Daniel is not much more demanding than most of my other newborns, butwhen he sleeps or swings, the rest of my life has been taking up theslack.
Raphael does his fair share. He has that dangerous combination ofirrationality and strength found in many children his age. The child issweet and fat and powerful. He has developed an aversion to diaperchanges and yet, stubbornly, he continues to require them on a regularbasis. If I were still hugely pregnant, I am not sure I would bephysically capable of pinning him down and completing the job. But thenagain, having some extra weight might be of some help with thepinning-him-down part. As it is, I get a workout—a wrestling session ofsorts—a minimum of three times a day. The flailing of limbs and madbare-bottomed (please dear Google, do not start running ads here basedon that key word) escapes are all part of the entertainment.
The house does its fair share, too. Today I was planning to skipmorning lessons and schedule a much-needed house maintenance session intheir place. But even as I started to type this, the kids were pullingbooks out and getting started on their own. What kind of mother wouldstand in the way of self-motivated learning? The Beanie Baby Zoo andFelt Scrap Museum that are threatening to take over the girls’ bedroomwill wait. The Sweat Socks and Sports Cards Stadium that now standswhere the boys’ bedroom used to be will wait.
It’s not so bad, though. I get to cuddle my warm and ever-plumpingbaby while he snoozes in his favorite place—my arms. I get to watch histiny face crinkle in a cascade of smiles when he wakes and sees hisolder brother. I get to listen as Raphael practices saying hissiblings’ names: Kay-yay and Joo-wet. I get to do the important job ofmothering these particular kids in this particular house that only Ican do.
For now, though, I am going to look longingly at the shower,organize little people’s schoolwork, and then put on some knee pads anda safety helmet. I think Raphael needs a diaper change.