Miss Iza had her second birthday on February 8th. And as of that date, I can no longer claim membership to the 2-under-2 club. I suppose now I am in the 2-2-and-under club, but that doesn't quite garner the same insanity. With an over-2-year-old to my name I should have it all together by now. Parenting should be old hat, down pat, downright easy. Cutting baby nails? Been there. Teething? Been there. Making baby food. Done that.
Raising babies is "easier" with number 2. All that I learned raising Izabella has given me a frame of reference for the second baby. With Iza's every baby first, I would ask my mom, "Is this normal?" The weird newborn eyerolls. The frequency or lack thereof of poops. The list is endless. Now I have a sense of what is "normal," and even more importantly I understand that normal is way overrated.
A big bummer of parenting two little ones: illness. Wow. Does it suck to have a sick baby. Two sick babies are even worse. Worser still, sick babies + a sick mama. Poor me. We are not talking cancer. We are merely in the grip of lingering virus that causes mild fever followed by sinus woes. Leo is taking it the worse-est.
We are heading into night 13 of Baby Leo's fight against the family virus. By day he is cranky, but not too terrible. By night he drowns in his own snot. It is so sad to hear him try to breath. There is coughing, enough to make him gag and vomit. (I know. Sorry. But. Parenting babies is all about bodily fluids.) I have elevated our bed to create an incline. Vaporizer on full. Warm bath to loosen up the goo. I am doing all that I can and still we are up often in the night. I am okay with frequent waking when all that is needed is for me to nurse him back to sleep. But getting up to rock or bounce and walk or sing or all of the above is murder on this mama.
I admit it has led me to mutter quite loudly really bad words. I feel like a sh*t when I do it. But it usually releases some of my negative energy and allows me to refocus on the moment and endure. After so many nights, folks, I am not at my mothering best. It aint pretty.
The good news is that while I am not a patient woman, I do have endurance. And I do have a penchant for suffering bred into me by years of observing Lent and general Catholic culture. I may not be a saint, but I do understand the value of martyrdom.
I do not want my parenting to be defined by martyrdom, however. That seems all askew. I do not want to lose my life. I want to find it, create it in relationship with these little people.
Perhaps the nights of sitting with a suffering child who cries and thrashes and scratches (who seems entirely unappreciative of your love's labor) is a healthy dose of self-sacrifice. A way to die to self. It is certainly a way to wrinkle your skin and grey your hair.
And poor Leo. I can't wait to have my healthy, happy baby boy back.