You know how when you have a crying little baby (or two), and everyone you see keeps saying, "It gets easier every day," (except that one person who said, "It gets easier for about two years, and then it gets harder until they're about five, and then it's easier again until they're teenagers,")? And as you go along, you find that, yeah, maybe it gets a little less physically demanding, maybe, but when the kid has a mouthful of potting soil or has climbed on the kitchen counter to get the big knife, it doesn't really seem all that much easier? And then they get older, and maybe you don't have to watch them that closely, so that's kind of easier, but everything's more complicated, like logistics of getting them from here to there and helping with homework and should you make them eat everything on their plate or just try one no-thank-you bite and how, exactly, are you supposed to handle sibling squabbles, anyway? And you think it doesn't get easier at all, only different.
But some things, some things do get easier.
Like ice skating.
I always thought I'd be the mom to get the kids out on skis and ice skates and backpacking in the mountains when they were little tots, but it's not that easy. In what was probably my worst idea ever, I took M to meet a friend at the outdoor ice rink in Augusta when he was four and the twins were eight months old. I got M into his skates, and me into my skates, and the twins into their double jogging stroller, and we all got about four yards out on the ice when M, who had been fully convinced he would do "twirls" like Brian Boitano, fell down and cried. And cried. And cried. And there I was, unstable on skates, with two babies in a stroller and a four-year-old wailing on his back on the ice.
We did not try skating again for a very, very long time. But now? Now we just walk down to the neighbor's pond, help lace up skates, and they skate. They fall down and get up and skate some more. No crying. No stress. Definitely easier.
Another thing that's easier: Making cookies.
I used to tie aprons around all three kids and pile them all into the learning tower and then manage the equitable measuring of ingredients. I guess it was fun. And no one lost a finger to the Kitchenaid, but it was a little stressful. Not so relaxing. Now? Now whoever is around and in the mood drags over the step stool and digs in. No more learning tower to stub my toe on (and to be in the way of the cabinet where all the bowls and measuring cups live). No more tussles over whether a teaspoon of vanilla is equal to a cup of sugar in terms of measuring equality. Also, they can arrange to cookie cutters to maximize dough usage. Much easier.
Another thing that's easier?
Getting in the car when it's thirteen degrees below zero and turning the key and turning the key and pressing the gas and lifting off the gas and praying for the exact combination of turning and pressing and lifting that will get the damn thing to start and not having any babies in the backseat taking off their boots and socks, which was their favorite thing to do the winter they were little, which seemed to be a record winter for cold mornings and cars that didn't start and got stuck in snowbanks. Now, when the car doesn't want to start in the morning, they've already put on their own snowpants and coats and boots and hats and gloves and walked themselves up the driveway to catch the bus.