Mothering Two: A Reality Check

When I was pregnant everyone with more than one child was kind enough to point out to me how “hard” the transition to two children would be. Some of them were even gracious enough to share horror stories with me like I had some magical undoing spell or something that could allow me to go back to having just one kid after I heard how awful it was to deal with two. Even if I had possesed an undoing spell during my pregnancy I certainly would have never even considered using it. Nah, people like me are a little too sure of themselves. I would listen to all these moms relate to how tough it was and think to myself, “I’ll be fine. That won’t be me. I can handle it.”

And to be honest we’ve been trucking along just fine and dandy. Until Monday. On Monday Camden decided to give me a run for my money and offered me a crash course in being the full time mother of two. She was unbelievably whiny all day and so I thought a nap would help. One nap down and I still had an amazingly whiny and weepy 3 1/2 year old on my hands. A lightbulb dimly flickered over my head and I brought my hand to her forehead. My hand was met with a blazing inferno. A fever. Great, she was sick. I took her temperature and it registered in at 102. Since it was a holiday, Mike was home and with his help I was able to balance the two of them fairly well. We moved Camden’s mattress into our room for the night and Mike decided to sleep on the guest bed in the office so he could get some good sleep before work.

Camden fell asleep quickly but awoke a few hours later, crying in misery. I took her temperature again and she was at 104. I decided to give her some dye free motrin so she could get some sleep since she was too uncomfortable to get any rest. Luckily Garrett was still happily sleeping on the big bed. I rocked Cami in my arms and sang her some songs. I laid her down on her mattress and was just about to climb back in bed when she proceeded to throw up all over the bed. Yuck. I tried to pick her up quickly and get her to the bathroom. The second round made it all over the tile by the sinks. The third round, thankfully, made it into the toilet. Camden was thoroughly saturated. I got her into the shower and cleaned her up and thankfully she wanted to stand in the shower for awhile. While she did that I threw all of the contaminated linens into the washing machine and had Mike put the pukey mattress in the garage (speaking of which I just realized it is still in the garage uncleaned, nasty). I then wiped down the bathroom and had Mike bring in the second mattress (we have bunkbeds) into the bedroom. This time he brought the one with the mattress protector. Go figure. What was Mikes comment when he came into the cleaned room? “It smells like pomegranate.” Um, I wish. That would be the smell of regurgitated Motrin and Popsicle.

I finally got her back in bed and said a silent prayer that Garrett had slept through it all because I’m pretty sure as helpful as Mike has been that he wouldn’t take over puke duty for me and he’s not exactly fit for being Garrett’s food source. The rest of that night wasn’t too bad. Camden was able to sleep until about two in the morning when her fever started to spike again and I gave her another dose of ibuprofen since she basically lost the first dose. Normally I try not to medicate for fevers but I knew all of us needed sleep if we were going to survive the next day.

Tuesday was my reality check. On Tuesday, I learned what it felt like to get nothing done and still be constantly busy. It was the day of trying to accomplish something over and over and over and never being able to finish it. The dishes piled up. The laundry was undone. It was the day when I realized at 3 in the afternoon that my teeth were still fuzzy and I set off to brush my teeth a half dozen times but never made it to the bathroom because of x, y, z. One of those days when I realized I was thirsty for the umpteenth time that day and that I never did get that glass of water a few hours ago. More annoying was the realization that I had a full bladder but that I could never find a spare minute to go. The house was a disaster and I was a mess but I had to just keep reminding myself that no one was screaming their heads off so that all in all we were having a good day.

By the end of the night I had a headache and my mind was numb from an all day movie marathon of animated annoyingness. I was hungry, crabby, snappy and exhausted and more than once I felt like breaking into tears.

In other words, I got a nice dose of reality and was made to eat my overly self assured attitude about mothing multiple children and accept like every other mother on this planet that I am not perfect and I will fall short of the mark and most importantly, that it’s OK. And unfortunately, it will happen again and again and again. Enter in humbleness.

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8 comments

  1. Beth · September 5, 2008

    You know – it doesn;t get easier – or harder – it gets different.

