Posted by Duff

It’s the middle of the night, and I’ve awakened on schedule for Atticus, only he is still sleeping. For four hours.  There  just might be a light at the end of the newborn tunnel. I may be able to put a coherent thought together before my maternity leave ends. Maybe. If I can just sleep while the baby sleeps.

Obviously I haven’t done so yet, because it’s pre-dawn, he’s asleep, and I’m still awake.

I’m thinking back to when Atticus was still MC, when my husband’s colleague said, “Two is not one,” and how he wasn’t at all specific. And since I know so many moms about to add Number Two to their families, I thought they, and you, deserved to know what that means in the day to day.

Exhibit A:

My husband has gone for his first run in two weeks, and I am alone, for the first time, with a 3 year old and a 3 week old. They have simultaneous bowel movements, require help getting cleaned up, and instantly get hungry at the same time. Neither is willing to concede to the other being priority. Tears, all around. When my husband gets back, I am sweating more than he is. He was only gone for 30 minutes.

Exhibit B:

We are in the process of potty training The Dervish. As part of the process, we flush all poop, even diaper-borne, to instill the proper associations. Only, the toilet clogs. Whatever, I think. I’ll tackle that lovely job after I get The Dervish down for a nap. (My husband is on the couch trying to co-nap with Atticus). The Dervish then informs me that her bed is all wet. I assume a diaper mishap, but sleep-deprived me had handed her a sippy cup without a stopper, and voila. She dutifully stands by the foot of the bed as I change the sheets and despite the disturbance, she takes a nap on her dry sheets. And I am free to spend quality time with a plunger while everyone else in my house sleeps.

Exhibit C:

It’s the middle of the night, Atticus awakens. Then I hear The Dervish making an unholy sound. I find her kneeling, delirious, over a pillow, having sweated out a high fever and now cushioning herself against a deep cough, which turn out to be bronchitis. As I administer medication and comfort, Atticus screams his wee head off for a fresh diaper and bottle. On this night, I am sole caregiver, struggling to help them both while keeping them separate to keep Atticus safe from infection. I would cry, but there is no time.

Exhibit D:

Without provocation, The Dervish rewrites “This Little Piggy” to include all members of our immediate family. Daddy goes to market. Mommy stays home. The Dervish has roast beef. Luckily, no one is punished with none. And Atticus goes wee wee wee all the way home.

She has accepted him as one of us, in five weeks has not questioned it. Has not asked me to put the baby down even when it means I can’t play as interactively because he wants to be held during all daylight hours. I could just squish her with appreciation.

Exhibit D is why people have kids, and have more than one. Exhibits A, B and C are the stuff of future holiday dinner anecdotes, fodder for buzzed summer picnic exchanges of parenting war stories, and blog posts.

 You can’t make this stuff up.