How's it REALLY going?

The good, the bad, and the ugly... (I'm posting this because one day I hope that I'll look back and think, "Really? It really was that rough?" and because I want others to know that perhaps they aren't the only ones feeling this way).

The good ~ We're home settling into life together. Caleb is starting to pick up a few words and will actually eat a few foods other than Oodles of Noodles. Kylie tells everyone that she likes being a big sister. Caleb now hugs Ian when he sees him and actually allowed his daddy to soothe him back to sleep when he woke up the other night. Yesterday shortly after nap the kids and I were snuggling on her bed and she said, "Mommy, we all fit on here. We're fam-a-lee!"

The bad ~ Ian's project has had him working RIDICULOUS hours this week. I've seen him go from hopeful, to despairing, to cautiously optimistic, back to doubtful and now back to thinking it is promising that the demo will be finished for the conference so many times this week that I've stopped counting. (And for those that know Ian and his sunny disposition well, you can imagine why it is hard for me to see him emotionally all over the map when I'm so tired!) We lost track of the hours he had worked after Tuesday when he had already put in 27 hours in the first two days of the workweek. This means that instead of being at home "nesting" together like we did the first week when Kylie was home, Ian leaves early in the morning (at least the kids eat breakfast with him while I shower) and we drive 20 minutes to meet him for dinner near his office so that Caleb won't forget who his daddy is this week. Then both kiddos have been falling asleep in the car on the way back, explaining why they missed bath time Monday and Tuesday nights. Last night Ian's whole team worked until after 2am and we didn't even get to have dinner with him. The earliest he has been home has been midnight ~ even I'm asleep by then. (Actually I've been going to bed as soon as I get the kids tucked in ~ Tuesday it was at 8:15...) Tomorrow he leaves for Texas until Wednesday night.

The ugly ~ Ever since Kylie came home, (it will have been 21 months ago on Sunday) folks ~ including us ~ have commented on what an easy child she was. We joked as we started the paper chase that eventually led us to Caleb that child number 2 was bound to be a handful. NEVER in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that it would actually be Kylie that became the handful. I will cut her some slack and point out that in the past month she has watched me pack up our home, she's moved across the state, she's watched as bags have been packed for a big trip, has crossed 12 time zones to be in a foreign land, has been demoted as baby of the family, recrossed those time zones, visited at Grandma's house only to have that visit cut short, and is now sharing pretty much just one parent with a pint sized dynamo. (And I suppose that those changes have been just about enough to make me want to curl up in the fetal position...) That being said though, screaming temper tantrums have become the norm and she can be sitting playing calmly with Caleb one minute and suddenly just grab his hand with hers and dig her fingernails into his for no reason the next. Another of my favorites was when he was playing quietly with a toy and she came over to grab it from him. He started crying because she took the toy, so she hauled off and whacked him one. And then there are the crying fits that he goes into when we tell him no. Combine that with the jet lag that I'm still trying to shake and it's been a dreadful week.

It did start to get better though when I realized that I'm feeling two distinct things that clash with one another. I'm so totally in love with that little boy that has been my son for less than three weeks, but I'm also somewhat mourning what Kylie and I lost. I feel like a horrible person for even putting those thoughts down. Can the two feelings both exist? Will either of my kids feel like I love them less one day if they read this post?

And yet once I started to recognize those feelings, I've started to move on. I can see the reason behind my bleak emotions and I'm starting to process them. In addition, I'm feeling more rested, the kids both slept all night last night, and there have been fewer Caleb/Kylie fights today (though Kylie had a moment with Lottie earlier ~ but they were fighting like sisters before Caleb entered the picture). Also thankfully my mom has agreed to come help me out while Ian is gone. For a while I thought I was going to be a "big girl" and pull it off by myself, but I came to my senses and realized that the woman who raised me is going to be a wealth of assistance while Ian is away.

I've already posted this picture once, but I look at it hundreds of times a day waiting for this interaction between Kylie and Caleb to become our "normal."

So there you go, there's our first week home in a nutshell ~ it ain't necessarily pretty, but the best things in life don't come easy!


Sharon said...

Oh girl...hang in there. I think all of your feelings are so normal and Miss Kylie will find her way. Yes, your changes have been so many and your life will return to the "new" normal again. I pray that Ian's trip to TX is swift and he can come home soon to have GREAT family time!
Praying for you!

Regina said...

You will be in my thoughts and prayers as you adjust to having another blessing in your family. The feelings you have sound completely normal to me. I think every parent feels this way when they add to their family. The dynamics change, but the love doesn't.
Blessings to you and your family.

Nicole said...

Oh Kristi, change of adding a new family member is enough let alone not have your husband around to help some, I can't imagine that one! Praying for you. It sounds strange to say, but every day is a step forward and you will all find your way together!

Heather said...

Oh Kristi, Thank you for being so honest - in just a short time things will look different and you WILL look back and wonder if it ever was this bad! (I hope we look back and laugh, ha) There is no doubt other families are feeling the exact same and so appreciate knowing they are not alone. Our struggles are different with four older kiddos but oh there are days I too would like to curl up in a fetal position lock the door and go to sleep, ha! Love, Heather

Amy said...

