Friday, May 17, 2013

Growing pains

Almost 3 weeks of becoming a foursome and we are definitely riding a roller coaster, trying to adjust to this new land shift in our lives. In obvious ways, and for obvious reasons, the change has been difficult for Taran. How odd it must be to suddenly not be the center of your parent's universe! A friend of mine said it must be like the feeling of your partner suddenly coming home with a new husband or wife. In that light, I can deeply sympathize with his struggles. But, Oh Lordy the tantrums and tears are enough to bring me to my knees sometimes. Especially when my night looks something like this:

4:30 pm - 11:00 pm Calliope is cluster-feeding
11-1 sleep
1-2 nurse Calliope
2:45 just drifting into a deep sleep when Taran comes running in because he needs chapstick
2:45-4:15 sleep
4:15-5:20 nurse Calliope
5:20 gently place Calliope down in co-sleeper
5:25 Taran runs into room again for chapstick (I'm throwing that goddamn chapstick away!!!)
5:25 - 6 am repeatedly chase Taran back to bed with admonishments to "stay in bed until the daytime bunny comes on".
6 am Look over at my husband and ask him why we thought having children was a good idea

Joe had to leave town for work for three nights this week and it has been just about enough to send me into post-partum depression. I'll be so happy when he gets off that red-eye flight tomorrow morning at 6:30 am and comes home to us!

Ok, enough griping. My point being that Taran isn't the only one reeling with the transition. When I'm constantly feeding Cally I feel terrible that I'm not spending more time with Taran and when I immediately pass her off to someone else after nursing to spend time with him, then I feel guilty and sad that I'm losing bonding time with her. I don't think I realized how much being a Mom of two would make me feel like I'm suddenly a crappy Mom to both. At times like this I need to remind myself to keep breathing. Gentle, gentle Mama. Tred lightly and be gentle with yourself and everyone around you.

One thing that has really surprised me in this time is how rapidly my perspective on Taran has shifted. I look at him now, - long limbs stretched out in a yawn, running across the yard with a wrench in hand to help Papa attach the bike stroller, fetching me a glass of water unasked because he wants to make sure I stay hydrated - and I'm astonished how big he seems to me now. The feeling I have watching him in those moments - so big, so fast! - is like a deep purple bruise, beautiful in color and so tender to touch.

One thing that has surprised me less is how he's starting to become protective of little Calliope (when he's not smacking her in the stomach or head - something that horrified me so badly I burst into uncontrollable tears which shocked Taran enough that hopefully the message got across and he won't do it again.) He can be quite protective of both Joe and I and other loved ones in his extended posse. A few nights ago as we were putting him down for bed, we realized his cherished K Bear was still in our room so Joe went to get the lovey, with Cally slung over his shoulder. As he searched through our bed cloths, he set her down in the bassinet and she begun to squawk. "What is that, Mama?", Taran asked. "I guess that's Calliope, unhappy to be put down", I replied. To which Taran let me know that he was both mad and sad and Joe should pick her up again. I'm grateful for his affectionate soul and I'm relieved to see that the desire he often has to protect Joe and I is being broadened to include the new member of our posse.

Sometimes he's a handful, but oh, how I love him

Amidst all the Sturm und Drang in our household, Calliope has been a floating island of tranquility, taking the chaos in stride. I was the third of three girls, each 18 months apart and by the time I arrived on the scene, my Mom always says that I somehow knew that she couldn't take any more so I was a happy, easy baby. Maybe Cally knows that too. But I also try to remind her every day that she doesn't have to take care of me. That she can be as squeaky a wheel as she needs to be; that she has a right as much as her brother to take up space in the world.

And she's thriving wonderfully - eating like a champ, outgrowing all her newborn clothes in two weeks, getting her first bath, her first trip in the car, her first picnic in the garden....

As Taran and Joe and I stumble along in this new, uncertain territory, I feel our love for her wrapping out towards her slowly like pea vines searching for a trellis, bringing her into our hearts and our family, chaos and all.


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  2. The first months are hard, even harder when the baby becomes mobile. Anyone who says otherwise has a live-in maid, cook and housecleaner! Hang in there.