The Missing Months

I didn't write a 25-month update on December 30th mainly because I hadn't written the 24-month/2-year update yet, and I haven't written the 24-month/2-year update for a few reasons. One is that privacy thing I first brought up back in September. Another is that his 24th month happened to coincide with NaBloPoMo, so I feel like that month got covered better than most others anyway. But for all I said here, there's so much more I didn't say, and mostly it's because of the third reason: There was a lot of upheaval in the 24th month, and I couldn't talk about it while it was going on. It was hard enough to deal with at the time; although writing about it probably would have helped me process everything, it also could have potentially hurt people who are very important to our family. I didn't want to do that.

Now that I have some distance from that time—and more importantly, now that we've survived it and come out OK—I think I'm ready to talk about the past couple months a little, starting with the similarities between the 24th month and the 12th. In re-reading my 1-year update, I guess what the two months had most in common was that they were damn difficult. I see from my own posts that I cried more in the 12th month (and I remember screaming incoherently a lot, too), and in the 24th I yelled more. It just required so much more EFFORT to parent in that 24th month than it had in the 23rd; add to that behavioral problems that cropped up left and right, and both Al and I were at our wits' ends most of the time.

I don't think it was until December that I realized why the parenting had gotten harder: namely, we lost our parenting partner, Hannah. Over the past year we had formed a sort of parenting triumverate, with Hannah taking about 40% of the childcare duties, and Al and I each taking about 30%. It was more than just child-watching/entertaining, however. Hannah really did talk about parenting issues with us. At first I wasn't sure how to take this; it actually made me a little uncomfortable, boundarywise. I realized after a little while, however—even before she came on with us full-time, I think—that I still had veto power over any proposal, and that Hannah had no desire to usurp my role as mom. We regularly discussed Beaner developments and brainstormed about strategies for getting him over various developmental humps. And even though Al wasn't there during the day, she made sure he got the "poop report" before she left each evening. (It really was a report about when he'd pooped, but it was also a "poop report" in the sense that she told him everything they'd done that day.)

Anyway, we lost Hannah in November. We knew it was a great loss for both us and the Beaner, but I think at first we thought of it like a good friend moving to another city. We didn't realize right away that what we'd really lost was the third leg of our parenting stool. When we did, it was a forehead-smacking moment: Oh, RIGHT! So THAT'S why parenting has been so much harder! And, as was the case in the 12th month, my frustration was mirrored right back at me by the Beaner. This time it wasn't just my frustration; it was Al's too. I was the only one shouting, of course, but all three of us were... the only picture that comes to mind right now is three hand-mixer blades coming together in flurry of thrashing, or maybe Laverne and Shirley having a slapping fight.

Luckily, the 25th month was a lot like the 13th: the calm after the storm. I held out hope that it would be, since I knew all that thrashing had to be good for something. It was: it helped us find a new groove. We learned to step up as parents, and I think not a moment too soon. I hope Hannah stays a part of our lives forever, and I know she'll always be a great friend to the Beaner (and to us). I also know that the timing was right for us to learn to do this on our own. (So many other things in our lives and Hannah's have fallen into place because of this change that I can't doubt that it was the absolute right thing at the absolute right time.) Jess and Aura still shoulder a huge part of the childcare burden—and are a huge part of the Beaner's life—but partly because they're sharing duties, and partly because we learned to Be Parents, things are different now than they were before.

There are probably a few milestones that I missed by not writing a 25th-month update, but I hope by writing daily I'll get caught up on most of them as the happen from now on. Here's to the third year of your life, kiddo.

Posted by Lori in parenthood at 11:36 PM on January 11, 2007

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