I recall my last post had a rather frazzled edge to it, and I don’t blame myself. The first two months of Malcolm’s life was hell. I remember things started getting better around seven weeks when he would have his “happy time”–a whopping five minutes of contentment at around two in the afternoon. Come to think of it, it was almost like the “eye of the storm”–how its quiet and peaceful until the eye passes you and the wind picks up again at a deafening pitch. Not to mention the many hours of bouncing and walking him around to get him to stop screaming and go to sleep. It also brought out the stark contrast in how I deal with stress and how my husband Eric deals with it, leaving us frustrated and at odds with each other in the fray. That was almost harder than the problem itself, and it was like waiting out the storm until I could reunite with my best friend again.
However, I’m pleased to announce the demon appears to have been exercised from Malcolm. Within an hour of him waking for the day, I’m no longer in tears and wondering when someone from church can come over before I crack wide open. In fact, he is contented and happy most of time unless he’s tired, hungry, or wet. You know, like a normal baby. What changed? Well, he just grew out of it. Both of my children preferred life in utero before they were ripped suddenly (or slowly in VI’s case) from the warm sanctuary they called home. But I wonder if this transition was harder?
I was telling my mom yesterday how I don’t want to discredit the “first child” adjustment. Having your first kid is HARD. But I think the reason its so hard (at least for me) was that not only is taking care of a baby difficult and stressful, but new parents are adjusting to a completely new lifestyle. Everything you were used to–every way you managed your time is obliterated, and now your time, energy, all of it–belongs to this little person you just met. Meanwhile, your nipples are blistering, your baby is puking on you, and you haven’t seen a movie in the theater in six months. And if you even get an intimate moment with your husband, you have to keep your bra on or you end up leaking all over him. It takes a whole year to adjust, mostly because I never was a kid person and I coveted my alone time with a good book. (Now I enjoy my kindle book in the dark while nursing a child at the same time–not too shabby)
When you have your second kid, you have already accepted the fact that you can kiss the movie theater goodbye and you keep your bra on for at least six months until further notice. I think its the starting over that makes it hard for us. Even after Viola got over her initial “I’M ALIVE! AAAAHHHHH!!” phase, she never made anything easy. Its almost like she started her terrible twos at six months all the way until 18 months. The perk is that she’s a pretty easy toddler so far (look out for the terrible threes!). We can look back and say, “WOW! The first year really sucked! But she’s been sleep trained (and re-sleep trained), almost all her teeth have come through, and we can communicate now.” After Malcolm was born, the reset button was pushed and it was hell all over again, except with a toddler in the mix. Wacky times!
But seriously, Malcolm is over the hump right now and it feels really good. I can actually sit in my living room on a Saturday afternoon watching Eric read a book to the kids and be very content with our little family. I know there are tough times ahead, but at least I feel like my feet are on the ground and the storm has passed.