By all accounts this 2nd time around should have been easier. I’m taking more time off. Family is in town for 6 weeks to help out. It’s my 2nd time. This baby was planned. I’m recovering after a much shorter labor process. I don’t have a bakery I’m running in the garage. The list of reasons why it should have been easier goes on and on. Only it’s not easier. It’s much much harder. Every other day I’m pushed to a breaking point. Every other day I feel like I see the light at the end of the newborn tunnel, and then reality hits me in the face with a child that refuses to go to sleep and I have no tricks, no cues and no ideas for what to do for her.
I’ve waited for the huge rush of peace and joy, unadulterated happiness and exuberance at the wonderful life I am so lucky to lead. It happened with Eli and I have felt shortchanged that it hasn’t happened with Zoe. Maybe it’s because the first time around I got a baby that was nearly 2 weeks overdue. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t have a toddler around to also care for. Or I was younger and needed less sleep. Maybe it’s that Zoe has some tummy issues that make her fussier than Eli was. It could be the ignorance that I went into parenthood with or the amnesia that occurs after that first year with a baby causing us to procreate again.
The love bubble that we inhabitated with Eli never went away. It grew and changed, allowing reality to live in there with us. It allowed sleeplessness, frustration had anger to weave their way in. Tantrums and disobedience have layered in between back scratches and bear hugs. With every screaming fight in a grocery store checkout line, it’s been covered over with storytimes and walks around the block. For every challenge that boy threw out at me, he has followed it up with 20 impossibly wonderful moments. Enter Zoe. Our love bubble has opened up and made room for her. But she is messing up the balance of moments. Do you remember the newborn time period? Grasping at straws trying to figure out what will make this child sleep. Waking up several times to feed and soothe. Inviting someone in to disrupt your quiet time and make it impossible to hang with your spouse alone. Spending about 3 hours on a daily basis breastfeeding someone that constantly falls asleep and therefore is constantly eating. Dealing with someone else’s bowel movements. All while dealing with a body that is both foreign and doughy, sore and bleeding.
The good moments are equally the challenging ones right now and it’s ok. Not easy, but okay. There is a little boy that loves his sister so much, he wants to cuddle her constantly. A husband that takes our kids so that I can get an extra two hours of sleep. The little girl that tests me snuggles up to me nuzzling into my body and groaning with every breath. Our love bubble is growing again and soon the balance will shift once more. We will get a nap schedule and smiles and coos. We just have to wait a bit. And that’s okay.
The only consistent way to get her to nap…