A Day of Highs and Lows

Adjusting to Big-brother-dom revisited (jotted down in sentence-fragment form around the end of October with an attempt to smooth it out and make sense of it all a month later):

Well, Spencer, we took your paci away 2 nights ago.  Many people may think it was long over due, and to them I say, "Have a Spencer and then have an opinion."  However, you'd been intermittently waking up at night ever since we brought Evelyn home, and you've had a cold, so we have given you benadryl or a decongestant every couple of nights.  The timing seemed right--you're awake anyway, and I can give you a little bit of drugs without guilt.  I can't imagine taking it away and starting to potty train simultaneously, and both are on the horizon.  And, lastly, a friend posted she'd taken the paci away from her second child--her first is your age--and I thought, "Ok, it's 'go time'."  Nothing like your mom bowing to positive peer pressure.  I did have some, ok tons, of guilt.  I sort of felt like we were kickin' you while you were down, so to speak; but I'm just tired enough not to have the energy to over think it as much as I traditionally would.  So, that's workin' for me and against you (but FOR you in the long run, of course).

In addition to being up in the middle of the night, you've had multiple 4:30 am wake up times, thanks to the time change.  Loath is the word I have for that sort of thing.

So, this morning, after you were up once in the middle of the night, and then at the crack of dawn, I caught you pulling all the wipes out of Evelyn's wipes box.  Then, you proceeded to run around the house, scattering my things that are off limits, and finally you resorted to throwing your cup on the ground for fun, so I turned off your morning shows--for the whole morning.  That was fairly devastating for you.  Sad, but true.

We eventually got out the door and off to speech.  When we got back home, you had chocolate milk, and I got Evie to take a nap.  I had told you if she napped, we'd go outside.  You realized all by yourself that she was asleep and reminded me that I said we'd go outside, so we did.

We started collecting leaves.  I tried to get you to collect them, but you preferred to make me do it.  And to make me talk to you about them--their shapes, their colors, the tree from whence they came... You had a great time.  At one point, we were sitting down, and I told you that God made leaves.  You started saying something that I couldn't make out at first, but finally it dawned on me.  You were saying what you'd learned in Sunday School a few days before:  God made sheep.  I was so taken a back.  I know you're listening and learning, but it's even more fun to know you're learning from someone else, and coming home, and knowing it.  Precious.  I might have cried.  I blame the postpartum hormones.

I thought we'd glue the leaves we'd collected onto a piece of paper.  You like finding the glue, which took me forever, and you liked it when I put the glue on the paper, and then you screamed the whole time I put the leaves on.  Whatever.  I could NOT figure out what the deal was.  

I eventually got you to eat some tuna fish, but then you couldn't settle on what show to watch afterwards.  You wouldn't answer me, and everything I proposed you screamed about.  I told you that you were tired, changed your diaper, and put you down for a nap.  You screamed for about seven minutes (I feel like you're an infant learning to soothe to sleep again--which you kind of are, since we took your most soothing posession in the world away from you at probably your most vulnerable time) and then you fell asleep.  "They" also talk about infants having night wakings when they are learning something new developmentally, and I've wondered if your speech therapy has newly accessed some parts of your little brain, causing you to have more to process at night.  Your sleep has definitely been disturbed since you began therapy, but, you began therapy two days before your sister was born.  So, we'll never know if my hypothesis is correct.

You've actually had many days lately where you've screamed yourself to sleep for your nap.  Today you also started declaring, "No," when I asked you if you were ready to listen, even after you'd just had a time out for not listening.  As your Dad put it, "We're in full-force with this insecurity thing (since your sister is here now)."  When I tell you to say, "Yes, Mommy," you defy me by saying, "Yes, DADDY."  And you do the opposite for your dad.  Not very creative, but it still made me chuckle a little the first time you came up with it.  Crazy littles.

So, after your nap, you were still fairly exhausted since you aren't sleeping as great as you usually do (you're still sleeping better than lots of toddlers--but you need all the sleep you can get!).  You continue throughout the afternoon doing the song and dance where we have to basically force you to stop for a meal.  You let yourself get so hungry that you're screaming and flailing, it's amazing what protein does for you.

The bright side is that even on days like today, you really love Evelyn, and you're already enjoying her as much as you can.  And even on days with lows like today, there are generally plenty of "highs" to balance them out.  I will look in the back seat of the car to see you holding Evelyn's hand.  Tonight you cried most of the way home from Gigi's because Evelyn was in the green car with Daddy.  You wanted Evie in the "white car!"  I asked if you missed her, and you said, "'KAY!"  Y'all are going to be great buddies (and probably excellent sparring partners).  

