Dec 12, 2011  •  In Aerin, Baby, Claire, Motherhood, Personal

The Green-Eyed Monster

Disclaimer: I love my children. I am not suffering from post-partum depression. I am well-aware that my current life circumstances all stem from choices I have made. I know that there are tons of families who would kill to have two healthy babies.

But everyone needs a gripe session once in a while, don’t you agree?  ;-)
 

This is a warning to the readers who lurk in the shadows and pop in once every blue moon to call me selfish, immature, and overly dramatic.

Because yes, this is one of those “woe is me” posts.

And because I get far more comments from those who support my “tell it as it is” posts. :-)

So what is it I want to confess?

Life with two babies who are just 13 months apart is very, very difficult. This past month and a half has been the most taxing period in all my life. I seriously don’t know how I would survive if I didn’t have the help that I do.

And in this overly fatigued, overly sensitive and fragile state, the green-eyed monster inside of me can’t help but rear its ugly head…

I get insanely jealous whenever I hear about easy, mellow babies.

For I, mother of two, have been blessed with two difficult babies.

Yes, I have stated in an earlier post that Aerin seems easier than Claire. But did you notice that was a comparative statement? Just because she is easier does not mean she is easy. And if you can recall, she may just seem easier due to our more relaxed attitudes.

She still has yet to sleep longer than a 3-hour stretch. Even 3 hours is a luxury, because most of the time it’s only 1-1.5 hours. She has to be held at all times. She will only sleep next to me or on the swing.

I have also held off on taking pictures of her as of late because the skin on her face is a mess: a combination of eczema, heat rash, and baby acne.

Claire has never had any skin problems, so to be hit with three different issues at once with Aerin is a bit daunting. (And yes, I have been rubbing breastmilk on her face, doing my best to keep her clean and at a comfortable temperature, and spot-treating the eczema with Aquaphor. It hasn’t gotten much better.)


You can KINDA see the problem skin in this picture.
(Also note that Claire is holding Aerin’s hand!)

I also get jealous of parents whose children’s age spacings were planned. Or even parents who have at least 1.5 years between their children. Whenever I hear or read, “Having two under 2 is sooo difficult!” I want to retort, “How about two just 13 months apart? And the first is still not walking so both need to be carried?”

I even look to mothers of twins with some envy, because at least their kids are developmentally at about the same stage. Having one who is just about to start walking and just entering toddlerhood, in addition to a newborn who needs all the extra care that a brand-new human being requires, is not only physically tiring, but mentally exhausting.

And whenever both of them are crying at the same time? Sigh.

I have mentioned in the past that I feel physical pain when Claire cries. The reaction hasn’t changed with Aerin, and it’s doubly worse when both are wailing.

I now tell all my friends to space their kids by at least 2 years.

As for us? Once again, the mantra is “one day at a time.”

And, the moments here and there when we see the sisters interacting. (Actually, it’s Claire who does all the interacting because Aerin is still too young.) Like when Claire calls out, and looks for Aerin every morning. Or the other day, when she picked up a blankie, “walked” (J helped her along when she wasn’t supporting herself along furniture) over to Aerin, and placed the blankie on top of her sleeping sister. Or when she sees Aerin on the swing and insists on rocking the swing herself. Or when she tries to feed Aerin by shoving bottles in her face.

Yes, those moments are pretty wonderful. :-)

27 Responses to “The Green-Eyed Monster”

  1. I can’t even imagine how difficult that must be! Hopefully it will get better as they get a bit older – I think once they’re “big kids” it will be a blast to have them so close in age!

  2. I can’t relate yet, but I can offer some support. It sounds like you are doing a great job given your challenging circumstance. And no need to be jealous of my baby, she is quite the opposite of low key. In fact, I just spent an hour and a half trying to get her to fall asleep for her nap. Midway through she pooped and worked herself up into the hyperventilating cry, because pooping must be such a traumatizing experience. *sigh* babies. Just think of all the great ways you can guilt her into doing things for you when she’s older!

    Side note: Claire is super adorbs with Aerin. I actually read the other day that having siblings less than 18 months or more than 3 years apart is ideal, because at Claire’s age their identity isn’t solidified yet, and past 3 they’re gaining independence. The 2 year mark is where the competition sets in!

  3. Katherine:

    I can’t imagine having 2 kids 13 months apart. My toddler is HELLA HARD. She cries to sleep, doesn’t sleep through the night, cries when she wakes up…. Ugh!

