This photo was taken by my good friend and fabulous photographer, Nicole Owens.

If my life were a movie, this is what the past five months would look like.

Cue the music:

Day One: Baby P arrives! We are thrilled and grateful. Big Sister #1 is proud, curious and in charge. Big Sister #2 is deeply irritated, confused and upset.

Day Three – Week 5: Towles’ body turns into an amazing, adrenaline powered machine. She goes to preschool to pick up the girls on the way home from hospital. She goes to Target with her four year old on the way home from picking up girls from preschool. She takes all three children to the grocery store and feels she has conquered the world. There is no task too large for her; she actually believes this with all her heart.

Week 5: Towles & husband plan to go out on first date since baby P’s arrival. A Friday night date (Saturdays are always better). Towles has not showered in a few days. It is very, very hot outside – too hot to go to the play ground, too hot to sit in the shade. Towles has realized that going to the pool with a four year old, a not yet two year old and a newborn is impossible. We have been inside for what seems like weeks. The confused & angry not-yet-two-year-old has drawn all over the couch with black marker. The baby needs milk/diaper/sleep/burping, etc. The four year old is bouncing off the wall. Ivy, the dog, has acquired a barking problem.

Towles is averaging about two hours of sleep per night.

When the babysitter arrives, she lets herself in and finds Towles weeping in the kitchen.

Husband arrives home from work, frazzled. Who replaced his WonderWoman wife & mother with this puddle on the floor? Entire house is electrified by his arrival. Saintly babysitter sends Towles upstairs to take a shower.

Towles cried all the way downtown to this fabulous restaurant. She does not remember eating, but thinks the food was probably good.

Week 5 to Week 12: Towles and Baby P begin to get more sleep most nights. Except, of course, during Week 7 when the husband went on an international business trip and the not-yet-two-year-old insisted on sleeping in a big girl bed in the middle of the night and protested in her crib so loudly and for so long that we were all awake at 4 am for the day – for three days in a row. Towles proved to herself then that she is actually of no danger at all to her children, because she has never in her life been so tired, angry or annoyed, and she managed not even to curse at her kids – yes, this actually deserves praise. She may have yelled, just a little.

Summer turns to fall – Baby P sleeps 12 hours straight on his three month birthday. (This was a gift from God, not an achievement of scientific method.) He smiles and laughs. The not-yet-two-year-old turns two. She begins to like her baby brother, if only a little, and kisses him on occasion. The four year old is still bouncing off the walls, but she is kind about it, anyway, and joyful, and Towles thinks again and again how much she is going to miss the noise and the princess dresses when the four year old goes to Kindergarten next year.

Towles (mostly) stops crying on the way to restaurants on dates. She has also stopped doing things that seem easy unless you have actually tried to do them with a four year old, a two year old and an infant, such as: going to the grocery store, going to the mall, going to a play ground, going on walks, going to Target, going out to lunch, and going to the children’s shoe store. These were lessons, hard-won. We go to pre-school; we come home. On occasion, we go to the library (not downtown!); when we HAVE to, we go to Target (They have awesome kid carts! They have Starbucks in house!). This is it – will be it – for the next year. Towles is OK with that.

Towles has had very little energy for anything other than Pinterest and watching reruns of The Dog Whisperer, and cooking nearly all dinners in the crockpot. She wants to be profound right here, but finds that words, for the first time ever, maybe, are inadequate.