This week my adventure into the world of parenting two small boys began. Husbandface is back at work and so me and the tiny people set sail into the unknown together. They are still pretty rubbish at grasping what’s going on in this life, one more so than the other, and so it was a bit of a mental voyage to the weekend. Here’s what we’ve been learning…
I’ve discovered the joys of all three of us crying hysterically at once. I’m learning to feed on the floor at son1’s level so helping him through Mummy being less attentive goes better. I’m adjusting to feeling like son1 doesn’t get my full attention anymore, and feeling sad about that (mainly by remembering that he never got my full attention all day before son2 came along, my phone got lots as well). I’m learning the art of doing things with son1 whilst standing up swaying with son2 in a sling (such as watching him play on the iPad… Very easy to do whilst standing and swaying). I’m feeling little less guilty about screen time restrictions going out of the window. I’m enjoying the moments I get alone with son1 so much more.
I still have no idea how to cook dinner with two crazy tiny people and me in full on witching hour mode. I have not mastered self control, patience or calm responses to the boundaries pushed this week. I am still undone by not being able to know why son2 is crying so much. I am still a gibbering wreck when lovely husbandface leaves the house and comes back (feel some sympathy for the poor man) but inbetween those times we have had some fun, been looked after by those in the village helping to raise these boys and generally all alive at the end of the day. I think that’s a good starting point for this new stage of life.
I’m loving not feeling as hideously overwhelmed this time round. No bomb has gone off this time, there are no shattered pieces of me and my old life lying around. There are adjustments to be made, things that are good and bad about this new place but no major construction works to be done. We’ve cleared the old life and built the foundations of this life in the last two years and now it feels like the new building work has started in earnest. That’s still not easy but it’s not about what has gone anymore. (Apart from some longing glances back to a place where I only had one other person to bundle out of the door and pay attention to each day…).
As for son2, he’s 4 weeks old, doesn’t sleep much, cries lots, needs his nappy changing with boring regularity and feeds lots. He’s a baby. But every so often there are flashes of what he is growing into. If his fake practice smiles are anything to go by he’s going to have a stunner when it comes along. He has dimples which I adore and he can coo like the best of them in his half hour of happiness each day. I am frustrated by his lack of sleep but not in total despair like last time. I am weary of rocking him in the sling but not overwhelmed to the point of not wanting this life. I occasionally hysterical beg him to go to sleep or stop crying but I have hope that he will develop into a person slightly better able to deal with this world (I say slightly because as delightful as the toddler is he still throws himself on the floor when I refuse him something he desperately wants, such as the children’s programme that doesn’t exist about marriage that he insisted he had to watch yesterday- there is something very sad about not being able to meet his desperate cries to watch marriage…maybe I should have dug out our appalling wedding video..)
So there we are. I am grateful for our survival of the week. Grateful to all the people who hung out with us and provided lovely places to escape to or stepped into the madness with us. Most of all I am glad to have been held by the One who loves us most. Although I’ve raged at him for once again not giving us a baby with its sleep function intact I’ve known his care of me through the week, reminders of his love have come in song, in son1’s reminders to put on encouraging CDs and in the lovely morning of peace I had whilst son1 was out and son2 napped in his swing for a long time.
I think a bit of 2 Corinthians 4 is appropriate to quote now. I’m sure it’s not about life with new babies (more about facing hardship for following God) but it pretty much sums up how I feel at the end of the week. I’ll leave you to wrangle with whether that’s a good use of the passage or not.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed… Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”