*(I love this typo. Instead of mashing "baby" up with "explosion," I mashed it up with a misspelled "expulsion," which is pretty hilarious if you think about it.)
If I might get all math geeky on you, it's like two sine wave added together. Each of their overall behavior patterns looks like one of the top two:
But when you add them together there are spikes and dips and craziness all over the place. Each by herself is a pretty easy child with a few irritating quirks. But when they line up juuuust right, it's a week of tooth-gnashing and hair-tearing.
Grace has recently made a few huge leaps in development. She's suddenly very eager to do things like go down the slide or go for walks in the wind, and I think she's on the verge of understanding the relationships among letters and words and reading. She also recently started telling stories about things she's done, which is, in my opinion, a pretty big leap. But her milestones have always coincided with some seriously high-maintenance behavior, and this time is no exception.
Emmy, on the other hand, has had the most horrible diaper rash I have ever seen in my life. Cherry-red, broken skin, something that looks like yeast bumps, maybe some burning and hives mixed in, and nothing (NOTHING) worked on it. Gobs of Desitin, stripping the diapers, switching to disposables, cutting out any possible allergen candidates from her diet, Lotrimin, coconut oil, lots of naked time. You name it, we tried it. Two weeks of this, and we were thisclose to calling the pediatrician, when it was suddenly better this morning. I'm still baffled.
Both of them have also become even pickier eaters recently. I tell my friends with picky eaters to just let their kids choose to eat what's on the table, that it's okay if they don't eat supper once in a while (as a pediatrician and several other people have told me: "It's your job to offer a good variety of foods at each meal, and it's their job to pick and choose."). I've been pretty Zen about the whole thing for a while; I've had to with Grace, lest I go completely mad or start feeding her French fries for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But with two needy, high-maintenance children, it is just exhausting to sit through yet another dinner where they poke at the four different kinds of food laid out for them, eating nothing and occasionally whimpering. I work hard to make a variety of foods to keep things interesting, and nothing. When Grace gets a little older, she will have to start trying one small bite of each thing if she's never had it before. But she's a bit young for that yet.
Anyway, with all of this, I still feel the baby fever brimming up inside of me. Our apartment is far too small for another body, and until we get rid of our house, we really shouldn't even think about another baby anyway. Plus, imagine if you added another sine wave to the graph above. It'd look like a cocaine-addled heart rate monitor.
I know that if an "accident" happened (I know that a baby would not be an accident at all, but I'm speaking from our perspective, not God's), we would deal. Things would work out, we would pare down our expenses and be okay. But it would be really hard. And the interesting set of challenges presented by children 16 months apart (especially when the older one is needy and shy and clingy like Velcro, and the younger one is hell-bent on killing herself at every opportunity, and both of them are about ten pounds heavier than any child their age has any right to be, and you can't carry both of them at the same time anymore) would be absolute insanity with the next one just 23 months later.
What I need is a local friend with a newborn. I could go hang out at her house for a week and be reminded of all the fun involved in those early days. I'm sure that would cure me immediately. Maybe. Newborns are awfully squishy. And they smell good.