I have the writing bug again. It might be the rain outside, or the newly-arrived sweater weather, or just that three weeks after John Henry’s arrival I finally feel like the pregnancy-induced brain fog is lifting. Of course, there is now the sleep-deprivation fog, but somehow my mind feels far more able to read and write and think than I did when I was pregnant.
We welcomed John Henry Lewis (he goes by John Henry) on September 10th and he fits seamlessly into our little family. He is a chunk—weighing 9 lbs 6 oz at birth and putting on weight like it’s his job. He has his dad’s cowlick, the squishiest of cheeks, and he likes to cuddle far more than miss Edith ever did.
Big sister seems generally delighted by the whole thing. She has started offering him kisses (always on the mouth), playing with his fingers, asking about baby every time she wakes up from a nap or gets up in the morning. She is quick to hear his cries and eager to help—I love asking her to get me a diaper and watching her march across the room to the shelf. Sometimes she gets distracted on her way there or back to me, but she is quite reliable when it comes to that task. (Others seem to invite a bit more sidetracking—and then forgetfulness. Like cleaning up her toys.)
I have never before been a stay-at-home mom, and the adjustment is proving to be more of just that: an adjustment. I come to the end of my day and often wonder just what I did. Of course, I fed babies, changed diapers, rocked babies, put babies down for naps, got babies up from naps, hopefully made a meal or two, read books, played with blocks, possibly ran an errand. But so much of that feels like survival that I often feel like we did nothing but survive. I am reminding myself often that caring for these little people is something, something great, actually—they are entirely dependent on others (primarily me!) for their existence and it is a great task to spend my days meeting their needs.
“To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets, cakes. and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.”