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Twice the…

It’s Wednesday morning in Santa Monica. Jules just went down for a nap and Vera is in school. I’m unshowered in a sweatshirt, battling a case of mastitis. Life is not glamorous these days.

I think having a second kid is going to go down in the books as one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I feel more stretched thin than I ever have. My relationships with Greg and Veronica have been pushed to their tipping points, as have my exhaustion and concentration levels. I know that at three and a half months in we’re probably (hopefully?) in some peak period of second kid transition, so I’m trying to batten down the hatches and just hold tight as we keep on sailing through these turbulent waters.

Vera has been taking the transition particularly hard just in the last few weeks. She’s regressed to baby-talk and constantly wants to engage in “pretend nursing sessions.” She’s thrown more tantrums and had more crying fits in her whole little life, since Juliette was born. And at a time when my patience and temper are at their thinnest, our interactions have a tendency to become explosive.

By then end of every day, or sometimes by the middle, I’m feeling utterly depleted. I feel physically run down, yearning for a small space in which to curl up where no one is touching me, having had the two girls all over me all day. My brain also just feels flat. There is no room left to decipher Vera’s tantrums or keep track of Juliette’s sleep schedule, let alone my own projects and simple things like text messages to return or emails awaiting responses.

That said, we all love Juliette. She’s finally beginning to come through her tough crying days and has become sweeter than ever. Her whole little body rocks with each smile she gives us and she is now very alert and aware of her surroundings (re: her sister hovering over her 24/7). Despite missing attention from us, Veronica’s love for Juliette has never ebbed; she continues to fall more in love with her sister with each waking day, bringing her toys and showing her things and wanting to make sure that Jules is participating in all that we do.

I often find myself feeling both sad and happy when I think about how their relationship will probably be stronger with each other than it will be with me. I’m also unspeakably grateful for the sweet moments we have as a trio of girls. I took this video last week when Greg was gone and we were spending long hours in Vera’s room, entertaining ourselves. In these moments it feels like such a gift to have two daughters.

 

6 Comments

  1. Wish someone could come in for you in the afternoon – watch the baby, do a few dishes, and let you take a nap! Will keep your concerns within the folds of my heart; will whisper prayers to the heavens. New moms are awesome, courageous, and probably isolated. Hugs

    Comment by Esther Bradley-DeTally on September 26, 2012 at 9:25 am

  2. I agree with Esther. I could not say it any better than she. The only thing that I would add to her comment is to try to take time for yourself as well. New Mums are “Awsome and courageous. My hat is off to you. Don’t forget to take time for yourself as well, though. Your in my thoughts. This probably isn’t the place to say this but I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your book, “Rules of Inheritance”. I can’t begin to articulate in words how much it helped me. I lost my mother to Cancer and my father to Alzheimers. It really helped me. Thank you.

    Ps. Great video. They look like angels. :-)

    Comment by Tony Martin on September 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm

  3. It’s an amazing time and that is a gorgeous post. Just keep breathing!

    Comment by Emmaline on September 27, 2012 at 4:19 am

  4. I can’t imagine you losing patience with Vera! It makes me feel better about my own, sometimes explosive, parenting! I can totally relate to the whole space “where no one is touching me”. Love the hugs and kisses, but some days it feel like there are hands always tugging – and it takes a toll. All you have to do is love them…the rest will work out!
    p.s. No. 4 is due in Jan for us!

    Comment by Bonnie on September 27, 2012 at 7:15 am

  5. Vera sounds like she is being willful and capricious. Entirely appropriate and expected at her age. Juliette is sensitive and reactive to the moods about her. You are an emotional person also, but with the added burdens of responsibilities. And the only adult present. I have seen this negative feedback with my wife and baby girls. You have to be the one to break the cycle. See it coming and use diversion and abrupt change of activity to reset the scene.
    I have no doubt that Vera loves her little sister to pieces, but tantrums, baby talk and pretend nursing, seems to indicate jealousy of the time you spend with J. Never reward tantrums with attention, positive or negative. I claim to be particularly good at this, because I can defer emotional reactions to some indefinite time in the future, but not so easy for you. Also, it may be possible to negotiate some time sharing with Vera.
    There was a plaintive hope that you were over some imagined peak of ‘second kid transition’. Sorry, never heard of it. Even if it did exist that there was such a syndrome that would go away at a certain age, there will be another challenge just down the track. You have written a book about meeting a challenge.

    Comment by Paul Tredgett on September 27, 2012 at 8:06 am

  6. I too am blessed with 2 girls and a case of mastitis. My youngest 3.5 months:) thanks for this post~ a gift to know I’m not alone in all of this. All the best to you and again, thank you!

    Comment by Christina on September 28, 2012 at 9:44 pm

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