Sunday, February 22, 2009

time and maybe cupcakes

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.


My Wombinations said...

For us, it was like that until 6 months. No schedule or anything like that until then. The best advice we got was to let the infant cry and tend to the toddler. It worked on my guilt. Hang in there.

Chatty said...

Wait. DO NOT be so hard on yourself. True, there is a lot of guilt involved in parenting in general, but to look at it on the positive side, parenting multiple children is also about teaching independence and patience. Lady had to learn early on that she would get her turn too, but Mister needed my help. Mister is now learning that with Sweet Babe, although it's not as hard because he has Lady to entertain him when I can't.

But seriously- you are an AMAZING mom, and I know this for sure because I have seen you in action. Cut yourself a ton of slack. It will get easier and easier until one day you look up and realize you're juggling everyone pretty well. It's just different when you go from being able to lavish all of your attention on one person all day to having to find enough time in the day to lavish TWO people with your attention. I also found that lavishing BOTH at the SAME TIME worked pretty well, so like Lady and I would specifically play with Mister. Then when Mister was napping (Josie will get there, she's only 2 months) I'd give Lady every last bit of my focus, and when Lady would nap, Mister got all of me.

True, the laundry got NONE of my attention, and neither did the dishes/floors/windows but who cares. They're on their own.