Joy in Comparison

12916097_10100849873349183_6625354155679802775_oOne of my biggest fears in having a second child, is that I would constantly be comparing the two boys. It’s partially why I wanted to have a girl, so that in case the kids were different (which of course they surely would be), I wouldn’t be all like “why can’t you be like your brother?” I was afraid that I would make one child feel less than by these comparisons. I was afraid that I would favor one child over another.

We didn’t have a second kid in order for Potamus to have a sibling, that was an added side benefit. Instead, we had a second kid in order to experience the joy of watching another person grow up to be themself. And boy is this amazing so far. Comparison happens on the daily, but rather than this being a negative thing, it’s like a joyful surprise, the topic of many conversations, and is fully feeding into my desire to watch another small person grow up.

When Potamus was born, it was like falling in love at summer camp: heady, overwhelming, all encompassing. With Lil G, the love was like visiting the ocean on a warm day, vast, and calm, waves lapping at my ankles. I love my boys equally, but the feeling in my body is different. There’s no competition because they are completely different experiences.

The other night Lil G slept for 6 hours at night, which means that I got about 5. I didn’t get more than 4 hours of sleep with Potamus until he was almost 2. Lil G loves a pacifier, and can fall asleep in the swing, and Potamus needed to be bounced on the yoga ball and still sleeps in our bed. It’s not judgment on either kid. It just is what it is, and I’m loving it. I was so afraid of the comparison trap, but instead I’m enjoying it so much. I can’t wait to see who they grow up and experience the ways that they are the same and different.

Bright, inquisitive, and sometimes hard to understand…

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Yesterday Potamus was a part of an early intervention screening process at school daycare. It’s a part of a grant in the county, and I was happy to take part.

Today, I tried not to panic, when I got a phone call from the screener asking for a callback to discuss his results. She had told me originally that the results were going to be in the mail. Wuht?!

Turns out my kid is bright. Inquisitive. Does well with others. Answers questions with good sentence structure when asked.

And during times of ‘spontaneous language,’ when just observed by her, he has difficulty being understood. This observation is not something out of the blue for us. We’ve noticed. His teachers have noticed. Yes, our kid sometime speaks in a language that sounds like elvish, or Pentecostal tongues.

He’s also the youngest in his class. And when he does speak, he’s expressing complex ideas that, to my untrained child specialist brain, seem far advanced from a 3-almost-4 year old. Like a discussion the other day about how his friends M & J “don’t like things that are different,” when explaining why they “get really angry with me,” because he brings a My Little Pony to school. So while we are exploring the suggestion of, in a few months, having him screened again to see if it’s changed, and I’ve reached out to a speech language pathologist that I know and trust, we also are in the same boat where we feel like our little guy’s brain and mouth are in two developmental spots.

It seems to go in waves. There will be weeks where he’s clear as a bell, and then it seems like he goes through some sort of developmental leap (physical or emotional or even in language learning) where he speaks gibberish and is hard to understand (and is now able to express frustration at us, mostly through deep sighs and body language resembling a teenager), and then one day snaps out of it with an enhanced vocabulary that’s clear as a bell.

Googling hasn’t been helpful, or I’m not using the right search terms.

At any rate, it was nice that there were no big surprises in this screening. Nothing signalling that our parenting gut isn’t right on. And now we get to decide…how much intervention to explore, and how much to wait and see its natural course.

To be honest, I’d rather he see someone to break his picky eating habits…but that’s another entry…

The Second Kid Dilemma

It’s begun.

That dreaded second kid syndrome. You know the one. Where the more kids a family has, the less pictures or mementos are kept around. By the time the third or fourth or fifth kid enters the brood, there’s nary a picture to be found.

We won’t get to that crazy level, because this is the last time I will be pregnant.

But I’ve begun to notice that, despite all of my changing thoughts, little tidbits of things I ‘want to write down,’ I am choosing differently this time. I don’t know if it’s mindfulness, or exhaustion, but the zest for documenting has left, in part.

In the past few weeks I’ve thought about writing on:
-the incredible pain I’m feeling with an out of alignment pelvis (and yay, how good my first chiropractic appointment went in getting me to not walk like a 107 year old)

-the fear of turning my sweetness into an older sibling, and the pressure that goes with that responsibility. I know, both Boof and I were the eldest.

-the  “holy shit we’re doing this again? for real? is it too late to back out now?” panic thoughts that overshadow my motherly imaginations of those sweet snuggle sessions and watching a new person grow into the person they already are. My mind is mostly obsessed with poop. And nursing. And poop. Diapers. Poop. Nursing. Poop. Sleep deprivation. Poop.

