Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Trouble With Two

Another day, another play date. It seemed to go as well as any other had- Abby sat in her pile of books, wandering out occasionally to investigate random happenings and scavenge for food, and Michael let a whole nap cycle (and 1/4 of a scheduled bottle) pass him by without incident, fixated as he was on all of the new people and surroundings. Unlike at the last play date, Michael really got around this time. More than once I looked up from my conversation to find that he had completely escaped my view. I'm definitely entering a new phase in my life, now.

I'm also starting to understand where all of the other moms are coming from when they keep commenting on how babies are so much easier at his age (because they stay put). I still say that they've merely forgotten all of the other challenges typical of the stage of life that he's in that balance out that one perk. A perk, which, by the way, is only really a perk if Baby is not only still, but happy. A baby who sits in place and fusses is not a baby that I can get a minute free from. Plus, it's been made clear to me today that that one perk has now been lost to me, forever.

Then it came time to head for home, and cue Abby's very first tantrum brought on by the prospect of leaving a place that I had taken her to. It was a doozy. Not for the first time did the thought occur to me how much more easily I might have managed the whole thing if Abby was the only child I had in my guardianship at the time. A toddler who has thrown herself to the floor in protest can always be picked up and carried forcibly away, after all. That is, if you have two free arms to carry her with. I not only had another baby to take out the door with me, I had a purse and a diaper bag to manage, as well.

So, the dance began. Here are the basics.

Step One: pick up the bags and sling them over my shoulder, Step Two: scoop up Michael, Step Three: reach for Abby's hand. Abby responds by wailing and lunging to the floor, and refusing to stand up again. Down go the bags and the baby as I crouch to Abby's level to coax her upright again. Proceed to Step One and repeat two or three times.

I don't even remember how I managed to finally get Abby to walk with me. I know that throughout the process, I was trying to remind her of how much she loves to ride in the car and listen to the music on the radio. Perhaps all of that finally sunk in. She was reluctant, but she walked with me to the front door, and walked through it on her own.

She suddenly pulled out of her stormy mood on the walk to the car, and my friend, who I was walking out and chatting with, commented, "Well, she recovered quickly!" I agreed, and mentally wiped my brow with relief.  I thought the worst was over.

Then, I reached the van, which was parked just a few feet closer to the house we'd just left than my friend's van was. I let go of Abby's hand so that I could open the car door, and she was suddenly off in the direction of my friend, who had continued ahead. Only, she wasn't really headed for her, she just started off going that way, and before I could properly react, I realized that she was running loose from me in the middle of a street.

Thankfully, it was a street in the middle of a town home community, so it wasn't exactly busy. But it was a street, all the same, and my terror grew as the seconds ticked by and my chase was not getting me sufficiently close behind her to stop her progress. I was, of course, slowed by the 20+ pounds of baby that I had in one arm, and the extra weight that I still had slung over my opposite shoulder in the form of two bags. I did eventually reach Abby, and in probably far less time than it felt like it took, but I was shaken.

Incidents like that one make me never want to leave the house with two children again. No matter how worthwhile the experiences I have once I get there, it's never simple getting the both of them moved from one place to the next.

Realistically, I know that I just need to plan better next time. One purchase that I've realized I can't put off any longer is a new baby carrier (I've had my sights set on the ErgoBaby for awhile, now). Michael doesn't have much patience for the K'tan anymore, and since I got mine a little too big, the stretchiness of it makes carrying him in it a far less comfortable prospect for him, and for me. But I need to find something that will work for the both of us, and allow me to keep my hands free. Because one thing is for certain: I am never letting go of my little girl's hand in the street, ever again. Not even for a second.

I don't think that my heart will ever fully recover from that moment, though I am thankful beyond belief that it all turned out okay, in the end.


And now, as a post-script, I'll add a Cute Abby Moment, before I forget to write it down, and because I always prefer to end upbeat, if I can:

Tom has been taking over bedtime story reading lately, and as he guides Abby up the steps to her bedroom, he always encourages, "Say night-night to Mommy!" She complies maybe 25% of the time.

Last night, however, after his prompt, she looked up and over at me and said, "I love you!" before bounding up the stairs.

Heart. Officially. Melted.


  1. Noah spends a lot of time in our Ergo. We got it as a hand-me-down a couple kids ago and love it. Today he napped on my back while I raked leaves with the boys. As usual, I can totally empathize with your post! My oldest was a serious runner around age two. One suggestion I read was to play Red Light, Green Light or a more simple Stop/Go or just a Freeze game with them often so that they get used to immediately stopping when you say the key word. Good luck with the wrangling! Getting out is quite literally a sanity saver for me!

    1. It never occurred to me to incorporate something like Red Light, Green Light. Based on her personality, I think she'd really respond to it once she learned how to play. What a great tip!

      It's so true what you say about getting out. I don't do it nearly enough, because besides being complicated, it's exhausting, and I can't always find the motivation or energy. But it does make for happier kids, and ultimately, a happier (though more tired-out) me. :)