Have no fear. These feelings happen to every mom... and I think every big sister experiences the emotions and tantrums Kylie is. Ivy had 9 months to prepare for Zac. She was a great helper when he was a baby, but once he became a toddler and didn't go away... well, we had the whacking of the head things too. She's 11 now and Zac is 6. We had a head whacking just today.
I struggled with the same feeling you are, too. You can still have special moments with just Kylie... but now you get to have all new moments with Caleb... and Caleb and Kylie. You will be amazed just how much love you have to go around!
I love you and I am praying for you!

C.C. said...

I am so sorry. So happy your mom is coming. And I have been going to bed before 10 ever since we got home ( a couple of times before 8:30.) I haven't done that since I was in elementary school;-)

Thank you for your raw honesty. I love you lots!!

The Vinyards said...

Hang in there! Having your mom around always help things (it always helps me!). Everyone will adjust & you guys will find your new normal. I go to bed around 9pm all the time!!
Jen Vinyard
AWAA family

Laurie said...

Thank you for the honesty, Kristi! I feel SO selfish saying this, but it's really helping me feel more prepared for my own changes coming up. I KNOW Kylie will get back to normal soon. It's just a lot of change. You know her heart, and it's a beautiful one. It will return. And YES, you are normal (or we're both weird) for loving your son but missing what you had with your daughter alone. I am already feeling it and I haven't even met my son yet. Hang in there! And tell Ian to hang in there too- man, you guys need a vacation! :)

Anonymous said...

I think when your children read this post one day they will see how beautifully real your family is. Adding a new child to any family is a massive thing...when you pile on the move and Ian's unavoidable stress...You're both amazing! Keep your chin up and enjoy this precious time with your mom! I love you! Jen

Allison said...

I'm glad you're sharing too. I always tried to be truthful on my blog when we got home because it was NOT easy! You'll be glad you write all this stuff down later, I promise.
I am thinking of all of you!

Cindy M said...

Well, everybody else already said all the sappy stuff, so...

If you're really gonna be real, we'll need photographic evidence...I know only too well the changes that come with more than one child...where's that pile of laundry? I wanna see the kitchen sink mid-afternoon. And how 'bout the living room floor scattered with toys? :-) I can say this because, if you'll remember right, I had a really pretty picture of our kitchen sink shortly after returning from China. And I couldn't stay awake past 9 pm for at least a month...and I'm a night owl!

Now, seriously, all those emotions are just growing pains. As your family grows, so does your heart. I know you, and I know you're a fabulous momma to BOTH kids! And it's just one of many stages you'll mourn in Kylie's life...take it from this mom of highschoolers.

One more thing...maybe there's something in the air, because just about a month ago, Caroline went from a 99% charming bundle of joy from sun up to sun down to a fiesty resemblance of the China Syndrome, only this time with words I understand. I sadly fear the "threes" are upon us, and, naturally, she would be ahead of the game. So maybe Kylie's just playing some of that out, along with all the changes she's had in the last month or so. She has had a LOT, and I think she's done great! And when we had Abby, Mindy went from being an angel to being a challenge for a few weeks, and then it leveled out.

Finally, Jon's comment, when I shared your feelings about now having two kids and the reality of it? "Yep, it's a tie game, now." :-) Don't worry...we're losing, 2 to 4.

And this concludes the longest blog comment ever... love ya!

Anonymous said...

I know poor Anah has never really known life without Sera since she was so young when she was born. However I do remember when she first realized Sera wasn't just a baby doll. It will get better. I think it's great you are able to verbalize what is happening.

I must say I can't imagine Ian being anything but happy. Even his frustrating moments seems joyous to me. I will say that God is able to do the most work in our lives when we have the greatest challenges. I figure it is easy to worship him when things are great, but it's what we do in the tough times that counts. Keep your faith strong and know that it will pass. Wednesday may seem like a long time a way now, but after all you have been through, Wednesday is just around the corner.

Enjoy the time with your mom. It will be great to have the help. It is okay to admit you need it. Besides her loving the grandkids, I think she will enjoy the time with her oldest daughter as well.

Can't wait to see you guys!


Nancy said...

Hi Kristi,

That sucks! You just must be exhausted mentally & physically (not just recently but also the pre-trip stuff catching up to you). I feel bad you have so much to deal with.

Noah and I are praying for you at every nap time!!!

Hang in there, friend!

Anonymous said...

I wish you were closer! I would help out in anyway I could! I miss my bug so much! And I wish I had the chance to know Caleb that well too. :(
Love ya

Mom of Triple As said...

Oh heart aches for you, and then I smile because it is all so "normal." You are a fabulous momma just as Cindy said. While your love grows and there is always enough for all of your children, there are definitely times when it feels like there's just not enough time or energy. I'm praying for a peaceful week with your mom there. Thank God for Mothers!
Much Love,

Tina said...

Hi Kristi, Thank you for being so real and totally "Kristi" with the rest of us. I love your honesty. These same things happen when you get #2 bio child as well. When Clayton(#2 bio)was born, I felt that loss you mentioned between Morgan and us. However, 15 3/4 years later, it is clear that a sibling is one of the best gifts you can give any child. Clayton has now been displaced with Zach and Luke but I love to see him interacting with them and the things he is learning in the process. I love you and your family and feel honored to have spent our "firsts" together in China when we got all of our boys!!! Tina