-the fear that, as exhausted as I am right now, with 24 teaching credits, a part-time job, 25 weeks pregnant, a 4 year old, etc. etc. etc., that I am already stretched too thin in the love department. I am most afraid of becoming the Cruel Mother, rather than staying the 95% empathetic mother. I worry that I will hold my almost 4 year old to a higher standard of behavior simply out of sheer exhaustion, leaving him bewildered at the change.

These are just snapshots of things that flutter through my head on my daily commute, while I’m in the shower, or getting up at 3am for my 5th potty break of the night. They are the same fears, only modified, that I had while pregnant with Potamus. And my higher self knows that all will be okay. But I also know, that I have enjoyed looking back. Seeing a fossil record of those fears, and while I’m zenfully in the moment of anxiety (is that an oxymoron?), I also know, that in 6 months, or 6 years, I won’t remember these little tidbits if I don’t write them down. Like the funny conversations between a mother and her child on the commute home. It quickly evaporates if not set in stone.

I don’t hope to capture all of the moments. But some. So the record isn’t Potamus and then nothing. But I’m also tired. And trying to form cohesive sentences only adds to my exhaustion.

So tell me, mothers of multiples…how do you handle the inequity of time spent worrying/writing/thinking/loving that first kid, and try to create balance with the other one, two, or five who come along behind?

This is how Potamus envisions his new baby brother. <3

This is how Potamus envisions his new baby brother. ❤

My 20 Week Ultrasound = Wendy of Neverland

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We wore the colors that we thought the baby would be. I’m in pink. Boof in blue. In typical Boof fashion, he was right. We are having a BOY!!!!

To be perfectly honest, in the few days leading up to the ultrasound, I had this suspicion. Boy names kept popping into my head as I laid there trying to sleep. The unconscious prayers in my head of, ‘please be a girl,’ felt different, like those fruitless prayers of ‘please ask me to prom,’ knowing that in this universe it was not a reality. And with the confirmation ultrasound, it was this sigh that left me. Friends who knew I was pulling for a girl texted nervously, “are you disappointed?” and “how are you doing?”

Honestly?

I’m amazing.

I can’t explain how relieved I felt in learning that I get the privilege of being the mom to two boys. It feels so cosmically perfect I can’t even explain, like I’m Wendy being dropped into my own little Neverland, and I get to experience this adventure that I didn’t even know I wanted, but I needed in my soul.

Did I mist up when, after the ultrasound tech left the room, I told Boof we would never use our girl name. Yes. It was like this little loss. A balloon let go and into the wind. Watching it float away. But there he was, swimming around in my belly, my son. Potamus’s brother. It’s just so right that I can’t even be sad. Maybe there will be a day I’ll long for that little girl, and that will be okay, too. But for now I’m planning our next adventures…

The face of an excited Big Brother!

The face of an excited Big Brother!

The Problem of Comparison

There is some small part of me, my innermost heart maybe, that is excited about being pregnant. Not excited about being pregnant, but excited that I will get to see another life unfold in my house, under my care. Maybe this isn’t a small part of myself, maybe it’s my Highest self, that takes these moments to step back and look and witness and feel a whole world of feelings in an instant about the meaning of life, love, and parenting.

That is what I’m excited about. The ability to watch a small life unfold into the person that they’ve always been. The unlimited potential about who and what they can be or do, and all the funny things they’ll say.

That is what I look forward to.

But I am struggling.

I’m not sure yet if it’s prenatal depression, or simply adjusting to the idea of a new life inside of me to change the whole dynamic in our family. But I’m struggling.

This pregnancy is not like the last. And I’m worried that this will only begin the list of comparisons. It wasn’t like this with your brother, why can’t you be more like your sibling, it’s so different.

I had hoped to engage with my pregnancy and my new baby in a neutral way, free from the comparisons of four years ago.

But it’s hard not to.

I’m already in a lot of pain. The nights are spent tossing and turning with incredibly deep pelvic pain that’s not alleviated by pillows between the knees or yoga stretches. I’m assured it’s simply ligaments moving, but at six weeks in, I think “really, another 7.5 months of this shit left to deal with?” I’m off this summer, but this fall I’ll be teaching 24.5 college credits AND working 16 hours a week AND being a mom to a 3 year old. If I’m already not sleeping well, in lots of nighttime pain, then how am I going to cope?

I feel like a whiny bitch.

I have nausea all day.

I feel ugly (yes, this is a real feeling, not just looking for pity). Like I finally believe that body dysmorphic disorder exists, because I look at pictures and think “who is that person?” My husband says I look fine. And my brother-in-law said I was looking ‘flacando’ (aka skinny), so I’m not the fat cow with jabba the hut chins that I feel.

Have I mentioned the mood swings?

