Thursday, January 7, 2010

State of the Household, Part 2

Happy 2010! A brand new year seems like a good time for another state of the household update. Here’s the status of us.

The baby: Isn’t it amazing what a difference four months can make? Just a bit over four months ago, Kasia was living inside my body. With her every bump and kick, I imagined what life would be like with her. I pictured her little face, imagined holding and feeding her and rocking her. And yet, four months ago, she was still a complete stranger to me. She was my baby, but I didn’t really know her yet. Fast forward just a few short months and she is Kasia. Kasia, my beautiful baby girl who makes my heart dance with joy each time she smiles. Kasia, who is rolling over, reaching for toys, and cooing. Kasia, who laughs with delight at her brother’s funny faces and loud noises. I cannot imagine life, or this family, without her in it. Amazing.

The 4 year old: Of the many joys that this beautiful baby girl brings into our lives, one of my very favorites is watching James interact with her. This rough and tumble, always in action little boy slows down and speaks so gently to his baby sister. He was the first one to make her laugh. He kisses and hugs and loves her. He goes running for the burp cloth whenever she spits up and tries to calm her when she cries. Despite his love for Kasia, though, James has had some tough days recently. It probably didn’t help that we moved to a new house just a couple months after his little sister was born. That’s a lot of change for one little boy. We had some long weeks with lots of 4 year old tears and misbehavior. It finally hit me (duh) that this seemingly independent little boy was desperately in need of some mama snuggles. I had been working hard to try to give him the attention that I knew he needed, but I had overlooked the fact that he not only needed attention, but touch. Since my aha moment, we’ve been snuggling at night, snuggling while reading books, snuggling while watching PBS kids in the morning. It seems to be working because the past week has been a calm one, with the smiles and happy energy I am so used to seeing out of my favorite 4 year old. It’s such a good reminder that, no matter how old we get, we’re always in need of our mother’s loving touch.

The body: I’ve lost all of my baby weight!! Do you hate me? Well, don’t, because I’m lying. I just wanted to see what it would be like to type those words. In reality, I’ve still got a good 10 pounds left to lose. I try to convince myself that it’s because I’m nursing and my body needs those reserves to make good milk for my baby girl. But deep down I know the real reason is simply that I really like to eat. Mmmm, food.

The emotions: Am I the only one to notice that nursing is like a really good happy pill? Whenever I breast-feed Kasia, I can literally feel a wave of calm happiness wash through my body. Google tells me that it’s the oxytocin that is being released. I don’t care what it’s called as long as I keep getting it. Unless I can find a way to bottle up this happy juice, Kasia is going to be nursing until she’s 20. Might be a bit embarrassing for her, but that’s just the price she’ll have to pay for a calm mother.

The house: Despite the fact that we recently moved, the house is in surprisingly good shape. Sure, we still have stacks of boxes in the garage that need to be moved into the house, as well as green and brown carpeting that needs to be replaced inside the house and walls that are screaming out to be painted. Overall, though, most of the stuff we really need has been unpacked and all of the main rooms are set up. After a recent out of town trip, we returned to our new house to realize it finally felt like coming home. And I’m starting to find my groove as a mom again. Moving from one child to two means that the washing machine is run every day (the girl does love to poop!), that mornings and evenings are their own new kind of crazy, and that the floor needs to be picked up at least five times a day when we are home(and this is before Kasia can get out her own toys! Heaven help us when I have two children who are actively able to scatter their own toys throughout the house). And yet I seem to have adapted surprisingly fast to this new reality. It’s getting easier every day, and most days I even kind of like the extra chaos that two kids bring to the household. Of course, that could be the oxytocin talking. :)

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