You Say My Hands are Full

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the 1st one to admit that my life these days is crazy. From 6am until 10pm, it’s a whirlwind. There’s no time to moan about everything that needs doing and how little time I have to do it all in. There’s no time to stop and reminisce about how simple life used to be.

Life with one baby can be testing (especially in the early days) but life with two is a whole other level, completely incomprehensible until experienced. It is, without doubt, manic.

But I love it.

There’s no need for an alarm clock these days, I no longer wake to the sound of my favourite tunes blasting through my phone. I wake to a much sweeter sound, I wake to the sound of my new name. Much like clock work, my son wakes religiously at 6am – long before I desire to wake up, long before my husband’s alarm is set. He stirs, he stands, he chants for ‘Mam’. I’m tired, I’m in need of at least one more hour but I can’t deny his call. Inside, I’m ready. I’m giddy to get up and see his goofy toothy grin as he beams when he sees me. He wakes euphorically, last night’s tantrum hidden by his smile. Then I hear the cry, his sister is stirring and the mania is about to begin.

I’m in at the deep end, abandoned by my husband as he leaves for work. My initial task, tackle the nappies. It’s something I’ve learnt to master. My Daughter is a dream, she can’t yet roll. My son is a different story. He rolls, he walks, his hands know where they shouldn’t be and he can’t resist that level of temptation. I’ve learnt to manoeuvre upside down, wrong way round, standing up and whilst on the move. I sometimes grin to myself, if I were Supermam, my super powers would be the ability to change nappies under duress.

Nappies attended to, now for breakfast. They say you never get two babies the same and in my case, it’s true. My son is fussy, he doesn’t see food as a form of entertainment, he doesn’t need it to feel good about life (I don’t understand him, he doesn’t get his lack of appetite from me). My daughter is greedy for food, needy for a filling. She just needs to sense that there’s food within close proximity for her to want it.

I sit, my son positioned to my left, my daughter positioned to my right. Both hands move mechanically, a spoonful of porridge for my son, a spoonful of porridge for my daughter. I can’t stop, if my left hand stops then I’ve lost my opportunity. Once his mouth is closed, once he’s lost interest, I might as well give up. There’s no coming back. If my right hand stops, my daughter unleashes her temper. She squeals until she’s purple-faced and unable to breathe. Not even the spoon can calm her down, she’s inconsolable until she feels the hunger again. What about me? Well my son loves to share, I get the lumps he takes out of his mouth and pushes to my lips, he’ll be distraught if I dare reject his offer of kindness.

Next comes play time, my favourite part of the morning. Siena is getting stronger each day, at 8 months old, she’s not like other babies. She’s had further to climb and she’s rising to the challenge just fine but she’s still small for her age, still unable to do most things an 8 month old should be able to do. She now enjoys her Jumperoo, although he feet still don’t quite reach the ground. This is where her brother comes in handy. He stands beside her, bouncing her up and down, side to side. He shows her the toys, teaches her how to work them. I watch them and my heart hurts with pride. I’m so proud of how Siena flourishes, I’m proud of how Tristan has taken to her. I’m proud of how gentle he can be, how much love he has for her…then he spots her dummy and the peace is momentarily disturbed. He is such a dummy fiend, his only weakness. He is so incapable of seeing another baby with a dummy without releasing the green eyed monster (or in his case, the blue eyed devil). Even if he has two of his own, nothing will appease him.

If I’m lucky, they nap.

In which case, I clean. That’s right, my only hour off and I spend it doing tasks that I wouldn’t manage to do otherwise. Some of these are a complete and utter waste of time. I tidy away toys, knowing that I’ll repeat the same job maybe three more times in the day. I get myself dressed, ready to hit the ground running as soon as they both wake.

Now for the fun part, let’s leave the house. Bags packed, I tackle both babies at one time. A fully loaded car seat in one hand, my son attached perfectly to my hip. I really do bless them for how slender my arms look these days. My arms have always been my least favourite part of my body and the place I always check first on a photo. These days, I appreciate their natural tone. They may never be as svelte as they once were but human weights have definitely contributed to their current state.

In a perfect world, my day would be seamless. In reality, it can go one of two ways. Either both babies will behave, they’ll be merry and we’ll manage to survive tantrum free. We’ll laugh together, everyone will eat and we’ll come home feeling inflated with love and the memories of a truly delightful day. Or we’ll cry. Recently, I visited the Metro Centre with both babies alone. My task was to pick up my Daughter’s christening gown and head straight home. It was awful!

At one point, I was actually approached and asked whether I needed help. Well wasn’t it obvious?! Of course I needed help! My son was psychotically clawing at his sister, determined to snatch the dummy from her mouth. My daughter was so distraught she was choking on her own saliva. I’d tried reasoning with him, I’d even tried bribery. In the end, I shouted. I shouted out loud for all to hear. I swore, I nearly cried.

Hideously embarrassed, I dashed from the store and headed to the car. As I transferred my son from his pushchair to his car seat, he wrapped his arms around my neck and kissed my nose. I was, once again, putty in his hands.

So, on a typical day, it’s no wonder I hear the chorus ‘you’ve got your hands full’ several times. I do. I have two babies with only 9 months between them, both still in nappies, both incapable of talking. But aren’t I lucky?

I’ve twice the laughter, twice the smiles, twice the love and twice the pride. So you may say my hands are full but you should see my heart. It’s bursting with joy.