Spinning Plates


I’ve been gradually acclimatising to having two children, and the way that changes how I need to do things. I think it’s rather like spinning plates. There’s a fine choreography in tending to multiple children within satisfactory time-frames. In some ways it’s even a mercy for my fatigue levels — I don’t realise I’m exhausted until I’m at the end of the day and finally get a moment to stop. Almost every day I’m able to make it through the afternoon by visualising my evening after both boys are in bed: I’ll make myself a wonderful Gravity coffee, and sit at the table to drink it in nice quiet surroundings, with my Kobo Arc e-reader.

That plan rarely actually eventuates, because by the time I’m able to carry it out, I’d really just rather go to bed. So I do. But while I’m disappointed not to be able to enjoy what I’d been looking forward to all afternoon, the main objective is still achieved: I get to do whatever I want. Even if that has become simply going to bed. Whether or not I actually get that coffee at the end of the rainbow, it still works as a motivator to see me through the day.

Timmy’s made two recent developments that change his level of dependance — and thus, my need to cater to him. He walks, and he feeds himself with a spoon. The spoon development allows mealtimes to be more of a hands-off affair on my part, which enables me to do other things. However, those other things must be within Timmy’s line of sight. He seems to believe that my leaving the room for 15 seconds is tantamount to my leaving his life forever, and he hollers in despair, accordingly. Upon my return he’ll calm down, pick up his spoon, and resume the meal. (Unless in his despair the spoon has been heaved over the side of the highchair.)


It turns out yoghurt is actually finger-food. But then, eating from a spoon isn’t much tidier.

He’s still not saying any discernible words, but I’ve managed to work out some semblance of meaning in his babblings. “Na-na” is food. Any food. Not just banana. I wonder if this came about because in recent past he would go through industrial amounts of banana…so when he was offered food, it was often a banana, which I’d name as I gave it to him.

“Nao”…is apparently ‘drink’. Or…’water’? I have no idea of the etymology of ‘Nao’. I just noticed he reaches in the direction of his sippy cup as he says it, and after he’s had a drink, the repetitive, “Nao… Nao… Nao…!” stops.

I’m often asked how he has taken to Daniel. I don’t know how to answer this, really. How much can I know about what goes through the mind of a 1-year-old? He does like to climb on the bassinet frame and peer in to watch the “bubba” though. When he first started doing that, I panicked, visualising the bassinet falling over from the 10kgs that just climbed onto one side. But the bassinet-makers must have thought of that eventuality happening among their customers, as the support base has a very wide stance at the wheels. Annoying for getting it through doorways, or for walking past it without stubbing one’s toe, but it does give me reassurance whenever Timmy climbs up to peer inside.

My free babysitter. He frequently checks Daniel is safe in his bed. (If he's not, Timmy will find him and start poking his legs.)

My free babysitter. He frequently checks Daniel is safe in his bed.
(If he’s not, Timmy will find him and start poking his legs.)

He’s tried sharing his toys with Daniel. At least, I think that’s what he was trying to do. It manifests itself in his pushing toys onto Daniel’s head. As his toys tend to be hard plastic things (he never took to soft toys, ever), I quickly intercept before Daniel gets a traumatic brain injury. That accounts for most of the boys’ interaction, at this point.

The bigger issue isn’t so much how Timmy has taken to Daniel, but how he’s taken to not having so much of his mother’s attention. He doesn’t like that. At all.

He’s become incredibly clingy and attention hungry. He used to be content to play by himself for long stretches of time, but now he’s constantly wanting me to hold his plastic fishbowl, or read ‘That’s not my train,’ with him, 20 times in a row. (He’s since dropped that book behind the couch, and I’m in no hurry to fetch it back out.)

It’s not like I’ve been ignoring him in favour of the baby. I really haven’t. I’ve taken care to give him ‘Timmy-time’ — and he gets heaps of it, to be fair. I organise dinner sometime in the morning (I’m embracing the slow cooker), but otherwise he gets almost all my time that’s not taken with baby maintenance. But he’s not satisfied with that, and loudly lets me know about it.

I hope that issue will spontaneously resolve itself with time. Daniel will be sticking around, after all, regardless of how Timmy feels about it.


Chef in the making: checking the flesh for tenderness.
(I figure Daniel is safe as long as Timmy can’t reach the cooking equipment.)

We had our first social outing as a family of four, this week: dinner with my sisters and Mum. The sister who was hosting it made a lovely bed for Daniel in a cardboard box. Uninspired mother that I am, I’d just been expecting to sleep him on a flat surface, with a sleep positioner to stop him wiggling around. But the box was a nice idea, and had its own entertainment value. A baby in a box. Because, why not? I’m sure lots of folks used to do it before the advent of overpriced bassinets.

The outing must have tuckered him out, because that night he gave me a fright by sleeping for almost seven hours in one go. I usually don’t have time to suffer engorgement pain these days — he’s squawking for a feed before I reach that stage — so when I was woken by the pain of it instead of by a hunger cry, I rushed into his room to check that he wasn’t dead… and found him peacefully sleeping.

After he did finally feed, he peacefully slept again. For five hours.

That hasn’t repeated itself yet. I wonder if we should go to my sister’s place for dinner every night.


Baby in a box. Setting up this bed felt delightfully rustic.



1 Comment

  • Aunty Dukkah
    13 Oct 2013

    Yay, baby in a box! I loved that. It felt so independent and very “Take that you plastic worshipping manufacturing giants!”

Leave a reply so Eve's not talking to herself...