Five and Three

April 1, 2010

Before I had children, I knew I wanted at least two of them.  I come from a family of three so three was a possibility, but definitely at least two.  Then I had Graham.  If you are a parent, you know that transition from childless couple to parents of an infant is a difficult one.  Throw into the mix an emergency c-section, a jaundiced baby, and problems with nursing and I can tell you it’s probably a blessing that I don’t really remember the first few months.

After the shock wore off and he started to sleep, I fell more in love with Graham every day.  By the time he was six months old, I could not imagine ever having another child.  It was partly that I felt like I just could not go back to newborn land again.  It was also partly that I could not imagine having enough love in my heart for two children.  My love for Graham was so overwhelming that I couldn’t picture him with a sibling.

When Graham was around a year, we had lunch one day at a kid-friendly spot.  Sitting next to us was a family of four.  Mom, dad, and two boys – ages five and three.  The boys were cute and watching them interact, a light bulb went on for me.  I pictured Graham at age five and of course I wanted there to be a three year old sibling sitting next to him.  And so, within six months, I got pregnant and at 20 weeks, found out that Graham was going to have a brother.

Once Spencer was born, I had another interaction with a family with two boys.  Spencer was a colicky baby and one of the only places he didn’t fuss was in the Bjorn.  I remember one day, on our way to the park, I was pushing Graham in the stroller and trying to simultaneously bounce and walk Spencer.  A mom and two boys came walking toward us, they were carrying shovels and all three of them were laughing.  As we made room for each other on the sidewalk, she gave me a sympathetic smile.

“How old are your boys?”, she asked me.
“2 and a half and 12 weeks.  How about yours?”
“Five and three.  Hang in there, it gets easier.”
“I’ve heard that.”

After they passed, I burst into tears.  At that point, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it another day, let alone a few years.

But I have made it and here are my boys ages five and three.  It is bittersweet.  Life is easier and yet more complicated.  Aside from a few nightmares and bloody noses, they sleep through the night without a peep.  They feed themselves, Graham even dresses himself and can put on his own shoes.  They play pretty nicely together with a major battle breaking out over a toy only every 15 minutes or so.  Their needs can mostly be communictaed through words.  But the simplicity and the snuggliness of babyhood is gone.  The quiet of a content baby is long gone.  (I am a quiet person and I think I got two of the noisiest boys on the planet.)

(This bloody nose was the result of the battle over a toy.  Apparently it was an accident that said toy got thrown at Spencer’s head.)

When Graham was a newborn, someone told us that the days pass slowly but the months go quickly.  Those months have become years.  It’s not like I have been waiting impatiently for my boys to be five and three – I savored every second of that 12 to 18 month phase.  But I’d like a little of that passed time back please.


  1. Dana-your boys are cutie pies! I am sure the time is going fast, try to cherish every moment. You really are a wonderful mother! They are lucky to have you.

    Comment by Maria — April 1, 2010 @ 10:19 pm

  2. I’m so glad that I read this today. It’s just what I needed. As I make my way into the third trimester of my first pregnancy, I find myself starting to get panic attacks about what life with a child will be. I’m scared that after almost six years of being married with no children, this baby-to-be will bring a life change much too big for me and my husband to handle.

    And then I read this and all is good in the world again :) Thanks for that.

    Your boys are precious.

    Comment by HappyTummy — April 1, 2010 @ 10:32 pm

  3. what cute pictures. I love that I get little glimpses of your life, and can’t wait to meet them in person. Life is funny in how there are certain moments, when people tell us something and it sticks with us YEARS later. If that lady you passed only knew she was being quoted in your lovely blog :)

    Comment by Sara — April 1, 2010 @ 10:39 pm

  4. What a beautiful post…they are so lucky to have a mom like you.

    Comment by Alisa — April 1, 2010 @ 11:16 pm

  5. I loved reading your post today and so much of it hit home for me. The months do seem to fly by ever so quickly. As my boys turn 17 months in just a few days, I am grateful for the reminder of just how precious this time is and to treasure it even when some days seem to go on forever.
    Loved seeing photos of the boys. Your posts will be such gifts for them. Do you have plans for printing or preserving your entries for them?

