Mother and child: Symbiosis comes lately

I think I've finally found the joy in the company of my kids.

Had to look real hard too.

You might be thinking, wait. Isn't she supposed to be loving every minute of this whole stay-at-home, diaper-changing at five in the morning, blogging everything her kids are doing thing, already?

Well, let's just say I've acquired a taste for some of it, but not all.

Here's how it is: Without Lokes here, I'm pretty much drained. Physically. Emotionally especially. And because I haven't really found the mood (I have quite a bit of free time after the kids sleep, just no spirit) to sit down to read these days, I'm also mentally empty. I have stacks of unopened newspapers and books I bought from Amazon I haven't even unpacked from the boxes they came in. The one book I did open, which is Gone by Jonathan Kelleman? Still in the double digits, and I started it a month ago.

In short, I've just been sucked dry. Those things that good, relaxed sleep, free of worry that one's baby might've managed to slip out of her pants and unlatched her diaper again and pooped all over her cot, and a husband's warm embrace usually offer at the end of the day so one is replenished and is at peace with the world again, to go to war the next day.

"I look terrible," I typed on MSN Messenger to my husband.

"What do you mean baby?" he types back.

"Tired. I'm very tired.
When you get home, I'm going to sleep.
For a week."

"Don't worry k? Come back I sayang." (Malay for love)

Dear, sweet man. And you know what? Reading those words did make me feel slightly better.

But only slightly. I am needier than that.

Anyway, so what did I mean, learning to enjoy the company of my children? You always see me blogging about what cute things my kids did. While they are enjoyable, these moments are rare. Or perhaps sometimes I just miss them.

Most of the time, Raeven makes me want to just open the front door and let her out so she can somehow burn out the energy herself, instead of breaking my furniture with it. Skyler will be crying because she's locked in her pen when all she does outside is break the TV.

Meal times are always a blur, with kids flinging or dropping food on my carpet and me bending over and picking rice or gravy or sticky stuff up so that it won't stick or stain. Sky has just acquired this haughtiness where she wants to eat on her own without help. Most of her grub ends up on the floor and I worry if she is actually full, while loudly persuading Rae to finish hers with promises or threats, whichever works the fastest, all the while trying not to lose it.

The quiet times when Sky naps are when Rae and I get down to the reading and writing part of the day, which is my new project. She is able to read quite a few words now and entire simple Dr Seuss books (which work, by the way) but sometimes, it gets frustrating when I know she either memorised the words or are guessing them, so I'm not really sure if she's really paying attention. And then, I leave her to do her art and colouring while I just check my emails and wonder for the millionth time what I am going to do with all the time left in the day, while resisting with much difficulty the temptation to just switch on the telly and blank out.

These last two weeks have been some of the toughest I've been through all my life (the toughest was when Skyler was born). Somewhere in all the madness, something wonderful happened. I saw Skyler go giddy at the beach and in the water. Saw her learn to put a spoon in her mouth successfully. see her shake her booty to a Wiggles song. See her 'read'. Hear Raeven tell me I am the best mom ever. Saw her sweetness when she offered me her Hello Kitty camera when I misplaced mine (left it at the park but got rescued by her school teacher who'd stayed for the afternoon class, thank God). See her reading Cooking with the Cat all by herself. I was tickled. Happy. Proud.

Fulfilled.

It was like magic.

So my kids and I have achieved symbiosis now. Instead of needing the usual 'replenishing' from just my hubby, I am able to take from those to whom I give. It doesn't come automatically. And it doesn't happen all the time. But with enough insight and work, it comes.

And when it does, you will feel the gratification you need to carry on.

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4 Comments »

  1. Frosty said

    Jenn,

    I recalled the last couple weeks back when my sis was out of town and Caitlin is staying at my parent house.. From what I see, my niece is bonding too well with my mother (Caitlin grandmother). But as usual, she is just naughty as she is. Eat a bit then later blurt the food out when she does not want to eat.

  2. Barbara Ng said

    Hi Jenn. Love to read your blog. Always so interesting and touching too. Reading your blog really brightens up my days. Just want to tell you that you are doing a great job with the 2 lovely girls. Oprah once said that stay-at-home mommies have the toughest job in the world. I’m only taking care of one child and I sometimes feel like I would go crazy soon. I love Ashley very much and seeing her grow is a real joy but sometimes I yearn for my pre-baby days 😦 Amazing that you are able to take care of 2 girls and still have time to do your own things like reading, blogging, etc 🙂 Really admire you. Talk to you later. Take care.

  3. Hey Barbara, thanks for the kind words. Yea, the madness just gets to you sometimes, doesnt' it? And we've only just begun! Well you know what, sometimes taking care of two kids isn't very different from just one. Just imagine a child that goes on the whole day! 😀

    Well I learnt from a friend of mine that your own time is also very important, so disciplining the kids to sleep early, nap on time, is important, just so u yourself don't go insane from incessant caregiving hehe. I get my kids to bed at 7pm, sometimes they will sleep by 7.30pm, sometimes 8pm, but when i lv them at 7.30pm, they know thats the end of the day for them and I'm left to clean up and then relax. This works really well, altho it does leave your husband little or no time to see them if he comes home late, but it's good also for him coz he gets his own private time too with you, which makes the weekends daddy's time with the kids.

    This schedule, and 'tools' like a large play pen for Skyler,  is what keeps me sane!

  4. Barbara Ng said

    Hey Jenn, Thanks for the tips. Ashley has stopped drinking milk from the bottle at 9 mths and I have to spoonfeed her so that she would take her milk 😦 She’s now 1 years old. Talked to her paed and she suggested that I change the formula but still the same thing. We came to a conclusion that she doesn’t like the taste of formula anymore since she started solids. I would love for her to sleep early but have to feed her formula at 10pm first. So, she sleeps at around 10.30pm and wakes up at 8am. Can’t skip the feeding at 10pm as she is only taking formula 3 times a day.

    She still doesn’t know how to drink from the sippy cup yet. Would be much easier if she knows. Hopefully she’ll go back to liking formula soon and I could reajust her schedule 🙂 I also put her in the playpen so that I could do some work around the house 🙂

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