My fourth child, Baby O, is just a little over a month old now, and we are all still in a state of insanity at our house. From dealing with 24/7 nursing (and no, it’s not a growth spurt!) to riding out the daily temper tantrums of my third child, DD2, we are still in survival mode. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
But you know what is different this time around? My little sister is going through some of the same things right along with me. She had her baby just a few weeks before Baby O.
Here’s how a typical phone call with sis tends to start:
Me: Hey. You busy?
Sis: No. Just sitting here nursing.
Me: Hey – Guess what I’m doing?
Me: Yup. How’d you guess?
It can be so reassuring to know that someone else is going through the same things you are going through. Sis may be living all the way in New York while I sit here in Texas, but we both sit on our couch every day, gazing at our baby’s face and gritting our teeth while we look at the dust-bunnies roll like tumbleweeds across the floor, knowing that there isn’t a chance in hell that they will be cleaned up anytime soon. We are both putting our babies ahead of our disheveled homes.
Just the other day I had to call Sis to vent about how people keep pointing out the spit-up that continually appears on my shirt or on Baby O’s mouth/lips/neck-folds/shirt. I mean, how dare they point out the unavoidable obvious, like I should be doing something about it. I’ve somewhat come to terms with the way I look and smell, but the masses haven’t. You know who else understands this? Sis does. I love that. Then we talked about how, no matter how much we try, we can’t seem to get the spit up to land on the burp rag. Our babies seem to almost always aim elsewhere. On the arm, down the sleeve, on the neck, and the worst – between the boobs! Who else can you call, other than your sister, to vent about cold clammy baby vomit dribbling down your chest?
We are helping each other in other ways, too. Since I’m nursing my 4th and she is nursing for the first time, I’ve been putting my counseling skills to use with some breastfeeding assistance. I’m not sure if I’m always helping, but I’m trying my best. What she probably doesn’t know is how she is helping me. This is my fourth child and I think if I didn’t pay attention, I just might get lost in the stress of dealing with a household where the needs of 4 demanding children are constantly battling with my sanity. Talking to my sister as she nurses her little one reminds me that it’s OK to occasionally sit and focus on Baby O without guilt, because every baby is a new relationship. I’m falling in love once again, much like the first time, and nourishing that relationship in these early days of spit-up and sleeplessness is important and necessary.
Thank goodness for sisters.
[Thanks to John ‘K’ for the above photo.]