    Comment by Christine E. — April 2, 2010 @ 2:54 am

  6. As the younger of two boys growing up an uncle to 5 boys from two sisters, I just wanted to pass on some parenting knowledge from my Dad and both of my sisters:
    “If they aren’t bleeding, it’s not worth getting up for.”

    The expression of ‘Boys will be boys’ is meant to remind us to let them be – loud, messy, troubling, etc. It’s all the precursor to their later energetic creativity and motivation. However, you don’t let them get away with carelessness, either, since boys will also be men.

    PS – never lose that bloody nose pic – he’s gonna love that when he’s 20 or 30, especially if he feigns embarrassment.

    Comment by Sparkplug — April 2, 2010 @ 5:13 am

  7. Dana, this is a wonderful post. Your boys are just beautiful. Thank you for sharing your family with us… it’s very precious.

    Comment by Viviane Bauquet Farre / food & style — April 2, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

  8. They are too freakin’ adorable. If I ever have little boys I hope they’re half as handsome!

    Comment by maris — April 2, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

  9. Oh my goodness, sigh. Your timeliness is uncanny. My younger son turns 9 on Sunday, and my older son is spending next week away from home on an extended school field trip, so I’m hyper aware of the passage of time. They do get big quickly.

    I remember when I had just had the one, and I was working for a professor with 2 sons who were 8 and 10. We were working at his house one afternoon and I met his boys. I had the exact same feelings then that you had looking at the mom of those 3 and 5 year old boys. One day, I said, that will be us. And now it is.

    You’ve warmed my day!

    Comment by Cheryl @ 5 Second Rule — April 2, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

  10. I’ve never had kids myself, so I love to live vicariously through Mom’s stories such as yours.

    Your boys are extremely cute, imagine how much they will love to read these stories when they are older!

    Comment by SallyBR — April 2, 2010 @ 6:28 pm

  11. your posts always make me cry. The boys are beautiful and have an amazing mom.

    Comment by keren brown — April 2, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

  12. They’re so cute! And, they grow up so fast. I’m always floored by how much my nieces and nephews change between visits.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — April 2, 2010 @ 7:33 pm

  13. Oh boy – you really got it this time. Andy and I heard the same thing with our little boy – “the days and nights are endless but the years fly by.” That has stuck with me since, especially on the afternoons where I don’t think I’ll make it to 6pm. But I can’t believe how fast the first 7 years has gone, especially the last two. I’m missing that snugliness of babyhood too as the last bits of it slip away now. It’s wonderful to watch the two kids play, maddening when they pick fights with one another. But I think a sibling is one of the world’s most wonderful gifts, along with a caring spouse and good relationships with adult parents.
    Love the pictures here!

    Comment by Katie — April 2, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

  14. I always appreciate your honesty and contemplative posts. It’s so refreshing. Your boys are lovely. Have a great weekend, Dana!

    Comment by redmenace — April 2, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

  15. I wouldn’t trade having two boys (also 3 and 5) for anything! They are such a blessing and while there is some occasional (ok, frequent)strife and bloodshed, they are the best of buddies and each others biggest fan! Great pictures!

    Comment by Kelli — April 2, 2010 @ 10:41 pm

  16. are making me laugh AND cry..I have four..oldest is 17 year old daughter and boys, 15, 11 and 7. THEY are a handful..and what can I say..just different:) The time DOES go by so fast..enjoy EVERY moment..and just think ..when they are fifteen you will be telling them that they do not have to get a fresh beach towel out of the linen closet EVERY day to take a shower…:) God Bless!

    Comment by Nancy — April 3, 2010 @ 4:00 am

  17. My boys are 5 and 3. I know exactly what you mean.

    Comment by Jules — April 3, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

  18. What handsome young men, bloodied nose and all. We have two daughters and girls aren’t any easier. Boys tend to slug it out and forget about it – girls, I think mine are still harping on the same infraction of years ago! tee hee It does get better and it does go fast. My baby just delivered a baby girl this week and I sit wondering, where did all the time go? Just know, Dana, that the good times, and the not-so-good, are all so very worth it.

    Comment by Penny — April 3, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

  19. So cute! love the photos :)

    Comment by Veggie Belly — April 5, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

  20. Spencer wears the battle wounds well! Lovely post.

    Comment by The Ordinary Vegetarian — April 5, 2010 @ 7:57 pm

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