In law school, grades were determined by attendance and your final exam. Miss too many classes and you weren’t allowed to even sit for the final exam. That little gem has caused countless nightmares for me over the years and I’ve been out of school for ten years now. Knowing that the entire success of the semester depended upon my performance on a three hour test made me a little nervous. Given how important the final was, the period after Thanksgiving and up through final exams and again after spring break through finals became known as The Tunnel.
Tunnels exist for you to go through to some other location, but in going you have to travel the dark, rather scary interior that is not very well lit and full of hazards if you dare go too fast. The promise of course, is that you will emerge on the other side in the light and will have traveled to some new location that you were seeking. In law school, this meant the end of constant studying, worrying, and the chance to be a normal person again who wasn’t expected to process a semester’s worth of information and knowledge on a three page exam.
I had forgotten from Rex’s newborn phase that this fourth trimester is yet another Tunnel. I’m hunkered down, plowing through Sweetpea’s newborn days as best as I can waiting for the sunlight (a social smile perhaps? maybe a coo?) at the end of the journey. We planned a little better for this tunnel, though. We have more help – both of the family and hired kind – and we also know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that it will get better, lighter and easier. All I have to do is look at Rex and remember that he too was a squwaking infant not all that long ago and now he’s telling us about his day at pre-school and who was put in time out and then sleeping through the night.
To her credit, Sweetpea is a real treat of a baby. I never had those snuggly feelings with Rex thanks in part to the whack job of PPD and in part because he was never a snuggly infant. He was a bruiser of a child even when he was born and not very compact. Sweetpea, though, is tiny in comparison to her brother in his infant days and is like a feather to carry. She fits perfectly in the crook of the neck and has extremely kissable cheeks. Getting to dress her in onesies with kittens is just icing on the cake.
She even has done us the favor of waking up to feed only twice in a night already. She’s also having more periods of awake time, watching her brother’s antics and following our movements. Most importantly to me and my anal retentive heart, she’s being rather receptive to getting into somewhat of a routine, as much as a newborn can have a routine. It was the disruption of the routine with addition of newborn Rex that really threw me for a loop and I recognized the same feelings coming back once we got Sweetpea back home. But, again, I know this time that a routine will be established, one that has a place for all of the creatures in the house and even some time for Mr. X and I to enjoy each others company over an episode of Game of Thrones.
Rex, for his part, is doing better with the newest addition. We’ve been very proactive in making certain he knows that he’s still important and loved and part of our home. He loves to supervise sister’s diaper changes from his stool that he keeps by her changing table and is very good at picking out outfits for her to wear when she needs a change. He likes to kiss her fuzzy little head and then go back to watching Backyardigans. He still goes to daycare and gets a good deal of structure and stimulation there so he’s not completely wound up at home. Weekends are still a challenge, trying to figure out how to work everything that we need to do into the day with Sweetpea’s napping needs and Rex’s playing needs. But I know that it will come.
Just like in law school where the calendar showed the last day of finals and the end of The Tunnel, I can see the end of the transition and can take a lot of comfort in knowing that while difficult and painful, we are not in a permanent state of flux.