Naomi was having a fussy day today. There are times I try to swallow the mommy-heartbreak that happens when you listen to your child cry so that I can focus on meeting Malachi’s needs. I put Naomi in her swing, give her her baby doll and paci, and then pray she calms down long enough for me to read him a story and put him down for a nap without feeling guilty. There are other times when I meet her needs first because I just have to and see the disappointment on my son’s face. Last week he rediscovered an old story and was so, so excited to read it at nap time. I made a big deal out of it, called him over, and Naomi immediately started crying the kind of cry that just can’t be ignored. I quickly said, “Hang on, buddy, I need to help Nani” (which he understands) and then looked over just in time to see the smile fall from his face and his head dip and I thought, This sucks.
I have good, happy, healthy kids. I can’t imagine what families go through who have a special needs child among their lot. But sometimes it’s hard to choose one need over another. It’s hard to ignore a crying baby who doesn’t understand and it’s surprisingly even harder to make an excited child wait while you rock his sister in his chair during his story time.
But what I love about having two young children is the ways they surprise me. Like yesterday when I tried to get Malachi down for a nap while Naomi fussed in her crib. I tried to just focus on him, focus on reading his story, but he wouldn’t let me.
“Uh-oh. Nani! Uh-oh.” He wouldn’t take his nap until she stopped crying. Today when she skipped a nap and fussed and fussed and fussed and fussed on his own accord he stayed by her side the whole time I did dishes handing her one toy after another after another trying to make her happy.
A few months ago we had the most discouraging doctor’s appointment. Malachi’s iron had dropped again, which was just incredibly disheartening for me. Then I learned that his speech is of concern and I needed to watch his development in that area. Then he had shots. Then Naomi had shots.
I’m not a mom who cries with my kids when they get hurt. Believe me, I cry, but they don’t see it. I try to stay as calm and composed as I can for their sake. But watching my son get his finger pricked to test his iron and then get two separate shots all the while saying, “All done! All done!” is incredibly hard. I hate it. After his shots were over and he was finally calming down a bit the nurse came back in to do Naomi’s shots. And Malachi started crying and panicking as soon as he realized what was happening. “Nani! All done! All done!” and when she lost it, so did he. As a mom, that might have been the most heartwarming and heartbreaking moment I’ve had.
I’m not really sure where I’m going with this. I guess just to say that I know there are people out there who think I’m crazy for having my kids so close together (not that close, in my opinion, but ok). There are probably people who would think it’s “unfair” to them both and that I asked for it. But the truth is, they are precious. They love each other tremendously. And although Malachi is very 2 and he sometimes throws toys at Naomi’s head or “helps” her roll over or tries to feed her with the salad spoon I didn’t know he had, the truth is he adores her and he protects her. He worries about her when she cries in the middle of the night and tells me when she drops things and mimics her sounds and laughs when she laughs and excitedly says “Nani!” whenever she wakes up. And of course she practically worships him and will continue to do so for a while, I think and hope and pray.
And there are moments. There are moments when having two tiny people is hard. The hardest is when they are both hurting or both tired or both whatever and I can’t help them both at once. But the best is when they are both cuddling with me, both listening as I read a story, both touching each other’s face, both laughing, or both sleeping in the backseat. They already have their own relationship apart from me. Malachi already takes care of her when he thinks I’m not doing enough. She already looks for him whenever she hears him and tries to crawl toward him when she finds him.
They are everything I hoped they would be and more.