We brought home Baby Q on Monday, and Roo has been ecstatic to be around the baby. Their interaction and Roo's apparent acceptance of Baby Q has quelled some common fears in me. I knew that Roo would be gentle, intrigued and excited by the baby, given her interactions with other babies and the time we took to establish that there was a baby in mummy's belly.
But, as we try to settle in this temporary space to recover from surgery, I've encountered an unexpected effect and the resurfacing of a new problem(s).
Last night, I was preparing and about to begin my 11:00 supplement and pain medication routine when I had two crying kids, and I could only tend to one. Now, I am very fortunate to have my mother-in-law, who went to the aid of Roo, while I tended to Q. But as I scrambled to dispose of myself to feed Q and helplessly watched as I couldn't pick Roo up, I realised that I am without the knowledge of how to balance the two. And while I know that it is a learning experience, it's not even been a week; I find myself unsure of what to do about it. You see all sorts of things about bringing home a new baby. Like how to introduce one to the other and make sure the other doesn't feel left out. But how to ensure that you don't feel like you are doing everything wrong in situations where it is not much you could do about it.
Then there was this morning when I had both toddler and infant in my bed. You would think this is a picture-perfect moment. Until the toddler doesn't listen to what mom is saying and refuses to pay any attention. While you are breastfeeding a clueless infant, you are struggling to wrangle a two-year-old child who kicks you straight in your belly. FYI, I just had a C-section. All I can do at this moment is have the toddler removed from the situation and cry for both pains. The obvious physical pain, but the mental one as well.
Here is the thing. I thought I had master the art of toddler wrangling. I thought I had most of the answers, like:
- Don't run after a fleeing child.
- Don't give attention to tantrums.
- Discipline with a conversation of cause and effect.
- Be firm and follow through.
But as I progressed on the pregnancy journey and released all the control, allowing space for others to step in and manage the situation, lessons taught have been undone in my child; at least it feels that way. I mean, here I am, trying to ensure that my toddler doesn't feel abandoned, and the only way I can cope is to remove myself from the situation. I forced myself out of bed and out of the hospital because I have a toddler at home. And now, I'm here, and I can't cope.
It's one thing to tell yourself and to be told, to give it time. But I feel like time is the enemy. I feel like time will only make it worse.
As it stands right now, I have no solution. Just a prayer that once I'm in a physical space to deal with the challenging situation, I can start to reassert control and balance in our lives again.
After writing this post, I got myself together and took the problem head-on. Well, I was presented with a situation where I had to manage both kids by myself. And while Baby Q slept, Roo sat in my lap, and we learnt to write. I've been carving more time to do activities with Roo while I heal. And it does make for an exhausting day. I haven't slept as much as I would like, but I know my daughter feels my presence, and I'm not as anxious about the situation as before. I'm still overwhelmed, but I'm trying to make sure that it all holds together. Time is still the enemy here, but I am navigating it by the grace of God.