Sunday, February 22, 2009
I have determined that the parenting of multiple children is characterized by guilt. Lots and lots of guilt.
Maybe it is because Josie is such a demanding baby- sweet, but demanding- and so I spend countless hours holding her and nursing her and wearing her around the house, and poor Gabe gets the short end of the stick. I really, really, really wish I could sit on the ground and play trains with him or push cars around or draw pictures at the kitchen table, but Josie wants to be walked around the house or tended to in some way. I've tried bouncy seats, I've tried putting her down on the blanket next to us, and even if we are directly interacting with her, she tends to get frustrated and cry after only a short period of time.
To his credit, Gabe still loves her. He kisses her and hugs her and pats her head and asks about her all the time. A couple of times, though, he has told me to put her down or leave her where she is rather than pick her up, and I feel terrible about that. Last week when he was sick, all he wanted was to be held by me, and I had to put him down constantly to nurse her or bounce her because she will scream incessantly even if Josh holds her.
At the same time, I feel guilty for Josie too. I feel guilty that because she wants to be carried all the time, I get frustrated with her, and wish she would just entertain herself briefly. Since she is in my arms rather than sitting on a chair in front of me, I can't spend the same amount of time admiring her chubby cheeks or sweet double chin. I feel like I should know what to do to get her to nap during the day in her bassinet. I wish I could take away the reflux so that she wouldn't fuss just before spitting up. The pediatrician asked about tummy time the other day, and I almost laughed out loud. I don't even know if she would do tummy time, because it hasn't even occurred to me to try. My mother in law asked if she would hold a rattle, and again, I wouldn't even know because I haven't even tried.
Basically, I wish there were two of me.
Thankfully, every day Josie is a little bit better, a teeny tiny bit more independent, and hopefully as we approach Spring, our illnesses will lessen too. I'm also trying desperately to develop an organizational plan that will help me to take care of the kids and manage the house and be productive during the day. If I could find a way to spend even 20 short minutes of 100% devoted time with Gabe, then I think I would feel much less guilty. If we could spend more time with the television turned off, I think I would also feel much less guilty.
Time will help, and in the meantime, I'm telling you, I'll be over here, feeling guilty guilty guilty.