Becoming a mother launched me into another world. I would call it a special club, but it is not really like that. It is more "those that don't know" and "those that do." I think motherhood is such a life altering event that it almost has to be one world verses the other. I am now seeing that in this world of motherhood there are levels of greatness and bravery. Or insanity. I think it is all based on how many children you have. Those that just have one, well they are in "the club" (okay, lets just call it a club) but they are sort of new members. They know motherhood is hard, but they still don't have an idea of how hard it really can be. Because they still get to nap when the baby naps. Thats the biggest thing I can think of. Well, and when that one baby is crying, at least no else is. Those two things. I guess they are more in the club than I first thought. But there is something so much harder about two than one. I just can't put my finger on the exact reason. Maybe it is just twice the work. That is how it feels most days. So, to think of anyone else wanting to multiple that work by three, four, five, or even more... they must be great. Or brave. Or Godly. Or insane. I am sure it is a mixture of all those things.
I have always said I wanted a big family. Since Andrew and I have been together we have said either four or six, maybe depending on if we would adopt. I had never really questioned the how many part. I had questioned my ability to be pregnant that many times after Blanche and having preeclampsia and other complications. Almost immediately after having Rosemary though I was sure I could do it two more times. I had experienced a fairly natural and healthy pregnancy and labor. I even had that "new mom high" that I never had after my long labor with Blanche. I told my labor and delivery nurse something like "I just want a million children." Something that had to have been influenced by a huge surge of feel good hormones.
These past few weeks however I have felt different. I told Andrew one day when he returned home from work that I needed to be able to tell myself I am done having kids to help myself make it through these hard months. Rosemary is a good baby, but like a lot of newborns, she wants to be held most of the day. Blanche is a good girl, except like most two year olds, she really isn't. Haha. I am mostly joking. I can seem to handle each one of them separately almost with ease now. When you put the two of them together though, it seems overwhelming to me. One of my friends posted an article on Facebook the other day about sensitive people. It talked about loud noises, chaotic environments, messes and disorder, these were all things that could really bother a sensitive person. They may have trouble thriving at all under theses types of circumstances.
And here I am, trying to remain calm after I have put Rosemary down and she is screaming her head off. I am trying to to get Blanche out of the bathtub.
"Come on Blanche it is time to get out."
"NO, I DONT WANT TO!"
(Rosemary starts crying harder)
"Blanche, you just told me you were ready to get out, and I put the baby down so I can help you. Please come here."
This is how our nightly routine often looks. The first few nights I was really flustered. Like I was racing against a time bomb. And anyone who has a two year old knows that getting Blanche out of the tub, diaper and pjs on, can take a lot longer than one would think. Many times Rosemary would be crying while Blanche cried too. Last night however, as the same scenario started once again, I caught Blanche off guard by proudly proclaiming, "Wow Blanche! You are so clean! I am so proud of you for washing off all by yourself." She immediately started laughing and happily got ready for bed.
I know it is all about keeping my cool. Being creative. Not letting bumps in the road throw me off as far as they normally do. I think I am learning that to really be a good mom, I have to be a mixture of Godly and insane. Maybe insane is a little harsh of a word. Because I think I am pretty mentally stable. I use the word think because I would be lying if I said I haven't felt depressed at times. Maybe from hormones or winter weather. Maybe from spending a lot of time in my pajamas. But I more mean insane to the point of seeming a little crazy to the rest of the world. When I see a mother of four now, after only having two, I think she is either insane for having four or maybe those four children have made her insane.
But life is normally either a little crazy or a little boring. I never want to be boring. I have had both of my babies, and lost one in between, because I love people. I love growing my babies and giving birth to them. I love seeing their little personalities develop.
Andrew is the best person I know. He would be quick to tell you he is not the greatest person on earth, but he is to me. He is because he is the only one on earth that knows me so well and really even better than I know myself. And through that he loves me so sweetly. I have woke up each day this week tired and grumpy and feeling a little sick. All I want is a cup of coffee and to be left alone. Instead he has made some wonderful breakfast that he knows I need to eat to feel better. When I have cried about wishing I could be a better mother, a better person, he encourages me in the best ways I have ever known. Instead of telling me simple cliche things, he says things like "You have made Blanche the amazing person she is. Her creativity and passion, it comes straight from you." I could not do this without him. Well, not in a way that such love and beauty constantly arises.
I have also found that along with the insanity of it all, meaning my hair, my emotions, my house... there has to be another component. Last night Blanche was having trouble sleeping and Rosemary was wide awake. I knew Blanche needed to go to sleep and that Rosemary was only in the mood to be held by me. Andrew was being held at work and at the time I didn't know why. I told Blanche to lay down. And her little sensitive self told me to please not leave the room. I told her I would walk with Rosemary and sing. I started singing Blanche the song I made up for her when she was a very small baby. It is very simple. "Baby, Baby Blanche, I know you're tired, Baby Blanche. You need to sleep, you need to sleep, I know you're tired Baby Blanche." As I sang I saw a verse I had written on some pretty paper hanging in our room. It began, "Love is patient. Love is kind." I started singing that. And singing "We love because he first loved us." As I sang I remembered how much strength and healing I had by singing to God and really focusing on small parts of scripture when I was in college. I wondered to myself, "When did I stop singing?" I felt the tiredness and annoyance of the day start to fade. It has always been hard for me to sing like that at first because I don't think I have the best voice. And you can really feel silly especially if you are making up songs. But making them up is the best part. And Blanche feel asleep so peacefully and quickly. I need to keep singing.
All of this has been a reflection of the words and thoughts always running through my mind during the day. Something in me always tries to find a place for these words. I like to put things where they belong. Writing makes me feel less crazy and more like I am explaining something to an old friend. I had some cute pictures of the girls to post, but in my tiredness I accidentally slid my camera memory card into our cd drive... they are right next to each other on our mac, and the cd drive is literally a non-retrievable slot of sorts. Still waiting for Andrew and I to have a moment to figure that one out... So instead here are pictures of both Blanche and Rosemary when they first smiled.