Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Just as I've always been told, I don't love either one of my kids more than the other, though I do love them differently. Still, it's taken me a long time to realize that even if you don't have a favorite, there's usually one child who is paramount in your mind and heart for a little while. Or perhaps I shouldn't say 'your.' Perhaps I shouldn't assume everyone is the way I am. But it's the case with me.

For a long time, probably almost since he was born, it was N. I loved E, I enjoyed spending time with E, I interacted and laughed and played and hung out with E, but I was consumed by N. Between the normal demands of infancy, his growth issues and my focus on them, and simply his personality, he captured and captivated me.

He is no less charming and scrumptious now--possibly even more so these days, with a healthy dose of two-ness going for him. He's funny and demanding and delightful and frustrating and I treasure him. But lately, lately...Lately E has been front and center again. I can't say why, exactly. Probably it's simply because the logistics of a six-year-old's life require a significant amount of input from at least one parent--and I'm the logistics parent in this family. So there's soccer and swimming and school and Brownies and playdates and sleepovers and decisions to be made about after-school care. With N? There's daycare. And as of next month, he's going five days a week, so there isn't even planning to be done for the days when he's not at daycare, outside of weekends, which are almost inevitably jammed full of stuff.

But there's more to it, too. I'm just so proud of E these days. She's really throwing herself into life, taking chances, challenging herself. I enjoy spending time with her, more often than not. I can have serious conversations with her, interesting conversations. Nowadays, when something funny happens in the house, I find myself seeking her out to tell her about it, like I would a friend. We spend a lot of one-on-one time together nowadays, much more than we have in the recent past. And with my schedule change, where I'll be home after school three days a week, we'll have even more of that sort of time. Despite the fact that it means seeing less of N (unless I want to wake him in mid-nap some days to bring him home with me on one of my three short days), I'm excited for this to happen.

And besides...let's face it...two-year-olds are hard. Fun. Adorable. But hard. Having more than one person to carry that load, to keep N happy and interested and safe and learning and engaged with life, is not a bad thing at all, to me. It gives me just a little more strength--and patience, which I have in only limited quantities--to deal with him the "right way," MY right way, when we are together. And because E will have had a good dose of me by then, I'll get that extra bit of time to just concentrate on him, to play only with him or read only to him or just snuggle with him, the way he still loves to. (God, I love those baby boy snuggles. I'm so glad he's a snugglebug. I'd miss him so much if I couldn't get a good dose of skin-to-skin time with him each day.)

Hmmm. Maybe I was wrong about one or the other being paramount in my heart. Maybe it's just that parenting more than one kid is a little like juggling, and one of the balls in always in the air, rather than in direct contact with the juggler. Still, that ball is only going to go so high, only going to go so far away. Sooner rather than later, it's going to come back down, and the juggler will scoop it up, steady it, and send it back up and on its way again.

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