Fear… an addendum

Picture

Remember this? Did you even read it a year ago?

Here’s a snippet from the end of that post:

The opportunity to move back has been offered a few times. More than a few, to be perfectly honest. Deep down, I wanted to move back – WE wanted to move back – yet I turned them all down. We made excuses to keep everything the same. Moving down here was easy, because it was just Sarah and I; two able-bodied adults that can care for themselves and be accountable for their actions. The baggage we will be bringing back has a heartbeat and is one hundred percent dependent on us to do the right thing.

I took the first of many huge steps yesterday. I told my boss that I was ready and that I would like to talk about my options. I just hope this decision isn’t one opportunity too late.

So, now, one very small gear in a very large clock has begun to turn, and quite frankly, I’m scared.

Eleven months ago, I told my manager that, while I love my job and all the freedoms it affords me, a move was in order. Since then, him and I have had many conversations about time-frames and opportunities. Soon, I would be hand-picked to assist with a project in New York. Soon, my brain would be rattled from all the information flowing into it. Soon, I would be working long hours, and long weeks, and be away from home for days at a time.

Soon, I would have five interviews for a yet to be created position back home. Soon, I would be offered the job.

Two weeks ago, I officially accepted.

I don’t know how to characterize what I’m feeling, mostly because it’s an emotional Smörgåsbord. Fear, anxiety, glee, worry. I know that I’m doing the right thing, both personally and professionally, but all those emotions are still there. I suppose that I should be more concerned if I didn’t feel those varying emotions.

So, Sarah and I spent many hours – and days – cleaning the house, painting, performing minor repairs, and trying to *keep* the house clean while a two year old monster terrorized the place. It’s now “on the market,” and our fingers are crossed that it sells before my March 1st start date. If not, I’ll have to commute to work, which may mean that I’ll only be home on weekends for a while. Oh, and have I mentioned that Baby Squiggles (the nickname we’ve chosen for the baby – of unknown gender – in Sarah’s 29 weeks pregnant belly) will be born on February 8th? Crazy times. If you know anyone that is looking for a very lovely home in a small town in Indiana, I’ve got exactly what you need.

But… this is all for the greater good. We remind ourselves of that fact every time we think about the worst-case scenario of Sarah being stuck at home with a 2 year old and a newly born infant for a few days at a time. I fear that it’ll be too much for her. I fear that Tyler won’t adjust well to the new baby and to my absence. I fear that Squiggles won’t know or grow attached to his very loving and dedicated daddy. But it’s all for the greater good…

Right?

And in that moment, I was ashamed

Picture

How is it that a three foot tall, 28 month old child can make a grown man feel like a horrible, selfish person?

Tyler likes wearing my shoes. Truth be told, he likes wearing any adult shoes. We are a “shoes off at the door” family, but tend to let Tyler’s propensity for stomping around the house in shoes that could contain three feet his size slide. After some time, and realizing that this “phase” doesn’t appear to be waning anytime in the near future, I explained to Tyler that only a couple select pairs of my shoes are to be worn in the house. The most common pair that he chooses are my running shoes. Not because I never run (which, I don’t), but because they are my treadmill shoes that don’t go outside ever.

When Tyler first developed his affinity towards my shoes, he would simply step into them and start stumbling around the house. More times than not, the left shoe would end up on his right foot, and the right on his left.

More recently, however, Tyler has begun to develop his autonomy. He can put his own slippers on. His own boots. His own pants. Pants are easy to explain to a little one. Put the tag (on the inside of the pants) towards the floor. It’s difficult to say to put the snap or the button in front, because not all kids’ pants have snaps or buttons on them, and are simply elastic waisted. Sarah put an “L” and an “R” on the bottom of Tyler’s slippers so he can differentiate between left and right. His boots have distinct characteristics to help determine which is which. Even though he knows which is which, he still tends to ask, mostly for confirmation.

“Dis goes on dis foot?”

Looking down at his feet, we’ll reply “Yes, Tyler. That shoe goes on your left foot.”

“And dis goes on dis foot?”

Well son, seeing as how you already have one on the correct foot, and you only have one to go, yes, that is the correct foot too.

“Yes, Tyler. That shoe goes on your right foot.”

He has now begun doing the same with my shoes as well.

Recently, Sarah was sitting in her chair. I was across the room on the couch, having a conversation with her. It seemed that, over the last couple of weeks, we haven’t been connecting. She’s had plans. I’ve had plans. I’m coming as she’s going. It’s been difficult for the both of us, but it doesn’t happen terribly often.

Tyler walked into the room with my shoes in his hands. He sat on the floor and asked “dis goes on dis foot?”

“No, Tyler. You’ve got that on the wrong foot.”

He pulled the shoe off, and placed it near his other foot. I turned my attention back to Sarah to continue our conversation.

“Dis goes on dis foot?”

Sigh. After getting Tyler squared away, he happily stomped off. Sarah and I talked for a couple more minutes while the sound of his feet clomping away in my shoes filled the room. We talked about life, things that have bothered us lately, things we need to do… things.

“Skuse me daddy?”

We’ve been working on manners with Tyler. Like most children his age, he thinks the universe revolves around him. No matter what Sarah and I are doing, he tends to think he can run up and start talking to us. Sarah explained to him that he has to say “excuse me” when he needs our attention. On the occasions that he follows those rules of etiquette, we have to make sure and address him right away.

“Yes, Tyler?”

“Daddy?”

“Yes, Tyler?” Don’t get frustrated, don’t get frustrated, don’t get frustrated. “What do you want?”

