Friday, May 27, 2011

and then there were four....

I know we're only a little over two weeks into this whole "family of four" thing, but already there are some aspects of it that are easier than others.  Everyone asks how we're adjusting, and honestly, it changes day to day. :)  I feel like we still haven't gotten the full effect of what it's like to have two kids under the age of 2, because Libbi spent the night out three nights the first week we were home and she's spent the night out two more times this second week.  We are SO thankful that our parents are close by and so willing to help us out.  Plus, we have had meals brought to us at least every other day by sweet friends and family members - and that has been a HUGE blessing, too!

I remember when Libbi was first born and Jeffrey and I thought it was the hardest thing in the world.  I wish I could go back and tell my new-mom-self to get a clue - haha!  Yes, it is exhausting to get up every 2-3 hours to nurse a baby, but to me, it's nothing compared to chasing a busy toddler AND taking care of a newborn (plus recovering from delivery).  Looking back, taking care of a baby that eats and sleeps all day was a piece of cake!  It's definitely a challenge sometimes when Jeffrey and I are both exhausted, but Libbi is still running on a full tank :)  But, just like everything in life, I know this is only the season we are in right now.  So no matter how tired I am or how hard it seems, I still want to enjoy every minute of it, because I know that in the blink of an eye it will be over!

 So, for those of you that have asked, here are a few of the things that have been more of a challenge for me....  

*Libbi - She hasn't acted jealous, so to speak, but she has definitely been testing us. :) She LOVES Laney and is in her face 24/7 - ha!  It is hard to even get pictures of Laney when Libbi is around, because I usually end up getting the back of Libbi's head and half of Laney's face. Libbi doesn't seem to mind when we hold Laney or when I have to feed her.  In fact, she gets mad when she can't hold her - ha!  But, she has been acting out more than usual and it's obvious that she wants more attention. That's been the most trying part of having two...wanting to give Libbi the attention she craves while also giving Laney the attention that she deserves, too.  It's hard because Libbi is used to being the only one and the center of attention.  If she needed something, I was (most of the time) immediately able to give it to her, and now she has to share her time with another baby.   She's at the age where she knows the dynamics have changed, but she's not quite sure how to process it just yet.  On one hand, it's comforting to know that Libbi won't remember this time in her life - when the new baby came and she went from being the only to the oldest....but on the other hand, it makes me a little bit sad that she won't remember all the special times we had when it was just the two of us.  Thank goodness I took a *few* pictures and blogged just a *little* so she'll have something for posterity's sake. :)

*Laney - It's hard to have one-on-one time with Laney.  When Libbi was born, I literally sat at home and held her  I don't have the luxury of doing that with Laney, and sometimes I feel guilty that she doesn't have as much of my time as Libbi did (does).  This is where it's nice to have parents that are willing to help us out.  When Libbi spends the night out, it gives me some time to just love on Laney and not worry about splitting my time between the two girls. As much as I would love to nap when the girls nap, I find myself just holding Laney instead, because it's one of the few times during the day that I can.  Which is also another reason why I don't really mind our late night/middle of the night feedings - it gives us girls some quiet time together. :)

*The Sleep Situation - Libbi has always been a good sleeper, but since Laney was born, she has started waking up in the night again.  A lot of my friends have told me that their toddler stopped sleeping through the night at first when the new baby came home, but that it eventually got better.  I think that's the new mom's mantra sometimes, "it'llgetbetter it'llgetbetter, it'llgetbetter....." ;-)
One night this week, Libbi woke up and was inconsolable, so Jeffrey got her and brought her into our room.  About that time, Laney woke up, too (she's in a bassinet in our room right now).  Libbi was wide awake, Laney was wide awake, and therefore, so were we!  At one point, I turned to Jeffrey and said, "what is wrong with our family?! Why are we all awake at 3am??" However, in a few minutes someone was snoring and it wasn't one of the girls :)
Nights like that are frustrating, but they're bound to happen.  I know one day I will miss having my babies wanting me to comfort them in the night when they can't sleep, so I will cherish these times.  (Let's just hope they're not like their momma and still waking up in the night with "bad dreams" when they are 10.... sorry mom and dad- haha!)

*The Recovery - This has been harder, because there is more required of me this time around.  After I had Libbi, I could just lie on the couch all day (and feel sorry for myself - ha!) but now that I've had Laney and Libbi is older, it's just not possible.  She needs me.  She doesn't understand that I can't do certain things (like pick her up) and that's been challenging.  It's also hard for me to not feel lazy and unproductive.  I know that I have to recover and that there are certain things that just have to wait, BUT, I can't help but feel guilty when Jeffrey comes home after a long day at work and still has to take care of baths, dinner, and bedtime - plus any other household chores that may need to be done.  On the other hand though, I am incredibly thankful that he IS so willing to do those things. :)

Now, a few things that have been easier than I anticipated (and I REALLY hope I'm not jinxing myself here.... - ha!)

*Getting Out and About - When Libbi was born, I didn't leave the house for six weeks (besides dr's appts and one newborn photo session).  With Laney, things have already been different.  Libbi  can't stay in the house all day every day for six weeks....and neither can I!  So, we've already ventured out a few times.  I took Laney to Libbi's Mother's Morning Out Graduation Party - something I would NEVER have done with Libbi.  We've been to the park, the mall, and library (among many other places)  So far, all of our trips have been pretty uneventful and not too stressful.  I was able to get both girls ready, in and out of the car, and in and out of the store/destination without too much effort.  I'm more concerned about what I'll do when we have to go somewhere like Target or the grocery store and I have to finagle two babies in a shopping cart instead of stroller.....

*The Recovery - I know I said the recovery was one of the more challenging things, but it has also been A LOT easier physically and emotionally than with Libbi.  I don't know if it's because I've been through it before and my body was able to bounce back a little quicker or if it's just because I know this time around that "this too shall pass."  Without going into too much detail, after I had Libbi, I literally thought I was dying - ha!  I had NO IDEA what was happening to my body and it was just a crazy emotional time.  This time around, I KNOW that it's "normal" and that I will eventually feel like myself again - so in a sense I think that's made things easier.  I don't feel so out of touch with what's happening - I've been here before, and I know that this uncomfortable time is short-lived.

*Libbi - There have been challenging times with Libbi, but they have been far outweighed by the good!  She has been sweeter and kinder and more loving than I could have ever imagined!  Yes, I am constantly saying, "eeeeeasy" and "gentle" but overall, she has done really, really well.  She loves to shower Laney with kisses and she constantly wants to know where she is.  She looks for her as soon as she wakes up in the morning and she's always excited to find out that Laney is still here. :)  It warms my heart to see the love that Libbi already has for her sister and I am so thankful that I am home with my girls and am able to watch their relationship develop.

*Laney - She is SUCH a good baby!  She is so sweet and easy-going.  She eats, sleeps, and has a little bit of awake time each day.  She goes where we go and never fusses when someone (ahem, Libbi!) is in her personal space - ha!  We are more than thrilled that she is a part of our family and it honestly surprises me when I think about how short of a time she's been here - it feels like she's always been with us!

Overall, having two has been adjustment, and I'm sure it will continue to be. The things that I think are challenging now, may be easier in the future and vice versa. But, we will live and learn together as we experience this season of life as a family of four.  I can't wait to see what's in store for our little family! :)

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