Ay me. It's been awhile. Understandably, I guess. There is a lot less time, these days, than there used to be. Peregrine is still as intense and active as ever, and Sylvia is past the blissful newborn sleeping-all-the-time phase. Still, I want to blog more. For my own benefit as much as anyone else's. I want to remember these days. I try hard to suck the sweetness out of them. But there's a lot going on. I fear forgetting. I fear it all just becoming one big blur.
Having two is hard. It just is. There's no way around it. Having two and trying to do anything else is virtually impossible. I try to fold laundry, and Peregrine unfolds it in my wake. I try to get out the door, and suddenly, everyone's hungry and poopy and Peregrine picks that moment to make a stupid power struggle out of something extremely trivial. (Ask me about the time he decided to throw a screaming tantrum because I told him his right foot was in fact his right foot, not his left. Yeah.) I told Andrew the other day it's like trying to roll marbles uphill. A lot of them. As soon as you make substantial progress, one comes loose, and then everything else comes loose when you try to scoop up the one again. Herding cats is not a sufficient metaphor. Too little futility is implied.
Peregrine is potty training, which is actually going remarkably well. There are accidents and cleanups, but honestly, not that many of them. It's been easier than I dared to hope. But it's still something else to do. Something else urgent that has to get done.
He's a wonderful toddler, overall, really. For as intense a baby as he was, he hasn't been a terror of a two-year-old. He has his moments, to be sure, and he has an insane amount of energy. But it's very purposeful energy, overall. He doesn't just roam the house looking for new and creative ways to put his life in danger. But he needs something to focus on. Otherwise, he just jumps. Incessantly. His new favorite phrase is "I need to get out of my house!"
And two is such a discipline-heavy age. Not in a negative sense. Just constant training, teaching, learning. It's so crucial, and necessary, and constant. Maybe that stays. But I feel like at two, everything has to be addressed all the time. You're learning manners. Respect. Interactions with friends. Obedience. Gentleness. And you can't leave things for later. Object lessons are always present, but they're forgotten if not taken advantage of. Older children know a lot more. Two-year-olds know practically nothing.
And Sylvia? The little Owl is getting older, more interactive. She's a delightful little ball of calm alertness, most of the time. Sometimes I worry she gets the short end of the stick because she's just so undemanding (unlike, say, her brother). But she's decided lately that sleep is for the weak. Or at least, for those who don't want to spend time with their parents. And what self-respecting baby doesn't want to spend time with her parents? Seriously. So that has been stressful. I'm trying to start sleep training earlier this time. But still, all training is a process.
All everything is a process, these days.
If this sounds a bit down and depressing, it really isn't a reflection of my general mood. I have my moments where I really feel the futility of it all. Like when I fold the same load of laundry three times in one afternoon and that's pretty much all I do all day. Like when the house is a mess, an absolute disaster, and the children are crying simultaneously, and it's four o'clock and I haven't yet sat down except to nurse and I truly have no idea what I did with the day, despite the fact that I didn't even get a spare breath to eat my own lunch. But really, overall, life is good. Busy. Hectic. But good.
When I first had Sylvia, I made it my mantra that my only occupation these first few months would be to figure out how to live peacefully as a family of four. I've hammered that mantra pretty thoroughly into my head. That's my only job. Figuring this out. Coexisting peacefully. Living well. Or as well as I can, given the loads of things I have to juggle, all at once. But truly living. Not trying to get through. Not just wishing it were over. And I think I'm doing well at that. Having a relatively easy toddler, and a relatively easy baby, make that possible. Sleeping better at night helps, too. So does taking Vitamin D. But so, I think, does being intentional about it.
I grew up going to a church of questionable theological beliefs about women and motherhood and housekeeping. I've had to unlearn a lot of things I was taught. But of one thing I'm certain, and I think my strange-and-twisted-conservative church culture knew it well: motherhood is holy. It's sacred. It's harder work than most occupations, and it's work sanctioned by God. It's hard to put into words why I've felt that so strongly, lately. That no matter how much I haven't gotten done by the end of the day, I'm doing work that is eminently good. That really, in motherhood, no goals is okay. Souls are souls, no matter how small, and I have the keeping of them. And for every tiny piece of those souls I shape, I'm doing something good. Hugs, and kisses, and listening ears, and bedtime routines, and new songs learned, and dishwashers unloaded together, and even timeouts and tantrums and potty accidents--those all belong to God. It's his children I have the care of.
And that, my friends, makes it beautiful. And makes rolling marbles uphill absolutely and undeniably worth it.