Thirteen days in to this mama of two journey and life continues on as to be expected. There are no days of climbing out of bed whenever I wish, rolling over only to switch breasts for my eager nursling, no days of lounging on the couch with a warm cheek to my chest while netflix loops its way through episodes of shows long forgotten. These days my feet must hit the chilly wood floor before their dads exit the door and the slap of two year old feet come to a pause as she comes knocking on our door, seeking out her mama, but more importantly her baby O.
E has already prepared food for Iz and put her in fresh pants and if I am lucky he has also left me a glass of smoothie on the counter to give me a jump start on my day, assuring something finds its way into my stomach before lunchtime. I join her at the table, leaving O in our room to sneak in one on one time with the gal who made me a mama and trying to soak in her beautiful toddler essence in those early morning moments before the demands of the day and of her tiny brain sneak their way in. Soon O's chipmunk noises alert me to her needs and we all come together on our bed to change her diaper, complete her post-tie-release stretches and to bring her to breast for comfort after those darn things are complete. Before too long a carrier is plucked from the stash and our littlest is tied to my chest so I can continue on our day, meeting the needs of both girls the best I know how and trying to maintain some semblance of parenting in the ways I desire, something that is hit or miss but that I keep aiming for all the same. These moments with her cheek to chest will replace those on the couch this time around as I scuttle about putting away the many loads of laundry that come with two cloth diapered gals, three animals and two adults - one of which is still in the thick of the days of leaving puddles of milk in her wake.
We carry on about our days, rotating from activity to activity to keep Iz entertained - from play doh to button sorting to books and back around again. There are snacks and lunches, diaper changes and milk stops scattered amongst our activities and if I am lucky a few moments of independent play for Iz while I sit and nurse O, but more often than not she is right there beside us, rubbing on baby sister's ear, stroking her head or jumping around beside us as I breathe deep and tap into my patience. I have had to let some things go while holding on to the hope that we will find our new normal and find a way to keep my toddler more stimulated and less like a wild animal. Some days go well and I high five myself as I climb into bed, others result in a friend walking in the door to find me on the couch nursing O and Iz on the kitchen counter in nothing but a diaper, covered in stamp pad ink, hair in a rats nest and with hands and counter full of cookies. Some days there may be tears from all parties, some days E comes home to three happy girls and even a meal on the table, but each and every one of these days gives me more than I ever could have imagined I even wanted, more growth than I ever thought was possible and more tricks up my sleeve for the next go round as my feet hit that wood floor the next morning. One can prepare themselves as much as they want before diving into this parenting gig but if I have learned anything it is the simple fact that this journey is as "learn as you go" as they come.
I'm not sure what will happen tomorrow, a week from today or in a years time but by taking each day as it comes I can stay (relatively) sane in the mist of it all, leaving yesterday in yesterday and leaving tomorrow for tomorrow, this time around I have chosen to do nothing more than to focus on the now, to not expect anything from previous days to carry over and to just give each one the best go I can muster while meeting it face to face and with a fresh perspective. Less than two weeks in to this new journey I can tell that approach is serving me well and giving me the grace and self-acceptance I deserve. There may be the thank you cards that still need sending, a financial situation that is just a bit too tight for comfort, piles of laundry and a sixty pound dog trying to steal dinner off the table while his six pound sidekick waits in the wings, but none of the chaos that can creep in day to day should stop me from soaking this all up because for every glass of grape juice spilled on the couch there is also a toddler cooing over her sister while she rubs her gently and tells her how much she loves her, for every snack stolen by a dog there is a warm baby against my chest and for every sigh of frustration there is the contentedness for looking around and knowing this is my life, this is it and I will be best served soaking it all up exactly as it is.