I’ve been dreading it since G was born. I knew there would be a time when they needed me at the same time, and I couldn’t be there for both of them. I’ve been lucky so far, just skirting by, getting one calmed just minutes before the next one started crying.
My luck ran out this week. The night started off great, though. There weren’t any tears on the drive home from daycare, G slept in his car seat while I fed E his dinner. It was almost too easy. But then G got hungry earlier than I was expecting. A few days earlier when I had sat down to feed the baby, E was free to run around the house while I was trapped, and it ended with him happily eating food out of the trash. So I decided to try and avoid that this time, and herded E upstairs. We have a baby gate across the hall that blocks off both of the kid’s bedrooms, which allows him freedom to run around but stay safe and not get into too much trouble.
Before I could get him there, though, he detoured into our bedroom. G was screaming his head off and wanted to eat, so I was trying to calm him down while also getting E down the hall. As he was turning around, he fell and hit his head on the door. Not too hard, but enough to make him cry and want Mama cuddles.
I put G down and tried to sooth E quickly. It didn’t work and they both escalated. I kept trying to put one down and sooth the other, then switch. Somehow I managed not to start crying myself, but the emotional pain it was causing me was awful. Luckily, I didn’t have time to think about that (at that moment anyway). Not sure what to do, I somehow managed to scoop them both up and head toward their bedrooms and lock the gate behind me. I gave E some more cuddles, but he wasn’t calming down, which isn’t like him.
I eventually gave up and started to feed the baby. And surprisingly the crying stopped. From both of them. Lesson learned. E is so in love with his baby, so empathic, he wouldn’t stop crying until his brother did. I was in the clear for a bit, but eventually E got bored and ran off to the other room. Lately he’s been taking small risks in his play - climbing up on things, balancing on toys, seeing where his limits are. He’s pretty good at figuring out where that is, and asking for help when he needs it. Which he did, midway through the bottle. He had climbed up on a chair, and didn’t trust himself to get down. Which meant that I had to go help him, and stop feeding G. Which caused more tears.
Of course I’d just solved that problem when another one arose. G was crying again and need to burp, so I was trying to help him while also trying not to completely ignore E. It finally worked.. a little too well. And G spit up a ton, all over me. My shirt, my pants, my FitBit, everywhere. The good news was that G was good now, and settled. E was happily playing, and I had to strip down and clean up.
I ended the night with two calm boys. I was frazzled and half naked, but they were both fed, happy, and sleeping. My worst nightmare came true, but I survived it. And hopefully I’ll survive it the next time it happens too. Because this definitely won’t be the last time.