Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. Four

Hello, True Believers; it's time for you to meet the Fantastic Four! No, not that one. This one is more awkward. 

When Super Toddler entered our family, I first contended with the villain Three. Three is a mighty villain who specializes in subtle juggling; just a little more, you can do it. Go ahead and carry the butter dish and the plates and the milk jug to the table all at once. Nothing is gonna happen. Nothing like the cat racing through the kitchen at this precise moment. No, no. Don't worry. You can do it all. Three has crept up on me time and time again these past 2 years of adjustment; he is such a creeper. A big ol' creep. And he always wins. He always fools me. He always convinces me that going to Target with all three of them will be a good idea this time. He always gets the upper hand and wins the battle. I used to think that it was just me and my awkward ways, but it turns out that this happens to other moms as well. Three is just that powerful.

So, imagine my nervousness as I awaited the villain Four. If Three is so hard, what on earth does Four have in store? (And I don't think lame rhymes are gonna do much against him, eh?) Well, Super Baby is here; he's actually 5 weeks old. We have been a family with four children for over a month. And Four has yet to show up.

Or maybe he has. Maybe Four is so big, powerful, and scary that my little mind couldn't take it and I have retreated into my own imagination; creating a reality for myself where things are actually okay, I actually posses some parenting skills, and chocolate bars grow on a tree in my front yard. Could be, but my Emma Frost powers never were very strong and what normal woman can pull off that outfit anyway?

No. (Seriously, with that outfit, just no.) What I think is really going on is that Four really did arrive. Four is here and has been here since Super Baby eased himself into that hospital room with a tiny little peep and a bemused expression.

It's like this: let's pretend you are walking around in a new city, all alone, and you are lost. You take a wrong turn and you are in a dark alley. You turn to leave, but a huge, heavily tattooed biker is standing in the way. It is shadowy and you can't see his face, but his chains start to clink in a menacing way as he walks toward you. You scream and flee. He chases you. You hit a dead end. You turn around and prepare to fight him with what little strength you have before giving up completely. All hope is lost. You look up into the face of this monster, who smiles sweetly at you and says, "Miss? You dropped your wallet back there. Here it is. Do you need any help? You look a little lost."

Four is no villain; he's a Hero.

Despite appearances, Four is not here to make me crazy or hurt me in any way. Four is here to help me enter this next phase of my motherhood, and this phase appears to be a calm, gentle place full of acceptance, balance, and good-enough-ness. Which makes so much sense, if you think about it. Three is the number of things that set the world on fire: the Trinity, trimesters, dimensions, Bee Gees. But what comes in fours but items that bring balance to the force and beyond; seasons, square sides, directions, mutant turtles, winds, card suits, wheels, A-teams, elements, states of matter, and, most importantly, Beatles.

You know what else comes in Fours? Fantastic Fours. And this too makes so much sense to me. Each member of my fantastic four has entered my motherhood journey at just the right time and with just the right personality.

Super Kindergartener (or Mr. Fantastic) with his boundless curiosity, quiet genius, and enormous flexibility came to me when I was just learning what being a mom meant. He took the lead because he is a natural leader and saw that I needed someone to walk me through things. My transition from no kids to 1 kid was by far the harder transition of my life, and you want a kind genius on your side for that.

Super Preschooler (or the Thing) battered down any walls I might have had around my heart with his relentless charm, deceptive sweetness, and sheer force of will. He looks like none of his siblings. He acts like none of his siblings. In fact, he acts like no one else I know, and he wears his uniqueness with no shame or fear. He burst into my life just when I was thinking that all children behaved like the super cerebral, logical, and orderly Super K. Not so. Super P. widened my view of what children could be and made me more accepting of their differences and the different ways to parent. Some children are messy, imaginative, and have emotions like tsunamis. Some children will keep you guessing your whole life. Some children were born to break the rules.

Super Toddler (or the Human Torch) picked up where her brother left off and obliterated any rules that may have still been in existence. Where Super P. prefers to violate norms and change things by simply being an unmovable presence of cheerful stubbornness, Super Toddler like to lead with her lightsaber and go down in a blaze of glory. She'll slash through your conventions so fast that you won't know what hit you, until she kisses you right on the mouth, winks, and then dances away in a cloud of her own laughter. She is fierce and more than a little dangerous. A fire cracker who likes to joke, eat, and embrace all that life has to offer. And she wants it all; Right Now. Super Toddler showed up just when I was starting to feel a little too comfortable. A little too safe. And a little too bored. Sometimes you need a little fire to remind you that you are alive. That your life is now and happening all around you without your say-so. Better get in there and live it, or it is going to pass you by as fast as a comet of laughter and light.

Super Baby (or the Invisible Woman) is a gentle presence who pulls all to himself almost as if he has the power to create invisible and powerful force fields. He is a subtle unifier who can silence a room with a look from his endless eyes. He doesn't need to shout to convince us of his power and personality; he just lets his amazing hair speak for itself. Super Baby coos and his siblings rush to him to see what he needs. Or thinks. Or wants to do next. He brings them together and strengthens their natural skills just by his existence in their lives. Super Baby's lesson to me is soft and sweet; you are enough, Mommy. Hold me. Love me. I want no more than that. Perhaps a little milk, the occasional diaper change, but you could do that in your sleep. You are all we need, Mommy. As is. Totally awkward, with no need for improvement or stress. Just you. Those eyes of his say a lot, but they are endless, so it figures. Super Baby is the great balance of this family; a family thrown off-kilter by that villainous Three. We need fear Three no more, for Super Baby knows how to wield the power of Four.

The Fantastic Four is here to stay. Believe the hype.

At least, until Awkward Mom and Dad decide to see what a fifth child would bring to the family. There is always a danger with odd numbers, as you then create a bonafide middle child. However, with 5, the middle child would be this one:

They'll probably risk it. 


  1. You are one brave woman to think of the 5th one already :) I just adore the picture of the siblings!

    1. I think crazy is the word, instead of brave..... :)

      Isn't that a cute one?! I was thrilled to get anything with all of them, frankly.

  2. Replies
    1. Well, they are only as good as the subjects. :)

  3. Four really does suit you! I see it in this post, but also when I see you in real life. Also, the photo of Super K is amazing!

    1. I am loving 4, who would have guessed? And yes, he is pretty amazing at all ages. :)