The Longest Month

by doodaddy on April 27, 2009

My ladies.

Boo toppled off a booster seat, helpless. Her gyrating arms reached for me but missed — this is a scene I still replay in my head daily, even now, a month later. I was too slow, dull, and exhausted to save my own daughter from crashing to the ground.

Thanks, O ye Fates — like I really needed that metaphor.

The past two months, since Working Mom’s maternity leave ended, have been the hardest, most isolated of my life. Trying to take care of two kids and a house and a spouse — well, it hasn’t worked out so well.

On my best days, I’m only a fraction as attentive to the baby as I was with Boo at this age. We’ll be lucky if the Blueberry ever crawls, given how rarely we manage tummy time.

And Boo? She’s resilient, but I’m made a little nervous by a sudden proliferation of imaginary friends. Now, Joey and Petey and Dodo don’t just visit, they’ve started to possess Boo’s body, Voldemort-like. Spooky.

Failure and exhaustion aside, though, these past weeks have brought me some real moments of joy. Sitting with the girls at a cafe is possible again, and the baby seems to really love the outdoors, too. Now that’s why I went into this line of work.

I’m becoming expert at asking for favors, too. I owe enough casseroles and return babysitting to fill my 2013 calendar, but my friends’ help makes the present day bearable.

And, of course, I know these few months when our newborn is constantly needy and our toddler only vaguely independent are chqllenging but brief. As the days pass, things will only get easier — I’m cresting the biggest of the hills right about now.

And that knowledge comforts me enough to make up for the loss of my writing time and my house projects, of time in my garden. I will read a book again someday.

And Boo crashed to the floor having miraculously avoided hitting her head on another table. A few minutes of comforting and two dumb jokes later and we were back, happy, crisis over. Boo had learned that she doesn’t like those booth-style booster seats with no straps My lesson was that nearly every dark time passes by, usually replaced by something even brighter than before.

And so, here I am, back again a little bruised, and still very worn out, but maybe just a little wiser.

 

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tagged as , in exhaustion,failure,fears,housework,whining ·

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie April 27, 2009 at 3:52 am

Being an at home parent of two small kids is the wildest ride of my life – in every sense possible!

I brought a book home from the library over a week ago – it sits still on my nightstand – unopened. I too live in hope that someday I’ll read a book again (one that doesn’t rhyme and have illustrations that is).

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doodaddy April 27, 2009 at 3:55 am

@Annie – What book, just out of curiosity? I think I’m going to force myself to read something this month, even if it takes staying up late. (Well, later.)

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Lynnie April 27, 2009 at 4:15 am

Boy does that post bring back the memories! I watched a video of us at that stage a few weeks ago. The kids were painting at the table even though my youngest was like six months old. The entire table, legs included, looked covered in paint. In the background it looked like a bomb had gone off in Babies’RUs. And yet my voice was calm, the girls were happy. We must have been living in an alternate reality. And you’re right, it totally ends at some point and gets easier! Mine are 3 and 5 and get along SPLENDIDLY leaving me free to be sentimental most of the day! Good luck riding the waves until then!

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doodaddy April 27, 2009 at 4:18 am

@Lynnie – So you’re saying I’ll be OK in… three YEARS?

Um… thanks?

😉

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Nan April 27, 2009 at 4:33 am

Ah, second-child guilt. It gets worse with subsequent (sp?) chidren! So sorry about Boo’s fall. Isn’t it terrrible when we can’t always catch them?

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doodaddy April 27, 2009 at 4:36 am

@Nan – It’s happening more and more… I’m going to blame the mad-cow holes in my brain.

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mom, again April 27, 2009 at 4:55 am

There you are! Yesterday, I was checking through my feeds to see if I’d lost you somehow. Of course, then my sweet boy interrupted me, so I never finished looking…

Improvement sneaks up on you. One day you’ll turn around & notice it’s been better for a while now.