    But when you are in the thick of the hard days- and find yourself like you do in challenging predicaments… You figure it out as you go along day by day.

    What’s that saying? The days are long, the years are short? Hopefully this is just the most trying of times for parenting and it will get easier at some point!!!
    Thanks for sharing! Hang in there momma. Your kids wont remember these hard days like you will. Soon all they will rember is just having each other :-) and that makes it all worth it!

  4. First, your babies are beautiful!

    Second, I cannot imagine how you’re doing it, so let me give you a virtual standing ovation.

    I have a 6-month old who is not easy at all, and I cannot imagine having two. Eventually – yes. But not for another year or two, God-willingly.

    Hang in there! You are doing great!

    Also, my little one had the same skin problems and at first I thought it was my diet, so I stopped eating practically everything. That didn’t work. Then, I tried switching our laundry detergent to the fragrance/dye-free kind and re-washed all of his sheets and clothes. In 3 days his skin was 100x better. I’m not sure if you’ve already tried that, but just in case you haven’t, I thought I’d share! Oh, his skin reacted to non-cotton material, so put away all of those articles of clothing as well.

    • We’ve been using Dreft so that shouldn’t be a problem. However, I haven’t considered the material of her clothes, so thanks for the suggestion!

      • No problem! Oh sorry for not clarifying. We were using Dreft, too, but apparently the fragrance in it was causing the irritation. We ended up switching to All Free & Clear, which helped a lot. Our son has really sensitive skin, so even perfume on our clothing irritates him. Hope this is something he’ll grow out of!

  5. Liz:

    I feel for you again considering how difficult even just one baby is. I think it is not just hard physically, but mentally to be constantly in a state of concern – worrying about every aspect of the baby or babies in your case (eating, sleeping, developing, etc) and everything else going on in life. Thanks for the update- love hearing about how Claire interacts with Aerin :)

  6. Amanda:

    I think you’re doing great, and you have a great attitude about the whole thing. This didn’t seem too “woe is me” at all. I only have one kiddo. He was pretty awful and cried for about the first entire year of life, but now he’s made up for it by being a much better kid than most! Keep complaining about it when you need to, I bet it helps to know you have a group of strangers rooting for you. And also, thank you for posting as this reminds me how tough it was for me and that I shouldn’t have any more babies!

  7. Janie:

    I don’t have any children, but I teach a class of twenty four squabbling, rabble-rousing little ones, and I only have them for half a day. I can hardly imagine what it’d be like for two completely dependent little ones, who both want all of your attention, or will throw tantrums for the lack of it, all day, all the time.

    I’m simply surprised you don’t ALWAYS have a “woe is me” post. Because I sure would.

    Don’t ever let yourself get into a position where you feel like you can’t have a face palm moment. It’s in those moments when I think our greatest strengths as moms and caretakers are borned, but yes, they are so, so hard. I know parents are always saying that the years with their children go by fast, but those days seem really, really long. I hope you’re feeling encouraged and that those happy moments of peace with your two beautiful come as often as you need them!

  8. Jessica:

    I think about this kind of situation sometimes. My husband and his sister are 364 days apart. He’s mentioned what a great way to grow up that was. As the mother-to-be, I can’t imagine how I would handle it.

    Hang in there — I bet those sisterly love moments will only get better as they grow up. What a cute face and precious chin looking up at you.

  9. Yes, everyone is allowed a gripe session whenever they feel the need! Hang in there Mama! : )

  10. My nine month old nephew was in town for thanksgiving with his parents. I barely had to spend any time with him on my own, but when I did with my 7 month pregnant belly, it was really hard and I was only pregnant. I thought about you specificially though because I knew your girls were 13 months apart. So, I know it has to be hard, and feel free to vent.

  11. I think it’s so refreshing that you are so open and honest about being a mother. I appreciate that you are telling how it is, having babies is HARD. Having two babies so close in age is even more difficult. I wish I could offer words or hugs that would help you but I know I can’t. All I can say is that I miss and love you very much! Hang in there girl, *HUGSSSSSSSS*

  12. Venting is good.. it’s what keeps us all sane sometimes.

  13. Molly P:

    I’m one of those who had two under two (17 months apart) and, of course, I have no idea about what’s “harder” but I’m with you on how hard it felt to me. I wouldn’t say “one day at a time.” I’d say “one minute at a time.” It’s so much better now (almost 18 months and almost 3), when they play together it’s FANTASTIC (even though I still occasionally have to carry them both at once, ugh). But I can only offer my webular support and sympathy. I did a lot of crying out of insane exhaustion that first year. When people ask me how it was, I look them in the eye and say “hell.” I feel guilty because I feel/felt lucky/grateful, but you know, sleeping 20 hours a WEEK would make anyone a miserable woeful person. Hang in there.

