She still attacks him occasionally if my back is turned (why don't moms come with eyes in the backs of their heads???) but she really does love him. OK. Maybe it's more like a love-hate relationship. But, those tend to be the most passionate kinds of relationships, don't they? I'm just looking forward to the day when they can actually relate to each other and be playmates. At least, I hope that day will come.
I don't mean to sound ungrateful because I have just about everything in my life I've ever wanted. But I will always remember this as the toughest and certainly one of the most depressing times of my life (luckily for me I have very few of those). Just when I think we're about to catch a break (Waylon's weight is finally starting to rise; he is sleeping a bit better; Delaney has stopped attacking her brother; I was able to take a shower) some crappy thing happens (Delaney catches a nasty cold; her tiny brother catches it too and is completely miserable and can't sleep unless I hold him upright all day and night; I'm back to getting only 2-3 hours of sleep a night; Delaney throws sibling-angst-induced tantrums; Delaney wakes up with what appears to be pink eye). Add to those unfortunate circumstances the bleak, dark, cold January weather and you've got a recipe for "Woe is Me" pie (best served with hot coffee containing a shot--or eight--of Jack Daniels). Yes it's safe to say that on this, my 37th birthday, I'm wallowing in self pity.
My best friend (who just had her first baby in July) totally understands what I'm going through. Her daughter had colic and reflux. And, while I'm not dealing with those exact problems, I obviously have my own set of challenges. Her daughter is now six months old and so she keeps reminding me that it does get better. It gets easier. I remember that it did get better with Delaney but it was never this hard to begin with. Having two kids is HARD. Although everyone told me how hard it would be I had to experience it for myself to understand that. And it's to tough accepting how our lives have changed. Even though I know things will get better, easier (?) and more manageable, things feel pretty bleak right now. I feel trapped in this tiny house with two small beings who constantly need, need, need and who try my patience and push my buttons and some days all I want to do it make a break for it and drive south, alone, until I hit the beach.
Lot of friends also told me that three years old (or nearly so as Delaney is) is a great age for a child to have a sibling. But this is one of the toughest parts for me...dealing with Delaney and her feelings regarding her brother and this new situation. She acts out so much that we're constantly correcting her. This leads her to act out even more (because, as they say, it doesn't matter to the kid if the attention is bad or good as long they're getting some kind of attention) and we correct her again which leads to a vicious circle of more bad behavior. We're flying blind on how to help her through this and most days it feels like we're not doing that great of a job. I feel guilty that I can't spend as much time with her as I used to. I feel like I'm failing her daily as her mother. No wonder she acts out. She realizes that her formerly fun mom isn't fun any more and has been replaced instead by a tired old hag who can't seem to spend enough time with her and who only complains about what she's doing wrong. If I were her I'd act out too.
Still, ever the optimist (And why? I need to give that angle up. It's definitely not working for me lately.) who tries to focus on the bright side of life, I must mention that yesterday Waylon smiled at me. And not once, but twice and two more times today! So, there is that. He's developing his little personality and making me realize that although we seem to be mired in a dark hell right now, things are changing ever so slightly for the better. I suppose I need to turn my attention to the little things that count most to get me through these days. Because this is definitely the life I want, the life that's filled with my fantastic husband, my two kids, my family and friends, my job. And I am lucky. Very lucky. At least, on some level, I still know that.
I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later but I wasn't prepared for it to happen today. Delaney attacked Waylon when I wasn't in the room. He was sleeping so I'd put him down in his crib in the bedroom that they share. Delaney was in the same room, looking out the window, watching Roger do yard work. I left the room for less than a minute and before I could return I heard a shriek from Waylon unlike anything I'd heard from him up until that point. I ran into the room and Delaney was looking at me and yelling, "I scratched him! I scratched him!" Poor Way was frantically screaming and on his little face appeared angry red lines from his forehead to diagonally down across his cheek. I scooped him up and tried to keep my composure as I talked to Delaney but the tears began streaming down my sleep-deprived face and I knew I was in no condition to handle her outburst so I ran outside and got Roger. He talked to her about her behavior and took away two of her favorite toys and gave her a time out as punishment. When she came out she apologized to me and Way but she didn't seem that bothered by what she'd done.
