Two children and the terrible two’s. That’s where we are right now.
I remember when I first got pregnant with Matthew I wondered how I could love another person as much as I love Everly. I didn’t think it was possible. And then I saw him and knew that it was. These past 11 days with him have been wonderful. So wonderful that I have found myself reflecting a number of times on my earlier decision to have only one child. I am happy we let life take the lead on this one, throwing caution to the wind has never, ever been so rewarding. I can’t imagine not having him here. I can’t imagine choosing to not have him as a part of our family. He completes us… cue the Jerry Maguire cheese ball music and alligator tears, lol.
I am of course going through what every new mother does- the how did my world exist before this baby phenomenon. You just want to stare into your baby’s face, and marvel over every twitch, coo and grunt. The babymoon. I remember this time with Everly. B and I would just lay down beside her and watch her, congratulating each other on this perfectness that we had created. New parents like to puff out their chests with pride despite the fact that babies are born every day, lol!
Now with the second baby, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wasn’t sure I wanted a second baby, so I was really worried that I would not be as good of a mother to him. I worried that I wouldn’t be as attentive because I would be taking care of Everly as well. I worried he would take a backseat and miss out. I had worries for my baby that most people have for the older sibling. Since my life revolved around Everly, I just expected that it would continue to do so. Wrong. Mother nature is so good at working these things out. I have done the ogling, cooing nonsense just as I did with Everly and so has Brandon. There’s just one other facet thrown into the mix; big sister.
Big sister Everly makes the babymoon a little more tricky. She is very good at ensuring that her needs are met, perhaps that’s why I never worried that she would get the short end of the stick! Everly is so good at ensuring her needs are met, she’s an all star. In fact, I am positive that our neighbours know she wants fruit snacks every 45 minutes. In all my daydreams about the new baby coming home, I never once entertained the idea of resenting my eldest child. Yes, I said resenting.
Everly has not taken it easy on us during this transition. Which is fair because technically we didn’t take it easy on her! We had the misfortune of introducing her big girl bed merely 3 days before the baby arrived, we thought we had a month. We took the rocking chair out of her room that we have rocked her in everyday. Again, we thought we would have a month. We tried to toilet train her… thought we had a month. A lot of things have been thrown at her at one of the most naturally confrontational times in her development. I get why she’s angry, but omigod I wish she would tone it down a little bit. Just a scootch, a smidgen, a teensy bit. Obviously we would have done things differently Evie if we had known your brother was going to arrive when he did, we weren’t trying to be assholes.
Tantrums, hitting, screaming, sleep strikes, oh my good God you name it, they are ALL happening at our house right now. Our spirited child has taken it up to a level that not even we knew she could. She is going to make a lovely dictator one day. She says no when she means yes, and says no pretty much every other time in between. “I don’t like that,” “I don’t want that,” “I am not going to do that,” these are the top spoken sentences in our house right now. Our neighbours surely think we are trying to kill her sometimes, and I can guarantee that all I have done is put the soup that she asks for on her highchair tray (and then this is usually the time when the soup is launched across the room, joy of joys).
On Wednesday I hit a breaking point. I had become the mother that lets her child lay on the couch and fall asleep to Finding Nemo. I had become the mother of the child that needs to be taken for a drive at night to get her to sleep. I had become the mother who hands out fruit snacks and soo-soo’s just for 5 minutes of peace to bond with her new baby, or 5 minutes of quiet! I was feeling like an utter failure as I looked around and saw our usually organized and structured world falling apart. I felt like I was failing my child by letting her world get so out of control.
A well timed phone call from a friend allowed for a giant release. And when I say giant I mean giant. I am not sure how she understood what I was saying at points because I was doing the hard core ugly cry. Oh post partum hormones make everything the end of the world don’t they! I explained what was going on. I admitted that I never thought I would want to be away from my daughter, ever. I admitted that she was driving me crazy and that I didn’t know what to do anymore. I told her how guilty I felt to even have these feelings to begin with. I literally felt sick down to my core with guilt. I was sure I was the worst mother ever and that made me cry even more. I said that I was going to devise a plan to get us back on track again, to over throw the tyrant!!! To win back her love and affection… now cue the musical montage of me reading “solution” books, and lifting weights and running up stairs and trying on more capable looking outfits.
My friend, who is always the voice of reason, empathy and solution, said hold up; the baby is what, one week old? ONE WEEK! And then she went on to remind me that I was still physically healing, and of how little I had slept and how much change our family had seen unexpectedly in this short time. She told me to lower my bar and adjust my ruler. She said I was being too hard on myself and expecting too much too soon. Too hard on myself? Seriously? I felt like I was being too EASY on myself. Clearly I was slipping if one short week took our lives to this chaos! It was all my fault, it had to be. Again, those pesky post-partum hormones! She said to give it a month. And after a month, start to hammer out some of the kinks that the transition had created.
Okay, a month, that’s fair. I can do a month of just letting things slide right? Right? But, a month is a long time for a control freak. It’s a super long time for an overachieving control freak. Think of the damage that one month can do, it is going to take us another month to get things back to normal… Agggggghhhhh! Oh, wait, here’s the part where I acknowledge that things will never go back to “normal.” There is a new normal coming our way and I am trying to tell myself that it’s okay if it takes us a month to get there.
And you know what, it turns out that peace and quiet is extremely reinforcing… Currently Everly is sleeping on the couch. She passed out at 11:45 to Finding Nemo. The baby is sleeping, just having been nursed. Accidental parenting is alive and well in our house and the silence is delectable. Thank you Nemo.