The other day my mom asked how we were settling back into life at home after a lengthy trip down south and I told her all was fine, but I was feeling like I really was missing C. Kind of a strange thing to say when you consider I’m a stay at home mom and he’s my kid. But it’s true.
Back in July I wrote about knowing C would not get the attention T got as a first born baby. He’s gotten even less than I hoped, mostly because he is such an easy going kid. But also because Z and I are much more laid back ourselves, and because a toddler needs so much more than a newborn does.
[A couple of the more benign examples my “relaxed” mothering include being at a holiday party on campus where I was introduced to a colleague of my husband’s. She asked where my baby was and I sort of waved my hand toward where the bulk of people were. She looked for a baby in that direction and didn’t see one, so I confessed I really wasn’t sure. My good friend had walked off with him about 20 minutes before, I knew he was in safe hands and I didn’t give him another thought-I was too busy chasing T. The woman looked at me and said, “Wow. The baby really is a second kid, huh?” And then there was the time our babysitter and I miscommunicated and she gave C a bottle of formula that belonged to a friends baby that had been sitting in our fridge for about 2 weeks. I had no idea if mixed formula went bad, but C barely drank any of it, he seemed fine. I sort of took a deep breath and let it go. I’d have been on the phone with the doc’s office immediately had that happened with T.]
No matter how relaxed I’ve gotten, or how many times the pediatrician tells me C isn’t really missing out on anything because he has a fabulous older brother to learn from I still feel guilty. Forget guilty, I also feel incredibly sad in a very selfish way to miss out on that intense uninterrupted time T and I had to get to know each other. But for a short while, while we were with our families, I got a taste of it. T had cousins to play with, grandparents to fawn all over him, and a dad who would like nothing better than to spend all day playing. C and I were often left to our own devices, and it was pure bliss.
It’s been a major adjustment to be home. Z is back at work this week, and T’s school doesn’t start until Monday. I’ve had a number of gross anxiety attacks in the last 5 days. We aren’t back in a routine and I’ve really let myself wallow a bit. I’m overwhelmed because I’ve realized things aren’t going to be like they were last fall. C was so little and so easy then. He was happy to be on his play gym or in his bouncy seat or in the Ergo or the car seat while T and I got on with the business of the day. Well, little man is four and a half months old now. He wants to be in the thick of the action and he lets us know it isn’t cool to leave him hanging out by himself for long. This two kid thing doesn’t seem quite so easy when both kids are clamoring for attention. I can’t just let C chill while I put T down for a nap. For the first time in T’s life I’m using a movie (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets-T can’t get enough of Dobby) to entertain. After lunch I settle T on the sofa and start the movie so I can take C upstairs to nurse him without distraction and get him into his crib for a nap. Then I plead with T to be quite as we tiptoe upstairs to get him down for naptime. On top of juggling the kids and their needs, C isn’t sleeping through the night anymore. He’s been ending up in bed with Z and me where I nurse him whenever he starts to cry. I wasn’t this tired when he was new. This fall was a gift, now is when it gets tricky. And stays tricky for a really long time.