Friday, September 21, 2012

It's all in the timing

I remember reading about how the optimum sibling spacing was 3 to 4 years. The reasons listed were things like less competitive siblings, giving the mother's body time to recover before being leached of all nutrients again, etc.
 I took all those facts into consideration, and then decided I would rather get this new baby business over with in one fell swoop.  If I ever stopped changing diapers I was pretty convinced I would never, EVER want to start again. 
I have come to realize, however, that the list of pros and cons was incomplete.
For example, if those books had informed me that at least once a week I would be stripping a poopy diaper off of Thing 1 while Thing 2 was busy dipping her teething toy in the toilet water, or pulling open the cleaning cupboard to see if comet cleaner tasted as good as it smelled, and that every night would involve two sleepless babies, and that waiting until your first child can dress themselves and clean themselves and feed themselves means you can DO a lot more activities a lot more easily,  I might have reconsidered.
These sort of moments also happen at super markets: like when I forgot my credit card and was trying to write a check while holding Thing 2, who was systematically seizing my pen and hurling it to the ground with a victorious banshee shriek, while her sister darted from one open checkout aisle to the next attempting to push buttons, open candy bars, answer phones, and sweep floors. There is usually a line of 5 disapproving grandmothers, and 4 annoyed business men behind me when this happens. I can feel the judgement bouncing off my back as I walk out holding one giggling toddler upside down over my shoulder with two bags of groceries and a shrieking mini-toddler on my opposite hip.
It doesn't help that Thing 1 looks and talks like a 4 or 5 year old.  I feel like pinning a sign on her shirt saying, "I AM ONLY 2 YEARS OLD. PLEASE TAKE THIS INTO CONSIDERATION."
Even I forget sometimes.  I am so distracted meeting the needs of an early walking/nursing/teething/signing mini-toddler that I expect Thing 1 to be the "big girl".
All I can hope is that they will be BEST friends when they are 25 and 27, rolling their eyes at how weird their mom is.  That would be optimal.

The Awe and The Wonder

The other night, Thing 2 was finally asleep, and a very tired Thing 1 had just been tucked into bed.  I sat by her bed, and talked about the day, and what she is going to dream about (flying in the clouds with dragons and Kipper the Dog). She was staring half asleep into the distance, her buzzing internal energy mellowing to a soft hum, her face peaceful in the glow of the nightlight as she hugged her stuffed dog. As I looked at her, I suddenly had one of those strange revelation moments as I fully thought about the fact that she was my daughter. This beautiful child with her wild blonde hair and her huge eyes and her ridiculous cackle of a laugh. The 2 year old that can tell you about molecules and dinosaurs and wants to know what a horizon is. I felt like the last time I really LOOKED at her was over a year ago, before I was pregnant with Thing 2, when she was just starting to walk and talk and was in love with her bears at the zoo.  I was overwhelmed with this feeling that I had missed the last year and half of her life. While I had been distracted by morning sickness and postpartum and a newborn and working and moving, she had become someone new. 
Then I realized: It's happening! I am missing the little baby stage! I am thinking 'wow that went fast! I need to treasure these moments!'  
It was a strangely melancholy feeling.
I sat there until she fell asleep, just staring at her face, trying to make sense of how this amazing person could have come out of me, and now be so separately and entirely her own self.
Before I know it she will be in school and then college and then off on her own. 
(I totally can't wait!)