Paying up front

Odie often tells Viva she’s tough. She is. She comes home from day care covered in scratches and bruises and is ever chipper. “Look at my owies, Mommy!” Not pride, exactly, but she loves to get attention for sure.

I hear her barking cough in the next room and I can’t make it better. I feel a strange divided loyalty. I want to cuddle and comfort Viva, but I want to swat her away from my precious infant as well. I am a mom divided. Tonight my toddler chased me around sobbing and barking her croup cough while my swaddled baby screamed in terror. Viva scares Pringles when she cries. Viva’s tears set Pringles off like a bomb.

One night when my sister was visiting from Oakland, Odie and I were juggling our wailing overtired daughters. When the din quieted, she confessed that I may have just made her daughter an only child.

I am often puzzled by the coexistence of such opposite feelings. I become nauseated and terrified at the prospect of leaving Pringles on January 30th to go back to work. I ache as I drive away from Viva’s preschool. Yet right now, I can barely hold my bone dry eyes open (some bizarre postpartum thing, eye dryness), and I can’t bear to go to bed because they’re sleeping and I’m alone. I only get to be alone at night, when everyone is asleep.

I’m afraid I won’t be able to do what Odie does. He works from 4 a.m. to 5 a.m., showers, shaves, goes to work, works until 3, tutors until 5 , picks Viva up at preschool, comes home and plays with kids, or does more work, then goes to sleep early with Viva and repeats.

He’s pretty miserable and I don’t want to be. Trying to hold on to my radiant optimism is enough of a struggle in the presence of his swirling vortex of negativity. I want us all to be happy, but working for a living is tedious.

Sometimes we laugh about how easy we had it as newlyweds. Work, romance, and restaurants, soaked liberally in booze. I even think we had it easy with one child. Whoever didn’t have hold of the kid was off-duty. Now there is no such thing. Except now, late at night. There’s a steep price to pay: lost sleep.

All the moms on Facebook write at some point “Kids are asleep, what am I doing up?!” Living for yourself. Like I do from 8:30 to 10 or so, when the baby takes a booby break and the todder begins the slow, all-night migration from her bed to mine. And I see peace on my husband’s face instead of weariness.

A two year-old and a four year-old. That’s why we did this. Two and four. Three and five. Four and six. You get the picture. We have to pay up front with infant and two as well as one and three.

And it’s costing us. Luckily we’re tough.

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9 Responses to Paying up front

  1. thankful says:

    http://www.autismseizureselfinjuriousbehavior.com/2011/07/silent-alarm.html

    Read this blog. It puts everything into perspective. This child is in his late tees, still in diapers and life is a nightmare for the parents. These parents will never be able to wait for the day it will all get better.

    • Mrs Odie 2 says:

      So your point is that because other people have it worse, I don’t get to struggle? Good to know.

      • Maine Mummy says:

        There’s no point comparing, it really doesn’t help. We’re about to have an infant and a 2.5 year old. We don’t expect anything close to what we hope “normal” is until Kindergarten kicks in.

    • JJ says:

      How in the world does that put anything in perspective? Sure, that sucks for them – but MrsOdie2′s situation doesn’t compare in any way other than they are both mothers. Based on your logic, the mother of the super autistic boy should be happy and not complain because at least her son isn’t dying from cancer like my friend’s 12 year old daughter. smh.

      Hang in there, MrsOdie2, it does get easier. Mine are 1.5 and 3 now and best of friends. We still have rough days, but the good days out number the bad at least 3 to 1. :)

      • SlippidyDippidy says:

        Exactly. Should no one ever vent because someone else has it worse off? According to that logic NO ONE in the world has the right to share feelings about ANYthing. Give me a break.

  2. Shellie says:

    You are so right that you are now in the difficult stage. But now that my kids are grown (or obnoxious teenagers anyway), I look at the pictures of them young and wax nostalgic for how adorable they were and how lovable. I do not remember the hard parts except for the particularly memorable ones, like double ear infection Christmases or greasing their head they got stuck between a railing! Hang in there, it sucks now but it really does get better. I think your ending implies you know it will. Love ‘em up while you can. One of my saddest days was realizing they went to bed on their own without needing the tuck ins and what seemed while a million, books.

  3. Patti says:

    It so gets better! My littlest is turning one in two weeks, and I’m so looking forward to thanksgiving in comparison to the one I had last year (exhausted, one week post partum, baby attached to the boob, three year old acting out because clearly, we’d ruined her life…) – and a year later, it’s like a different universe. I had a rough few months with my newborn last year- when she was a month old, my mom was diagnosed with leukemia… and 40 days of impatient chemo began. Between both girls, my mom, my dad and panic over my mom, I never thought I’d make it through- but I did. And so will you. Hang in/ it gets better. Truly, it does.

  4. SlippidyDippidy says:

    I have a 2 and 4 right now!! My girls just turned 2 and 4 a few months ago. This in an interesting stage! Lots and lots of fun, but there is a hell of a lot of yelling from all parties involved too! hahaha

  5. Ms P says:

    I don’t comment on blogs b/c I mostly don’t care to be bothered …. but I find myself bothered – thankful, this is an apples to oranges situation – the two blogs are on completely different levels … & who exactly are you to suggest to another person they need perspective – a bit big for your britches, IMO …. & for the record, let’s try some people-first language folks – kiddos aren’t autistic, they are individuals w/ autism – w/ a whole lot more to them them then just the single facet of autism. How’s that for perspective?

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