Thanks to the commenters and readers of my last post. It sounds like this 11/12 month old stage really can be a doozy and yes, I’m in survival mode again.
Piggy-backing on my thoughts last time, I’m just finding it funny how a few months ago, I really thought I had this 24/7 parenting thing down pat. It’s hard to know if my mental toolbox of ideas has run dry because I have twins, because I’m with them all day, every day, or because I’m not good at replenishing it, and that’s just the kind of mother I am.
But I do know that I’ve started reacting in ways to my babies’ meltdowns that I didn’t think I would – with an almost numb quality. And by babies’ meltdowns, I’m talking about B. Right now C is my golden child (and yes, it’s now switched between them about 4 times since they were born). She reads books, she wants to learn about things, she plays with toys quietly and easily. She has dislikes and opinions, but I know what they are and I set her up for success. I try to do the same for B. He’s biting now. With purpose. He was frustrated today and he bit my leg. And then tonight, my shoulder as he came in from a hug (so not sure this one was about anger). But he bites and it really hurts. And C, she just learned where my teeth are, so now she’s shoving her fingers in B’s mouth to find his teeth and getting bit, hard. And not learning her lesson, and doing it again.
B’s meltdowns come mostly going into the car seat, stroller, or high chair. The changing table I can get past if I sing a rousing rendition of “The wheels on the bus” and hand him some random object he shouldn’t have. But those other times… I find myself not knowing what else I can do, besides wait. Should I do a song and dance routine every time he throws back his body? Maybe if he were my only child and I could concentrate just on him. But I can’t – and so I wait a few seconds, hold him in place, and then he gives up the fight and sits down. And after I hand him the toy he’s dropped on the floor of a public place for the 5th time, because if it’s the only thing that keeps him happy, I wonder how differently I’m doing things now than I did a few months ago. What I’m seeing is that my patience level isn’t as high as I’d like it to be. I don’t want to run out of patience – once in a while, sure, but not every day. Again, I ask myself if I’m running out of patience because I have twins, because B is at a difficult stage right now, or because I’m just not the kind of mother who has a lot of patience, even though I REALLY want to be that mother. Maybe being at home with the babies 24/7 is the culprit – not that I’m taking that one for granted either, because I’m going back to work full time in September and I don’t regret this decision to stay home even for a minute.
I don’t yell or anything like that – I’m still overly in love with these babies and I don’t take it for granted. But a few months ago, I used to use a sweet sing-song voice, “Oh, I’m sorry you’re sad. Let’s fix it.” And now it’s, “Mommy is tired and ran out of tricks. Sit down.”
The “easy” baby at the moment. Still feisty though, she’s learned “no” from who knows where, but instead says, “Nah” – repeatedly.
As they approach their first birthday, I think every day about their birth and how far we have all come. Life is good, I just wish I had a little more patience.