Right after Potamus was born, I cried a lot. It was like the Grinch’s heart had cracked open and I felt all these amazing tender and anxiety provoking emotions that I rarely let myself feel. And so I cried. For joy. For sadness. For holy-fuck-overhwlem. This time I’m crying at commercials, the movie Inside Out, at the thought that sometime ‘soon’ I won’t have the special 1-1 moments with Potamus that I’ve grown to love so much. I’m sure they’ll be moments, I’ll just have to look harder for them.

I want to hurl. About 3/4 of the day is spent navigating this landmine of nausea that hasn’t resulted in actual vomiting, but definitely leaves me averse to many foods/smells that trigger the upchuck reflex.

Last time I got lucky, I guess.

What I don’t want is to start resenting this little bean. Because I was on the fence about having another baby, that I hope that I can be excited, rather than, “holy shit have I made the worst mistake of my life?”

Day 1 of the Hostage Situation

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July 1st.

I am writing this from my kitchen table. The dog is barking. The kid is sticking his head in a box of sand on the floor. I have afternoon nausea. It’s fucking hot. And I’m regretting this whole “let’s save money and not have me drive 1.5 hours a day to get kid to daycare and back everyday. It’ll be fun,” I said. Besides, now with a new baby on the way, we gotta save money for the crazy expensive daycare. And six months of me not working. But I digress.

School ended for me two weeks ago, but with some work from home, and a meeting to go to, I’ve been shlepping Potamus to daycare four days a week. Which has left me time for myself, even if it’s just a haircut, or lunch with my sister-in-law, and some time to write. I’m in a manuscript writing class, so trying to get my words on paper is best while listening to a podcast, instead of listening to a 3 year old declare “look at me mommy, look at me,” as he climbs onto the windowsill.

But it’s now summer break. Day 1. Normally we have Fridays off together, so I figured this would be fine. We’d sleep in. Dink around. Get groceries. Watch a show. Play some games.

Instead it was watching shows and whining. So much whining. Our easygoing grocery shopping took 1.5 hours thanks to a question about every damn thing I put into the cart. And asking why I didn’t put other things into the cart. Seriously. “But why mommmy?” “Because I don’t need soap.” “But why?” “Because we already have enough soap.” “BUT WHY MOMMY?”

The highlight of the day so far was getting my kid to eat foods he normally doesn’t eat for me. English muffin pizza and cherries. It felt like a dissertation victory, which then makes me feel like a fucking idiot who has already lost her standard for self congratulations. Yay my kid ate 8 cherries. Big fucking deal. Last year I managed to teach a heroin addict.

Oh comparisons. My work self. My mom self. My self who wants to just watch the Kardashians uninterupted.

The pregnancy hormones are insane this go-round, and “keeping it together,” looks like sobbing. And yelling.

Why did I want another baby anyway?

My “saving grace,” is going to exhaust me even more I’m afraid. I signed up to counsel from 8-6 on Thursdays through the first week of September. I’m excited because the money, paired with the money saved from daycare, is going to be about five thousand dollars. Not something to scoff at. But working 10 hours in one day counseling students isn’t exactly a break in the way I like breaks…ya know?

I know I’ll get in the groove. Already this afternoon I’ve enjoyed some time weeding the backyard, and reading some stories while he sits on my lap. I am sad for these moments already as I experience them, for this time next year, there will be two grasping at me for everything.

Announcement

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I was two days late and figured Father’s Day was as good of a day as any to take a pregnancy test. If negative, it would be no harm no foul, since we weren’t going to start until July. If positive, it’d be an excuse for why I didn’t get Boof a gift.

I quelled the urge to take the test in the Target bathroom, but instead I recruited my best friend to take me to the store to buy a test.

Positive.

I’m having another baby.

If all goes well, this is my last pregnancy.

So I’m resurrecting the mommy blog to chronicle this journey the second time round. Already I’ll say my experience is vastly different. Symptom free the first time, I’m experiencing 3pm nausea, mood swings that could land me on a Real Housewives drama, and sensitivity to smell, among the most heightened. Seriously, don’t sweat near me. Or fart. Or eat anything with onions. Or pump gas. Or throw away garbage. I will hurl.

I’m off for summer break, which means the first trimester will be spent hanging with Potamus. I’m so early, but have announced it like the giant blabbermouth that I am.

Fun things: my SIL is due 4 months before me, so there’s gonna be cousins close in age. My due date will allow me to take Spring Quarter off (I already have summer off) and that puts me at about 6 months of ‘maternity’ leave!

And isn’t Potamus such a ham? Look at him getting all excited about his new baby sister*

*sex won’t be confirmed until October. BUT I’m hoping for a sister. So I’m putting sister vibes into the Universe. Will you join me?