I forgot all about "this" stage.
When I was pregnant with this babe I confessed to anyone that would listen that I wasn't really all that fond of babies. As I recalled from the first time around, six years earlier, the fun really started at about 2 years postpartum. Or maybe, as it turns out, I didn't really find my groove as a mom until that point. Don't get me wrong. I loved that baby with all my heart. She gave me what would be possibly the biggest adventure of my entire life. Becoming a mom completed me and all that cliche stuff. But quite frankly I found dealing with the demands of an infant quite tedious and my patience was taken to new edges...daily.
I could draw comparisons all day long, really. The "who I am v.s. who I was" factor, the differences in eating, playing, development, disposition and sleep patterns of my two babes, the only child v.s. the division of energy with the additional child, the stark difference in learning curve from the first to the second.....even the sheer lack of stimulation and organized activities for this second child is staggering. And maybe there is really not that much difference. The truth is I've discovered that I don't dislike babies at all. In fact, I fell completely in love with parenting this infant. She challenged me, fascinated me and mesmerized me in ways I did not recognize the first time. Or maybe I had just forgotten. Six years is a long time. Because, as it turns out I had forgotten "this" stage all together.
I know now why I waited so long in between babies. Until Meg reached the age of five it seemed like each stage became more difficult than the last. Just when I thought I had no time and no patience left to spare I was taken to a new edge. Left nostalgic and wistful about the stage we had just left. And yet when I had been fully immersed in that previous reality I could not appreciate it's gifts and apparent simplicity. And on and on it went.
"This" stage that I had forgotten is perhaps the part I struggled with last time. Perhaps this is what had me believing I didn't much care for babies. My Lola is an "easy" child. Amuses herself for hours in the day. Her defiance is short lived and easily redirected. Her determination is infuriating but admirable. She seems to understand the word "no" and doesn't always ignore it. Her ability to leave a trail of non-destructive chaos in her wake is charming. And yet it's all relative. Because she is my kid and I have only her to contend with I find that the "time-sucking" nature of parenting a toddler is....well.....frustrating.
Which brings me to today, right now, sitting in my car, outside my house. Laundry and dishes piled up to teetering heights. A diaper pail stinking to high heaven. A bathtub completely full of hand washing in various stages of completion. No plans for supper tonight (or any other night for that matter). A stack of paperwork to contend with and emails to answer. A trail of cereal boxes and granola bars strewn across the kitchen floor..... And here I sit. In the car. Listening to the deep and contented breathing of my sleeping toddler.
This busy toddler in the midst of a swirling whirlwind of change has had a lot of trouble with sleep the last couple of days. I have spent at least 17 hours over the last three days lying next to her, nursing her, comforting her, rocking her, singing to her, ignoring her, patting and rubbing her, all in an effort to get her to sleep. Both for her naps and at night.
So today I decided to forego all ideas of crossing something...anything off my list in favour of making sure that this child slept. I was out anyway and headed home around naptime. So I took a circuitous route past the bank and to the drive-thru at Second Cup. Driving until finally I heard the sweet sounds of sleep emanating from the back seat of the car. I drove leisurely towards home and pulled up in front of my house. Coffee, brownie and silence...... Now what.
I decided at this point that one could dedicate an entire blog to sharing helpful tips and suggestion for the busy mom of a car napping toddler. I started a list...
1. A directory of products and services that are available in drive-thru format.
2. Tips on how to fold laundry on your tailgate.
3. A comprehensive guide to the best places to tap into free wi-fi in your community.
4. A compilation of creative, gourmet and mess-free on the go lunches for hungry mamas.
5. The complete illustrated compendium of napping options for the front seat of your car.
6. A listing of the best radio shows available between the hours of 10:00 and 4:00.
7. A map of the best views of your city from quiet streets or parking lots.
8. Ideas for toning your thighs, buttocks and belly in a seated and upright position.
9. Directions for creating awe-inspiring crafts with old gas reciepts and slurpee straws.
And that is just a start...