life changes with two. I mean hell, it changes with one and (though I plan never to find out exactly how) I know it must also change inexplicably with three or, heaven help you, more. But the change encountered when you go from one to two is quite a shock. As new parents you expect everything to change. You expect things to be hard and you expect to not know what you are doing for much (read all) of the time. But I have to say there was an almost cocky sense of "I've done this before, how hard can it be?" between us as we awaited the arrival of Beth. Well let me tell you that we have been brought to earth with an almighty crash.
funnily enough it is not simply the concept of caring for a new baby that is proving the most challenging. She has fitted in to life like missing jigsaw piece. Sure, some of the nights have been tough. Cluster feeding remains a wholly frustrating way to spend seemingly endless hours of the day, just as it did the first time round. But these are challenges that we have dealt with before and can deal with again (even if that is sometimes difficult to believe at 3am). Rather it is the simultaneous management of two very different sets of needs that, this time round, has thrown us the curve ball.
the problem is that now, when littly decides that he wants to scatter baking beads all over the kitchen; or climb on to the coffee table to throw slate coasters on to the solid wood floor; or open the oven door whilst dinner is cooking, the chances are I have my hands full with a feeding/crying/windy baby. So far I have been able to count on my trusty wing man to avert crisis at every turn - MD has been off work over the Christmas period and this first week of January. There are, at the moment, two of us - safety in numbers - we can each play one on one. But I have found myself wondering on too many occasions to be healthy "what happens when he goes back to his day job??". what happens when the opposition's attackers outnumber my solitary line of defence?
the additional factor in all of this is that at two, littly is naturally testing his boundaries. Even without the addition of a new baby to distract Mummy, he would likely be trying my patience and sanity on a daily basis. But he knows - of course, he knows - that Beth has added an extra dimension to it all. He knows I am distracted, that likely he will either get away with more (I'll turn a blind eye to most events that are non life threatening if I happen to be dealing with a screaming baby that won't latch on) or will receive a reaction that is all at once way over the top and (to a two year old at least) downright hilarious. The latter is often met with a look cast over his shoulder (often to Daddy, but he has also, helpfully, thrown it to strangers in the supermarket) which perfectly sums up the moment. A look that says "woah, I've done it. I've landed on that last nerve and now, people, stand back and watch the lady go bat-shit crazy". Whilst this often makes me wonder if he will ever respect my authority at all, retrospectively at least it has to be said that his comedy timing is genius.
So, as the day of MD's return to work looms large, I am left wondering exactly how we will all cope with it. We will - of course we will. We'll fall in to some kind of pattern, a routine of sorts. And at some point it will begin to feel as though we are all playing for the same team, and that we are winning. Won't it??!