    I would never change having two – but there are days I pray for ONE minute of silence – tonight was one. I learned that when you take away the TV, PC, little pet shop set, and the duck toys — you make your own life harder :)

    You are a great mom – hang in there :)

  2. Emeth Hesed · September 5, 2008

    I just read your post. I’m so sorry you had such a bad day and night. I cleaned up Rinah’s puke last week and I almost started throwing up from the smell. I figure if the kids are alive, fed, and clean, I’m doing OK. The house will survive even if it’s messy. :D

    I thought we were all done being sick but Ben’s coming home early today ’cause he has a fever AGAIN. He was down for 2 days with a fever last week, too.

    The floors and high chair are sticky from Rinah’s adventures in feeding herself and from “helping” me cook, laundry is undone, dishes are dirty, and I need a shower and sleep.

    I wish I could have coffee to get me through the day, but if I do that, then Valor stays up all night screaming so no coffee for me. Plus my beautiful espresso machine doesn’t work.

    Also, all morning I’ve been hearing an invisible person walking around the house and it creeps me out. I wonder if I’m going insane and just hearing things that aren’t there. The floors keep creaking for no reason. AAAAGHGHGHG.

    I really don’t know how people handle twins.

  3. Lisa · September 5, 2008

    “Smells like pomegranate.” He’s so eloquent. You have to write that down. LOL!

    “On Tuesday, I learned what it felt like to get nothing done and still be constantly busy. It was the day of trying to accomplish something over and over and over and never being able to finish it.”

    My life. Every day. And I’ve just decided its okay. Some days, it bugs me more than others……. Those are the days I spend draped over my espresso machine.

    “……..and more than once I felt like breaking into tears.”

    Um…yup!!

    “I got a nice dose of reality and was made to eat my overly self assured attitude about mothing multiple children….”

    Goodness…I never thought you were self-assured about this! You must’ve kept it to yourself :)

    Big hugs, sweetie!!!

    Lisa

  4. Brianne · September 4, 2008

    What a rough day! I often wonder what it will be like with 2 when Kaylin is sick (like she has been this past week, ugh). I’m glad that Garrett slept through Camden’s rough night!

  5. chandra · September 4, 2008

    If you have only had one of these days since Garrett was born, you are doing way better than me! I feel this way almost everyday of my life!! What will I do with three??? LOVE you :)

  6. Melissa from Pittsburgh · September 4, 2008

    I am so sorry….I’m just getting caught up with blogs and I finally was about to work my way down to the J’s!

    CONGRATULATIONS! It is hard having two, but it does get easier (sometimes); then hard again and some days you do not accomplish much (or what you WANT to accomplish) but you still get a LOT done. Just being a mom is work and fulfilling their needs is work.

    A boy! Yea! Garrett is a wonderful name, and he’s a precious boy.

    Remember, you are still VERY hormonal and things that a little overwhelming seem to be COMPLETELY overwhelming…my first year with my second is a complete and total blur – I was that hormonal!

  7. Kristina · September 4, 2008

    That’s a bad day. Sorry.

    Do you remember your first time with a sick baby? It probably felt a lot like you did Monday, I’ll bet. But think of what you’ve grown to be able to accomplish! You can do this with two now! You go girl!

    PS – I also try not to overmedicate for fevers (I won’t give them for any circumstance with a temp under 102), but a 104 temp in the middle of the night for a sick, miserable child that can’t sleep would have gotten a dose for sure.

  8. Andrea · September 3, 2008

    OH Jessica bless your heart, you bet its okay!
    I’m so sorry for contributing to the pool of Mothers telling you how hard it is with two. I hope you know that when you came to visit me I was in my own way having a period in time with my two that I felt negative about it, but I don’t feel that way now. I know you are already well aware that the rewards GREATLY exceed even the most horrendous of days.
    In the meantime I really hope Camden gets completely better asap. And I wish for the cleaning elves to arrive at your doorstep and sleep fairy’s to give everyone plenty of sleep.

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