Oh, how things have changed! My last post was what seems like so long ago and I was super pregnant. We’ve now had Alexander home for about 2 months and we are in the constant process of finding our new “normal”…even if I question what normal is or if it even exists at all when your home includes a toddler! While I have wanted to sit and write out some of my thoughts for so long now, it seemed every time I would get my coffee and sit down, someone would cry, or be hungry, or need a new diaper, or dinner needed to be cooked, or…. you get the point.
Welcome to the world, sweet boy!
The best news I can share is that Caitlin LOVES her baby brother. While she refuses to call him Alex and insists that his name is “Baaaaby”, she loves him fiercely and it is the sweetest thing to watch. She gets upset if he is upset, loves to hold him (even if she begs and it only lasts for 5 seconds), and gives him kisses when he cries.
Big sister kisses!
Along the way, I’ve thought about how different things are from when we brought Caitlin home, probably because we are more “seasoned” parents and because, just as they say, “every baby is different.” A few things have stood out to me, though:
1) My heart really IS big enough
The further along I got in my pregnancy, the more I started doubting that I could love this child, as wanted as he was, nearly as much as I loved Caitlin. I’m certain I would’ve had this doubt even if we were having another girl. I was wrong. So, so, so wrong. This boy is the sweetest soul and I look at him (and Caitlin) every day and feel like my heart could actually explode. I have so much joy and love for these two it blows my mind. I know it’s not physically possible for my heart to grow but it most certainly feels like it has.
2) My village is SO important
I think most of us have heard the saying “It takes a village.” Problem is, I don’t like asking for help. I actually hate it. But it feels SO GOOD when I accept the help, from whoever is offering it, and enjoy the little bit of peace it brings me. When we found out we were pregnant again, we bought a new house down the street from Dave’s parents. We knew we would appreciate the help and support we’d be able to get, and it has been so amazing to have help at the drop of a hat. Most recently, my mom visited and it was so nice to have an extra set of hands to help with Alex – I could nurse him and then just plop him into her arms to play with Caitlin. When Caitlin was a baby I was so worried about passing her around with family and needing to do it all myself. Doing it all = STRESS. My village has made this journey more enjoyable whether it be family for the hands on help, or best friends for stressed out text messages, plans for drinks, and play dates.
3) Rules be damned
I know, guidelines are in place for a child’s safety and peace of mind, but let’s be real for a moment. Every parent wants what’s best for their child. With a baby and a toddler, some things just have to give for mom and dad to have some sanity left at the end of the day or for us all to get some sleep. Babies are only supposed to sleep on something firm and flat with zero blankets. Guess what? Alex loves being wrapped up in blankets and on his tummy…well, shit. What do we do? Let him sleep that way. There is only so much that you can do. When I have function as a coherent parent to a very active toddler, I need some rest as well, which means a decent baby nap is in order. This means you’ll probably find Alex on his tummy snoring away on the couch while Caitlin and I get to play. I’ve recorded lots of stair flights on my FitBit by running upstairs to check on him in his crib every 5 minutes…win-win!! We won’t let him sleep that way at night yet but it definitely helps with his daytime napping. He also loves sleeping in bed with me so I often nurse him and then snuggle him back to sleep. I’m enjoying it now since Caitlin never let me!
This also means “no screen time” for toddlers has all but been laughed out of the house. I simply cannot entertain a 2 year old the way MiMi and Poo-toh (Mickey and Pluto) can. I get some time with Alex in the mornings while our DVR comes in very handy. I also get to do her hair while she plays her ABC game on the tablet, to which Dave and I attribute a solid amount of learning from. Another win-win! A few tears might be shed when the TV gets turned off or tablet time only lasts 5 minutes, but the silver lining is my daughter is learning everything in moderation.
Oh look…a happily napping baby!
4) Grace, Grace, Grace*
I forgot how easy it is to beat yourself up over things not going the way you want with a newborn. Life sucks hard for a while. They’re cute but oh, so needy. Throw in a 2 year old and you’ve got yourself half a circus. Things that seem so easy, so simplistic…well, they end up taking 10 times as long. I got so upset with myself when Caitlin was a baby for this very thing. My motto this time is WHO CARES. We (fairly regularly) don’t get dressed for the day until 11 or 11:30. Our mornings are spent eating breakfast together, snuggling on the couch and watching Mickey. I’m going to enjoy it now, while I can. Plus, great things happen in those moments that seem to never end…like your kiddo cleaning up her own mess or learning how to put on her own shoes!
*Dave just had to have a come-to-Jesus talk with me on this one. I got caught up in all of it, all over again and tried to rapid fire check off everything on my to-do list. Not good, friends, not good. I love a clean house just as much as Martha Stewart but somethin’s gotta give!
Caitlin adheres to “Rules be damned” as she puts her shoes on ALL BY HERSELF and makes her fashion statement
5) There is nobody else I would rather do this with than my husband
Cheese alert – it might get mushy around here. In all seriousness, I think I lucked out in the husband/father department. Dave works so hard, which allows me to stay home and raise these babies to be the people we want to bring into the world. I am so grateful not only for that, but for the effort he puts in to each and every day to be an active husband and father. He lifts me up when I’m down, puts me in my place when I need it, encourages me, and cherishes time with his kids even when he’s so tired he probably sees stars. When I talked about my village being so important, it is, and it starts with him. I might be home all day with our children, but he is the first in my support network, and the one I lean on the most.
6) Leggings ARE pants
7) Ponytails and messy buns totally count as doing your hair
8) Dryer to ‘folded and put away’ laundry time has increased tenfold
9) Wearing clean clothes is pointless…it WILL get spit up on it (refer to #8 when you can no longer find clean shirts)
10) My kids are the cutest. Seriously.
I can’t wait to write more updates!