Lately, Alex reminds me of a Garfield cartoon from my childhood. Odie and Garfield are in a canoe, rowing in opposite directions. Odie has a thunderstorm, Garfield has the sun. He says, “I’m easy to get along with when everything goes my way.”
It’s been a very over-stimulating ten days. Grandma and Grandpa Basi spent all of last weekend with us. On the heels of that was the STOMP concert, followed by a day in St. Louis, and then another overnight trip to St. Louis over the weekend. Ten days long on excitement, short on sleep.
We’re trying to be philosophical, but we’re just about at our wits’ end. Alex is sliding into a neo-toddler stage of tantrums and whining, of “no!” and toileting accidents, which is absolutely the last straw.
And Julianna, meanwhile, stubbornly refuses to walk, spoon feed, etc. Even getting her to sign is often a battle of wills.
This is the state of things in the Basi household, at T-minus 17 days to Baby’s arrival: me pulling my hair and saying, “Guys! Regression’s not supposed to happen till AFTER the baby comes!”
It was Wednesday, while I was holding my new niece, and she was crying inconsolably, when it really hit me. Whoa! This is my life in three weeks!
Then I started freaking out about the 6 weeks post-op, when I am on medical restrictions. For instance: on Mondays and Tuesdays I have to put the kids to bed without help, because Christian teaches lessons…and bedtime is a very physical time of day. Then there’s bath time. I can’t possibly lift Julianna into the tub at Surgery Plus 4 days—or 11, for that matter. And what about Alex? Lately he’s taken to flailing his limbs when he doesn’t want to do what I say. I’m already guarding my midsection from his kicks. Frequently the only solution is to wrap him up and hold him—gently, but firmly—until he calms down enough to respond to communication. Impossible, post C-section.
It’s a bit late to be worrying about this now, of course. Ready or not, Baby’s coming. I guess it’s something like getting cold feet right before a wedding.
I knew the first six months were going to be hard. You may ask why we’re having our kids so close together. Well, we had three years of infertility before Alex, so as soon as fertility returned postpartum, we started trying to conceive again. Julianna took 4 months—a big improvement. When she was born, we had to change our thinking. We knew she’d be significantly delayed, and we wanted her to be a little farther along before we had the third baby. So we postponed “TTC” for half a year past the return of fertility.
The only unexpected part about the third pregnancy was achieving it on the first try. As my Aunt Agnes says, “God opens and closes the womb.”
I know we’ll get through the transition, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling overwhelmed and freaked out at the moment. All I can do is hope—cling to the hope—that we’re going through a few days of detox after two crazy weeks, and that in the next 18 days, some of the Alex/Julianna issues will calm down. But Christian and I are both feeling angry and frustrated, and as we know, our attitude makes a huge difference. I keep trying to figure out how I can change my attitude. The only thing I can think is that maybe I haven’t spent enough time focusing on the kids lately, and maybe that would help. I’ll be trying that this week.
In the meantime, any more experienced parents out there….words of wisdom, please????????? I’m sure others would appreciate them, too!
Unfortunately, I can’t offer you any words of wisdom, not being a parent yet. But I can tell you that these feelings sound totally human. And that your blog demonstrates deep reserves of strength and faith that will carry you through the hardest moments that await.
I will pray for you, it has never been easy for us when a new baby arrives…and I don’t have to deal with c-sections etc. Usually I go through a transition period that involves a lot lower expectations, for me and the kids. I usually don’t have much going on outside the home, spend my time focusing on laying on the couch, nursing, and playing with the kids as best as possible. Bill does the house work when he comes home, we have frozen meals if he can’t cook when he gets home, etc. I don’t know about the potty training, we are by no means ‘good’ at it. Andrew is 3 yrs and 2 months and we just had a battle of the wills last Tuesday, where I said we weren’t wearing diapers (I didn’t tell him he had to use the potty-you can’t really enforce that statement!) and I offered him lots of incentives for using the potty, but as I said you can’t make a child go in the potty! He threw a 1/2 hour temper tantrum about wanting to wear his diapers and had a couple wet pants, before he thought, maybe I do want those incentives! And he has only had one accident since then. But I still put diapers/pull ups on him at night. In fact, William was still wearing pull-ups at night until recently. I just don’t expect them to be able to wake up in the middle of the night and I don’t have the energy for changing all the bedclothes every day! But I have never had luck with potty training until the boys were 3. One advantage of that is they are pretty independent, so I hardly ever remind Andrew to use the potty unless we are leaving the house, and he just goes on his own. I don’t know if he’ll regress when the new baby comes, William wasn’t potty trained before Andrew arrived, but Andrew arriving and Elizabeth arriving certainly didn’t help with training William or Andrew. Sorry I can’t be of more help there. All I would say is don’t make a huge deal out of it…sometimes negative attention is counterproductive to stopping a behavior. So when I’ve had problems with William using the potty as an attention getter or part of a temper-tantrum, (once he pooped on the floor on purpose because he was mad at me, that was a fun day…) I usually just say how sad this is and he has to take responsibility and clean up the mess and change his own clothes and we move on. I don’t know if that would help for your situation though…(when William had to clean up his own poop-with some assistence-that was the last time he did that, but he may have been older than Alex-I don’t recall-this too shall fade into a distant memory-soon to be completely forgotten!) But sometimes fewer outside activities and more focus on rest and play will heal all problems…And we will be praying for you and the kiddos! This will be a blessed time for you guys!
Thanks for the words of encouragement, both of you. Today has been better. Alex is still testing; Julianna is still resisting. But moods have been better, so perhaps we are clearing the system now!
I remember after Julianna was born, Alex was angelic until about a week later. As long as Christian and I were freaking out about the unexpected direction our life had taken, he retreated into a little shell of perfect behavior–very quiet, very easy to handle. Just about the time we caught our breath and our balance, he realized it was safe to act out again. That was quite a time–we’d barely cleared THAT hurdle when Julianna came down with RSV and landed in the PICU. I started this blog right around that time. I shake my head when I read over those first blog entries. Dramatic times. Times I pray we will never experience again!