Today was my first day home alone with both kids. I know plenty of people do this every day, but for me it was a big first. Especially given how whiny and tantrum-y Owen has been recently whenever I’ve had to “choose” Emmett over him (which, let’s be honest, is a lot of the time, since he nurses every 2 hours during the day for about 30 minutes), I was nervous.
Benjamin left this morning by 7am and we were on our own.
So far (it is 3:30pm now) it has gone so smoothly that I feel like supermom. I know this is in large part due to the fact that Emmett is still quite a sleepy newborn (in fact he’s been sleepier the last 2 days than ever before), but I’m giving myself permission to pat myself on the back anyway. Small victories, friends. Small victories. Balancing the needs of two littles with very different schedules and expectations is tough stuff and today I feel like I deserve a high five. Tomorrow might be another story, so we’ve got to celebrate the highs as they come, yes?
I realized something yesterday that may be the key to all of this: Owen’s attitude is almost entirely dependent on the amount of time I spend paying attention to him. Upon smacking my forehead with that realization yesterday, part of me was all, Duh! He loves you and wants you to give him 100% of your attention just like the good ol’ days! But it’s actually a striking contrast to our recent parenting strategy, which has been to divide and conquer (which means Benjamin taking Owen out of the house so that I can take care of Emmett with a little peace and quiet). Owen was driving ME bonkers when we were all together, but separating us was driving HIM bonkers.
That new ‘tude I’m so sick of already? Yeah. It seems to be almost entirely “fixed” with some Mommy time. So today Owen got his Mommy time and just like that he was his old, sweet self again. He played next to me while I nursed. I put Emmett to sleep in his crib whenever possible so Owen and I could have uninterrupted playtime. We did puzzles. We read every book in our library. Mid-morning I realized the timing was going to work out such that we could actually GO somewhere. So while I was nursing I asked Owen to be my helper and get us ready to go to one of his favorite gardens/playgrounds. Miraculously, it worked, and we mobilized without wasting a ton of time.
The boys were so good in the car I even had time to get gas. Emmett snoozed in the carrier the entire trip so Owen had my full attention. It was awesome.
The only real how-do-I-manage-this conundrum was when Owen pooped on the potty and was waiting for me to wipe his butt while Emmett was in the middle of a starving nursing session with a really good latch. I gritted my teeth and carried Emmett on the My Brest Friend pillow like a tray of appetizers, right into the bathroom where I wiped Owen’s butt with one hand. Multitasking at its finest.
Now double naptime is coming to an end and I even got a shower. I’d say we’re winning all around. Today, at least. Celebrate the small victories!