Sometimes, there are no words to express how I feel, emotionally, about how Michael has changed me. He has changed each of us.
Since he was born (& especially now that he is mobile and pays attention versus only sleeping and eating), the twins changed. Maya has always wanted to do, do, do, and now she has an object for her affections. She told me yesterday that she loves to babysit her baby brother (what she has termed what she does when I ask her to keep an eye on him so I can go to the bathroom, help Bobby, or make a meal). And she is great at big sisterhood. She is patient and kind. She snuggles him and makes him laugh with funny faces and inside jokes that only the two of them share.
In the beginning, I worried because our time would be split and, because of Bobby's needs, I feared he would be upset with Michael, that he would have the typical jealousy of an older sibling, but magnified. We have our moments but rarely have they included Michael (in 6 months, I can think of one). While he is not as over the top as Maya can be, his change is even more inspiring for me to see. He teaches the baby, as though Bobby is the teacher to a class of Michael. He will take his handwriting app and sit in front of the baby, Michael can see, then he will draw whatever is on the screen while explaining-in sentences!!!-what to do. "Learn to draw A. Up, down, across. Uppercase A. Learn to draw a. Circle, line. Lowercase a." Sometimes, I will see Bobby over my shoulder and, when I turn, he is looking at Michael, making faces and watching his baby brother crack up. It is a side of him we hadn't seen. Before he leaves, he may forget to kiss Mommy goodbye, but Michael always gets a squeeze.
Together, the twins have changed, too. They have made room for one more in their activities. They have scootched over to make room for a third spot during Peter's storytime. They have modified their routines of lunch and nap so that I can accommodate all three of them. They realize that they will have to self entertain while I change diapers, bathe Michael (which they both help with), and breastfeed.
Lest you think it is all sunshine and rainbows, we have our issues too. Days like Thursday, where the autism in our house was AUTISM!!!!!! and if I could have say under a rock and sobbed all day, I would have. The kids- all of them-hate my job. I had assumed that, because my job would be only weekdays and with only really missing somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 minutes of their waking day, it wouldn't be that bad. Wrong. Maya tells me all the time that she doesn't want me to go, asks if I have to go to work, asks when I will stop so that I can fix her hair and make breakfast before school. I've gotten several reports of her crying at school because she is upset I'm at work. And rare is the day that I'm not told, once I see her again, "I thought about you while you were at work and I missed you."
Because he is less verbal, I assume Bobby was handling it better. Our only issue initially, was that he would ask for pancakes for breakfast. "Mommy's pancakes." So, to mitigate this upsetness, i would make tons of pancakes and freeze them so Peter can just pop 'Mommy's pancakes" in the oven to warm and voila! Over the snow days and Christmas break, I came home to a full house after work and he would just hug me. He meet me at the door with "Mommy!!!!" and would just be attached. No biggie. Then, I made the mistake of leaving for the store alone and when I got back, Peter told me that Bobby had stood by the door to the garage and sobbed, "Mommy home on Saturdays." Apparently, he was upset in the mornings during the week, so Peter had explained that, while I was gone during the week, I would be home on the weekend. When I got back, Bobby ran to me, hugged me then slapped my leg, saying "Mommy work all done," angrily. We had a similar instance, where I cantored an early Sunday Mass. When I got home, I learned that he had, once again, cried when he woke up and I was gone.
Lest Michael be left from the brood, the baby who used to eat, sleep, and waffle to eat and snuggle from 2:30-3:30 before going back to bed, now eats every hour and a half, doesn't want to sleep off of me, and, when I am lucky enough to get him out by 3:30 so I can shower and pump and leave, he wakes around 4:20 so the last thing I hear is his crying. And this sleep/eat pattern? Back to normal on the weekends.
This entire thing make it extremely hard for me to fit in running (because the gym offers childcare and it is empty usually when I get off, Peter had been bringing Michael inside when we do our car exchange and I put him in for 10-30 minutes while I bit the treadmill. Otherwise, I would never get a run in... The guilt would be high (as it was when I trained for the NYC Marathon this last November). It also make writing and editing tough. I'm attempting to use one of the twins' tablets to blog while nursing. I figure that might get me blogging again! But it is impossible, for me at least, to actually write on this and, other than a final edit, I hatred using it to try and go through a galley. I used to take my laptop to a coffee shop and just spend time writing while Peter had daddy time. Having a "boobybaby" and preschoolers who already don't see enough of you makes that as guilty worthy pipe dream. I know I have to figure something out. I just don't know what. Add to this mix that I signed up for a class (that starts on the 21st and runs through mid-May) that disects the Margret Atwood book "Oryx and Crake", and I can only imagine how my days are going to look. I also have upcoming races (Feb, March, may, June, and August which is a triathlon... Haven't thought beyond that yet) to train for. The good thing about that, however, is that I plan to take Bobby with me. He absolutely LOVED his first 5k (he ran the 2013 Lemon Run in mid-November and still wears his medal around the house) and he is really good at running. February is a 5 miller and usually freezing, so he will do the 1 mile race in March for our local pub, and then I figure we will do some 5k training.
Even with how positive the twins have been and you how they have embraced their newfound roles as big siblings, we are desperately looking for ways to do things solo or as a twin set. With four years between them, they do have interests that Michael doesn't and we want to still have that time with them. We try to take them out one on one and last week, Michael had his first long trip to his paternal grandparents while we took the twins to see Frozen. (I tried to insert pics but can't figure it out!) Afterwards, we had lunch together. It was great.
Well, the twins are now up and it's time for me to make breakfast...