One hand for the ship

Somewhere along the way, my perusing of the Aliens and Conspiracy History channel’s offerings yielded up the little gem that sailors at one point used the saying “One hand for the ship, one hand for yourself.”  Or something along those lines.

That saying has been playing through my mind for the last week.  One hand for the ship.  Because I’m feeling very much that both my hands are busy keeping this ship afloat, and the one hand for myself is missing in action.

Things have been getting better.  The small one is rapidly figuring out how breastfeeding works and is slowly consolidating her wake/sleep/eat/play periods into a more regular pattern.  The big one is going through a language explosion, it feels like, and is using words and signs to explain himself much more efficiently.  And Manly is picking up as many pieces as he can around the things that MUST be done.

But it’s still hard.  My mother-in-law, probably not even realizing that she was doing it, warned me months ago.  “Just wait,” she said, shaking her head at the memory, “until they’re both crying needing you and you’re crying because you can’t help them both at the same time.”  Left unspoken was the fact that I have to choose one over the other, triaging needs versus wants versus my own feeling of inadequacy.

I know it’s not just me —

“i sit between them. each tries to paw me apart with want and love and unspeakable need. i wait for King Solomon to show up with a sword, to divide me in two.”

— but it is that these two are MINE.  That they and I have to live with the decisions that I make.

I remember putting Mini in his crib at one point (months and months ago, before she was even a possibility), screaming over something that I don’t even remember.  And I walked downstairs and vacuumed the living room, taking the time to collect my breath and my temper.  And when I picked him back up afterwards, out of breath and exhausted from our collective fits, he clung to me, relishing my attention and love and physical presence.  A moment where we sought solace in each other, forgiveness for both our faults.

It’s hard, being the entire world for these two little creatures.



4 thoughts on “One hand for the ship

  1. I can’t imagine doing it for two – I have a hard enough time with one. Thankfully I have a friend I can rely on to talk me through it all. She has an 11 year old daughter…and a 3 month old daughter, as well as running an in-home daycare. When I get stressed, I message her! I remember her telling me to put Cole in the playpen or bassinet and then going to take a shower. Let him scream, I needed to have that break or I WOULD break. Things have gotten better since then, but I still get to that point every so often. I try to imagine doing this with twins, or two children, or as a single parent and I can only say this: y’all have my utmost respect and support.

    It will get better, or so I’m told. Everyone works out their patterns and gains understanding of the others in their world, and it gets better. *hugs*

  2. Hey, if you are available, is it ok if I stop over on Friday evening for a bit. I will happily hug and love on both little munchkins and you can love on the opposite. Or, perhaps you can even eat with two hands! Let me know. 🙂

  3. This is what I worry about. My manly is only 8 months old and I have just found out that I am pregnant. I worry that he is getting robbed of his alone time and the time for he and I to bond without any distractions. On the other hand, I am grateful because I did want him to have a sibling close in age to be his bestfriend.

  4. I so completely feel you on this – it’s HARD to balance between the two. No easy answers or solutions. We do the best we can, sometimes we fail, sometimes there is balance. Solace and forgiveness when there isn’t. xo

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