One week down ...

Well, we made it. The first week without my parents, taking care of both kids on my own during the day. Doesn't sound so hard, does it? I think I feel especially wimpy about this because I don't really have any examples around me of how it's done.  Every family I know with two kids has a helper, and sometimes two.

Anyway, we were all fed, cleaned, dressed, and even mostly cheerful. Oh, there were tears--on everyone's part except Matt's--but no major meltdowns. It took organization, simple meals, and Hong Kong's service economy--in which almost anything you need can be delivered for a very reasonable price. And laundry. Serious laundry. Thanks to a wicked diaper rash that won't go away, Willa gets lots of diaper-free time, which results in lots of laundry.

Finn is doing great. He loves Willa, loves to play with her (for as long as she'll tolerate, since his playing means moving her arms to the motions of "Wheels on the bus" or "I'm a little teapot") and tries to teach her everything he knows. I frequently overhear conversations like "See Willa, this is how you play tennis. Hit the ball like this, then this, then this," (all the while swinging the racket wildly.) He is needy, though, and comes into our room at night, literally climbing on top of us to sleep.  We've also brought back out the sticker charts and star charts--I never thought I would use so many "techniques" and "tricks." But hey, the stickers work.

The truth is, I'm tired and sometimes feel like I'm drowning in details--keeping in my head what time Willa last ate or had her diaper changed and what needs to be prepped for dinner and what we need at the store and what fun song or story I can use to distract Finn. But it is sweet. It truly is--and I think I'm doing a good job of holding on to the sweetness in all these details.

Some dear friends are walking through a tragedy right now, watching their baby die from a brain tumor. This has been their reality since the summer, which means it has been on our minds throughout the end of this pregnancy and beginning of Willa's life. And if there is ever anything good that comes out of such devastation it is the reminder to all of us onlookers at how fragile life and health can be. We know, with tears on our face and prayers in our hearts, how fleeting this newborn time is, and we have held Willa differently than we held Finn, studying her face more intently, memorizing the feel of her head nestled into our necks.

Of course we all know these things happen, have all heard stories about friends of friends. But the closer one is to a tragedy, the more one hears the details both extraordinary and mundane. And hearing those details--of hospital visits and surgeries and learning to put in a feeding tube--makes me relish our details. For simple meals and mountains of laundry, for diaper rash and a baby that can be soothed, for stickers and stars and even more laundry, we give you thanks, oh God.


Nicole said...

I've been reading your blog since we talked a while back on Geobaby and I love this post. Like you, since the birth of my first daughter, I have two friends lose little ones all too soon and I know another little one with cancer (she seems to be doing OK at the moment though). It really changes just how tight you hold your kids...

Congrats on your beautiful little girl :)


Krissie said...

So happy to see more pictures... I so wish I could visit for a bit and hold her myself!

Lauren Jackson said...

Congratulations! She's gorgeous.