Life With a Baby…Again
Happy Tuesday, friends! Before I dive into today’s post, I want to thank all of you who wrote emails, commented, and reached out to me on social media in response to my last post and “word of the year.” Not that I had any doubt, but I am thrilled to hear you guys are on board with my plans/re-focus for 2017. For the first time in a long time, I am feeling more energized, creative, and excited about our home and this blog and that’s a really great feeling to (finally!) have. I promise, promise, promise I will get back to my organization/DIY posts here very soon (next week, in fact!), but I didn’t want to let too much time go by without sharing a bit more about our newest family addition and how life is going since his arrival!
First, let’s chat about the adorable, squishy baby. You guys – we are just in love with Samuel and sorta feel like we hit the jackpot! I know every Mom says that, but I also know that it can sometimes take a bit to feel the love. With this one, the bond was pretty much instant…for all of us. In general, he’s eating and sleeping really well and is about the snuggliest baby ever. Henry was a horrible nurser, so one of my biggest goals was to have a better/normal nursing relationship with Sam. We worked super hard (and had a lot of tears at first) and even had a mini weight crisis in the middle, but we’re through it, and now he is literally packing on the ounces like a champ! It’s a humbling feeling when all you seemingly do is feed your baby and he’s doesn’t gain weight, so I feel a pretty strong sense of pride that I pushed through and we are doing so well now! #fistbump
He’s also a pretty snoozy baby. Early on we were getting 6 hour stretches at night. #saywhat?! They’ve decreased down to 4-5/hour stretches which I actually find quite maintainable (considering Henry woke up every 2 hours until he was 9 months old!). I’m able to feed Sam and put him right into his crib to sleep without any bouncing, rocking, or shushing which also seems like a small miracle. In recent days, he has started napping during the day for short stretches in his little crib we have downstairs; but on the whole, he still likes to be held, swaddled, and worn for his naps. Experience has shown me not to get too comfortable with any particular habit or stage, but I sure have my fingers crossed the good sleep trend continues.
Henry is doing pretty well. He genuinely loves Sam and is happy to help with grabbing a diaper or burp cloth when we need it, and giving Sam a bath is his absolute favorite. He wants to hold and kiss him whenever he can, and shows him off to pretty much everyone we meet (friends and strangers alike). However, we have seen a whole host of new bad behavior/attitude issues with him in recent weeks, mostly directed at us and how “mean” we are. Henry is honestly one of the nicest, kind-hearted kids I know so this change in him has been a bit jolting. Common sense tells us it has everything to do with Sam’s arrival and our shift in attention/focus. We’re doing our best to reign it in and give him as much one-on-one, positive attention we can while still disciplining him appropriately when his behavior really goes off the rails. Henry has had us to himself for the better part of 6 years so we are trying to be as understanding as we can…even though he’s been more of a handful than Sam in recent weeks!
And me? I’m doing good. Really good…in lots of ways I didn’t quite expect.
I’ve shared a bit here and there that my transition into motherhood with the arrival of Henry wasn’t the smoothest. I really struggled with not having my own identity, staying home all day, not being able to pursue my own work/hobbies/outings, and being so needed…all the time. This blog and everything I did/do to our homes was mostly born out of that uneasiness. It was my something when I felt like I had nothing of my own. Now almost 6 years later, I’ve settled into my roll as Mom. It’s much more comfortable, and I enjoy it so much more than during that first year. In fact, before Sam arrived, things were practically shifting the other way again. Henry was/is SO self-sufficient, that I was able to work more, take on more, and was needed less. We had gone through the diapers and sleepless nights and toddler tantrums and weekly playgroups and came out alive and whole on the other side. During my pregnancy, I worried a lot about how I would handle being thrusted back into it all again and how I would balance the demands of a newborn with my own goals and desires. Even though we wanted Sam with ever fiber of our beings, I expected this transition to be as painful and frustrating and hard as it was the first time around. It did, after all, feel like we were starting back at square one.
What I didn’t expect, though, was how much I needed and was ready for a shift in perspective and a re-alignment of my priorities. And a newborn will certainly do that.
As I hinted at last week, the blog and all associated work/tasks were really taking over my life. Because Henry didn’t need me as much, my perfectionist, take-on-too-much, be busy-every-single-moment-of-my-day self came back to life in the last year or so. I was trying to squeeze so much out of our days that I constantly felt behind. I spent all day working on the blog, all afternoon cramming in Henry’s activities and play time, and all night catching up on housework. I can’t even tell you how many Sunday nights I was folding laundry at midnight. I tend to pile too much on my plate when left up to my own devices, and Sam’s arrival forced me (in a good way) to off-load. In the past 6 weeks, I’ve stepped away from the computer and spent more time with my boys. I’ve eaten lunch at the kitchen table instead of at the computer. I’ve visited with friends during the day rather than postpone because I had too much to do. I’ve sat and watched movies with Henry (and Sam of course) in the afternoons after school instead of using that time to answer emails. It’s a strange and unexpected shift because life with a newborn is typically chaos, but his arrival has necessitated a slowdown that has allowed me to get more on top of our life and home and enjoy many of the small moments in between.
I certainly don’t mean to paint a picture of all rainbows and butterflies. We definitely have our share of meltdowns (me included) and messes, exhaustion and overwhelm. But I think it’s made all the easier this time around because we also have perspective. Nothing about having a newborn is necessarily easy, but I now have perspective that no phase, good or bad, lasts too long. The nursing was really tough in the beginning, but we got through it and are cruising now. Getting up in the middle of the night isn’t fun…but I can look at Henry and realize the sleepless nights don’t last forever. I also have the perspective that the tiny, squishy, sleepy newborn phase is so short. With Henry, I just wanted the hard days to pass so I filled them with To-Do lists and errands. Then it was something I didn’t know if I’d ever get again and pined for it endlessly. I am now just trying my best to not wish or work away this special time and enjoy it as much as I can. It’s a strange contentment I didn’t expect but really love. Now if I can just hold onto it 😉
There are certainly days when I look down and can’t believe I have a baby in my arms, yet there are others when it feels completely normal and natural already. There are days I feel like a hot mess, and others when it feels like I’ve got this mom-of-two thing down. One thing is for sure though…we already love this sweet peanut endlessly and are thankful every single day that he’s here. We can’t wait to see how he continues to change our lives and our family and are anxious to see what kind of little person he becomes. I know not everyday moving forward will be special or easy, but these last few weeks have been pretty darn wonderful!
Thanks so much for indulging me these last few posts while I get a bunch of personal thoughts out. Next week, we return to DIY content and I will be sharing our whole home color palette, as well as tips to help you do the same! See you then!
P.S. I am so thankful to have the early days with Samuel in our home captured so beautifully! If you’re in the San Diego, CA area, I can’t recommend My Little Ladybugs enough!