um…what the hell just happened?
i often find myself wondering this, but today, i’m referencing joel’s new crawling stage. um…what the hell happened to the delicate balance i had previously achieved with the two of them when he wasn’t crawling? you know, those bygone days when i could place a couple toys around him and then pretty much focus all of my attention on ruth? or even leave the room to go and check something or get a glass of water without worrying too much? the only thing i had to listen for was the thud and then heartbreaking crying that meant he fell over backwards and i would immediately go and snatch him up and comfort him, checking, as always, to make sure one of his pupils wasn’t more or less dilated than the other, a sure sign of a concussion? now, i have mere seconds before he might have crossed the room and is teetering on the edge of a steep precipice, eating something toxic and wind-pipe sized. i mean, our house isn’t even that big…there aren’t even that many things to get into and still he manages to track down the most life-threatening thing around in just seconds and make a b line for it.
ruth never did that. she was a late crawler and was, i joke not, like a big fat baby paper weight for a really long time. she never climbed anything, ate much of anything (including food) and if something was cautioned against to her, she would avoid it. i’ve heard speak of climbers and children who honestly seemed to seek out hazards, but i only half believed it, passing it all off as urban legend, until now.
before christmas, joel wasn’t crawling. greg had three weeks off during christmas and is now back to work, and i am shocked to find myself back at square one. it’s almost like i have another child all over again, the way things are all out of whack. ruth is acting like she did when he was first born, having to get used to a sibling that can now actively seek out activities and toys instead of being placated by and making do with what is tossed his way, she spends much of the day enraged and acts out in various ways, from gritting her teeth and yelling at her brother, to barely being able to restrain herself from physically reprimanding him, to hissing at him like a snake might, or an agitated cat.
on top of that, i am off my game as well. i can no longer employ my previous parenting technique with joel, which was pretty much to ignore him, and find instead that i am scarcely able to take my eyes off of him for a second. on top of the near-death scenarios i am constantly diffusing all day long, joel is older, eight months, and is getting frustrated with things more easily, and lo, like his sister, has a bit of a temper, and is finally demanding his piece of the mom pie, damn it. ruth is not happy about this as she was not a little perturbed at the original tiny slice of me she was forced to give up. now, he’s asking, demanding more.
in many ways, i feel like i’m back at square one, feeling like i’m ignoring both of them, unable to meet either of their demands or requirements, like i am barely keeping it together every day until greg gets home and the score is evened out a bit. how did i get back here? this kid-raising thing is clearly more like a game of chutes and ladders where you can be unceremoniously knocked backwards, instead of a game in which you move forward at a steady pace. just another of the things no one cared to share with me before these kids were on the scene. thanks, people. you like to keep me on my toes. i get it.