I recounted our day, not because it was unusual but because it was typical, but overall I'd say you're adjusting to our new family arrangement quite nicely.  Hang in there, having a sibling only gets better!


The Day Before Spencer Became a Big Brother

*I resisted the urge to title this post, "The Day the Music Died."

While I knew it would be a hard transition, Spencer still managed to surprise me.  We started off the day with a great trip to Kroger.  Spencer sat so nicely in the car-ish grocery basket--although I did look down to him holding a box of cereal which the manufacturer had managed to turn into a peanut-allergy hazard.  Yanked that away.  It was even organic, ha!  He's allergic to both, by the way, organic peanuts or genetically modified, pesticide-laden ones.  I let him pick out some of the first pumpkins we'd seen for sale, since I knew things were about to get hectic. He held them the whole time, and managed to rip the stem off of one before we'd even gotten out of the produce section.

It was WICKEDLY hot, but a nice man helped us out of the store.  I always tell them that I don't need any help, but this time I thought, "Yeah, I'd love some help!"  So, I let them push the basket out for me.  Then, he loaded the groceries into my car!  Life lesson:  if you look pregnant enough, people generally tend to be kind and helpful (not everyone, but more people than usual).  Unfortunately, it's before I look pregnant that I'd really love a little extra kindness, aka, basket-pushing-out-service-with-a-smile.  And that's the exact time people think you're a loser mother, poorly dressed, unshowered, with a cranky, insecure, loud toddler screaming and not even a glimmer of the will to power on your countenance to let them know that you do not, in fact, plan on visiting him in the penitentiary within the next couple of years.  But that's another post altogether.

At nap time, however, Spencer reminded me that he was, in fact, paying very much attention to what was going on around him.  He decided instead of sleeping, that he would take this last opportunity as an only child to remind his mom why she wanted to do it all over again.  He smeared poop all over his antique bed, focusing especially on the wooden side boards with a few smears on the mesh and metal safety rails for good measure.  I'm pretty sure it is still in his rug.  I sniffed and cleaned for quite some time before collapsing.  I weighed in at 194.6 lbs. the next morning.  I'm only 5 feet 5 and 3/4 inches tall.  Leaning over was quite the feat of engineering.  

Later that afternoon, Spencer found me getting bottles sterilized and ready.  He then proceeded to adopt one.  Consequently, when we brought Evelyn home and didn't let him give her a bottle, he was devastated.  In hindsight, why in the world did I not let him give her a bottle?  It would have lasted no time at all.  I almost caved at the time--and I probably should have.  Sleep deprivation does a number on my logic and critical thinking skills.

But, the piece de resistance occurred that evening.  The evening before his sister would be forced into the world.  The evening before he would be forced from his place of my one and only.  He was in rare form at my parents house that night.  He was running and giggling, and being extra silly.  But, to be honest, many nights would have the exact same description.  He just lives on a different plane.  [I'd like to insert a plug for the book "Raising Your Spirited Child"--it's good].  It was at this point that he grabbed a glass off of a side table in the living room.  He knew he shouldn't have it, and that was fun.  But it wasn't quite the thrill he was hoping for.  So, since all of our faces weren't reflecting QUITE enough horror, he decided to swirl the glass around a couple of times, and then spike it onto the hard wood floors.  Did I mention the glass contained wine?  Yeah, of course it wasn't a glass full of water.  As shocked and dismayed as I was at his behavior--and I actually was a little shocked.  I wish I could stop feeling that way, but for some reason, he still manages to surprise me.  Am I an optimist?  I never thought so!--nothing was quite as amazing as seeing both of my parents, NOT known for their leniency during my childhood, start laughing hysterically at the whole event.  My dad finally asks my mom how he can help, and tells me it's really not a big deal and not to worry about it.  I hear myself ask them to stop laughing so that I can proceed to properly discipline my child for what he's done in his last night as an only child frenzy.  They manage to pull it together a little.  Spencer does not.  We leave in quite a whirlwind.  I could write six thousand words and not describe all of the feelings, images, expressions, noises, chuckles, and screams that occurred in what was approximately four seconds of "real time."

This was what I was bringing another child into the world to experience--my attempt at being a mother.

I didn't fall asleep 'til 10:45, knowing that the real adventure was yet to come.


Picture Perfect

Thank you, Kendy, for the precious image of our little baby girl!