My sweet boy sat down in the middle of the High Street yesterday. We were using his walking pack (backpack with leash) & I was wearing my bag & carrying grocery bags. I quickly switched all the groceries to one hand & tried to help him up. He was uncooperative, so I had to hold tight with one hand & use the one available pinky finger of my other hand to get him over to the pavement. Which peeved him as only a 23-month old can be peeved. I eventually got him up to my hip on the free arm side & carried him the rest of the way home. This morning, I noticed bruises on his little arm which exactly fit my finger tips. Oh, the guilt!

I guess we aren’t ready to walk down the shops without the pushchair just yet. at least, not if I need more stuff than I can jam in my bag. Leaving me both hands free to haul the toddler a bit more gently to safety.

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doodaddy April 27, 2009 at 4:58 am

@mom, again – Here I am! Thanks for noticing… I was wondering if I’d managed to slip beneath the surface without even leaving a ripple!

I know that exact scene, except substitute U.S. words, like “curb” and “stroller.” And “tarmackadam.” 😉

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Stella April 27, 2009 at 6:37 am

The longest month and the cruelest month! I don’t have any balm to offer, but I do have empathy . . . and platitudes: Hang in there. (Oh, and in the absence of time for novel reading, I’ve turned to poetry recently. It’s pretty satisfying.)

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doodaddy April 27, 2009 at 6:40 am

@Stella – I love poetry! Except the way I read it usually takes longer than a novel — I tend to get pretty into it.

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Malke Rosenfeld April 27, 2009 at 8:23 am

I’m glad you’re back! I kept checking in hoping to find a ew post and then I started worrying that something was really wrong. A little weird ’cause I don’t even know you, but I love the way you see and express the world of being a parent. I’m glad you were just “busy” even if it felt overwhelming at times!

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doodaddy April 27, 2009 at 8:26 am

@Malke Rosenfeld – Aw, thanks! It’s nice to know I was missed! And yes, I was busy, although it almost feels as if we need a more intense word than “busy.” “Snowed under,” maybe, although being a native Californian I don’t understand the metaphor exactly…

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PJ April 27, 2009 at 12:33 pm

My toddler (20mo) doesn’t like booster seats at all… I think it’s a combination of the instability (they usually rock in the chairs they’re in) and the extra impediment to climbing in and out of the chair.

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doodaddy April 27, 2009 at 12:36 pm

@PJ – Boo doesn’t mind them, generally, but this type — the hollowed-out plastic cube you see a lot at family restaurants — I think is only intended for the bench seats of a booth, not an actual chair. So when she tipped herself playfully, the whole thing went over. Yike!

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donditiples April 28, 2009 at 6:38 am

Wow. I salute you. I just spent a whole day with my kids since their nanny went home. I am bushed.

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Super Mega Dad April 28, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Oh man, I can imagine the feelings going through your head as she feel. That’s a terrible feeling to go through.

When stuff like that happens, I feel guilty for weeks thinking there might be some sort of internal damage.

My little girl got her arm stuck between the door and her car seat as I closed the car door last night and bawled her little head off. She was due a lot of cuddling time for that one. There was some tense time there as I checked for broken arms. Fortunately, nothing major, she just got scared when she got stuck.

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doodaddy April 28, 2009 at 9:48 pm

@Super Mega Dad – Ouch! I did something similar (though less painful, I think) with a car door once — no fun at all, especially as I had two grandparents in the car, too.

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Amber April 30, 2009 at 9:32 am

Glad you are back! I was hoping everything was okay. We’re expecting our second in July. Our oldest will be 22 months. And we’re a little nervous. Someone told me that the first year is insane, but after that it is wonderful. We’re paying really close attention to your blog right now. :)

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doodaddy April 30, 2009 at 9:35 am

@Amber – I can second the “first year is insane” thing — so far, things have been really, really busy. But they already (at almost 6 months) show signs of getting a little easier — slowly, slowly! So… good luck!

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Xbox4NappyRash May 4, 2009 at 11:35 am

Good to see you back, as haggard as you may be 😉

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