an important aside: i've heard this a million times before and it must seem obvious, but i only feel like i get it right now - the extended family thing...
not only is it fun and lovely, and great for the kids to have those relationships and all that, but it concretely reduces or does away with the madness and constant, exhausting logistical juggling of trying to change a toddler diaper (the monkey's a toddler now!) while supervising a preschool bath, trying to cut and paste with a preschooler while preventing the toddler from eating magazine scraps, trying to nurse a toddler to sleep while reading a preschooler a bedtime story, trying to run the preschooler to the bathroom for 'kaka' while nursing, etc etc etc. it's as simple as 'hey, mother/brother/sister/father-in-law, could you watch x for a minute while i do this with y?'
f. is around a lot and so i don't have to deal with solo madness as much as many mamas and papas i know. i don't know how they do it.
okay - so why did i feel like i didn't enjoy spending time with my kids?
- i wasn't enjoying removing the monkey from the stairs, garbage can or oven every 30 to 45 seconds or so. not at all. and i wasn't enjoying the endearing tone the monster likes to use when he's grumpy or hungry or tired or feels like it.
- i was spending too much time on the internet, or trying to spend too much time, but getting interrupted by removing the monkey from the stairs, garbage can or oven every 30 to 45 seconds or so. the too-much-time-on-the-internet topic is for another post, but is part of what i do i guess when i'm feeling kind of down.
- i get overwhelmed sometimes by the physicalness of it all. the monkey pretty much beats me up while he nurses, and often when i change him. (and he's strong!) the monster has 2 charming habits: climbing/bouncing on me while i nurse, and grabbing/mounting his little brother from behind. aside from the ouches, i hate saying (and hearing myself say) 'no' all the time. yet i haven't been able to find a way around it. metaphorically speaking, i try to make my lap big enough for both (advice i read somewhere on having a second child, but can't remember where), but physically speaking i'm taking a beating.
ever since i wrote that other post, i've been thinking about it lots (and feeling terrible about it) and observing how much i do enjoy my wonderful little boys. i am not always as present as i would like to be, along with a lot of other faults, and i definitely enjoy them a lot more when i remember to. so i've been reminding myself a lot. i think i feel a list of things i enjoy about them coming on soon.