17 months makes a difference

When I gave birth to Gwenna, and brought her home, things were hectic at first. But she was such a good baby that we quickly fell into a routine and it was so wonderful. I spent hours holding her and rocking in her room as the summer sun poured in the window. It was bright and warm and cast a goldenrod glow on the carpet, the walls, and my little girl. I mastered the art of holding a book and baby at the same time when the fluttering sound of a page turning could wake her. A dog bark, the vacuum, or an angry trucks she could sleep though but her mama's attention divided between gazing at her and gazing at a page would wake her from her dreams.

Fast forward about 17 months.

When I gave birth to Olivia, and brought her home, things were more familiar. I'd been there before and I felt more confident. But Olivia isn't a big fan of routine, even when I would likely appreciate it more and mold Gwenna around this schedule inflicted by her little sister. It was a week of being home before I had a cuddly nap with my tiny, delicate girl cuddling into my chest. I remember thinking that previously, with Gwenna, we had cuddled and napped together almost constantly. And I mourned, slightly, the week at home that I had spent without that experience with Olivia. It is winter now and the only thing that is pouring in the windows is cold air, or at least it was before Ted weatherproofed our windows. Even when I am nursing Olivia I am sometimes walking around the kitchen with a suckling baby in one arm, trying to figure out how to open a sippy cup with one hand and refill it with juice for my angry teething baby.

It's different, that's for sure. I don't love either of my babies more than the other but if they were able to someday compare notes, I fear Olivia would feel slighted. I try hard - SO hard! - to find those moments and make time for those experiences and bonding and cuddling love with Olivia but the opportunities don't always present themselves as much as I'd like.

And they're different, they're so very different, these two girls. But despite the differences in our experiences I'm still trying, as I did with Gwena, to appreciate this time and these moments. They pass so fast, I have learned and am still learning. I feel like I was just here with Gwenna and 16 months from now (Olivia is almost a month old!) I'll be saying the same of Olivia.

So I'm just going to have to try harder to find the moments and make the time by letting the dishes pile and the meals be simpler and I might have to wear a pair of jeans one more time before they are washed. But my girls won't care. Those aren't the things they'll remember (once they start remembering things...) and they're good habits to begin now to prepare for the next 17 months, and the next 17 months after that because there are only so many 17 month blocks before my babies aren't babies anymore.


mary watts said...

Please try and recall if you felt slighted when we didn't nap together when you were so tiny. I had 2 year old Niki to care for as well. You didn't get rocked nearly as often or cuddled quite as much as I would have liked but I don't think you felt any less loved...did you? They will just experience your love in different ways. One no less than the other.

Amy Sprinkle said...

You should feel very accomplished--nursing a baby and walking at the same time isn't easy--let alone caring for a toddler at the same time!

Also being a 2nd child I must admit I feel just as much loved as my other sisters. Your mom is so right about that. The wonderful wisdom of mothers.

By the way, we are in Albuquerque, NM, that much closer to AZ!

Heather said...

I just had the chance to catch up on your family's deliciousness, and I love it! I especially love this post. Beautifully written and expressed. There is no doubt in my mind that either of those little girls will ever wonder if their mother just loves and adores each of them. They'll know.