I've been away. Not on an exotic vacation, or a sabbatical in Europe…I've been in the cavernous depths of my own humanity, struggling to find my voice in my new role as mama of two. (Melodramatic? Yes, I live in a house of tiny women, its who I am.)
The Tiny Fashionista became a big sister this winter. And, this new role suits her perfectly (read: she has someone else to boss), and yet simaeltaneously shattered the delicate balance of her Annaliese-centered world.
Poppy, we'll call her the Teeny Fashionista was born on January 27, 2014. She is a delight in every way. She's generally happy; she cries when hungry, eats when fed, and sleeps when tired. Some folks refer to her as 'Angel Baby' because she really is that good.
The Tiny is a kind and caring big sissy to the Teeny. She plays on the floor with her, shares her toys (even the ones that pose serious choking risks…thank you Squinkies), helps with diaper changes and paci plugs, and finds great joy in making the Teeny smile.
It's me; the Tiny Fashionista has aimed her at times "spirited" response directly at me. She couldn't peg this emotion as jealousy but my divided attention, my time nursing the Teeny, rocking the Teeny, changing the Teeny, has rocked her boat. The Tiny Fashionista has to share her mama. And, this has been our biggest challenge.
There are the obvious challenges. I sit down to feed the Teeny and at that exact moment the Tiny HAS to (insert any sane or insane action here)_________. have a snack. go potty. color. spill a box of cheerios. spill a cup of milk. hit the dog. fall down. run away…this list could go on forever, you get me. Then there is the not so in your face challenges like making sure you're one and only special girl still feels like your one and only even though she's now part of a perfect pair.
Someone once told me that to put yourself in the mind of the newly sibling-fied toddler, to imagine your husband coming home from work one day and saying "Hi Honey! This is Rhonda, she is going to be my second wife and she's going to live with us and you have to share all your food, clothes, shoes and jewelry…oh and she doesn't love loud noises so you have to use your inside voice and also, if you could be really nice to her too that'd be great, because she is going to live with us…FOREVER."
Of course they lose their minds! Top this off with the unstable and irrational canvas that is the two-year-old brain anyway, and the adjustment from one kid to two is going to throw the whole family unit into a spiraling messy sea of emotion.
During these first six months I've sat down to write many times, but could not publish. I needed to find the funny, and on somedays things just weren't. In the beginning when hubs got home from work I told him "100% of the time, someone in our house will be crying. And, sometimes that person will be me." And it was, a lot.
Being a new mama is blissful, and joyous and fills you up with love. But, being a new mama is also hard and lonely and at times sucks you dry. Being the mama of a toddler is fun, and crazy and full of laughter. But, being the mama of a toddler is also hard and trying and at times even heartbreaking. Put these together and the love and fun and joy is palpable, but so is the isolation and loneliness and its ok for both to exist. I've accepted that this doesn't make me a bad mama, just an honest one.
A good friend of mine is always reminding us to "Find Joy in the Journey" and there is a lot of joy admidst the crazy. So in that spirit here are a few nuggets of joy you may have missed in our six months apart…
Tiny is potty trained...and also no longer enjoys wearing clothes.
The Teeny had her first taste of real food.
(ewww…can we call a rice cereal and breast milk cocktail that?)
The Teeny and Tiny (and cousin LiLi) shared in the joy of their Uncle Mark and Aunt Di's wedding. As tiny gift bearers, they made it all the way down the aisle with no tears, no wipeouts and other than trying to scale the alter, no hiccups.
Since Poppy's birth, the Tiny Fashionista has worn a tutu every. single. day. 24. 7.
I'm sure this will be the subject of therapy session down the line. When pictured without assume a huge battle has just been fought.Oh, and she also no longer likes wearing shirts.
I am happy to be back on your screen, and I promise (read: will make every reasonable effort) not to stay away so long again. Here's to holding on to the small moments, and taking big deep breaths during the crazy ones to really soak it in and remember that this too shall pass…and probably much too quickly.