Wednesday, July 28, 2010

not enough arms, more than enough love

This week is my first week with my children on my own. Truthfully, I was a teeny bit nervous Sunday night. But then I remembered what I've learned many times over- that the anticipation is usually much worse than the actual event.

I calmed some and decided to just embrace it. The day started well. I got to sleep in, because my 2 littles slept late and I woke long enough to feed my 2 bigs breakfast, then slipped back in bed for another 45 minutes.

When I woke, I showered, got my littles dressed, fed, and went into Jack's room to play with him. After a bit, I decided I needed to accomplish something- something that would make my husband's eyes bulge with surprise and pride.

And that is where I went HORRIBLY wrong.

Instead of just figuring it out bit by bit- and by 'it' I mean how to mother 4 children, 2 of whom are pretty needy at this stage, and to make the day count- I set a goal bigger than my energy/mind/patience/back could handle.

I decided I would tackle all the laundry, clean the kitchen and dining room, AND clean the kids rooms- from the closets (putting outgrown clothes into bins and arranging hangers nicely), to under the beds (making piles of to-be-donated, to-be-trashed, and to-be-put-into-the-correct-bin), to the toy baskets, drawers, etc.

As I did laundry, I got the Dining Room cleaned up (it had become a game center, card table, lego building space, sewing spot, and drawing nook for the past few weeks), the kitchen in ship shape, and even cleaned the great room for good measure. Then I moved on to the kids rooms- my Everest.

About 20 minutes into room #1 (Tyler's), Everleigh started crying. I got the moby out, wrapped her up in it, and wore my baby girl back into Tyler's room. In the 5 minutes it took to get Evie taken care of, Jack dumped out Tyler's newly sorted Lego's onto the floor. Sighing deeply, I plopped my behind down onto the floor, and continued. After nearly an hour and a half, the room looked much better. So I moved on to Kaiti's room.

Another hour and a half plus, with Everleigh still in the Moby and Jack undoing about a third of what we did, and my back and head were starting to hurt. Bad.

But I still had Jack's room. The easiest. I was sorting toys about the time Evie woke up and started crying, pretty intensely. I rocked, patted, bounced, and she still screamed. Then she started getting sick. Like, getting sick with such force that it literally shot out her nose. She's been battling this reflux since she was a week old and it seems to be getting worse. Yesterday, it came to a head. Within minutes, myself, my baby girl, and my moby were drenched, completely soaked with curdled breast milk. And she was still howling.

I left Jack's room, set the baby down, and started cleaning us both up. I hate hearing my baby's cry, and as she was gagging on spit up, I felt the first major piece of my strength/resilience/confidence slip away.

That was about the time I heard Jack screaming down the hall. I grabbed the baby and ran to Jack, only to see a large bump forming on his head. Again, he dumped out the legos, and I am guessing he tripped on one and rammed his head into the corner of the wall molding as he fell. Then,  Kaiti started screaming from the bathroom-- she had a tummy ache and wanted me to come check on her.

Trying to comfort 2 crying children and calling out to another, the doubt crept in.

Here I was, on day one of our new life, and I felt like I was not enough. I was tired, sore from all the morning chores, head pounding from the proximity of two screaming children to my ears, and I wondered if I'd be able to give my kids all they'll need.

Then, as I was taking some deep breaths to calm the nearing storm in my head, I lowered myself to the floor- with a child on each hip- and my foot slid out from beneath me. I started to fall and tried to regain my balance, which was tough since each arm was cradling a child. I leaned back, and in doing so, banged my head pretty good against the wall- but I stopped the fall. Just as I was about to scream, Jack started laughing. Hysterically. Turns out, a mama banging her head and flailing about while trying to save 2 babies from a fall is pretty funny to a 20-month-old.

With his sweet little laugh, he brought me back to good. I realized that I was starting to doubt myself over some spilled Lego's and a little girl with a poorly-timed belly ache.

I won't be able to give my kids all that they'll need-- and I don't have to. I just need to give them all that I can. Some days I will have more to give than others. Some days, banging my head against a wall, accidentally or not, will be enough for them.

I won't be able to wrap all my kids up at the same time with hugs, but I can do it one by one. I won't be able to rock a sick baby, comfort a clingy one, and cuddle a sick one all at the same time, but I can tell them I love them a million times over. Some days, that will have to be enough.

Thankfully, yesterday it was.

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