I decided to forgo yesterday’s blog entry in order to finish off a short story for ERWA’s Blasphemy theme week. The writers’ group dedicates the first week of each month to a particular theme and I decided to see if I could actually start and complete a story in the five weeks between Sam’s birth and the upcoming theme deadline. The astonishing thing is that I did manage to complete the story and get it posted to the group. I don’t think it’s my best work, but it got done, which is all the proof that I need to know I’m back in the saddle again.
Yes, I think I’m back to a normal life, or as close as I’ll ever get, five weeks after Sam was born. It took a lot of work and a lot of help, but hey, it’s currently 9 AM and I’m dressed, Cassie’s dressed, everybody’s had breakfast, the laundry is folded and all my morning chores are done. Just as soon as Sam finishes nursing, I’m headed out the door for a 30 minute appointment with the jog stroller and my neighborhood walking path. Life does not get any better than this, boys and girls.
So how did this happen? Well, I owe a lot of this success to my oldest daughter Cassie, who’s only 3 ½ years old. Cassie has not only made life easy for me the past five weeks, she’s actually gone out of her way to help me. Now I’m not saying we haven’t had some temper tantrums and whining and all out fits, but for a three-year-old, Cass has been pretty amazing. For starters, she knows how to entertain herself. This is a huge help when I’ve got my hands full with a hungry baby. Right now, as I nurse Sam and type out this entry, Cassie is sitting on my bed reading some of her books. She makes the occasional comment to me, and sometimes asks for things I can’t possibly do at the moment (like run downstairs and get her milk, tie her shoes, etc.), but for the most part she’s keeping herself busy and content.
Cass has also been pretty good about helping out. If I’m stuck in the glider or on the couch, I can ask Cassie to get me something and she’ll usually find it with no problems. Sometimes she’ll give me that vacant stare and shoulder shrug that says, “Cassie’s not in right now, but if you’ll leave a message…” but for the most part, I can ask for something and usually get it.
What other amazing things does my big girl do? She dresses herself most mornings, or cons her daddy into doing it for her. I will admit, she does make some unusual outfit choices. Personally, I wouldn’t wear a Disney Snow White costume with purple sneakers, orange socks and hot pink swimming goggles, but if Cass thinks she can pull it off, who am I to stifle her sense of style?
Cassie also makes her own bed. Sometimes she’ll pick up her toys. She can shoo the cats out of the room if they’re being pests and she’s gotten very good at telling me when it’s time to breastfeed Sam or change her diaper. She also likes to announce when Sam farts, but I’m not really sure that qualifies as helping.
Perhaps the most astounding thing about Cassie is her ability to go potty all by herself. That makes all the difference in the world, let me tell you. I only have to worry about changing diapers on one child, and I don’t have to constantly prod Cassie to use the toilet. She knows when she has to go and will do it by herself. When we’re out, she’ll even ask to be taken to the potty if she needs. We have had a few accidents, but not enough to be a problem.
My girl is so smart! So well behaved! So astonishing to me! It’s hard to believe that she was once a chunky little baby like her sister, who spent most of the day lying across my lap as she sucked the life out of me through my nipples. How did this happen? When did this kid get so big and so capable?
I don’t know, but my advice to any mom thinking about having child number two is to make sure child number one can stand on her own two feet first. You’ll be ever so grateful when you’ve got a little helper ready to lend you a hand with your new screaming bundle of joy.