I watch her playing with her father and her unicorn stick horse. She finds a blue cup on the floor of her room and fills it with purple and blue foam blocks. Eat, eat, she says, and shoves the unicorns nose into the cup. She feeds the unicorn a daisy flower and a snowflake. She pats its mane. Good boy, she says. The unicorn is pink.
Right now, it is so easy to be his mother. All he wants is to snuggle and nurse and look into my eyes. It is so easy to give him what he needs. He cries for food and we nurse. He cries for sleep and we rock. He cries for attention and we talk and laugh.
Right now, it is so hard to be her mother. All she wants is her old life back. All she wants is to be in my lap, reading books with me, just like we used to before there was a a tiny little baby taking up my arms. She cries and rages and sits across the room from me in tearful silence.
It is so hard to give her what she needs. I try to give her one on one time when he is asleep. I read her books, take her to the park, watch her play in her room, but there doesn’t seem to be enough time I can spend with her. I pick up the baby and she melts down. I nurse the baby and suddenly she’s crying for milk, for orange juice, carrying a whole armful of books to me, pulling off her pants and diaper and begging to go sit on the potty.
This is so hard for her. And it’s so hard for me.
I hate that I do this, but sometimes I breathe a sigh of relief when she goes to her nana’s house for the day, because I can snuggle him and cuddle him as much as I want without her melting down. Because sometimes I feel guilty enjoying him when she’s lying on the floor refusing to play because she’s so sad.
It’s so easy to be his mother. It’s so easy to enjoy my time with him. But it can be so hard to enjoy my time with her right now. She acts up with me and it wears me out and pushes all my buttons. I feel pulled in so many different directions whenever she’s there. I love her and I’m tired of it being this hard and my heart is aching for her. All at the same time. It’s exhausting.
Sometimes we have a breakthrough. Like yesterday. We had fussed earlier. She wanted to sit on the potty and I was trying to nurse him and she was naked and sobbing and I begged her to just stop crying, please, because I can’t take it anymore.
All the wrong words.
She was sitting quiet and sad while I was nursing him and I asked her if she was sad and she said, Yes. I told her to tell her brother how she felt and she said, I’m so mad at you. And I know exactly how she feels, because I was the oldest of four sisters. But at the same time, I just want her to love him as much as I do.
She said Sorry, sorry, mama, and it broke my heart.
It’s not hard to have a newborn. It’s hard to have a two year old who is completely miserable. It’s hard to know she only wants me but I don’t have enough of myself to give her, because I’m spending so much of myself on him.
It’s so hard. Sometimes I just want to go back to how it was before, just her and me, showering her with all my love and attention and watching her thrive in it. Even though I love him so much and I couldn’t do without him, not ever. I don’t want to wish his babyhood away, but sometimes I wish we were already at the stage where she loves him.
At ten weeks, he can hold up his head.
He’s been doing sits ups when he’s laying on the floor.
He has started to blow bubbles and drool over everything. I hold him in my arms and I get covered in baby drool.
He grabs his fists and chews on his fingers.
He makes a buzzing bee sound when he’s cooing at me.
He loves being bounced and getting kisses and diaper changes.
He is SO CHUNKY.
He gets calm and quiet for his bedtime routine.
He loves to be held sitting up so he can watch his sister do everything.
He has a diaper blowout at least once a day.
He is so kissable.
He reaches up to grab at my fave and holds his hands up to be kissed.
holding out her sippy cup: “Juice me!”
while building a tower of blocks: “Careful, mama!!”
reclining back in a bubble bath: “I a mermaid.”
to her brother, after his nap: “Aww. I miss you.”
her favorite show right now is “Stuffy” – Doc McStuffins. it’s been a great thing for her to watch. she has always been hysterical every time we visit her pediatrician, but for her two-year-old visit, we talked in the car about Doc McStuffins and her clinic. how all her patients get a check-up. we sang the checkup song and talked about the different tools the doc uses to check her patients, how her doctor would look at her eyes and ears and listen to her heart. and during her checkup, she was nervous – but not hysterical and wailing in my arms. she knows about doctors now and it has made trips to the clinic far less stressful.
last weekend at the lake house, she was playing with some old toys, a keyboard and mouse set that used to be part of a leapfrog computer, and her little brother was crying. she said, time for checkup! and took a paper towel roll and rolled it out on the floor just like the examining tables at the doctor’s office and told me to “sit you, sit you” on it. she took the mouse and hovered it over his chest and said, thoughtfully, Beat. she typed out whatever she had heard on the keyboard. then she checked his eyes and ears. he was still crying.
