Thursday, November 17, 2011

Home Alone

Greetings. So far, I’ve survived the week alone with the girls, and they, too, have survived. We started off with a bang on Monday, when, within the space of ten minutes, both little ones had peed on the floor and/or on their clothes and/or on me. Lucia jumped up from the floor before I could get her diaper on, scream-laughing as she ran across the room and then peeing as soon as she hit the kitchen floor. Greta just decided a good time to go was as soon as I took her diaper off, soaking the changing pad and her sleeper. Fun times.

It was one of many moments this week when I had to just take a deep breath and remind myself that there will come a time, sooner than it seems these days, when I will no longer have babies but children who a) are potty-trained; b) no longer breastfeed; and c) sleep through the night. When I will no longer negotiate how many bites of food must be eaten before watching Elmo. When I will no longer spend my days in a milk-damp nursing bra, leaking milk at odd moments. Whenever I make remarks like this to Andrew, about taking comfort in the fact that infanthood/toddlerhood won’t last forever, he gives me an exaggeratedly tender look and belts out the refrain from “You’re Gonna Miss This” by the country singer Trace Adkins: “You’re gonna miss this / You’re gonna want this back / You’re gonna wish these days / Hadn’t gone by so fast / These are some good times / So take a good look around / You may not know it now / But you’re gonna miss this.” Probably true, of course.

Anyway. Lucia continues to be an adoring, and adorable, big sister. She likes to go up to Greta and take her hand, then say to me, “Hold hands.” She likes to kiss Greta’s forehead. She likes when Greta lies on her play mat and I sing songs to her. With a smile, she observes and remarks on Greta’s actions: “Kicking! Coughing! Sneeze! Moving!” This is all very cute. And Lucia has been very mellow all week, which has helped—some instances of being demanding, and a couple of baseless near-tantrums, but nothing to write home about. Books, sticker books, drawing, Play-Doh, and pretend-cooking have occupied our time.

It has, however, been very tough being homebound. And there are some good reasons why I feel homebound. First, Greta is just three weeks old, so I hesitate to take her outside in the cold. Second, Lucia moves so fast these days, and requires a good deal of hands-on help at the playground, and I’m just not up to it yet—I’m moving around just fine, pain-free, but I’m not exactly ready to run. And third, Lucia is a sometimes unpredictable toddler. Wrestling her into her stroller when she was unwilling to leave the playground was hard when I was pregnant—it will be impossible with Greta strapped to my chest. I need to get my courage up, basically. This will come, I’m sure, mainly because if I spend too many more days inside I’ll go nuts.

An aside: I’ve been eating a lot of peanuts, a good quick snack, and Lucia knows that nuts are only for Mama. She’s intrigued by this forbidden snack and loves looking into my bowl of nuts and announcing, “Nuts. Mama.” Which, after a few more weeks of home-alone time, might take on an entirely new meaning.

Last night, Andrew went to the National Book Awards ceremony/dinner for work, leaving home all gussied up in a tux. When he left, I was sitting in a milk-stained shirt at the kitchen table, nursing Greta while undertaking UN-caliber negotiations to get Lucia to eat her dinner. I'm gonna miss this...I'm gonna miss this...

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