Thursday, February 14, 2008
I'm so happy to electronically introduce you to Banana Mogantosh, newest member of the clan. At thirteen weeks in utero he has formed vocal cords and might be able to suck his thumb. We are very happy, and I am very weepy...in fact, I cried twice during a recent episode of 'So You Think You Can Dance'.
So far we are focusing on the romantic, rather than the practical. How much fun two babies will be, we assure ourselves. What great mates they will be together! How much easier it will be the second time around! How much they will entertain each other so we can get back to watching the West Wing!
I’m making lists: take the bassinette out of the shed, look for a double pram on EBay, keep an eye out for specials on those toddler dog leashes, etc. But it struck me recently that it will be the everyday routines of my new life that might pose a challenge. If I let my mind stray too far towards the reality, my preparation manual starts to look a little like this:
• Welcome to your new life with two kids under two! We’re so glad you’ve decided to take this step but would like to remind you that there is no turning back. You can begin by farewelling all activities superfluous to baby-wrangling, including adult conversation, leg-waxing and going to the toilet alone.
• Do not increase your fitness before beginning this marathon. In fact, grow fatter and fatter each month until you resemble a beach ball on sticks, and are unable to move further than the toilet without assistance. Then undergo either a day of two of excruciating, exhausting pain or major surgery.
• Do not take any recovery time between the physical effort described above and the beginning of this new life. In fact, begin breastfeeding New Baby at three-hourly intervals as soon as the anaesthetic has worn off.
• Sleep now. After the birth of New Baby and the subsequent emotional response of Old Baby, sleep must be taken in 20 minute blocks between feeding, changing and settling New Baby, while feeding, changing and settling Old Baby.
• At the same time as lifting, chasing and wrestling a fifteen-kilo Old Baby, ensure that you don’t drop, squash or forget about tiny fragile four-kilo New Baby.
• Old Baby will feel rejected and confused by New Baby’s arrival, and may pull New Baby off your breast, pull your breast off, hit herself dramatically in the head and try to kill New Baby in innovative ways. You must comfort, support and attend to Old Baby during the twenty-minute sleep blocks described above.
• Maintain a level of emotional stability, despite the hormonal casserole that your body has now become. Fight all urges to cry, shout and throw objects in anger (especially if object is New Baby).
• Obey all urges to eat. Encourage others to cook, shop for and feed you as much as possible without overstepping the bounds of decency. Never underestimate the raging appetite of a breastfeeding mother.
• Look after the delicate flower of your partnership, which will be under siege by lack of sleep, sex or conversations that don’t begin ‘It’s your turn’.
• Maintain a house that has increased its load by one member, who has no control of their bowels or bladder. Standards of cleanliness must increase with the arrival of delicate New Baby, and you must do this increased housework in the twenty-minute sleep blocks described above.
• Have fun!