When we managed to take plenty of pictures of Joel as a baby, and managed to encourage and train him to write his blog, so many people said .. you've got to do your best to do the same for your second child. Of course we knew life would be so much busier with the second child, and we knew we'd have to try really hard to keep up the same level of photography and writing to preserve these special times and share with others. Oliver is here, and he's a fabulous baby who we would love to be sharing with the world.
This is the thing that nobody told me. It has almost nothing to do with parental effort and energy levels to achieve the same high standards of journalism. Sure, we knew it would be tough, and we were unlikely to repeat our efforts. But our efforts have been actively sabotaged by Joel to an extent that I did not believe possible.
Joel has managed with INCREDIBLE effectiveness to launch himself as a "journalism terrorist". He continues to be a fantastic older brother, a fun-filled, beautiful lovely son, a friend to many, and a brightener of lives. Joel is frankly gorgeous. We are proud of him as parents, and proud of our parenting.
But as I sit here and type after 1 hr 20mins of uncontrollable screaming, tantrum like behaviour, crying himself sick, clear disobedience, total clarity of expectations between 2yr old, mom and dad, and great aunt Jen (staying with us until Tuesday), and more stamina than I can possibly imagine from him. He is desperate to sleep, and yet defiance is so much more important.
He thwarts any attempt from three adults to work or rest or play.
For those that don't have two kids, you may read this and either despair at what is happening, or bring out some comment about the terrible twos. For anyone that has been here before, you know that this time of life is not in any way straighforward. Discipline and time-outs are no more a science than working out why a baby is crying. They are art. And an artist can never work under such stressful circumstances where energy is sapped. bummer. Survival by the hour, and digging into every ounce of depth of character that God has been gracious enough to grant us. Broken sleep, and an overwhelming span of work involvement just make the stress-induced teeth-grinding more pronounced. 2007's dental bill will be large, if there are any teeth left to work on.
To know that the season will pass is reassurance, but of course doesn't make a scrap of difference to how hard it is to keep going. Oh I didn't mention the unrelenting rain, the undrinkable water supply for 7 days so far, and the colds that 3/5ths of us are carrying .. but those aspects are almost insignificant. I'm not sure what to think of the similarities drawn by Jen between Joel's behaviour and his father's at the same age. At least I'm the nicest person I know, so he'll turn out OK.
I really am not a fan of cathartic blogging. I hope this is the last time I feel called to it. If you pray, pray for us. If you don't .. learn how, God is the best listener I know.