I Am the Luckiest

Kit looks like a perfect cross between his two older brothers at this age, and he’s just the cheeriest baby I’ve ever met in my life. He smiles at the drop of a hat, and he coos and chirps and is just generally a sweetheart. His pediatrician diagnosed him with “happy GERD”—he has a lot of reflux, he spits up like crazy and chokes and coughs pretty frequently, but none of it seems to bother him. Last week he wasn’t able to sleep for hours and hours and the next day we realized that it was because he had a tooth coming in. I hadn’t guessed because he didn’t seem angry, or to be in pain; he was just tired and increasingly frustrated that he couldn’t stay asleep for more than a few minutes. Not that he doesn’t do any screaming, but really, I keep being surprised by how good-natured he is.

Joey is still a treat, albeit a treat with a lot on his plate. He wants to nurse constantly, and whenever I turn him down—which sometimes I just have to—he bursts into tears. A few days ago I ended up nursing both boys at the same time, which I had planned never to do. Parenting reminds me every so often, very clearly, that I am an animal; looking down at two nurslings and hearing their little snurfing noises was one of those times. At one point, Kit started to fuss, and Joey reached over and patted his back. It’s hard for him, feeling as though he has to compete with the baby—but he keeps reaching out to Kit with affection and gentleness.

There’s a game Joey likes to play where he starts pointing out my features (“mouf! nose! eye! eyebough!”) and when he gets to the ears, he turns my head back and forth—I am supposed to repeat “Ear, ear, ear”—and then at some point, break off and say “Kisses!” and then attack his face with kisses. He thinks this is hilarious, and wants to do it again and again. There are certainly downsides to full-blown toddlerdom: the constant boundary testing, the increasing pickiness, the whining, the meltdowns. But Joey’s so funny, and so clever and sweet. His energy is exhausting, but it’s also pretty wonderful. When I was getting us ready to go to Mass on Sunday, Joey suggested that we should go somewhere else instead: “Pok! [park]” When I told him that No, buddy, we’re going to Mass, he tried a different idea: “Wok! [walk]”  He loves to go out. After the first couple of weeks of life with Kit, I started taking Joey out by myself once a week, and that seemed to make a huge difference in how his days go; it’s just hard for the two of us to get time alone at home. But once a week we can go for a walk, or to a park, or for ice cream, and he seems thrilled every time.

Honestly, I like both kids so much that I occasionally wonder whether maybe we’ll revisit the conversation about whether we’re done with babies four or five years from now. Babies, even easy babies, are just exhausting—but the idea of adding another really excellent person to our family is pretty appealing. Once the kids are bigger and don’t need quite such constant holding and wrangling and diaper changing . . . well, we’ll have to see.

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