My girls are 19 months apart. I found out I was pregnant for the second time when Lila was 10 months old and plowed full-steam ahead into the “two-under-two” world.
In fact, the maternity jeans were still hanging in my closet. The breast pump was still in use. Having just had our first child and thereby experiencing the true SHOCK and WONDER and crazy adjustment that comes with that first baby, we hadn’t yet experienced a time when our first child didn’t need us. We hadn’t had a glimpse of independence just yet.
I mean, they were both in diapers.
Those first months were craziness and chaos. But the routines, the sleep training, the smell of the after-bath lotion; it was all so familiar and comfortable. Lila turned our world upside; Vivienne merely walked through the unlocked front door into our living room and pulled up a seat.
But there were those nights… the nights when Lila’s chronic ear infections kept her awake crying and crying, which woke up newborn Vivienne and inspired her to scream and cry in solidarity with her big sister. During this time, Craig and I had an unspoken code that he would handle Lila and I’d handle Vivienne.
We were two ships passing in the night..
…more like we were two sleep-deprived zombies bumping into one another in a dark hallway.
Then slowly, life got even crazier: Vivienne woke up from her newborn hibernation, potty training Lila, Vivi WALKING six months before Lila did, the crying, the not sharing, the insanity of trying to communicate with a toddler who didn’t speak English or Spanish all the while holding a baby who never wanted to be put down. Ever.
But somehow I blinked…
And now, here we are.
Vivienne will be turning two in a month. (Shall I repeat that? Vivienne will be turning two in a month.) She talks. She puts three words together. She’s hilarious and sweet and cuddly and hasn’t worn a diaper in two weeks. She’s Vivi.
Lila is 3.5 and independent. She prides herself on being a good listener, “I always listen to you, Mommy. I am great, right?” and has finally learned how to spit toothpaste into the sink while brushing her teeth. She’s 15. I mean, she made me a peanut butter sandwich the other day.
So tonight Craig’s working late. After the ladies and I took a shower (I have a big shower) I decided to do something I don’t normally do, “You know what? I’m going to BLOW DRY MY HAIR.” (I blow dry my hair almost never. It takes too long. And I have kiddos to watch.)
First, Lila got out her jams (PJs) and put them on by herself. (Except the shirt. That’s tricky.) Next, Vivi ran around like a crazy chicken and we managed to wrangle her in just long enough to put her pajama top and her bedtime pull-up on her. (More on the potty training which is going AWESOME later.)
So, after seeing that they were cool and playing in Lila’s room, I walked into my room, into my bathroom, and blow dried my hair. I used a blow dryer. A blow dryer that is LOUD and obscures tiny voices unless they are screaming.
And that’s when it occurred to me:
Life has changed.
Here I am, taking 15 minutes for myself while both of my children are awake. Normally, most personal hygiene to-do’s need to wait until a.) Craig gets home or b.) during naptime or bedtime. (Can I get an amen on that, Mamas?)
Sure, I was only 20 feet away from them and I had to put down the hair dryer once because Lila was crying about Vivienne reading a book that she wanted…
But, YOU GUYS, what all those people tell us is true.
“Before you know it, they’ll be grown. Enjoy this time. It happens in the blink of an eye…”
This time, oh this time, it is flying by.
While I treasured the quiet hair-drying moments, I have to admit, my heart winced a bit...
They’re growing up.
And if I do my job right, they’re going to grow up to be kind, empathetic, hilarious, independent, [stylish] and thoughtful women.
Women who will appreciate their own heart-wincing life moments because they will respect that these heart-wincing moments are filled with the gifts of love, beauty and clarity.
And they will understand that these moments of clarity are meant to be folded up and forever treasured and safely added to our “life lessons” box.
Oh, my sweet baby girls…
I never realized how reciprocal parenthood is; they teach us just as much as we teach them.