End of Summer

I honestly can’t believe Labor Day weekend is just around the corner. I’ll be back into work on 9/5 – but it seems like it’s only been one or two weeks I’ve been home.

Adjusting to Kaity has been a challenge. She has a very different temperament than Claira and I feel like I’m just getting used to her & our schedule, and it’s all going to change next week. For the most part, Claira is an overly exuberant and affectionate big sister. She loves to kiss on and hug and “pet” Kaity whenever she can. She’ll lay next to her on the couch and just stroke her arm or her hair or “honk” her nose (thank you Jojo’s Circus for that one!) Only last week did she start showing stronger signs of jealousy – but mostly in regard to her belongings (a blanket, the crib, etc), and if she is distracted, she seems to get over it fairly quickly.

Kaity, on the other hand, is a more needy baby than Claira. While Claira began marathon nursing at 3 weeks and I felt the need to supplement with formula, Kaity has almost always had formula after nursing and tends to go longer between feedings. BUT she wants to be held – and by held, I mean swaddled and held tightly against my chest – all the time. Now, I’ve read enough articles that say a newborn can’t be held too much. I followed the same advice & behaviors with Claira as I am with Kaity: of holding her as much as I could whenever I could because I knew going back to work and things would change. But Kaity won’t settle or be content for long in any other position – not a swing – not the carseat – not propped up on the Boppy pillow. She wants to be snuggled. On most days, and in most cases, I don’t mind holding her. But Claira is an active 2 year old and I have to be QUICK in order to keep up with her – so you can imagine my dilemma.

I have tried the baby carrier I’ve got off & on, and for now (KNOCK ON WOOD) it has started working again. Last week, it was a no go and it was stressful with everything going on around here. On Monday – Tornado warning – and I had to move both girls from their naps into our basement (which is not a finished basement at the moment, but does have a queen size bed set up) and it was just ME here with them (and I HATE tornado warnings with a passion – of all the things that make me anxious, a tornado siren is at the top). I felt incredibly responsible for their well-being and fortunately kept busy making sure I had diapers & formula & water down here with us too, JUST IN CASE, and we got through it. Tuesday, the flooding in our area started. Thankfully, we ourselves were not affected, and only had very minor seepage in the basement, but parts of our town were under water (even submerging vehicles) and the area saw a lot of rain in a very short time so there was NO going outside – or even to Mama Taylor’s – and I couldn’t afford to drive the girls around to check out the damage, etc. Thursday – the heat wave hit and we were grateful for air conditioning – but again we were house bound and it was not the most pleasant of times for us girls…

Honestly, I do feel much more relaxed with Kaity than I did with Claira – and only when I am fatigued do I feel really irritable and cranky and just want to have 10 minutes for a shower so I can actually shave my legs and take care of my summer-feet, and not just race to get my hair washed & rinsed and quick scrub & rinse & dry to make sure the girls aren’t either coloring on the walls or soaking another burp cloth. Don’t get me wrong – I am very thrilled to have both of my girls – and I won’t trade them for the world – but there are moments that I think I’m just going to break down and cry because I can manage working with a couple hundred adults in a master’s program (some of them being very high-maintenance), and still find myself feeling lost in my role as a mother. I understand that at work I have help and I can help others.

The fact is, being a mother MEANS something so much more important in the long run. It matters beyond today what tone I use with Claira when she has discovered ANOTHER pen somewhere and has added her artwork to my dresser. Or whether both of my girls feels loved and cared for and nurtured, and whether they are learning they can count on me and that they WANT to count on me. Or whether I pray effectively as a mother, and show them how to love God. Or their dad or each other. I’m not panicking here – I’m not anxious about this at the moment – it’s just the realization that the value of my JOB as a mother has lasting effects whether I get paid or not and whether I feel it or not.

It’s that part of me that is so saddened about returning to work. Believe me, when next Wednesday comes, I will have a bunch of mixed feelings about going back to work – some of them including the fact that I love my job and will LOVE being able to work with adults again and not a 2 year old who is still resistant to potty-training (I’m relaxed about it, Terry, but just WISH she’d want to move ahead in this department).

But I will miss watching Claira dance to her morning cartoons and chase the bubbles I blow around in the yard. I will miss hearing her call for me when she wakes up for her nap and hear that bubbly “Hi, mom” when I get her out of her big girl bed. I will miss being able to sit with her and hold her any time I want to during the day. And how I will miss watching Kaity becoming so alert to her surroundings, and following my movements all day – and not catching all of her changes. I will actually miss being able to hold her close all day, because I know someday she will not want to be held. They will both want to go outside to play and ask to go to Mama’s and then go ride their bikes outside and go to school and go on dates and oh my word, I don’t even want to think about it…

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