I have a birth narrative in progress for baby Leo. It is difficult to find time to sit down at a keyboard. Izabella takes two-hour naps in the afternoon and generally goes to sleep for the night by 7:30. As soon as she is down, however, I can't wait to fill my arms with new baby Leo. Facebook and email I can do from my iPhone. Blogging requires the rare moment when both babies are sleeping and I am not. Here is one of those moments....
First, let me clarify my entry regarding how rested I feel despite two babies to care for. As soon as I posted it and logged off, I knew it required emendation. Supermom, I am not. It does help that Leo and I share a bed. Though he wakes every two or three hours to nurse, he is a highly efficient nurser and usually finishes in about ten minutes. So I barely have to wake up to offer him my breast. Sometimes I fall back asleep while he nurses. I can't say enough about how great it is to co-sleep. Not only does mama get more sleep, I get to sleep with the sweetest gurgles and grunts as a soundtrack. More important to my sense of well-being, however, is my caregiver. Let me just admit it: We have a live-in nanny. I never thought that I would have a nanny, but I do. And it is wonderful. She is wonderful.
With two-under-two, not a relative nearby, and a partner who works many and long hours, I knew that I needed someone to help me. It has taken almost six months and the birth of my second child for me to really yield to the virtues of having another caregiver. As one of six children in my family, I never had a babysitter. Never. So I didn't grow up with the idea of having help with raising children. I was resistant to the idea. Especially as a stay-at-home mom (for now), it seemed ridiculous.
My attitude toward the issue is that my nanny is here to help me parent, not parent. Thus she cleans the kitchen, does laundry, tidies the toys, takes out the trash, etc. She sometimes cooks. These tasks are essential for a family. When I come downstairs from putting big sister to sleep and am ready to sit and nurse (or swaddle and bounce) little Leo for hours, the dishes have been down and the kitchen cleaned. The playroom is tidied. This makes a tremendous difference is my ability to parent two babies. Our caregiver is also wonderful with big sister, taking her to the park, reading to her, and happily pretending to be scared at least fifty times a day when Izabella squeals, "boo."
I wish grandma and grandpa lived down the street. I wish my college girl friends lived across town. I wish my women friends could drop by for coffee and cuddle time with the babies. The truth is that we are relatively new to the area, our families are nowhere close, and all my new women friends also have babies to tend.
I know families (and women) who manage on their own. I am not one of them. I have a nanny. And I am extremely grateful to have her by my side. (And a bit worried about what will become of us this fall when she will work for us on a part time basis.)
I'll keep plugging away at Leo's birth narrative.
(It feels good to write.)
Now I just need a haircut.