This attack must have been building in her for a while. Roger and I have been blown away at how well she's handled Waylon's addition to our family since his birth. Although she's started having some discipline issues with us that have escalated over the last week, until today she'd been nothing other than sweet and loving to her little brother. Minutes before the incident she and I were cuddling after I'd put him in the crib and things seemed great. But, yesterday she did have a pretty big meltdown after her nap--I'd even call it a tantrum which is something she's never had before--and that probably should have been my cue to pay even more attention to her. As Roger reminded me, this has been a stressful week for all of us, especially her and she's handled things incredibly well.
Still, I had no idea that I could feel such fury at my firstborn when she attacked her little brother. I was worried for him and angry at her. Yet, at the same time my heart broke for her because I knew that for her to act that way, she's feeling quite a bit of pain and she's not sure how to deal with it. Am I doing a good enough job helping her understand this big change in her life? I thought I was. I thought we were. Now, I'm not so sure. I'm not necessarily blaming myself because I know that lots of kids go through this when they get a sibling. But I thought she was doing really well. I'm not sure how I could have been so wrong. And now I'm afraid to leave her alone, even for a second, with the little boy she calls, "My precious baby."
I don't write often enough here about my parents and how wonderful they are. They do so much for us. They saved me today by watching Delaney all morning so I could work at a nearby coffee house. They did the same for me last week and they do it all the time, watching her whenever I need them to, without asking for anything in return. They feed her breakfast, make her lunch, play with her and keep her happy and safe while I go to doctor's appointments, have lunch with the mamas and work on no-school days.
Roger's mom ("Wizzerbelle") who unfortunately doesn't live near us, does more than her fair share too. She just surprised us with a contribution she said was for our "new baby fund" and she sends Delaney cards and books and clothes when she sees things that she knows Delaney will love. She and Delaney talk on the phone all the time. I know she wishes she could see Delaney more often and it's hard for her that we live so far away. I wish that wasn't the case and that all of our family lived in the same city. But she does a wonderful job of letting us know how much she loves us and how much she cares.
I only hope that when Big Brother, Big Sis, Delaney and new baby are grown we're able to support them and do all of the things for them that our parents have done for us. As their parents it will be our privilege.
Getting there is not half the fun. It's not even a quarter of the fun. It's a gigantic pain in the ass lugging a toddler, three suitcases, a carseat, several carry-ons and two laptops across the country. But overall I can't complain. Although we hit a few bumps along the way, we were blessed with good traveling karma. The planes were on time and we survived the flights (I will admit to having a glass of chardonnay on the second, bumpier flight to calm my nerves but a playdate wasn't involved so it was totally OK.).
The hassles we encountered were minor: my car's window wouldn't roll back up in the long-term parking lot after we retrieved the parking ticket; Delaney's diaper had a monster leak on the first flight; and it took us 45 minutes to drive two miles on an Indianapolis freeway due to a wreck that was up ahead, turning what should have been an hour and a half drive to Grandma's into a nearly three-hour ordeal. Those problems certainly paled in comparison, though, to what a wonderful traveler Delaney was. She was cheerful the entire time, playing with the toys I'd packed and charming everyone around her. Her favorite "toy" was the saftey information card in the seat pocket in front of her. She is, after all, her mother's daughter although I'm pretty sure she wasn't using it to commit to memory all of the ways you can exit the aircraft during an emergency. I did my best to be brave in front of her and act as if flying was the most wonderful, exciting thing ever, even when I would have preferred to hoark into the barf bag out of sheer terror during takeoff. All of my high school drama classes finally paid off.
There's a ton of snow on the ground here and the temperature is, well, it's frigid. I never fully got the meaning of that word until I stood in a parking lot last night trying to find a sippie cup in a carry-on bag while my nipples froze. Holy mother was it cold. I'm not cut out for weather like this (and you are welcome to remind me I said that when I'm bitching about the Texas heat in July).
