attention divided


before felix was born i thought a lot about what his entering our family would mean for eleanor. i joked that her world was about to be turned upside down. i expected all the difficulties that people warned me about: tantrums, regression, being "needy". i paid her extra attention in the weeks preceding his arrival, doing special activities together, and going on little dates, just the two of us. i wanted the transition from only child to older sibling to go as smoothly as possible for her. i wanted her to feel that she was just as important and just as loved as she was before he joined the ranks. i felt pretty good about all of it and even gave myself some imaginary high fives for a mommy job well done. what i wasn't prepared for was how it would all affect me.

i trusted that my heart would make room to love another child without taking away from the love i have for eleanor and it of course proved itself to be the most amazing of muscles. i guess i never really gave thought to the amount of attention i have to give not having the same capacity for growth. unfortunately it couldn't make room for a second child in the same way as my heart and so instead it is divided. where previously all of my time and focus went to e it now must be split between her and the infant that so desperately requires more.

eleanor has handled it all like a champ. she loves felix and seems to delight in my caring for him. when he cries she'll often point to my breast and gesture as if to say, "come on mom, give it to him." she likes to get diapers and wipes to help change him, put lotion on his face, and cover him with blankets. she is attentive, hasn't shown any regression, and we've experienced very few signs of jealousy or tantrums. even with her handling it all so well i can't help but feel bad. sorry that i'm not able to give her more. and a bit sad that i may be failing her in some way. and then there's the new little man in my life. when e was a baby we would lay in bed in the morning just cuddling and taking each other in. i would sing songs to her and do baby yoga. we usually wouldn't make it out of the bedroom until 11am. that is a luxury that i don't have with felix. there is breakfast to make and activities to get to. i wasn't prepared for feeling like i'm only doing an ok job at everything.

as the weeks go by we're figuring it out, this family of four thing. i'm putting felix down more than i would like to to make sure that e and i have time together without him. we take advantage of eleanor's nap and bed time to snuggle with felix more and the baby carrier continues to be my best friend. i'm learning to accept help from others (this is big for me). i'm learning that this is all normal and i'm trusting that neither of my children are suffering. that both with grow up knowing that i love them with all of me even if they don't have all of my attention.