Thursday, August 6, 2015

Life As A Mom of 2

This post has been a work in progress for months. I started it when Elise was a month old and would add a little bit here and there. It was interesting reading back through what I had written before and remembering what the first few months were like as things are so much easier now! I went back through and edited each section so it makes sense with where we are now and then added thoughts to reflect how I feel at nearing 5 months postpartum! Being a mom to 2 has been a lot like how I imagined it would be. Watching Jake a couple days a week helped me understand what I could realistically expect. Even so there have been things that worked out differently than I expected, threw me for a loop, or just didn't even cross my mind. I went into pregnancy fully knowing that the next baby would not be like Carter and expecting a more difficult baby. Luckily for me, Elise is like Carter and she isn't. She's a thumb sucker just like him, she smiles constantly, she's generally happy and easy going. But she's also different. She's easier. She goes down to sleep much easier, she nurses faster, she is more open to other people taking care of her. Carter was a momma's boy through and through. Some say he still is...

My biggest concern with adding to our family was Carter. He was an only child for over 2 years. He was also an only grandchild on both sides and the only niece or nephew to my brothers. The boy was used to a lot of attention. There were times when he would have 6 adoring adults all sitting around watching him. Talk about spoiled! I knew he would have his moments of jealousy, especially in the beginning. I also knew that they'd fade over time and they have. He still has moments where he demands, "Mommy no feed sissy!!!!" because he wants my attention and gosh darn it, didn't you just feed her? How his jealousy has been demonstrated was more of a shocker to me. In the beginning if he saw me holding Elise and was jealous, he might hit the dog, he might hit another kid at the park, or he may just scream. We were at storytime and Carter was having a blast sitting on the carpet and had even made some friends. Elise woke up so I got her out of her car seat and had her sitting on my lap. Carter looked over, saw us and just screeched in the middle of storytime. It was nuts!  This month he has been significantly less jealous, I think due in large part to Elise being able to interact with him more. He loves making her smile and trying to get her to giggle. He adores that she can sit in her Bumbo to watch him do big kid stuff.
Carter was so excited for Elise to watch him make dinner.

Before Elise came along Carter was so independent. He loved going off and playing on his own at the park as well as playing on his own at home. He still is as long as Elise is asleep and I'm not paying attention to her. The minute I have her in my arms or am talking to her, he suddenly needs me. The best remedy to that is including him. If I'm holding Elise because she just woke up I take her over to say hello to him. If I'm trying to get her to roll over I ask Carter to show her how. If I'm playing puppets with her I give him one to play along. She's on my lap? He can sit right beside her. It never fails that when I'm nursing Elise that's when he's desperate to be in my lap, twirling my hair. In the beginning there were times when it was just too much. I had one child pulling on my nipple and the other pulling on my hair. I needed a moment to only be touched by one child. I wasn't even asking to not be touched, I was asking to not be touched by both at the same time! Then there were times I soaked up all the snuggles and loved it. I'm guessing it depended on the amount of sleep I was working with. Little man still has a tendency to show up at my side when I'm tending to Elise. If I'm rocking her to sleep because she's overtired and just not doing the job herself he shows up at my side talking too loudly right as I have her fully asleep. I try not to get frustrated but sometimes I do. I wish the little guy had a whisper voice, but I guess he gets that from me. My mom was always telling me to whisper as a kid and I apparently couldn't do anything quieter than a normal voice.
I rocked Elise to sleep so, of course, Carter walked in talking really loudly and woke her up.
Something that hadn't even crossed my mind was sleep. I knew what I was in for, a baby waking multiple times a night and me being sleep deprived. I was a pro at that. Carter didn't start sleeping through the night until 9 months. I just hadn't thought about how tired I'd be in the morning. When Carter was a newborn we would initially get up around 7 in the morning. We'd play for a little bit and then he'd get tired and we'd go back to sleep for a little morning nap. There were times I was so tired it was hard to wait those 45 minutes to an hour to go back to sleep. That morning nap was my saving grace and I totally forgot about that until Elise came along and I woke up feeling like I'd been run over by a truck. Morning naps would be hella nice but obviously won't ever happen with a toddler in the house. The frustrating part of this situation is that Elise will wake up to eat around 6-6:30. Once I feed her and am back in bed Carter wakes up. There's no rest for the weary around here! Although they both slept until 8am on Monday morning and I felt so refreshed all day. I was like let's go on a walk, let's do yoga, let's play at the park, let's go to the zoo, can we do everything, I feel great!