  14. Ron:

    Hey Jenny. I am a lurker on this site, but not the type you need to warn :)
    You are awesome! So many parents hide the crap and that just perpetuates the situation where we all think we need to hide the crap and suffer alone. The best thing we can do is share this stuff with other parents because ultimately we are all in similar boats.
    This morning I had to drop my monkeys off at a daycare that is not their regular one. We call it Holiday School. They hate it because it is unknown (they only do 2 or 3 weeks a year there). The younger one (just under 3) screamed “I don’t want to stay here” the whole way from the car till long after I had walked out of the room. I lost my temper with the older (almost 6) one during her ‘performance’.
    My “green monster” is the thing I hate most about being a parent.
    As you mention there are insanely amazing moments, but there are times (that feel like they stretch on forever) where the insanity very real.
    Keep telling it like it is, it is about time we parents stop making life difficult for other parents by hiding our struggles. Hiding just convinces you that you are not good enough, and it convinces others that they are not good enough.

  15. Kate:

    No judgement from over here. I find myself getting jealous of married people without kids! Sad, huh? There are some days with my 14-month-old (and I’m 4 months pregnant) that I think “Why did we have kids?”. :( Like you, I love my daughter like crazy and know how lucky I am, but life could be so much easier (and it used to be!). I think your recent post on post-childbirth happiness graphs summed it up nicely. Some days the ONLY thing that keeps me sane is thinking about the future and remembering that things will get easier. Hugs to you!

    • THANK YOU for saying this! I’ve actually been afraid to openly admit that I get jealous of married couples without kids, or even my single friends! And yes, I have days when I ask myself the same question of why we decided to have kids. But like you said, it is those “high” moments that keep us going and makes it worthwhile!

  16. Feel free to gripe all you want. I don’t even have one kid but I can only imagine your pain. Glad that Claire is loving her little sister!

  17. I hear you, sister. Not on the two kids front, obviously, but at least as the parent of a difficult only. She’s only slept more than 6 hours ONCE in 2 3/4 years, so every time I read on Facebook about some teeny baby who’s started sleeping through the night, and despite the fact that these people are friends and I wish them well, I just get this overwhelming surge of stabbiness.

    But for what it’s worth, I’m also a little green-eyed over seeing your two sweet sisters together. (And I *did* notice that handholding.) Would love to give our girl a sibling and just can’t manage it. She has to make to with a dog and it’s not the same. Lately she wants to BE a dog, and every time she’s acting particularly dog-ly (and every time I think how close my husband and his sister are, and every time I see pics of Claire and Aerin, etc, etc), I can’t help but think I’m failing her by not providing another human child to grow up with her.

    • Aww Tara, I am so sorry to hear that you guys won’t be having any more kids. *hugs* For what it’s worth, sometimes I get jealous of you too, to see such a beautiful, vibrant, ONLY daughter. I guess it just goes to show that the grass is greener on the other side.

  18. I don’t know how you are even posting at all. You amaze me, because having two kids that close would make me go insane. Every single time it’s close to my period arriving I freak out thinking I’m going to have to do everything all over again, and I’m just not ready.

    I hope you didn’t get too much flak for this, because you certainly didn’t deserve it. Parenting is hard, and the more kids you have closer together, the harder it is. I imagine the thought of leaving the house with them is a bit of a nightmare, I just can’t fathom how I would deal with the recovery pain from a delivery AND carry T1 around all the time.

    I like all of your posts, but these are my favorites. I identify so much with them.

  19. JennyH:

    Gosh, I’m trying to play catch up on your blog (we just celebrated our one year old’s first birthday and the past week leading up to it has been a zoo). I love your honest venting sessions – I think it’s a necessary evil for the stressful times associated with new babies.

    For the skin rashes, I do recommend using the Lansinoh lanolin on them (the stuff they recommend for nipple irritation). I know my son is pretty prone to rashiness on his face and the Lansinoh seems to help with him quite alot! Plus he resists when I try to apply stuff to him and with the lanolin being food grade, I don’t have to worry if any of it gets in his mouth.

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