Posted January 4, 2009on:
Last year, we heard enough about Wall Street and “Main Street” and, quite frankly, I’m tired of hearing about bailouts and depressing economic predictions on either street. This year, I prefer a different, more fun street. Easy Street.
While I was walking the malls with my pregnant waddle and an infant in a stroller, people looked at me like I had lost my marbles. “How far apart will your babies be?” I was asked everywhere I went.
“Thirteen months,” I would answer with a smile that conveyed that I’d had this conversation before and was ready for the second, usually nosy, comment. It was generally something like, “Oh my God. You’ll never sleep again.” Or “Did you want babies that close?” Or “I couldn’t imagine taking care of kids a year apart. It’s so hard.” Thank you for the encouragement, ladies.
But occasionally, someone would follow up the “how far” question with something interesting and insightful. It was like a breath of fresh air.
“Really? My kids are 13 months apart and it was the best thing I ever did.” Or “I never would have planned mine to be so close either but it works out and they are close for life.” Or even “you are going to be busy but it’s the best kind of busy.”
So, one day not so long ago, while I was pregnant with Bubs, I remembered a little gem of wisdom from a mother with kids in tow. She said, “I won’t sugar coat it. It’s hard in the beginning with two so close. But you do what you have to in the beginning. The first year is hard. But once the youngest hits one, it is so much easier. Get through the first year and you will be amazed at how much easier it becomes.”
I wondered at the time, will it really take a year? I was hoping for a little let-up after four months, maybe six. A year seemed like an eternity.
But here I sit, as Bubs turned one two days after Christmas, and I can say that woman was right.
In my son’s infant stage, he had acid reflux. Badly. And it wasn’t just the spitting up. I can handle spit up. Trust me. I’ve been covered in it to such a degree that I could market a new fragrance. It was the wincing, the arching, the screeching out in pain. I cried. A bunch. It was hard to see my little guy in pain and not be able to help with just the touch of my arms or the sound of my voice. But, with the help of a little medicine and a lot of reading, we got through it.
He also didn’t sleep. And I don’t mean normal “babies don’t sleep” kind of insomnia. I mean, he would sleep for only 45 minutes to an hour at a time, night after night, month after month. I have never, ever felt that kind of sleep deprivation and I hope not to ever again. I remember saying, “He’s six months old! He should be sleeping!” I was grateful for those odd nights when he slept three hours at a time. People would ask, “How is the sleeping going?” I would reply happily, “He had a good night last night. I got a three hour block.” And I could hear their jaw hitting the floor because, really, three hour blocks at six months is a dismal performance, but I was so thankful for the little respite I could find. Miraculously, the night of October 20, 2008, he decided to sleep through the night and continued to this very day. It was such a monumental night that I remember the date. So we got through it.
During this time, Beans got a new myoelectric arm, started to talk, and learned to walk. For the first four months of Bubs life, Beanie scooted to get around. Slowly, at first and then more quickly. It was quite the sight. I lost my baby weight quickly as I spent my days picking up and moving both kids from one place to another because she wasn’t yet walking. I lugged Bub’s carseat to Beanie’s therapy sessions, learned to grocery shop with two kids in the cart, and mastered getting them in and out of the car relatively quickly while running errands. At first, it took me a good hour to get out of the house. Now, I move faster than Superman as I race around and get them loaded and to our destination on time, most days.
And now, one year later, I am sitting on the couch as both kids are sleeping. And I’m blogging. And reading. And meeting friends for the occasional dinner. And raising awareness for Variety. And writing. And just keeping up.
That woman with two kids in the mall that day was right. One year is the turning point. And now it’s Easy Street most days. Don’t get me wrong. Even the nicest streets have cracks in the sidewalk that trip you up when you aren’t looking. But it’s worth it to take that walk. Just remember to take a warm coat, some comfy shoes, and a bag with some extra diapers and wipes for emergencies.