I figured some things out during the newborn stage that made life much easier. Some things I kick myself and wonder why I didn't think of it with Carter. Each room had a little changing station set up. It was simple, just a container of wipes, a few diapers, and sometimes a pad to lay down but most the time I just used my legs. It was so nice because I could just really quickly change Elise wherever I was and didn't have to leave Carter. I don't do that now because Elise is in cloth diapers and I can't really stash cloth diapers throughout the house, but she also requires fewer diaper changes since she is nursing less and therefore pooing and peeing less. I also set up a diaper changing station in our room when Elise slept in our room. I had a container of wipes and diapers on our window sill above my head so I could just reach up there and grab stuff down to change her diaper in the middle of the night. I also kept extra jammies in our room for middle of the night clothing changes. Not having to get out of bed or leave or room meant I was able to go back to sleep so much quicker.
Carter trying to hold Elise's hand before we headed out for a run.
When I was pregnant I thought a lot about what Carter would do while I nursed Elise. I worried about keeping him busy and looking back it wasn't really something I feel I needed to worry about. But I did do some things that made life easier. I made sure Carter had something he could play with independently, without making a mess, in every room. That way no matter where we are he can keep himself busy while she nurses. He has the magnetic chalkboard and a wagon of Duplo in Elise's room along with all her board books. His room was already packed with toys. He has the train table, cars, and various other toys in the living room. Right by the chair where I nurse Elise in the playroom he has a stash of cars. Even with everything set up for him to play independently there are still times he is desperate to sit on my lap and read books while she nurses and that works too. Lucky for me he always wants to be in the same room as us so I don't have to worry about him running off and making mischief because although I can walk around nursing Elise, it is so much more enjoyable when I don't have to!

At first when both Carter and Elise were crying at the same time it broke my heart. I hated it for both of them. I hated that I felt like I had to choose who I helped first. That has gotten so much easier with time. I've learned to decide who really needs me and who is just crying because 9 times out of 10 that's the case. It's rare for them both to honest to goodness need something at the same time. One time Carter fell and bumped his head while I was nursing Elise. I finished on that side and then picked Carter up and rubbed his back for a little bit before finishing up on the other side with Elise. There have also been times when Carter is crying just because he wants my attention and I let him know he'll need to wait until I'm done feeding Elise and then I'll hold him. Interestingly enough sometimes when I'm done feeding her he no longer needs held! Some mornings Carter is a bit clingier, usually when he wakes up after Ty has left for work so he doesn't get his special daddy/Carter time in the morning. On those mornings he asks me to carry him around so I hold him in one arm and Elise in the other. He thinks it's hilarious!
First attempt at a picture of me holding both babes.
The next attempt turned out a little better.

This time I have been so much more relaxed. I don't plan my outings around Elise's feeding schedule and duck into the restroom if she unexpectedly wants to eat in public. I'm comfortable nursing her whenever and in front of whoever. I use a cover up because it makes me feel more comfortable. We also go out a lot and to wherever we want. I know having Elise in the baby carrier gives us more privacy. No one has tried to touch her when she's in it. Now that it's gotten hotter I don't wear her when we are outside because I don't want her to get too hot. She spends some of the time with me just carrying her because she is strong enough and has good enough neck control that I can carry her on my hip for a little while before moving her over onto my chest. It has been very different having such a young baby during the summer. I bought a fan for her car seat to help out on runs and outdoor outings which has helped tremendously. I wanted to keep Carter's routine as consistent as possible so we kept up with daily outings and playdates. After a couple temper tantrums in public I realized Carter needed more time with just me. So I started making sure our play dates were later in the morning or getting my run in early so I could commit to at least 30 minutes of time either sitting down and reading with Carter or playing with him. It made a world of difference with his mood and made me happy too! Now I don't even attempt to leave the house unless this has happened. He's getting better about sharing time and less jealousy of Elise so we could probably go somewhere without the mommy/Carter time in the morning but it's not worth taking that chance right now!

I've also learned to let go. I got used to vacuuming and mopping twice a week. Every morning I scrubbed the kitchen sink and counters. Laundry was done and folded multiple times a week. I liked being able to clean more as a stay at home mom, especially since Carter had gotten more independent and liked a chunk of time every day for independent play. He loved playing alone with his cars! Now the vacuuming and mopping only happen about once a week or when company is expected, sometimes only every other week. Laundry gets done but not always folded.  When I was writing this post a couple months ago there was a load of clean laundry in the dryer that has been there for probably 4 days. This morning I just folded 2 baskets of laundry that had been sitting around since this weekend. I'm okay with all of that. Because when I'm older and my babies are grown will I ever regret sitting down during Carter's nap time and snuggling Elise to my chest while she slept just because it was the only time I had alone with her? Will I regret that I put down the laundry basket to read a book to Elise since it was the first time her eyes were open all morning and Carter was playing quietly? Will I regret leaving dirty dishes in the sink because Carter asked me to play outside with him? I think not! Would I regret it if it were the other way around? If I had told Carter to wait so I could clean the dishes or I missed reading to Elise because by the time the laundry was folded she was asleep? I know I would!


  1. Very enjoyable! It's working out well, isn't it?

    1. It feels like it's been pretty seamless. After talking to other moms I was way more worried about how it would go than I needed to be!