-For the month of June, I had both kids at home full time. I have approximately 15 unfinished blog post kicking around. This document was named “Untitled 10” for several days. It’s messy and long and not the best, but it’s something. And something is the goal.
-Charlie smiles this joy-of-the-world smile all the time. All you have to do is look at him. I can set him down anywhere and he’ll just happily wiggle and smile. It feels like a miracle.
-He can just barely hold his head up for about five seconds before it flops over again.
-At 12 weeks, I feel like he’s really getting that he is alive. He looks around so eagerly. He loves to look at faces.
-We are getting into a groove – he and I – but we still have challenges. Sometimes he’s fussy at the boob. Sometimes so much that I feel like I just want to give up on breastfeeding. But I want to work this out with him. We are still getting to know each other. We need more time.
-Everyone says your second child is easier. And that is definitely true. But I have to laugh at how deeply I took this to heart – like, I thought Charlie would just come out sleeping in the crib with no fuss, sleeping through the night at a month old, completely sleep trained… I guess I just thought he would emerge from the womb sleeping… (these are the words of an extremely sleep deprived woman…)
-I was terrified of spending a month with two kids home full time – but I survived… and for the most part, I actually enjoyed it. I actually felt a little bit sad about all the time I missed with James while he was in daycare full time over the past year and a bit. But I can’t dwell on it.
-James is hilarious and fun and sweet. He has this enthusiastic “LET’S DO IT!” that makes me smile every time. He has started saying: “Thank you for dinner, Mommy.” He tells everyone about how he went to the Dinosaur museum (which we did over two months ago now). He’s obsessed with construction and every night asks Daddy to tell a story about a “Yellow digger and a purple dump truck”.
-Not to say it didn’t totally suck and result in disasters on an almost daily basis. Like the time I was breastfeeding Charlie while James played at the zoo and then James said he had to poop and I tried to swoop everything and everyone up in my arms (boob probably exposed) and get to the bathroom, only to have poop tumble out of James’s shorts… Or the time I took James biking and he suddenly decided to go another inch and planted himself face down on the sidewalk. I tried every trick in the book. “Go under Mommy’s legs!” “I’ll wait at the corner, you join me when you’re ready.” I tried getting firm. But no. Nothing. Finally, I picked him up and dragged the bike the seven long blocks home, swearing under my breath, sweating out of every pore, my arm muscles screaming – and James howling at the top of his lungs the ENTIRE WAY: “NO! NO WAY! I DON’T WANNA!” Charlie, riding along quietly on my chest.
-We started James part time at a new daycare this week and it’s been completely traumatic for everyone. The first day I picked him up, his cheeks were soaked with tears.
Of course, I feel like the worst mother ever – for pulling him out of a dayhome where he felt at home. For throwing him into yet another new situation after already having his life turned upside-down with a new baby. Throw on top that we’ll be taking two week-long trips in July completely upending any routine or progress with the daycare …
However, at home, my ears ring with silence and the deep knowing that I need this. And Charlie needs this. Charlie and I need this. Charlie needs to nurse without being interrupted, in a quiet room. I need to be able to set him in his crib without fear of my toddler killing himself while I don’t have my eyes on him. My new baby and I need to slow dance and stare at each other.
I need to have time to listen to music and stare into space, take a shower – and even…a nap.
-I’m so fucking tired. Back at the beginning, I wrote something about how temporary it all seemed. Well, I am here to tell you that after not sleeping for three months, it feels ETERNAL. I have nosedived into my pillow at 7 p.m. several times. Charlie wakes up at least three times a night. Then he’ll give you glimmers of hope: like when he slept from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. last night…only to completely blow it by waking up every hour after that until I finally give up and drag him into our bed at 5 a.m. Every night, I think: If I could just sleep. Just. One. Night.
-Then I get sort of annoyed when Dan says he’s tired every day. Because I’m like: But you’re sleeping…
-But the thing is: Life is stupid demanding when you have two little kids. As Dan reminded me last night, it’s not like he heads off to work, puts his feet up on his desk and smokes a cigar while reading the morning news (although that’s pretty much what everything besides caregiving sounds like to a person who is at home with two little kids…).
-And it’s all about Daddy right now. At bedtime: “Daddy read it. Daddy put me in bed.” etc. It’s understandable – I’m the one he has to share with another kid and I think he’s still a bit bitter about it. So it doesn’t hurt my feelings…that much…most of the time.
-The thing is, I’m the only one James really has to share with Charlie right now. If Dan is with James, he’s with James. Whereas I often have to say: I’m feeding Charlie right now. I have to put Charlie down right now. I have shift my focus, often leave the room or disrupt whatever James is doing, or even just ignore him sometimes. And vice versa. There are so many moments in the day when I feel like no one is getting what they need. When I can’t stay still enough to peacefully nurse Charlie. When I can’t help James to the potty in time – or actively play with him.
Sometimes I feel like this is the beginning of the complicated relationship all mothers have with their children.
Because children demand everything all the time. And as hard as I try, I’m always coming up short – because I’m not this Wonder Mom with eight arms and the ability to be in two places at once…I’m just another human…but it will be 20 years before they realize that.
Until then I’ll have to disappoint them and feel crazy with mom guilt.
And my one little heart…and all this wild love…will try to make up the gap.