As I sit down to write this post I have been wearing the same milk encrusted nursing bra for over two days now. Last time you heard from me gentle readers I was about 9 months pregnant and expecting our little lady. Well, I am now officially the mother of two kiddos. As a reminder, Henry is four and half years old, and Ruby, is a sparkly little lady about 5 weeks of age. So you’ll have to excuse me if I haven’t mustered up the energy to take a shower just yet.
Ok, really, it’s not that bad. I do manage to groom myself, feed all children (and myself) and have time to write these meandering blog posts (not to mention, I squeeze in at least 1 hour of facebook surfing, and P90x workouts all while wearing sexy skinny jeans). Supermom anyone? I’m completely kidding about the workouts and jeans. That being said, the last 5 weeks have been such a huge adjustment. I’m sure most of you are scratching your head thinking, “duh heather…of course having another kid is a huge adjustment.” Yeah well, the part that has been the hardest adjustment is the relationship I have with my son. This sweet little guy knows how to make me laugh, push my pissed-off buttons, and make my heart swell. And that’s just within a 5 minute period of time.
Let’s go back for a moment. When Henry was born, the relationship with my husband Karl changed in a flash. The night Henry was born, after we got settled in to our recovery room, I cried. And it wasn’t tears of joy. It was tears of sadness and loss. I felt like I had lost my best friend and he had fallen in love with someone else…our son. Let’s put a few things in perspective here—I had been in labor for over 18 hours, was stitched up like a trussed thanksgiving turkey, and hadn’t eaten in 24 hours…so yeah my emotional state of mind was a little skewed. Regardless, it took awhile for to me to get used to this new transition in our life. And it took awhile for me to adjust to the new marriage that Karl and I had with a little bouncing baby thrown in to the mix.
With the impending addition of Ruby to our world I wasn’t worried about how it would affect my relationship with Karl. He and I have grown closer in the time that we have been together and I knew we would weather this transition. It was Henry that I was worried about. Over the last 9 months he has been quite vocal about not wanting a sister. I didn’t push the issue with him, but hoped that once he saw Ruby he would fall in love. Yeah, not so much. What I have come to realize is there is no “normal” way a child should react to having a new baby brother or sister. Some big brothers want to hold the baby…others will throw their Tonka trucks at their little brother (I’m looking at you Karl). Regardless, I think in my mind I had imagined Henry would want to hold Ruby, snuggle with her…hell, I had even hoped that he would call her by her name rather than refer to her as my “poopy sister.” To make matters “worse” for the first week that she was home, he would tell us we shouldn’t have had a baby every time she cried.
Deep down inside I know that Henry loves his sister and is just adjusting to this new change. When I’m not looking he steals kisses from his sister’s little head. He will even rub her tummy when she is crying. I quietly look out of the corner of my eye, overwhelmed with mommy pride, my heart in my throat and tears in my eyes knowing that if he sees me staring at him, he’ll say, “you know I don’t like her, mom.” Anyway, we are all adjusting. Let’s be honest, it’s been a challenging time for me as well. Don’t get me wrong, Ruby is a joy, and I’m head over heels in love with her. Oh man, those cheeks are so delicious, I smooch them every moment I get. Poor girl had garlic smelling cheeks after my allium-laced meal the other night. I digress. Before she was born I worried—do I have enough love for two children? And the answer is yes, I do have enough love for two (and some left over for my husband and myself!), it’s just logistically hard to spread that love between two very different babes. One wants to eat every two hours, and the other wants me to play with him every waking minute. But you know what? We are making it work. And it feels pretty awesome.
For awhile I felt guilty about having another baby. Henry has always been the center of the universe and he knows this…he is very aware of this. Yet one thing I have realized in this very short time of being a mom to two, is that Henry is gradually adjusting to the idea that he is no longer the center of attention all the time. This makes me sad at times, but if I change the lense in which I look through, I can see that this is such an important life lesson for him. It’s a lesson, that for me as an only child, I’m still learning. He will learn to be a big brother…whatever that might mean. He will make it his own. I am here to shepherd him along in the process.