Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I Can Do This

As I stood at the sink, the smell of lime and sea salt dish detergent filled my nostrils. "I can do this thing," I thought. Elijah, standing beside me, was doing his best to help with the dishes. This basically meant he tried at every possible opportunity to get his hands in the sink and send water splashing to the ceiling in a fountain of gargantuan proportions.

Here we stood for awhile, a mother and son. I can do this.

Three pans left to wash and the sweet sound of a little one's cries filled the air. Oliver had awoken from his slumber in his pack n' play in the adjacent room. 

I let the water out of the sink lest Elijah washed the dishes without me, causing my cottage cheese ceiling to crumble. "Oh, Oliver is upset," I said to Elijah and I left my spot at the sink to comfort my youngest son while my eldest followed close behind. "Should we change his diaper?" I asked Elijah as I grabbed a diaper and wipes. Elijah stood at the edge of the pack n' play with a sly smirk on his face watching his little brother. I can do this, I thought again.

Oliver was now clean and happy so I crouched down to Elijah's level and held little Oliver next to his big brother's face. Elijah leaned over and gave his baby brother a big sloppy kiss. My heart swelled so that it no longer fit in my chest and I thought, I'm doing this.

It was noon and the three of us headed to the kitchen. I gave Elijah two choices for lunch. Holding each item in front of Elijah while juggling a baby, I asked, "Do you want chicken nuggets or a turkey sandwich?" Elijah looked at both boxes, smiled and slapped the chicken nuggets box. "Chicken nuggets?" I said, "Of course, chicken nuggets, what else would it be?"

While prepping Eli's lunch, Oliver started to fuss and tried to latch onto my face. I had two hungry boys on my hands. How in the world am I going to do this?

I helped Elijah get into his chair with my one free hand and made sure we had all of our necessary lunch items ready on the table. "You're the big brother, Elijah. Oliver is hungry too, so I need you to be patient and wait while I take care of your little brother," I said. Elijah, who is not known for his patience, sat in his chair and waited with a smile on his face, occasionally peering at the baby in my arms. I started nursing Oliver and then feeding Elijah with my free hand. "Nuggets, cherries, or coconut milk?" I asked, giving Elijah the choices that help him feel like he is in control of his own destiny, therefore reducing his temper tantrums. "Milk? Okay," I said and I tip the cup so that milk pours into his mouth, my pinky finger giving his chin support. This isn't easy, but I really am doing this.

Parenting two kids, one with special needs? I've got this. I think...

Edited to add: This was one of the first times I was left alone with the boys. I've been fortunate in that I've had a lot of help this first month, but now Andy is back at work.


I'm linking to Just Write, where we're encouraged to...just write.


Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, Lisa, you CAN do this. Of this, I know. There WILL be days, though. Be prepared for that. But you are a strong, loving mom. You have to handle more than most. But each day will get easier taking care of your two boys all alone. And you know that once in awhile you can call on your family to help. Love you, Mumsie

Gianna Rae said...

You are doing this! One tip that I was given when I had my second was to let the older sib hear you tell the new baby that he/she must wait because it's your oldest's turn right now. Even if they have to fuss for a few minutes. This is a very important message. You CAN do this. And you ARe doing this!

Mo said...

Almost a year later, and I still am telling myself that I can do this too. But frankly, it is hard on so many levels. A new sibling with a special needs big sister flipped me upside down for a couple of months. It's been downright rough at times. Venturing to appts and therapies solo with the girls feels like I'm leading the circus and my children are the cages animals! Such a challenage. I have been wanting for the last 11 months (since Esme was born) to write about this very thing but it comes out as whiney. Not many will understand anyways... but here I see you do. It has gotten better and in your deepest being, no matter what, it is all so very worth it.

Mo said...

*...and in your deepest being you KNOW, no matter what, it is all so very worth it.

NLS 1993 said...

Thank you so much for sharing your heart words with Just Write. You are enough and when you're not, when you just.can' believe grace fills in the gaps and turns our not enough into enough. I'm so grateful for that. SO.

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