I asked, “what’s the diagnosis?”
she exclaimed, “baby crying!”
“what do we do, doc?” I asked.
she pointed to me. “fix him,” she said.
we gave him a kiss for his boo-boo.
this is a landmark even because it’s the first time she’s ever played doctor. AND it’s the first time she’s ever played with her brother. I about melted on the floor. now I know why my mom used to get silly whenever my sisters and I played together.
this is how her bedtime goes:
she takes my hand and follows me into her room. we close the blinds and pull her new blackout curtains shut – it’s 8:30 p.m. but in summer, there will be light outside for another hour. she puts on her pajamas. she only has two real pairs of pjs. there’s an elmo-with-polka-dots set and a pink-with-glitter-cupcakes set that always reminds me of the candy kingdom in adventure time. sometimes she goes to bed in whatever clothes she has been wearing all day. I put on a clean diaper backwards, with the straps curling around to the back, so she can’t take it off in the middle of the night and poop in her bed (again).
she gets to pick out stories. she goes over to her bookcase and picks out a handful. she would read stories all night, if we let her. lately she’s been begging for multiple rereads of our new library book, sophie’s fish. her current favorites are monsters love underpants, bunny my honey, dinosaur dance, bunny-roo I love you, and the five little bunnies. a big fan of bunnies, this girl. we sit in the rocking chair and read.
when we’re done reading, we take the bottle of lavender-scented baby lotion and rub lotion on her hands and feet. she usually likes to take a lick, too. then lately, she leans back against me and we rock for a minute and talk about our day. the things we did. the things we’ll do tomorrow. rock, rock, she begs, but it’s time for goodnight hugs and kisses. we play a game. I kiss each eye, each eyebrow, each hand and foot and elbow and ankle. I kiss her tummy and hair and chin. then she goes into her crib, where she has puppy, her pacifier, and her lamby lovie, and her blanket, and a bottle of milk, and she curls up on her side because she wants me to rub her back.
our bedtimes haven’t always been this elaborate. usually it’s just stories, lotion, and hugs and kisses. but she’s needed more love and attention at nights since the baby came.
this is how his bedtime goes:
we take off his onesie and lay him down on our bed. he gets a diaper change, which makes him smile. boy loves diaper changes. then he gets lotion, johnson’s pink baby lotion. a classic. we rub lotion on his tummy and arms and legs and back and over his wispy head. he wiggles and wiggles and cooes and sighs. then he gets a fresh sleeper. my favorite is the green striped sleeper with monster feet. then I sit back against the headboard of the bed and he gets snuggled in my arms for our nightly cluster feed. he’ll nurse from the time we go to bed – or before – until around 10:30 or 11.
eventually he’ll fall asleep, and I’ll lay him down in his nest. then I’ll fall down into bed, very tired, and talk and watch an episode of something silly with my husband. bedtime is my favorite time of the day. just because of how nice it is to spend that time connecting with them, and talking to them. it’s a good end to the day.
That she used to call Cookie Monster “Candy man “
My husband is home from his travels and all is right with my world.
He has the blondest eyelashes.
They stayed with my sister in law for a few hours and when he got fussy, she pointed to the door and said with urgency, He need mommy! Or so the story goes.
We read Guess How Much I Love You a lot. A few days ago, she reached up as high as she could stretch and said, I love you this high!
He has learned how to blow bubbles and is suddenly a rather drooly baby.
He went to the doctor and had three shots and he weighs 12 pounds 9 ounces.
He laughed for the first time, while sitting next to the bathtub while she was taking a bath. I bounced him on my knee and he grinned and gurgled out loud!
He has started to talk. He will stop nursing and grab my shirt and stare seeply on my eyes and make cooing noises at me. He loves to talk. He says glob and blah and goo and blah.
She took off her diaper in the second between me taking off her pants and going to get the wipes and pooped behind a chair.
In the middle of the night she called out, Making eggs!!
She does not like butterscotch pudding.