One of them is always hungry or tired or dirty or stinky or mad or hyper or puking or happy. There is a constant sucking of your life force as you make sure all their needs are met.
I remember thinking, before Carli was born, that life with one was cake. Sure, there were struggles, but overall, I was able to hold on to myself while still meeting all my kid's needs. Adding one more surely would be cake as well. After all, I had done it all before.
Maybe it is because my last infant experience involved 9 hours of day care a day, due to me having to go back to work immediately. This one involves me being that 9 hours of daycare, as well as preschool to Violet. Cook and maid. Laundress and chief errand-runner.
I adore being a stay-at-home mom. This is my dream come true. And I am lucky in that Jason works nights...so we get him for a good chunk of time during the day, before he hits the sack at 2. Meaning I get to sleep a little longer than the girls, thereby taking sleep deprivation off the table. And he is very helpful, and very involved in the girl's days. I get to take Violet to the library without Carli, I get to have an extra hand when cleaning up.
But it does get frustrating. I can't understand why he can't multi-task like I am forced to when he is not available. Both the girls decide they need to scream as soon as he goes to bed. I can't vacuum or do laundry while he is asleep because the sounds would wake him up. And I have to stay up until he leaves, so he doesn't sleep through the alarm, or forget his lunch, or not take coffee.
This whole Family-of-Four thing is incredibly rewarding. I am blessed beyond belief, and there are times when both girls are on my lap, and Violet leans over to give her beloved sister a kiss, when my cup runneth over. I wouldn't change it for anything, and occasionally I think, let's add a few more!
Then I stop being crazy. Because, good heaven above, this is way more work than I ever imagined.
About nine o'clock every night, Carli starts to get fussy. This signals us to get ready for bed.
I get 2 diapers, a fresh bottle, and both girls; we head upstairs.
The first stop is the girl's room. Violet picks out her jammies...she insists on matching sets. No rainbow shirt with heart shorts...both pieces must match in order to avoid a tantrum. Carli gets a cotton, stretchy romper...usually the same brand every night, as we have only find two places that make them to fit my girls properly. Carli has followed her sister's lead in (thankfully) obtaining her father's tall, slightly gangly, thin, muscular body. Though well fed, the girl's have narrow hips and no butts to speak of. So it is hard to fit her into clothes that are made for babies who are generally shorter and rounder.
We change butts and climb into our jammies in the girl's room; however, we don't sleep there, as Jason is still trying to assemble Carli's crib, and the room currently contains a rickety crib, nails, screw, and tools. And Violet likes to explore when she should be sleeping.
Violet brushes her teeth while I get Carli into her swaddle...she will sleep without it, but not as soundly. I climb into my jammies, which definitely do not have to match, and rarely do. Violet finishes with her teeth, bangs her Diego brush on the sink twice, and puts it in the drawer. She then climbs up into the middle of my bed, beside her dad, who has been sleeping for about 7 hours at that point. Jason grunts and rolls over slightly.
I stick a Christmas movie into the PS3 (Violet demands Christmas and nothing else). I start the movie, grab Carli, and settle into the left side of the bed. I hold my second-born and feed her the final bottle of the night as my first-born lays on her father's chest, and chatters quietly about the movie.
After about 10 minutes, Carli loses suction on her bottle. She stares at my face under hooded eyes, and smiles lazily at me...dimples flashing and soy milk formula drizzling out of the corner of her mouth. I give her one last kiss and lay her in her bassinet.
Violet abandons her father, and curls up to me. She tries to stay awake, at least until the Jack-In-the-Box scene in Elf, before her head tilts towards the headboard, her mouth drops open, and her eyes close. She plays hard, so she sleeps hard as well...one can move her all over the bed without waking her; this is useful, as she thinks the whole bed is her territory.
I lay there with my girls, maybe reading, maybe watching the movie, until 10:15 comes. Then is time to wake Jason for work, to go make his lunch, to straighten the living room for the day and start the dishwasher. A few minutes of sleepy chat, then he is off to work the night away.
Then, the evening is mine. For cruising the Internet, for watching late night t.v., for reading the books Violet helps me pick out on our weekly library trip.
But more often than not, I head back up the stairs and pass out in between my lovely, sleepy girls.
My precious, beautiful, sweet angel fairy of a girl.
God knew I needed a good baby.
Your sister can be a bit of a handful. Lovely and smart and wonderful, but stubborn and fiercely independent. But you even help with this...she loves to hug you and make you smile. She wants you, her 'baby stister', to be happy all the time.
And you usually comply.
You have laughed in your sleep from the time you were a few weeks old, your mouth wide open and dimples flashing. Now, you laugh even more when you are awake: when your poppie, my dad, blows on your belly; when your Auntie Mandie makes funny noises at you; when you see your baba, my mom. You are truly surrounded by people who love and dote on you, and you know it. Very rarely are you not wholy content.
And the sleeping...the sleeping through the night...oh my oh my, I never would have guessed. I spent the first year of your sister's life only having a full night's sleep a handful of times. But you, my angel...you go to sleep about 10:30, just as your dad is getting ready to leave for work, and you stay that way until 7 or so the next morning. I don't think you will realize how very grateful I am for that until you have a child of your own.
You have your issues, of course...there are times when you will only be held...mainly when I am trying to clean or cook...resulting in a slightly messy house and some really awful meals, meals that your dad will eat only until his hunger has been relieved, then push away. I wanted to cry the first time it happened, but now, it just makes us laugh.
But you are overall and so completely one of the best babies I have ever seen. You are so truly content and sweet, wanting only a smile or kiss to make you happy. I pray everyday that you keep this personality you have been blessed with.
As for your milestones...I have been taking things a lot easier with you. With your sister, I scoured websites and magazines and doctor's brochures to make sure she was on target (ok, to make sure she was advanced). With you...I am just letting you set your own pace. You hold up your head, and you look people in the eyes. You are trying to sit up on your own, and have rolled onto your belly 3 times...onto your side, many more, but you can't always figure out what to do with your arms. You have teeth buds above where your canines will be, and the infernal, incessant drooling has begun. Your favourite thing is to be held in a standing position, and you will stay like that until whoever you charmed into holding you cramps up. You jabber, especially just after you wake, and it starts off my day with insane happiness. And you have this look on your face all the time, this look that is part surprise, part happiness, and part pure, unaltered sweetness.
Rebecca is mama to the three loveliest girls in the world: Violet Lynn, Carli Jay, and River Fay. She is also a wife to Jason, king of men, who is thisclose to recieving mechanics master's certification. She is currently smack dab in the middle of a college education that she hopes will only take eight years. And in her downtime, she cleans, cooks, sews, plays with make-up, reads, and drives her beloved Jeep, Xena Warrior Princess the Car, all over Owensboro, from daycares to elementary schools to colleges to grocery stores to Target to...