Dear Ethan and Maya,
If I could give you any life advice this month, I would suggest you not to have a second child until your first child is at least 30. Or if your first child is a normal kid, then you should be fine. Are you abnormal, Ethan?
The past couple weeks have been the most difficult, most mortifying string of rambling hours of my life. I have never been more tired, more sore, more weepy, more anxious, yet more joyous. I have to say since I knew I was pregnant with Maya I had been thinking what could have been helpful to manage taking care of you both. And by far I have NO SOLUTIONS! And Ethan, the fact that you still have no idea how to control your screams while I’m busy stopping your sister’s screams while I have enough of your father’s screams just worsens the whole situation. Right now, I’m just concentrating on making it hour to hour filled with everybody’s screams.
Ethan, I believe it’s the jealousy issue that puts you into such tantrum bender every single day. To cope with that, we’ve started to put you in your crib as the time-out area. I remember the first time I decided to do that as you threw food on the floor in frustration, I had warned you before if you did that again, I’d be putting you in time-out for two minutes. You promptly dropped another piece of chicken as if to say, “Bring it on, people!” So I put you in your crib, left the room and shut the door behind me. Two minutes later I went back into your room and explained why I had put you there in the first place, and then I told you to say sorry. Although I couldn’t tell if you meant it when you said you were sorry, the whole time-out thing seems to be working magically. You went back to the dining table with your quivering lips and tear-wet face, and took several big bites of your bowl of rice right away. Yes, Ethan, life is a prison. Both your father and I do think we have dealt enough with your eating problem, to make sure the time-out works next time, we might add on a few extra minutes, like 50.
So, Maya, Happy One Month. This is my first letter to you. To start with, I have to emphasize how much I am jealous about your ability to poop. People tend to neglect the inhumane aftermath of labor which always (for me) leads to monstrous constipation. Even the stool softener and Metamucil, which are supposed to soften the stool so it can pass out your ass comfortably, just makes the stool in my body isn’t very hard, but marginally hard. The first couple days after I was back home, I think I spent about half of the time in the bathroom trying to pass the poop mountain out of my body.
I believe the gallons of Metamucil I have drunk has taken an interesting effect on you who’s been breastfed perfectly well. Or I should say you are having my milk which I pump from my breasts. Why don’t I just throw you on my breasts and spare those breast pump washing and sterilizing and more washing and more sterilizing? Because what those books say “as long as the baby is in the right position it shouldn’t hurt to breastfeed” is not completely true. In case you are going to breastfeed in the future, I’m telling you that there is no possible way to have a 7-pound creature gumming your tender nipple without the slightest bit of discomfort. Despite my NEW breasts that have taken on the size of atomic bombs, they are the things I really want to get off my chest now. And Ethan, you may find it irrelevant. But try to imagine your naked penis being stapled for like hundred times in every 2 hours. And you don’t even have two penises! Cause after stapling the first boob, your sister moved on to the other boob and the happy stapling began all over again. You both have to love me more than your father for that.
Maya, I’m now feeding you about every 2 hours, and you are pooping every 2 minutes. Meaning I’m on the repetitive chores of pumping, feeding, burping and changing you. Any second I’m not doing any of these, I’m probably eye-rolling or sighing or throwing my hands up and saying, “My dear child, couldn’t you wait to poop until I had put the diaper on your butt?”
Around a week ago, you started to smile. It made me cry, which isn’t necessarily significant considering that your poop makes me cry. But you smile with your mouth wide open and your eyebrows raised. And this is actually the best gift for me, cause four weeks ago I honestly didn’t think I would ever make it past the four-day mark. And having you smiled at me makes the whole thing worth it. I have to thank you for that. I can’t imagine how mothers with a smile-less babies, sore boobs and dreadful constipation do it.
When I’m busying take care of Maya, Ethan, you spend most of the time at your grandparents. When you are at home with us, I’ve noticed one of your favorite activities is counting. Numbers are your passion now. You count the toes on your feet, the steps leading up to the living room, the bowl of Cheerios that you don’t eat, those broccoli florets that you pick out from your plate. One morning, you asked for raisins for breakfast, I picked three from a box of Raisin Bran, put them in your bowl and asked you to count them. You took out each one of them and counted slowly, “One… two… three…” Then you kept going, “Four… seven… eight…” You were willing them with the power of your brain to multiply.
Ethan, you are handling Maya’s arrival much like I had anticipated you would. You are still skeptical to get close to her. But you are definitely accepting the fact that Maya is part of the family. You used to say, “Daddy home! Mommy home! Ethan home!” Recently, you say this followed by “Maya home!” And that is just the most heart-warming thing I’ve ever heard.
The other day, when I was sitting in the living room with Maya in my lap while you were trying to crash your father’s stereo system. I wasn’t sure if it’s the gloomy weather, or my raging hormones, or the exhaustion, or the anxiety attack, the urge to cry caught me so harshly, so uncontrollably. I felt so guilty, like I had betrayed you by bringing someone else into our lives. Here I was forcing you into one of the most painful transitions of your life. And even though I knew I was being completely irrational, I just wanted to clutch you to my chest and apologize. I had no idea I was going to feel that way. I was totally unprepared for this.
But when I looked at both of your faces, I couldn’t be more proud of myself to have not one but two beautiful children. You both made me a magnificent mother. And I’ve realized having those thoughts and being heart-broken are just part of the plan.