‘Are you going to church today,’ I asked Jason last Sunday when he emerged from the shower. ‘I’m not sure,’ he replied, ambivalently.
‘Really?’ I asked, prepared to spell it out….’one kid in nursery and the other in Sunday School…for an hour?’
They were out the door within twenty five minutes; Jason visibly restraining himself from taking his ipod along.
Our first night home from the hospital, B3 woke up every three or four hours. So, even though we were awake constantly trying to figure out if he was still breathing, it felt pretty manageable. Even if, as I suspected, he was just in the shackles of his newborn coma, and there was no way I could have lucked out and gotten a baby who only wakes up every four hours to eat.
Nonetheless, I got up the next day with a sense of cautious optimism. Surely, between the two of us, we could tend to the varied needs of three little people. Within four hours of thinking that, I’d changed my mind, unless ‘tending to the varied needs’ means yelling. A lot.
These days, the Hen wakes up between 6 and 7, which conveniently coincides with the time his baby brother has just settled back into slumber after eating. From the moment his feet hit the ground, he is yelling for the baby: ‘Whe baby’. Jason has to act fast to keep him from coming in our room and standing on tiptoe, fishing around with his arm in the pack ‘n play bassinet like he is trying to pull something out of water.
Like his brother’s head, I suppose.
We sound like tape recorders these days: ‘shhhh’ we reprimand, followed with ‘gentle! gentle touch’. The initial niceties have now morphed into ‘to the point’ commands: ‘don’t touch your brother’, ‘leave him alone’, ‘go outside to play’. Followed by escorting the overbearing one(s) from the premises; trying to distract them with food or…another movie. I hope no one is keeping track of the amount of time those boys have logged in front of the laptop lately.
Our oldest has a gentler approach, though it’s still strangely irritating when you’re trying to feed a baby, or change him, or sleep. ‘He’s so cute,’ he remarks over and over, like a Mother Hen, invading the baby’s personal space. ‘I’m going to sing a song for the baby,’ he announces and before I can utter a faux-enthusiastic, ‘great idea…he’d love it’, starts singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ …. in Myxolydian mode.
Jason’s parents came to town for a few days. He left late Monday evening to get them at the airport. Where he waited for about two hours because their plane was delayed. A little tidbit of information we would have known (a) had we checked online, or (b) had we received the messages they left informing us of the delay. However, due to the fact that the phone spent the night in our backyard (thank you Hen!)…it never rang, and we never got said messages. Must add ‘buy new phone’ to my to do list now.
Luckily we’ve had some friends take pity on us and drop off some meals. Because, I’m just guessing, that if meal prep were to fall on us at this point, we’d be eating beans out of the can. And cereal. And animal crackers.
I try to remind myself in these fragmented, chaotic, moments that it passes fairly quickly. I have only to look at the Hen in all his feisty glory for confirmation that we can and will survive.
And might even have some good laughs along the way.