Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The one where I use a lot of CAPS

I had another baby.  Let's just get that out of the way.  He's gloriously beautiful. He puts girl babies to shame with his full head of wavy hair, big smiles and dimples. Oh the dimples. They just kill you. And in case my opinion is not enough please ask the half dozen strangers that stop me at the grocery store just to compliment the baby. EVERY TIME. The kid smiles and giggles at the drop of a dime, he's the politician of the crew. I say that because three seconds before that he tried to scratch my eyes out and was wailing at the top of his lungs. Mercurial doesn't even begin to describe it.

On a side note, I rarely ever had that happen with my first boy.  Not that he wasn't a good looking child, but he had a very grown-up, serious expression glued to his face all the time. He came out a mini adult.  It took him a lot longer to figure out how to manipulate smiles out of people...but not the baby.  That kid can turn on the magic whenever he feels like it.

At this exact moment I don't think my elder son, "Charlie" could love his baby brother "Deuce" more. Sure, he's a toddler and his emotions are constantly in flux, but by and large he loves Deuce way more than I had anticipated.  Perhaps because I don't have a sibling I just never had anything to compare this to. As a toddler Charlie's got his moments of pure impatience with his baby brother but he hugs him, and kisses him, and asks about him every day.  You think you love them when they're small and have that sweet baby smell, but they really surprise you every step along the way.

Everyone always talks about how hard it is with the first kid. Oh, woe I didn't sleep well. Oh, geez does that rash mean something? Psssshhhht. One kid...it was a cakewalk.  CAKE I TELL YOU! You still have your wits about you.  You still care about taking pictures of things.  You spend inordinate amounts of money on shoes they never walk in. You may even be one of those people who take monthly pictures with the corresponding month of age of the child religiously to post onto social media and jam up your friends' feeds thereby rendering them totally sick and disgusted with you. So obviously you still have a smidgen of energy...LIAR!  Parents of multiples snicker at your ignorance.

You want to know the definition of torture? Trying to put one kid down who's screaming so hard at you that he actually wakes up the other kid who was happily sound asleep before. So now you have TWO kids who want nothing but cuddles but cannot possibly calm down listening to one another's screaming. And leaving the house is an act of futility. With two, I never know what's going to happen because in essence I have two ticking timebombs.  Even if I do everything I can to prep them, one will be crabby because it's getting close to his naptime because he's on a two nap system, whereas the elder one is raring to go.  Then one will have a blow out. Then the other is hungry for a snack. One's getting restless because the other one is getting changed and you can't yell quickly enough "don't touch that!" in the nasty bathroom stall that hardly fits 1 adult, let alone 1 adult a baby and a toddler. By then I'm sweating bullets from a combination of stress, a stroller crammed in with me, the weight of a baby bag, my purse, the kids' snacks bottles/sippies, and then whatever stuff I was picking up at the store that I thought was so important I couldn't live without it, like the biggest frickin' bag of coffee they sell.

Maybe when they're like, 8 and 10 I'll reemerge back into society. I am socially out of it.  Tell me when hover cars come out, okay? Did they cure cancer yet? Are skinny jeans not in style again? Please tell me they're done. How many times has Lohan been in rehab...I lost count.

I'll admit, it was entirely my idea to have two kids close in age. I chose this.  I know that sounds insane given my earlier tirade but bear with me. I had my second child at 30. With each passing year you play a game of roulette because your fertility or your spouse's fertility, may not be there for you.  And I won't play doctor here because we all know I just play one on the internet, but we all know that the chances of complications increase with maternal age.  Perhaps I feel this more sensitively because I'm an only child, and neither of my parents planned on that, but it's just what happened.  In the beginning, it's so hard. You just want to survive the crying and the sleeplessness and it's so expensive with diapers, those horrible bottles that swear to prevent colic that never ever do, formula if you do that, crazy ugly nursing bras and tops if you don't (which no one ever gifts you at your shower so start saving your pennies), and then of course the main monetary vampire: daycare.  By the time I was in school full time I was already five years old.  My parents were five years older themselves and by the time they decided to try again, it didn't happen the way they had envisioned.

And yes I know that siblings close in age fight and bicker and don't get along all the time but I just couldn't wrap my head around having a 4th grader and a 9th grader.  What will an elementary aged child have in common with a high schooler? There are going to be so many lost years where they won't have any common ground at all and then the eldest will have left the house.  The pros and cons bounced back and forth in my head for a long time, but it seemed for me personally that there was no reason to stop life, to stop the flow of where we were headed and the pace of our life because I was scared.  There will always be reasons to be scared, but you can't let it be a roadblock.  Life is for living, not making longwinded pro and con lists. Sometimes the braver thing to do is push aside the fear and dive in.

Having the kid?  That's by far the easiest part.  And that's coming from someone who spent several weeks extracting and testing my blood 4x a day everyday and followed that up by almost giving birth on the side of a highway without any medical personnel....oh right, during the biggest blizzard in several years.  Babies are made to come out of you, whether you like it or not.  It's everything that follows that really challenges your sense of normalcy.