. Four adults to one little human. and I kept wondering, “How did I do this with three little monkeys all by myself???” How? How did I do this when I can barely get out of bed in the morning? How did I push a double stroller up the hill back to my house from synagogue when Husband #1 and I huff and puff up the hill now like it is Mount Everest? How did I do these things? Eureka! I found the answer. I was YOUNGER. Much, much YOUNGER.
So this is my question, and if any of you know the answer or know someone who might know the answer, please send it my way. The question is, “If you have a baby in your late 40s or early 50s, your very first baby, do you have more energy because you have been sleeping without interruptions most of your life, or do you feel just as old and just as tired as I do because, well, let’s face it, those of us in our 50s are usually feeling old and tired…” And there you go.
If you know of any infants that need adult chaperones, please feel free to reach out. We are prepared!
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is now starting her summer. Getting her ear pieced a fifth time to celebrate Son #3’s black hat, indulging in the new Moscato ice pops and walking the boardwalk with Husband #1, and since that should only take about an hour, she will be back in the kitchen cooking for Rosh Hashanah.