The long-awaited sibling reunion takes place later today when Big Sis and Big Brother get out of school. I can't wait to see Delaney with them again. Watching her with her brother and sister and with her Grandma makes this crazy winter wonderland trip worthwhile.
That last post was a little melodramatic, huh? I regretted hitting the "save" button after I did it, but I had to run out the door and didn't have time to revise. I've decided that I'm not going to change it anyway because it's true to how I felt at the time. And, while "war" is a poor choice of word for the experience I hope to have over the years, raising my daughter, this particular issue is most definitely a battle.
Anyhoo, I'm feeling better now. Probably has something to do with the fact that no scratching has occured since I wrote about it. Talk to me after the next scratch happens. In about, oh, five minutes.
Delaney's been distracted for a bit from the scratching because Big Sis arrived. After we picked her up at the airport a few hours ago, Delaney reached out for Big Sis immediately and instinctively as if they'd never been apart. So cute! When I put Delaney down for her nap, she objected by simultaneously sobbing and screaming, "Sish-shter! Sish-shter!" as if she'd never see her again.
As you can imagine, "Sish-shter" is the one person not getting scratched.
So how're the newly acquainted siblings getting along? Well, let's just say they haven't quite warmed to each other yet. Maybe it's because they haven't spent much time together. Maybe it's because Delaney's never seen anyone with a lip ring and a Mohawk. Maybe it's because Big Brother scared the bejeezus out of her by getting in her little face and shouting, "Boo!" sending her screaming into my arms. Or, maybe it's because Big Brother's friend, Travel Buddy, vomited eight gallons of Tex-Mex while sitting next to her in my car after dinner on their first night in town (I'll never look at chips and queso in quite the same way again. But, strangely, I think I'll still eat them. Even puke can't quell the love I have for spicy cheese.). Anyway, I think they just need to spend some quality time together forging their bizarre, yet meaningful relationship amid a 17-year age difference. Heck, their father and I were able to do it.
Speaking of Roger, he spent an awfully long time cleaning Travel Buddy's barf out of my car, God love him. Sadly, it's not the first (and probably won't be the last) time he's cleaned up puke on my behalf. The first time was when my sweet, high-spirited British friend came to town for some crazy single-girls-on-the-town fun and instead wound up sitting in my boring, tiny house watching me make goo-goo eyes at the love of my life. To bring her spirits up after that disappointment, I served her a special brownie prior to dinner at a Japanese restaurant. Please believe me when I tell you that saki, sushi and psychedelic desserts do not mix. When we returned home I was a little too inebriated and floaty to help carry her into the guest room so Roger did it. Minutes later, after he dropped her into bed, she spewed forth. Roger had to clean it all up whilst I lay in the next room, drunkenly calling for him to keep watch on her all night so she wouldn't choke to death. Ah, good times.
And, this amazing man was called upon once again to prove his love for me when one of our dogs, Guinness, came down with a virus. I had just picked Roger up at the airport. He was returning from a Christmas visit with his kids and I planned to sweep him off of his feet and into our quaint bedroom for a welcome home celebration. Instead, when we walked into the house we were hit by a stench so vile that it must be what CSIs experience when they find a days-old corpse. It was nas-tay. I'd left poor Guinn in the sunroom because it was terribly cold outside. While I was gone she'd gotten sick, from both ends, ALL over the room. I decided to take her to the vet and Roger said he'd stay behind to clean up. As I headed for the door with Guinness in my arms, I glanced back and saw Roger gagging and barfing as he mopped. He had to clean up after the dog and himself. And, I'm ashamed to admit it, but I laughed so hard I got tears in my eyes. But lest you think me a terrible person, I laughed not only because it was such a ridiculous scene, but also because he's so dear and constantly shows me, even in the strangest of ways, how much he loves me.
I love you, too, Honey. And I'm so glad you don't make me clean up the barf.