Summer with Oscar and Aria

It’s hard for me to believe that I’m now the mother of two.  In so many ways my love for my children has grown exponentially, so that my heart feels like it will burst. But in other ways my heart feels like it has been cleaved in two. One of the most difficult things I’ve ever done is leave my son at home with family for three days while I went to the hospital to have my daughter. Three months later it still breaks my heart to leave the house and leave Oscar behind. For so long, over three years, he was my little buddy, my little companion, and we went everywhere together. Now I have to take the baby everywhere, because she is so small and still nursing all the time, and the logistics of taking two kids with me forces me to leave Oscar behind more often than not.

I will be honest and say that it’s not easy having a three-year-old and a newborn. Oscar is the love of my life, and I still look at him like he is a miracle and a dream come true. How am I lucky enough to be the mother of such a magical little boy? He is so funny and smart and sweet and affectionate, saying things every day that make sad that time goes by so fast. Other times I can’t wait until he is in college.

Sometimes, when Oscar is playing, he will turn to me for no reason and say, “I like you.” He also asks, “Are you happy, Mom?” This question makes me sad, because I am often tired or stressed around him, and also because I have always been such a people pleaser, anxious and worried about everyone around me, and it breaks my heart that Oscar has become this way too.

He is so funny and sweet, singing the ABC song in the bathtub, asking for three kisses and a “big hug” every night before bed. Then, as I go to turn out the light, asking in a tiny voice, “One more, Mom? One more?” When I come home from work or running errands, he says “You back? I missed you.” If I take a shower or start packing up my work bag, he senses I am going to leave and says, “You staying?”

Oscar is three, and can be very frustrating and exhausting. He wants to talk to me about everything, and it’s not enough for me to say, “OK,” or “That’s nice.” He wants a full demonstration of active listening skills. I have to look at him, repeat exactly what he just said, and offer my own insights. If I try to multitask, frantically answering work emails or grading papers on the computer, Oscar will get impatient and upset. “Mom, talk to me, talk to me!” I’ll pause what I’m doing and say, “What do you want to talk about?”

He will smile and say, “Oscar!”

Right now Oscar loves trains, cars, trucks, playing in his sand box, getting dirty, and eating peanut butter and jelly; but also broccoli, zucchini, carrots and chicken. He loves Elmo and Cookie Monster, but also Curious George, Frog and Toad, Little Bear, the Hulk, and his baby sister.

His baby sister Aria.

Oscar will ask, “Where’s Aria?” or say, “I want Aria.” He loves stroking her hair, holding her, waving toys in her face, and making obnoxious noises about 1/4 of an inch from her nose. He has already mastered the art of being an annoying big brother.

Aria is three months old today. For the first month or so, she would sleep all day and want to party all night. She would nurse happily at 2:oo A.M. and then look around and say, “Why is it so dark? Why the long face?” She would be perfectly content as long as the light was on and I was sitting upright gazing lovingly into her little face. Try to sleep, or turn out the light, or even lie down, and she would tell me all about her hurt feelings. I would say, “It’s not all about you, Aria.” Aria would say, “Oh really? Try this: whaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!”

Luckily, in the past month, nights have become so much easier. Nursing is a piece of cake this time around, after the hell I went through the first three months of nursing Oscar. Recovering from the c-section was easier this time around, mainly because I knew what to expect. Three months later my incision site still hurts if I sit up too quickly or twist a certain way. I have a seven-inch scar to remind me of two of the most magical, beautiful, happy, terrifying, exhausting, and physically painful days of my life.

Sometimes, driving along in the car, Oscar will declare, “Aria came out of Mama’s tummy!”

Both of my children came out of my heart. They took a piece of it with them. They will be there forever.