“You tie dis?”

I looked down at the shoe. It was tied. Both shoes were tied. Up until this point, I had done an Emmy-worthy job of masking my ever-so-slight frustration. But it was becoming more and more difficult. Why couldn’t he just let me talk to my wife?

“Tyler, the shoes are both tied already. I’m trying to talk to your mommy right now.”

“Shoes not tight enough,” he replied.

I closed my eyes, clenched my teeth, and squeezed my hands into fists, driving my fingernails into my palms. Without replying to Tyler, I stood up, walked to him, crouched down, and untied his (my) shoe. I pulled the laces tight and began tying them again. My frustration was unmistakable. I just wanted to talk to my wife for a few moments, and this little… brat… couldn’t give that to me.

“Thank you helping me, daddy. You da best daddy ever.”

A tidal wave of shame rushed and swept away my anger. I looked to Sarah and saw the face of a proud mother. In that moment, I hated myself.

I have an awesome, awesome child.

His middle name is Neglect

Picture

We knew, when Sarah was pregnant with Ty, that we wanted to have a second child. After Ty was born, we talked about it here and there, but mostly during light conversation. It wasn’t until around six months ago that the conversations became more detailed and the planning part began to take shape. After the decision was made – heck, even until, and while, we were “trying” – we never put any serious thought to life with multiple children. Then we got the blue line. That was when the figurative voice boomed through the figurative speakers in our home, “This sh** just got real!”

Where will Version2 sleep? Will I have to clear out the office and turn it into a bedroom? How will Tyler react and adjust? Et cetera ad infinitum.

I asked Sarah if she wanted me to take weekly belly pictures like we did with Ty. She gave me the typical look any loving wife gives her husband for asking a ridiculous question and said, “Of course I do.”

Then she took a sip of her (caffeinated) coffee. Coffee she wouldn’t drink while pregnant with Tyler. This is when *it* began. *It* being one of two things.

On my irrational days, *it* was the fact that this pregnancy isn’t the same because this is our second child. It’s not new, like the pregnancy with Ty was. We don’t care as much.

On my more level-headed days, *it* is the knowledge that we were FREAKS during the first pregnancy. Lay like this, sleep like that, no caffeine, no artificial sweeteners, DO YOUR KEGELS!!!! It was almost to a level of neurosis. Given the opportunity, I would have wrapped Sarah in bubble wrap and locked her in a nuclear fallout shelter until the end of the gestation period. How she stuck with our marriage during the torture I put her through is beyond me. Meanwhile, Ty was partying like a fetal rockstar, taking late-night fetal karate classes, and using Sarah’s bladder to practice for his first boxing match.

I know that I deeply care about this newly created life that is barely larger than the Lightening McQueen Hot Wheels car that Ty loves so much. But…

I’ve already missed the first two OB appointments and have had to admire my beautiful Version2 through printed ultrasound pictures that Sarah brought home. I remind myself that I had no choice due to some important work projects, and take solace in the fact that Ty was there to watch the “baby movie” with his mommy.

It has also occured to me that I’ll either need to delete over 90% of the pictures I have of Ty, or be prepared to take thousands of pictures of Version2. My friends and family would honestly murder me if I did the former, so I’ll get Version2 familiar with the sound of a shutter slamming shut on short order.

Rubbing Sarah’s belly a few mornings ago, nearing in on thirteen weeks pregnant, I said, “We need to start taking belly pictures soon.”

She heard what I didn’t say. That we are slackers. She lowered her head, mildly ashamed.

“His middle name is neglect.”

At the end of the day *it* is the knowledge that Tyler takes up a significant portion of our days now. All the time we sat and admired the growing life form in Sarah’s belly during her pregnancy with Tyler… that time simply doesn’t exist any longer. To feel like we’re neglecting the little one right now is, in and of itself, pretty irrational. I’m sure all parents of multiples went through – or are currently going through – similar thoughts and feelings.

But, we really need to start taking those belly pictures.

Some of my more keen readers may have noticed the word “his” while referring to Version2 a few paragraphs up. No, we do not know the sex of Version2. I find it highly impersonal referring to the baby as “it”, and I only use “Version2” here on the site, so we refer to the baby as a unknown-gendered “he”.

Don’t feed them after midnight

GAH! Someone call Mr. Wing, quick. I have gremlins in the house, and they’re causing havoc. Things are coming up missing, then reappearing in strange places. My cellphone charging cradle disappeared a few weeks ago. I later found it in Delilah’s dog crate.

You need more? Well, how about this:

Three days ago, the mouse I use for my laptop – the mouse that had been missing for two weeks, which I had all but given up hope on ever finding again – materialized itself under our living room couch. I already know you’re still not convinced of the presence of Stripe, or even Gizmo himself, yet, so I’ll continue.

My missing tape measure suddenly appeared in a box with one of Tyler’s toys.
My camera lens cap disappeared for two MONTHS before being found in Sarah’s Blazer.
One of Delilah’s dog bones somehow ended up in the subwoofer of our surround-sound system. IN the subwoofer. Only a very small hand or arm could achieve such a act of destruction. A gremlin hand, right?
A shoe in the kitchen pantry.
A missing library book under our bed.

Yesterday, I watched Tyler open up the clothes hamper, lean in, and pull out a football.

Just today, TODAY, I found a flashlight (which I didn’t even know was missing until I found it) in Delilah’s crate. There’s something about her crate, I’m sure of it. Then, just a few hours ago, I found one of Tyler’s sandals in our mail slot!! Why is this happening to us?????