Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fossilized Play-Doh Is The New "Normal": Introducing Sleepless Rachael

Rachael and Family
Hello, mommy friends! My name is Rachael, and I’m so excited that Katie is sharing her blog with writer friends like me. Also, I want to announce I’m having a great week. We have a newborn in the house, and I have started getting one four-hour stretch of sleep at night. People who have never had children may think that sounds crazy, but four hours (in a row!) is really something to brag about.

In my sleep-indulged life before children, I was a newspaper editor in the small town where I grew up. I managed the weekly faith section, writing columns and stories about faith issues and church events. I also edited copy and designed pages for the daily portion of the paper and did other miscellaneous newspapery things. A few years into my stint at the paper, I ventured into the world of online dating. I soon met Josh on eHarmony. We got married five years ago and I moved to suburban St. Louis where he was already living and working, and we are now living happily ever after. I dabbled in freelance book editing during the first year of our marriage, and I’ve drafted a children’s historical novel that I continue to tweak, but most of my time now is spent as a stay-at-home mom caring for our two daughters, tiny Abigail and her big sister, 3-year-old Megan.

When I was pregnant with Abigail, I had visions of what life would be like with two sweet little girls. We’d spend these coming winter days cuddled in the rocking chair reading story books or playing with dolls. We would form new mother-daughter bonds and pass our days tranquilly. Reality is slightly different. A day in my life often goes something like this: I sit down to nurse the baby. Megan goes into the bathroom and poops on the potty. Megan hollers for me to help wipe her bottom. I put still-hungry Abby down. Abby cries. Megan, finding the crying to be somehow amusing, joins in with loud fake wails of her own. I can’t decide whether to throw up my hands or plug my ears. Rinse and repeat.


I love both of my daughters and look forward to what the coming years will bring us, but I now find myself outnumbered during the day when Josh is at work, and it has been an adjustment. I have started to find my groove. I’ve figured out how to get my morning shower in and get breakfast for myself and Megan. Sometimes I even have a minute to slice a few fresh strawberries to put on my cereal before Abby starts fussing for her morning feeding. It’s the little things in life.

That doesn’t mean everything runs smoothly around here, though. There are plenty of days when I’m so exhausted or preoccupied with Abby that I let Megan watch television for hours. I feel a little better knowing the only kids’ channel we get is PBS, so at least it’s educational television. Some mornings I wake up to find she has raided the pantry and is digging into a package of frosted gingerbread cookies for breakfast as she watches her morning shows. Other mornings, I forget to brush her teeth. Speaking of hygiene, I can’t remember the last time I had a chance to shave my legs. Don’t ask me about housecleaning either. You don’t want to know how old some of the crumbs are under our dining room table or how long it’s been since our bathrooms had a thorough cleaning. Toys have overtaken the house, and I’m forever finding fossilized Play Doh creations that Megan has left out because I no longer have time to make sure she puts the stuff away. This is our temporary new normal.

Both of our daughters are amazing little people, and before I know it, Abby will settle into a routine and begin sleeping more predictably and for longer than four hours at a time. I will someday sleep through the night again, have time to clean house, shave my legs, and even continue to revise my children’s novel. For now, I’m taking things one day at a time and enjoying my newborn and my 3-year-old. I won’t be able to call Abby a newborn for much longer, and Megan will not always be a 3-year-old. There’s a saying that mothers of young children have long days but short years. I intend to make the most of those days and years. There will be difficult times, but there will also be many beautiful moments.

Enough sentimental thoughts. My 3-year-old needs help in the bathroom and the baby is fussing!

3 comments:

  1. Great post, Rachael. Motherhood is, by far, the hardest job you will ever have, but the most rewarding. So glad to see you in blogland again.

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  2. The "Fossilized Play-Doh" is also a weapon. I stepped on one in my daughters room a few months ago and felt the ache again when I read your post. Awesome read.

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  3. RACHEL! My one year and three year olds do the same dance and I was grinning and grimacing at the same time! WHat???? Nursing and butt wiping should mix? HUH?

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