Well, I am now 12 weeks into this whole parenting two business. Emma was a very easy newborn as newborns go, but she has been giving me a real run for my money the past two weeks. She has actually been better during the day for the past few days BUT (and this is a huge BUT), she has now stopped sleeping through the night and is up as many times (if not more) as she was during the early weeks. I find that I can take a lot, but living on insufficient sleep plays with my mind more than anything else.
I have found that I am often impatient with Will when he is just being a normal two year old. But it seems he has a knack for being noisy just when I have gotten her to sleep. Or he seems to be dragging his feet about doing something when Emma is starting to fuss and needs my attention. I am not a yeller, but I have found myself snapping at him or speaking far more sternly than I ever would have before. I have also learned the fine art of apologizing to my toddler when I realize that I have made a mistake and asked too much or given too little.
I read someplace recently that you can start teaching a toddler to wait for something (while you do something else) but that you can't expect them to wait patiently more minutes than they are in years. And I am often asking Will to wait for something and then trying to sneak an extra task in, and that's when we run into a lot of trouble. That's clearly my fault.
Okay, so what is working? In addition to Triage Parenting, I also have to coin a new phrase: Relay Parenting or Pass the Kid. It seems as if from the time M gets home until the kids are in bed, we are constantly handing them off. We have settled into somewhat of a bedtime routine for both kids, which exhausts me to even think about let alone write down, but here goes (times approximate).
7:00 PM: Take Emma up for her tubby while M plays with Will or watches t.v. with him.
7:30 PM: Pass Emma to M and take Will up for his tubby while M gives Emma her nightly bottle.
8:00 PM: Pass Will to M so that he can do teeth brushing, lights out, and rock rock.
8:30 PM: M and I share the job of holding a now sleeping Emma until after 9. No matter what we have tried, she just will not go down before 9, but once 9 hits, she's okay being put down. So every three or four nights we try at around the 8:30 mark, but usually it's just easier to hold her.
The dinner dishes and cleaning up waits until after she is in bed. Fortunately, that's getting closer and closer to 9 and I remember Will's bedtime didn't slide forward for a few months.
Napping is still very hit or miss. Most mornings, she will take a nap in her crib, with little to no crying. But whether that nap is twenty or forty five minutes long is up to the day. The rest of the day, good luck! I either get her to nap in the Ergo, carseat, swing, or on me (which is where she is resting right now).
I have to admit, I feel as if I am running a very long marathon. There are moments when I really wonder how I keep up with them both all day, but it really is true that I am too busy to take note of how tired I am until bedtime comes. I usually fall asleep within minutes of climbing into bed. How long I get to stay there depends on how accomodating Miss Emma is being. Last night, I was in bed at 10:00 and up at 1:00, 3:00, 5:00, and 6:00 AM for Emma in addition to being up at 12:30 and 4:00 for Will. You can do the math on how much sleep I got because I don't even want to know.
If this post sounds negative, it really isn't meant to be. I am just giving you the Real Deal on Life With Two. There are moments every single day when I am reminded of how blessed we are. Emma is quite the little flirt now and her smile lights up her whole fact. She is starting to coo and I think we even got a laugh the other day. She is a real spitfire, our little girl, and I am falling more and more in love with her personality every day.
Will might try my patience occasionally, but he is really such a great kid. Really. He is the sweetest brother and gives Emma hugs and kisses all of the time. He calls her by her whole name, though it comes out Emma Drace. When he sees her every morning, he says, "Good morning, Emma Drace." When she cries in the car he says, "Why are you crying, Emma Drace?" And he still calls her My Emma a lot, too, and asks to hold her and feed her a bottle.
Today, I sat on the couch and was rubbing my foot and he asked me what was wrong. I told him that Mommy's foot hurt, and before I knew it, he bent over and placed a gentle kiss on top of my foot. He looked at me with the sweetest face and says, "All better, Mommy?"
One thing that has really helped is that we still have the house cleaners that we started for my birthday. It was just supposed to be through August, but I am telling you, it is worth every single penny. It is a splure, but it is helping me to stay sane. The last thing I need to be doing right now is trying to scrub our bathroom grout.