Monday, January 27, 2014

Sharing my recliner

"Just stay here in my room while I run down and change the laundry. I'll be back in one minute," I say as I practically run from the room.

But before I make it to the first step, I feel her tug on my jeans and wiggle her little hand into mine.

She follows me everywhere all day long. She's at my feet, "helping," as I load and unload the washer and the dishwasher. If I run outside to grab a soda or the newspaper, she's outside too. When I pee, she's my designated wiper. When I do my strength-training circuit, she planks when I do, and I'm always afraid that she's going to get too close and get smacked in the face with a kettlebell. She only falls asleep if someone's sitting in the room with her, and as soon as she ends her first sleep cycle, she wants to get in bed with us. She swoops in like a vulture the second I set down a sandwich or a Diet Coke. She's sharing a chair with me right now.

And now that she's verbal, there's no silence in my brain. "What's dat? Computer cord? Leave it plugged in? Why?"




I turn on Disney movies to help divert her. We adopted a brother so she'd have a buddy. But he watches the Disney movies and she grabs my legs like a koala bear when I walk across the room. I know some of it might be an adoption attachment thing. Some of it might be because Ed and I just left her and went out of town for a few days, but holy cow, I can't take a deep breath without touching her.

This is the baby girl who I hoped and prayed and wished for so desperately. The one I wrote all of those sappy letters to. And sometimes she annoys the hell out of me.

When my class got canceled, I was disappointed because I love teaching, and I really wanted the opportunity to read a whole bunch of new material and share that information with others. But I was even more disappointed that I wasn't going to get a mental and physical break from my toddlers once a week.

Overall, I think things are going better with the babies. They're less destructive. Rose hits less than she used to. No one has had a major medical procedure for a few months. I think they're starting to see each other as friends rather than rivals. But the clingyness remains.

Eli is pretty clingy too, but I can put him in front of a movie and take a pee. And he naps. Rose has traded naps for two extra hours of sitting on top of me while I try to write, which just leaves us both feeling frustrated. I know I should give her some undivided attention for a while before delving into work, but I worry that she might be a bottomless pit of undivided attention. For an introvert who needs a twenty minute snooze and an equal amount of time with a book to recharge for the afternoon with the bigger kids, the whole "sharing a recliner" thing doesn't work so well.

The thing that really kills me is that she naps like a dream for other people. Always for a babysitter. Usually for Grandma or Daddy. Never for me. And quiet time in her room doesn't happen. It's more like kicking the door and waking up Eli.

When Maren was a toddler, I felt a little bit weepy about her milestones. She was going to grow up and I'd never have a baby again and I knew I'd miss these moments. But with Rose and Eli, I find myself wishing the intensity of this time away. Right now Rose is trying to put my bra on (because I haven't managed to do that yet today), and while it's pretty adorable to hear her asking to put her "boobies on," more than anything I just wish she'd go into another room.

In some ways, taking a child-free vacation reminds me of how weird and hard it is to be the primary parent to two two-year-olds. When I can get into a car and I only have to buckle myself, or I can run in and out of the grocery store in less than five minutes, it makes me feel like I live the rest of my life with my feet bound in concrete blocks. These babies-- they're my joy and the best blessing I never thought I'd have, and I am so very lucky to be able to be home with them every day, but man oh man, what I wouldn't do for an hour of silence. If you ever wonder why I'm out on snow-covered roads at 5am, you've got your answer right there. It's funny to think that there will be a day when Rose would rather die than talk to me about her bra, and when she won't want to sleep with me, but appreciating an overabundance of anything is hard, isn't it?


Linda said...

Shelah - Patience's sister here. Thank you for this ever so accurate description of my daily life, also! It's comforting to know that other moms have the same little packages of human Saran Wrap helping them wipe, also! I've become a gym goer at 5:15 in the morning so I can have an hour and a half of me time before everyone else needs me.

I feel your needs - sometimes acutely. And remember also that they grow far too fast, and won't need me in a few short years.

Anya Horman said...

Ditto the previous comment! When my first was 2 and my second was on the way, I got a gym membership with a daycare pass so I could get 90 minutes of peace. It was so much easier to be religious about working out back then! So looking on the bright side, you have great motivation for those early morning runs, and you look fantastic!