Yesterday morning my 9-year old flounced past me with a side pony tail she had done herself. It looked cute with her blue floral shirt and jean style leggings that she had chosen herself. But there were strands of hair coming out and it was a bit messy. My left arm was tied up cradling Alex as I nursed him and I couldn't have properly fixed her pony tail with one hand. Remi is no expert at girls' hair styles and it was time for him to take her to school anyway. So I had to let it go.
This is my life version 9.0. As in a nine-year old and a zero-year old. Totally different needs and ends of the spectrum. On the one hand I am arguing with the big (no, she says, not big yet!), er, medium girl about how she needs to memorize the times tables, on the other I am trying to get a not yet four-month old to not cry when I leave the room. With Juliette I can make silly jokes about things we've seen on TV or on the street, with Alex we are just trying to make him laugh, period.
One evening as he was crying and I was straining to hear what Juliette had said ("You never listen to me," is her new mantra), and the fatigue was showing on my face and audible in my voice, she said, "Yes, that's what it's like having two kids." Out of the mouths of babes. She was only repeating something I must have said at another time to explain to her that I had to share my time between them.
As Coldplay sang, "Nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be this hard." Oh, Chris Martin, you said it. My heart is full with two kids but it is also tugged in two directions. Constantly. Which is why the moments when they both seem to be enjoying each other's company are golden. Like when I put him on her chest right before bed and he lifts his head up and makes her smile. Or I pretend he is talking and telling her "baby jokes." She is eager to have a bro she can interact with more and until he gets there, I "animate" him for her.
But the gap will always be there, with new challenges at each age. I am afraid to think of her 13th year and his 4th one. God help me. Thankfully I'll be able to drink alcohol again by then, because I can see a glass of white becoming essential when the petulant years and pre-school tantrums coincide.
And since I can't drink now, I'll just blog. As I spend these next months at home I will try and blog once a week. To record those baby and big, oops, medium girl milestones. And to keep myself sane.