Thursday, March 13, 2014

Up to my elbows in mustard colored baby poop, and still (mostly) smiling.

This time, these past couple weeks, have been the best, and the hardest, of my life.

There have been your usual  postpartum suspects (I'm looking at you, hemorrhoids). But, when I say this time has been hard, I'm mostly talking about Collin's (lack of) adjustment. He loves the baby, as I knew he would, but he has proven completely incapable of handling such an extreme disruption in routine. Can I blame him? No. We got a taste of how unsettled he gets at disruption of the norm when we visited my parents in Minnesota last October. Collin basically kicked and screamed his way through that trip, and that's pretty much what our lives look like right now, but possibly worse. The first week was the hardest. I was completely unable to handle his energy. When Collin is struggling internally, it all comes bursting out as this wild, uncontrollable mania. He tears through the house, hollering and destroying and ignoring your every word. It's like living with a Tasmanian devil. He's like a toddler sized tornado.

At this point, we've just pretty much assumed the role of zoo keepers, and our primary objectives are to keep him alive and reasonably safe, and to avoid as much collateral damage as possible. But, I must say, every day has been getting just a little bit better than the last. I'm starting to see more glimpses of the old Collin, and it fills me with hope that I will someday have that little guy back.

So, now that I've thoroughly frightened anyone considering having a second child, let me mention some of the things that have made this the best time:

Going for family adventures in nature, with Collin on Mike's shoulders and Story on me in the carrier. We took Story to the redwoods when she was nine days old, just like we did with Collin. She chose that time to have her first diaper blow out. Later, as we were walking amongst the majestic trees, she started belching loudly, and it made us all laugh. It was our first shared laugh since we'd taken her home, and the emotional release of it felt so good, we just kept laughing and laughing. We felt like a family again.

Co-sleeping. When Collin was finally in his own bed, I enjoyed being able to stretch and roll and claim my space in bed so much, I thought I'd never co-sleep again. We put a crib mattress next to our mattress, and I figured the baby would sleep there. Since Story's birth, I have completely rediscovered how much I LOVE co-sleeping.  I discovered it the night she was born, when we put her in the hospital bassinet, and I lay awake, listening to her kissing sounds until I finally couldn't stand it anymore, and brought her in bed with me. I didn't sleep at all that night, but I dozed from time to time, and every time I opened my eyes, I saw her little cabbage patch face sleeping peacefully beside me. I fell in love with her that night. "Isn't she beautiful?" I'd whisper to the nurses who crept in to check our vitals. They'd smile kindly at me, and nod their heads. Before she was born, I bemoaned the thought of being squished in bed next to a night nursing baby for another two years. Now, I am happier for it.

The love. All the love that fills every room, every nook and cranny of this house. There's so much of it, it keeps me afloat when times get hard. I love my husband more than ever. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I love being a mother, and I'm frequently struck by the notion that I now have two children. The Universe has blessed me with two healthy, beautiful children. I feel so complete. I will never stop being grateful for the crazy wonderful people, big and little, that make up my family.

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