And in the blink of an eye…

December 20, 2009

Caterpillar, Butterfly & Monkey

Shazam! It’s December. And, more than two months since I last updated my blog. What can I say? I’ve been busy. Having two kids– in case no one has told you– is a LOT of work!

Since I last wrote, I returned to work. My four-month maternity leave came to an end, and I went back to my job in advertising. Bryce did an amazing job adjusting to daycare. Other than taking short naps for the first couple of months,  she has taken to it like a kid in a candy store. The room is so cheery, filled with pictures and toys, and the babies are well-loved. What’s not to like?

I only wish that my adjustment was as pain-free. Instead, I returned to “the job” and landed on an account that was in the throws of a lot of work without enough of members on its team. My work life quickly became insane and my Wednesdays at home with my girls are usually spent with my iPhone in my hand sifting through hundreds of emails. Rather than risk my job by elaborating, I will instead say that I am taking the necessary steps to improve my situation. Hopefully, 2010 brings lots of good stuff.

In October, we welcomed Aunties Jessie and Shelva for a visit. This was their first trip out to meet Bryce and they spent a lot of quality time with their nieces, playing in the basement, outside collecting leaves, and preparing a kid-themed dinner (hamburger faces). It was lovely to see them both and we are looking forward to seeing them again, when they have their commitment ceremony at The Culinary Vegetable Institute, in Ohio, this summer.

Halloween was memorable this year for many reasons: 1) This was Bryce’s first Halloween, 2) Clare was really into it this year and got to wear her (handmade by Nanny) butterfly costume numerous times, 3) Clare and Bryce’s costumes went together (Bryce was a caterpillar), and 4) My grandfather passed away after 94 years of life.

Over Halloween weekend, Bryce and I flew home to Miami to be with my family after Poppa’s death. It was good to be home and see my brother, who was taking it very hard. For me, oddly enough, the entire thing was very anticlimactic. When we visited my family last in February of this year, I knew it would likely be the last time I saw my grandfather. I had said my goodbyes, cried, and mourned the loss of a fantastic presence in my life. Going home eight months later for his funeral, was very different for me than it was for most of the family, I know. Jay Burton Keys was one in a zillion. We are all lucky to have had him in our lives.

A month later, at Thanksgiving, we welcomed Nancy and Larry for a visit. We had a fantastic turkey dinner, which I did not have to prepare. The grandparents spent oodles of time with both Bryce and Clare. I got out for a haircut, yoga, and walks with my girlfriends. Oh, how I wish that we had family here. It’s so good for everyone— the kids, our family, our marriage and our sanity!

I can clearly remember other people telling us that when you go from having one child to having two children that it is exponentially harder. I’m not necessarily denying that this is true. It’s hard to quantify exactly what the hard parts are. It’s more about the lack of time that there now is for everything: yourself, your marriage, your other children, your friends, and on and on and on. Before, when it was just the three of us, we were two parents per one child. When one of us needed to get in some “me” time, it was okay because 1-on-1 with Clare was doable. Now, when one of us has to be out of the house, it’s 2-on-1 and that is not so easy. Bryce is a baby and Clare is a tornado! Yes, a whirling ball of energy that talks a mile-a-minute and has endless questions, needs, and demands. I, of course, (still) only have two hands and so that can be difficult.

One of the things that I have struggled the most with is the guilt that I feel. This guilt is like one of those glass prisms you hang in the window– each time the light hits it, a new color is reflected on the wall. For example, I feel guilty when I am giving Bryce my attention, playing with her on the floor, and blowing raspberries on her belly. I am worried that Clare will get jealous or her feelings will be hurt. I feel guilty that I am not giving Bryce enough of the attention that she needs/deserves because Clare’s needs are more immediate, LOUDER, and well, Bryce is happy to hang on the floor chewing on a plastic toy. I feel guilty when I get out for some “me” time because my husband rarely takes time for himself. I feel guilty that I work outside the home and my daughters are being cared for by someone else four days a week. Guilt…it’s not just for Jewish mothers anymore.

What’s been really wonderful these past few months is watching Clare get excited about Bryce’s growth. Bryce is no longer a newborn. She can sit, eat with us at the dinner table, pick up toys, roll over, and can recognize all of us. Clare calls Bryce her friend, and she will tell you about all the things that she and Bryce are going to do together, “when Bryce gets bigger.” Every once in a while when the fog clears for a few minutes, I get a glimpse of our future, of the girls as little people, friends, together, giggling, sharing stories, in each others rooms, and each others confidants. The mutual affection that they share is one of the unexpected gifts having a second child has brought. Not only did we create another member of our family, someone who will be in our lives forever, but we have given Clare a friend for life…a sister. It’s been amazing to see what that has done to and for her.

And, in the blink of an eye, Bryce is six months old. Kapow! I know I need to buckle my seatbelt now, because the next six months are going to be a wild ride. I remember with Clare all of the leaps and bounds that take place in a baby’s development between six months and a year. Hard to imagine that, over the next six months, Bryce will be standing, (likely) walking, and communicating with us (words/signs).  Look out, 2010, we’re headed your way.

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