I’m sitting here sipping my afternoon cup of coffee after having put my son James down for a nap. Normally, he lays in his crib and babbles on for an eternity, sometimes as long as an hour and a half, before falling asleep. But today, he is surprisingly quiet right after I put him down.
After making my daughter her lunch (PB&J, cut into small cubes, and pretzels), I proceeded to finish the last eight pages of my book. Ten minutes later, I’m done, and I can smell the banana bread that I just put in the oven wafting its lovely aroma into my nose. Outside, I can hear the rain trickling down in small droplets. The house is quiet. This is our normal weekend routine.
As I sit here, my daughter is playing games on her iPad while she eats her lunch; the dishes need to be done and the laundry needs to be folded, but that can wait–I feel accomplished already. After all, I’ve gotten the kids out of the house, even on a rainy day, to the mall’s play area (our default outing location), and I’ve done some baking, took some pictures, and finished a book.
Several years ago, I never thought that I would be able to get this much done in a day, or even a weekend, because weekends meant that I was working nights. Four nights a week for almost a year. I’d get home at midnight and go to bed at 12:15 a.m, then around 5:30, my husband leaves for work, and by 6:15, Lily is up an running. Needless to say, I was very tired.
Perhaps because I was pregnant with James or because I was in the midst of the “terrible twos” I didn’t feel like doing much during the day. It was just my daughter and I, so normally we’d take a walk down to the park nearby. She’d throw rocks into the pond while the ducks glided by while I sat there, counting down the minutes until her nap time.
Back then, nap time was everything to me. It consumed my thoughts. Nap time was time for me to recoup, relax and enjoy some peace and quiet. However, at two and a half, Lily became less interested in napping, so much so that the only way I could get her to nap was to take her in the car (sometimes bribing her), and go on a drive until she fell asleep. Usually, this took about 25-30 minutes.
In the summer, it was tough. Back before we bought our current car, we drove an old Mazda that was not only a gas guzzler but had a broken AC. Thus, I rolled down the windows as much as I could. Then, when she finally fell asleep, I’d park the car in a quiet residential corner about five minutes away in my neighborhood and sit there…and wait.
Sometimes I’d marvel at the beautiful tall trees that loomed over the block. Other times, I’d wince at the thought that my bladder was acting up again (pregnancy woes), and I had to figure out how to relieve it without waking my daughter up.
Most of the time, though, I would sit there and read…or try to, anyway. I never finished any books, but finished many articles on my phone. Finally, at around 2:30 p.m, an hour and a half after I parked the car in the shade, Lily would wake up, and we’d drive home to greet daddy, who was usually home by 3:00 p.m.
On days I had to work, I’d leave at 3:15 p.m, and didn’t come home until midnight.
This went on for awhile until I had James. This little boy has surprised me in so many ways as a parent. For one, he is still napping at 2 1/2 years old. Besides his babbling tendencies, he goes down without much of a fight. He is the exact opposite of Lily in terms of napping.
That’s what came into my thoughts today as I’m sitting in the car and driving home with my kids in the back–how different can two kids be? I’m not just saying they’re different because they’re different genders; they’re different in so many ways.
You see, that is a revelation that I had today.
As obvious as it seems, it never occurred to me that the second (or subsequent) kid will be different than the first kid. If and when you have a second child, you should take whatever expectations you had with the first child and throw it out the window, because they will be nothing like each other. James, for example, will kick me in the face as I’m trying to change his diaper. He can be tough sometimes, but he gives me more hugs than I can count in a single day. Lily never kicked me whenever I changed her. She’d lay there quietly and wait until I’m done. I don’t recall any major struggles with getting a diaper on and off her.
Today, he kicked me as I’m trying to change his diaper. He also babbles incoherent words, which I assumed was something to do with the bottle that I promised him. As soon as he finished the said bottle, he grew so angry because I only gave him a 9-ounce bottle, and he was hungry. He screamed at me, asking for more. I managed to calm him for just a minute, then I asked him, “Can I pick you up?”
“Yes,” he said. So I did.
A few minutes later, he’s quiet. His head is resting on my shoulder. I’ve burped him. Finally, I asked him if he’s ready to be put down, and he replied, “Yes.”
And the house is quiet again. For a few hours anyway.