Great Mis-pectations

I was talking to an eight months pregnant woman following my son’s recent preschool winter program (a blog entry in and of itself). ‘Any tips?’ She asked, referring to the transition from one child to two. Hesitantly, ineloquently, realizing that our experiences will likely be very different, I said ‘the first three weeks are really rough, but after that it gets better.’ Unconvinced, she countered, ‘My daughter is really excited about the baby.’ I just nodded, the way I nod when a woman with a two-day old child tells me: ‘I think this baby is really mellow. He/She just sleeps and eats and doesn’t cry at all.’

I couldn’t possibly have known on August 27th what a crazy three-plus-months lay ahead of me. Naively, perhaps, I rode to the hospital the following day imagining a new baby boy, a hefty dose of sibling jealousy/rivalry and a few weeks of sleep deprivation in my future.

I was right about the new baby boy.

As it turned out, my preschooler unleashed his frustration over his changing circumstances on everyone and everything BUT the baby. Good….for the baby, but bad for me, my husband, family members etc. My ears are still ringing from the tantrums of those first few weeks.

The ‘few weeks’ of sleep deprivation turned into 14 weeks of waking up at least every two hours on a nightly basis. Instead of a welcome respite from a chaotic day, sleep has become a form of torture. Were it not for my inability to form coherent sentences and my readiness to fall asleep at 3pm, I would try to avoid it altogether. I give the evil eye to any mom who happily tells me that her baby sleeps 8 to 12 hours a night. Perhaps I just need to do x, y or z and my baby, too, would sleep through the night. To be fair, I may have been a teensy bit smug myself three years ago when my firstborn was sleeping through the night and my exhausted friends bemoaned their fates. Having seen both sides of the proverbial coin, I will testify that some kids sleep better than others. Period.

Basically, I would liken the past three months to: training to run a 5K and showing up on race day only to be told to swim 26 miles. Being in good shape coupled with race-day adrenaline only get you so far….after a while you wish someone could haul you out of the pool and throw you down on the warm concrete until such time as your weary limbs can coerce themselves into motion again.

I can honestly say life feels better as we settle into our fourth month as a family of four. Fellow preschool mom, beware.

Hope you can swim.

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