Each afternoon, when he is fresh from his nap, I scoop Little Smith from his crib and he lies wrapped in my arms. This started long before his baby sister's arrival, preschool, or any of the recent changes rocking his 33 month old world, but these days the ritual has become more critical than ever.
He needs me, me and only me to get him out of the crib each morning, to change his diapers, to help put his shoes on, brush his teeth and tuck him into bed. Even daddy won't do, and although it makes complete sense that in the midst of so many shifts he is holding even tighter to his one constant, fulfilling that role is also draining. It's such an honor to be the anchor for this sweetest of little people, an honor and utterly depleting.
At just six weeks old, my baby girl already seems so different from her big brother. Of course she's a tiny infant and her temperament is far from established, but I'm sensing a strong independent streak in her. When she's fussy, I juggle her in my arms attempting to soothe her, only to discover that what calms her best is stretching out in bed all on her own. I watch as she aimlessly flaps her baby arms and legs in total happiness, but I feel guilty not carrying her around the house at every moment the way I did with her brother. Putting him down as a baby was an invitation for disaster, so I never did. We slept with him, I held him close and wore him in a sling nearly every waking moment. It never occurred to me that he might be a difficult baby because he was always happy, so long as he was never put down. Ever.
I'm certain that these two little personalities will evolve and change endlessly before they reach adulthood, but I'd also be pleased to see the traits carry through.This world could probably use a couple more focused, sensitive men who know exactly what they want, and a few more independent women flapping away wildly might be good too. In the weeks since we brought home our second child, I am already realizing that my job is to listen to each of them separately, to work to understand their challenges and to help them discover their own strengths, as individuals.
So I stare at the ceiling during our post nap snuggles, Little Smith tucked into one arm while the other arm works to soothe the baby, trying not to watch the clock, trying not to rush him... Because that moment always arrives; the groggy crankiness passes and he suddenly hops up to tackle his next project of arranging cars or blocks. And as soon as that little body has left the bed, all my exhaustion fades away, and I just miss him.
*all pictures from halibut state park