With Junebug steadfastly refusing to nap in the evenings and Munchkin continuing his Tasmanian devil act by tearing up the house on a daily basis, we are still very much living day to day.
Posts tagged ‘threenager’
Munchkin turned three-and-a-half over the weekend, which means he is almost but not quite on the cusp of reaching self-sufficiency. At lunch the other day, he gave S a rundown of all the things he can do by himself. Unfortunately, getting dressed, feeding himself, and putting himself to bed are milestones that remain miles away. He’s made some progress on independent play, but only when we’re around – as soon as S heads upstairs to nurse Junebug, for example, Munchkin breaks down.
By the time Munchkin was a couple months old, we had already spilled a considerable amount of digital ink chronicling his every squirm, coo, and nascent personality quirk in the pages of this blog. As Junebug’s due date approached, we talked about the need to ensure that she does not get second billing – that we devote at least as much attention to her as to him so that she does not feel like she is growing up in his shadow.
Serving in Kenya, shortly after we got married and before we even thought about having children, we tried to take advantage of every extended holiday weekend to get out of Nairobi and explore the country. We continued to travel a lot after Munchkin was born, using our posting in Moldova as a springboard to explore Eastern and Central Europe, but we also came to appreciate the value of spending long weekends at home to soak in the wonderment of new parenthood.
One of the things we wondered and worried about before Junebug was born was how Munchkin would greet the arrival of his baby sister. Would he be jealous of her for stealing mama’s love and attention, and how would he act out his envy? Or would he be loving and protective and act proud of being a big brother?
“Zero to one was tough, and two to three was challenging, but going from one child to two wasn’t that bad,” several friends told us with the benefit of hindsight, and perhaps a dose of selective amnesia. Intuitively, this makes sense. First-time parenthood is tough because there is so much to learn. And going from two to three is hard because sometimes you find that you have more little humans who need attention than arms at your disposal. Still, adding a new baby into the mix is bound to make life more complicated, and we’ve found that having two small children frequently feels much more than twice as difficult as just having one.
For the first month of Junebug’s life, we followed a divide and conquer strategy. With D home on R&R and plenty of relatives visiting, balancing two kids was a manageable challenge. Newborns sleep a lot and are relatively portable, and with an endless stream of visitors who gave Munchkin the attention he covets and helped with the day-to-day household chores, the first four weeks flew by. We felt incredibly lucky to have had so much family support, but S was under no illusions about how daunting being home alone with both kids would be.
Long summer days, the short northern nights made shorter still by interrupted sleep. The days run together, exhaustion and enjoyment converge, and the calendar grows increasingly more meaningless with each passing (or perhaps passed over) sleep cycle. Vacation at its best? Parenthood at its most painful?
Having a newborn is a bit like entering the Twilight Zone. It’s not that one’s nights are completely sleepless, although that happens too. It’s more that sleep, when one is able to snatch some, is constantly interrupted, frequently during the deepest, most restorative portions. The accumulation of lost sleep wreaks havoc on one’s cognitive functions, which lends a surreal tinge to what is already an emotionally charged experience. The absence of variation in newborns’ eat-sleep-poop-cry routine completes the cognitive deconstruction. It only takes a couple of days to completely lose track of time, develop a tenuous, contentious relationship with one’s memory, and become so involved with the needs of one’s young child as to completely lose track of one’s own.