Anne is now 3; Michelle is almost 1. I was trying desperately to find sometime to write during the day. This effort lasted about a week before I gave up. Rereading this now, I wonder if I got the date wrong, could I possibly have trusted them alone in the same crib when Michelle wasn’t even 1? The date is correct. In my defense, we lived in a 2-bedroom apartment and my bedroom wall adjoined theirs.
This morning I heard the sounds of Michelle amusing herself in the crib. I was surprised; to her the crib seems like a prison. When I went in, I was astonished to see Anne in with her, both of them playing happily with the busy box. Naptime only works well when both of them go in together. If Michelle won’t take a nap, Anne can amuse her. Besides I’m clear on one thing. I don’t care what they do during naptime as long as it doesn’t involve me. I could tolerate anything short of physical mayhem. I find this statement shocking; I certainly could have used a babysitter. This hour makes the difference between thriving in motherhood and feeling caged by it.
How hard it is to ignore what’s going on in their bedroom–to restrain myself from going in to see what’s happening. Yet has Anne done anything to Michelle when not right under my nose? She only seems jealous when I am paying direct attention to Michelle; otherwise she enjoys her company. If I stay out of the room, I don’t have to set any limits about Anne’s being in Michelle’s crib. If it keeps both of them amused, I don’t care.
An interruption that I handled badly. Michelle was crying so I took Anne out of her crib and left the room. Michelle continued to cry so I took her in my bedroom to nurse. Anne followed me in and Michelle didn’t seem terribly interested in nursing. I bought them both back to their room, nursed Michelle in the rocking chair very briefly. Then, I put Michelle in the crib, shut their door, and came in here and shut my door. They both started crying. In the time it took me to write this paragraph, they’ve stopped crying. Rationally I accept that I can’t make life perfect for my children, that sometimes I have to meet my needs in order to be able to meet their needs. But I feel guilty if I let them cry, if only for three minutes.