In that moment, I realized that sometime, somehow in the past few weeks, I had forgotten to love my baby. My heart sank, and I was filled with guilt. How could a mother forget to love her own child?
Let me explain.
When Jackson was born, I spent hours upon hours just holding him. Looking at his face, kissing his squishy cheek, listening to him breathe, trying to make him smile, whispering soft "I love you's" into his ear. I remember one day just holding him and sobbing, overwhelmed at the feeling of finally being a mother, realizing it was the best feeling in the world. Up until about two months ago, he fell asleep in my arms almost every single night. And he really was a perfect baby - hardly ever cried, cute as can be, just a happy baby.
I went back to full-time teaching when he was seven weeks old, so all I wanted to do when I got home from work was hold and love my baby boy. Granted, so much baby-holding wreaked havoc on my arm, shoulder and back, but holding him was the absolute best. All of that holding created a very close bond between mother and son. School was stressful, of course, and there was always something going on, but it never seemed to interrupt my time with Jackson. Loving him was easy because it was just him and me (oh, and Mitchell!).
Six weeks ago, Charlie joined our family, and we could not be more obsessed with him. He is almost an exact carbon copy of Jackson when he was a newborn, so apparently we can only make ridiculously cute babies. I probably spend just as much time holding Charlie as I did Jackson, but there are some major differences in our lives now vs. our lives then.
First of all, two years ago I only had the one child to keep alive. Now, with two of them, I feel like at least half my day is spent being screamed/cried at by one if not both of my children. Constant headache. I fully admit my 2-year old watches an inordinate amount of TV (Netflix - a blessing or a curse?). If not for Thomas & Friends and Dinotrux, I would never be able to survive a day with these boys.
Speaking of crying, Charlie is having a hard time figuring out the sleeping thing. I have not had more than 3 hours of sleep at a time in the past month and a half (I think I've gotten just a couple 4-hour sleeps in there somewhere). I am exhausted. I feel like I shuffle around the house like a zombie most of the time. If I leave the house without at least a little mascara on, I feel sorry for anyone I have to interact with. I am so tired of being tired.
We moved into our new home about 3 months ago, and I am still living in chaos. I don't have a closet yet (it's a work in progress), so all of my clothes are still in suitcases. I have access to about 15% of my wardrobe, and it's the 15% that is maternity clothes, t-shirts and yoga pants. We are currently in the beginning stages of remodeling the boys' bathroom (it was demo-ed in the initial remodel phase and has just been waiting for a little attention). The study was the dumping ground for everything that didn't have a home when we were unpacking boxes, and not much has changed or improved in the last two months. Chaos. And I don't function very well in chaos.
Also, C-section recovery.
In the middle of all this, I hold Charlie. Practically all day, it feels like. What I forgot though, and what I just today realized, is that I should be loving my baby, not just holding him.
Despite all of the stress, the exhaustion, the guilt, the worries, the pain - I need to just love him.
Even when he is crying and fussing and screaming.
Even when I am tired out of my mind.
Even when I am trying to make dinner and he is wrapped around me.
Even when the house is a complete disaster.
Even when I haven't been able to get any online work done.
Even when he is spitting up all over me.
Even when he refuses to sleep in his crib.
I should be looking at his face, kissing his squishy cheek, listening to him breathe, trying to make him smile, whispering soft "I love you's" into his ear.
And I do. I do love my Charlie Boy.