Clara is almost 3 months old…and seriously does just about everything “by the book.” Decent naps (most days – sometimes in her swing), and she sleeps from about 7 pm to 5:30 am in her crib. I place her there AWAKE, and most nights she happily lays there until she turns onto her side and goes to sleep on her own. Seriously, with Oliver, when the baby books insisted that it was possible to put your baby in bed awake, I was convinced it was written by a bunch of people who did not have actual, real-live babies to try this with. I was tempted to call them up and offer to let them try it with MY baby…bunch of quacks. Ha!
I was wrong. It totally depends on the baby. And Clara is one of those that will do it.
She sleeps in her car seat in the car.
She loves her bouncer seat.
She loves going to the store/running errands. Oliver barely makes it through; she’s as happy as a lark.
She loves the stroller and going for walks.
Granted, her timing on when she wants to eat isn’t always the easiest to accommodate, (ie: when I am making dinner…almost without fail), and she definitely has her fussy days…but for the most part she is a smiley, relatively undemanding little bundle of joy. I still cannot get over how different it seems this time around. Some of that comes from feeling like I’ve done this before and know what I am doing (at least a little bit) but some of it truly is that she is just so different from what we experienced with Oliver as a baby. Everyone who meets her is amazed by how laid-back and content she is – me included!!
I make it a point to pick her up, to hold her, to talk to her, because it would be so easy for her to get overshadowed by Oliver’s intensity, his demand for attention, and his general toddler-ness. She will sit and smile and coo as I work in the kitchen, while Oliver copies what I am doing by spilling apple juice everywhere pretending to “make eggs.” (He has discovered how to suck his sippy cup just enough to pull the water/juice through the straw without actually drinking it, after which he just dumps it…everywhere. Kinda defeats the purpose of a sippy cup, but I suppose it’s still less water than a regular cup would allow him to dump). When he is pretending to cook, he is always making eggs. Every time. Who knew eggs were so thrilling?? Then, before I notice what he is doing, he decides to use baby wipes to clean up the spill(s). By the time I notice it has gotten too quiet and go to investigate, there are baby wipes spread over every inch of our house, leading a trail to the baby’s room where half a dozen more hang from the changing table, flapping in the breeze.
For our family, the challenge of having two kids lies not in the newborn, despite the nursing and diapers and laundry and over-all tiredness. No, the challenge is that I cannot keep as close of an eye on the first child, the into-everything, disaster-prone, whirlwind of a toddler who is not yet two. The nursing isn’t difficult, it’s what Oliver can get into when he knows mommy is occupied that makes my days a challenge. I now lock the kitchen garbage, the bathroom door and the dishwasher prior to nursing. I’m pretty sure with Oliver I just sat down to nurse without completing a house-safety checklist first…
The other morning I planned to take the kids for a walk, but by the time I got Clara buckled into her car seat, I turned around to find that Oliver had tried to “help” get ready to go by putting Clara’s clean blanket in the laundry, her pacifier in the garbage, and his own shoes somewhere that he could not remember. There are few things as frustrating as pleading with a toddler to show you where he put something only to get a blank stare in response. 10 minutes later I had washed the pacifier and found the shoes (one tossed down the stairs to the basement, the other in a kitchen cabinet inside a bag of potatoes) but by then Clara was crying because she had filled her diaper. So, I wrangled her back out of the straps and gazillion buckles of her car seat, changed her diaper, and put her back in, only for Oliver to have a meltdown because now he cannot find his sippy cup. By the time I found it (in the tub), Clara, who seldom cries was a puddle of tears (heck, she’d been sitting alone in her car seat forever by then), and Oliver had dumped toys all over the living room floor in a haphazard pile of destruction. After crawling around on the floor to
pick most of them up shove them under the couch to clear a path, I managed, with quite a bit of effort, to get all three of us out of the door and both kids buckled into the double stroller.
Boy was I ready for a walk! Time out of the house, in the crisp fresh air after days of pouring rain and being cooped inside, with Oliver strapped onto a contraption designed to keep him SITTING DOWN. Ahhhhhh!! I practically skipped down the driveway.
We didn’t even make it to the end of the driveway and it started to rain. I wanted to cry. Oliver DID cry…all the way back into the house.
Two kids under two is not for the faint of heart.
But oh, I love them.
I love Oliver’s sweet kisses, his “hi, beeba!” as he grins at his sister, and his toddler vocabulary that expands daily (even if it requires translation most of the time). I love his still-wispy hair that is beginning to darken just a bit now, his counting: “one, two, three, one…” and his over-all enthusiasm for life. His throaty laugh when he doesn’t know what’s going on but wants to join in others’ laughter, his funny toddler run as his feet stomp across our hardwood floors, his inquisitiveness, his attentiveness, and even his intensity. He can be completely overwhelming, unnerving, and exhausting at times…But oh, I treasure him so. I cannot believe we will be celebrating his 2nd birthday in just a couple of weeks!
And Clara, sweet, sweet Clara, whom God must have known I would need to balance out some of the chaos and confusion and whirlwind-intensity that fuels my days as a stay-at-home-mom of a mischievous (almost)2 year old. The smiles that light up her entire face, the pinks and purples and bows and lace…She is SUCH a joy to me, and adds so much to our little family.
With Sam working full time and going to school full time in the evenings, I have some very long days. Days when even 10 minutes to myself is hard to come by. Days when the laundry piles up and the house looks like a disaster, and I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and serve them for dinner. Days when I think I’ll go crazy if Oliver asks me one more question or gets into ONE. MORE. THING. Days when I wish that our family, most especially grandmas, lived closer.
And, this blog post? Yea, I started it over a week ago. Probably almost two weeks now. I can’t even remember.
But, despite the generally messier house, the simple cuisine, and the ridiculous amount of time and effort it takes to get us out the door, I know that I am right where I am supposed to be. Right where I want to be.