When it comes to children, I’m the mother who thinks “the more the merrier”. I have always wanted four kids, and genuinely believed (still believe?) that it would be awesome to have multiples. However, I have to admit that since becoming a mother of two I have also noticed how life is not always designed with more than one in mind.
Like cars. No regular five-seater sedan can fit anything more into it when there are two car seats in the back. Even when Andel is driving I end up sitting in the passenger seat, knees pushing towards my chin as I try to balance my feet on at least two bags.
And don’t even get my started on going to the shop! A simple trip to buy a week’s worth of groceries has become a mission requiring intensive tactical and technical training. Whether I’m alone or not, I still end up having the small child in the carry chair in the trolley, and the big child hanging precariously over the front trolley (from inside or outside). Or I am chasing the big child (with the small child in the trolley) trying to get him to hold my hand while I push the trolley with the other. Needless to say, in the best case scenario, when they are both in the trolley, there is no room for the groceries, and I inevitably need a basket or, alas, another trolley.
But by far, the suckiest thing about having more than one child is when one of them lands up in hospital.
As I write this, Zac is in hospital following a bit of an asthma attack this morning. This (being admitted to hospital) has happened twice before in his short life, and you can usually find me keeping vigil at his bedside – all day and all night (the first time it was five days and four nights). I basically move into the space next to the bed, and camp out until it’s over. I administer the neb, give the medication, and monitor vital signs to feedback to the doctor each morning...
This time, however, I am at home.
Because I have Sam.
It’s not Sam’s fault, you know. He’s a baby, and really, it’s right that he should not be allowed near all the germs floating around in that paediatric unit. What’s not right is that (most) hospitals don’t cater for Moms who have small babies that need to be breastfed while their older siblings are hospitalised. How there cannot be a single room or space available for me to be near enough to see to both Zac and Sam - even if Andel and I have to tag-team in and out of Zac's room - is beyond me. What if I were a single mother? What if they were twins and both feeding?
And so, I had to choose between my kids. Well, that what is feels like anyway. And it sucks balls!
So, to my Zac, who has my heart with him tonight:
I’m sorry you have to be in the hospital, and I’m sorry that this time I couldn’t stay. I’m sorry that I made you so sad that you cried, and I had to leave while you were asleep. I'm sorry that when you wake you won’t find me wrapped all over you and singing in your ear. You are so brave, and you are such a wonderful, loving big brother. Tonight I’m comforted knowing that, even when having a growing family is tough, Sam – and whoever else may still come – will have the incredible blessing of having you.