Thursday, February 25, 2010

Questions from the audience - going from one baby to two-it can be done!

Last week I asked y'all to ask me some questions. Because I am so open and giving like that.

And kind of in a bloggy rut.

So (drumroll)

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2010-02-26 04:14:23 UTC

And Ginnylou is the lucky winner with this question:

What is your best advice for someone (me!) who's about to have baby #2 (have a 2.5 year old sweetie of a boy to start with)? Time-saver? Best piece of gear? Whatever you've got, I'll take it!

Well Ginnylou, this is tough, because I'm not really into giving advice. Especially about children.


Oh, mercy me, where do I start.
  • How 'bout the beginning. When my kids came in to see the new baby, I would make sure I was not holding him or her. Baby was in the bassinet or in someone else's arms. I'd completely love on the older child, let them play with the bed controls, look out the window, all that fun stuff. Then I'd say nonchalantly, "Oh, yeah, by the way, you have a new baby! And guess what, s/he has a present for you!" then pull out some little toy and/or candy and make it very clear it is from the baby. I always love people who give me a present the first time they meet me, don't you?
  • Know that your son will be a complete and utter pill. Mine were for about six weeks. Meltdowns over ev. ery. stinking. thing. It's just their way of saying, "you've brought another demanding person into my previously perfect space and it is freaking my narcissistic self out." Just be patient (hard to do after an all nighter with a screaming newborn, I know.) It will pass. Love, love, love your son. Favor him over the baby for the first few weeks. The baby'll never know.
  • I remember when Eva Rose was first born, my friend who was pregnant with her second said, "Do you love her as much as you love Shep?" I was honest and said "No. Not yet." That's normal. You have a relationship with your son - this next baby is a total stranger. It will come soon, and just as fiercely as before.
  • Your son will hit the baby. Might even climb in the crib and throw him or her out, or turn over the Moses basket. Pull her hair. Hug him very, very tightly. That's why second babies are so tough. And that's probably right when your fierce momma love will kick in full force.
  • A mom told me once that whenever she nursed, that was Family Reading Time. She would pull her other kids and read them a book every time she fed the baby, so they all looked forward to it. I think that's really super lovely and sweet. For her. For me, nursing time was Family TV Time. Which brings me to my next bullet point
  • With only one child, you were probably really good about not letting your son watch too much TV and all that good mother stuff. But you have double as many children now. And guess what? TV IS YOUR FRIEND. Not only your friend, your lover. Crank that thing up until your baby is sleeping through the night. That's why God gave us Noggin!! Plus...
  • If you strap your son in the highchair and give him a bunch of goldfish and park him in front of the Wiggles, you can lie down on the couch and get a 26 minute nap. And 26 minutes of sleep is often exactly what you need to keep from calling your husband at work sobbing and begging him to quit his job and come home right now really right now because you are going to die really and truly die if you do not get some sleep right now.
  • Oy, vey the guilt. You will soon be swaddled in guilt. Guilty over everything. Guilty over not spending enough time with your son. Guilty for not spending enough time with your baby. And what about that big guy, the husband? Let it go. Women used to have 15 kids and milk the cow and hoe the field and their kids turned out just fine. When Eva Rose was born, I'll never forget when an older mom from church visited and I said, "I feel so bad because she just doesn't get half the attention that Shepherd got when he was born" and Gayle said immediately, "And she'll be the better for it."
  • Lose those SuperMom expectations. If you make it to the end of the day and all three of you are still breathing, you get an A+. If the bed is made, you get a sticker. Even if you are fluffing the pillows as your husband walked in the door from work, it is wildly deserving of praise. Your house is going to be a complete wreck for a little while, and you'll live on take-out, and that's okay. You wanna know the secret to my good mothering, siesta? Very low standards.
  • I scheduled feedings and naps for all my babies and it was honestly and truly what kept me from losing my ever loving mind. Every day was a repeat of the day before. Boring, yes. Nice and boring. As opposed to the endless excitement of a cranky, overstimulated sleep-deprived baby. And her cranky, overstimulated sleep-deprived mommy.
  • Two words: White noise. Every bedroom in our house has a white noise machine or a box fan turned on high. It blocks out doorbells and temper tantrums in a fabulous way.
  • You absolutely must let your husband share in the burden, and the joy, of raising the children. Walker and I struck a deal when Eva Rose was born that stuck: I got up with the baby at night Monday through Friday, and he got up with them on the weekends. Usually he would even go sleep upstairs so I could get a really good night's sleep. And we still have the arrangement that once he comes home from work, he's on duty. Walker bathes the kids and puts them to bed all by himself every night. (I had to bathe Shep once when Walker went out of town, and I didn't even know how to do it - and I think Shep was 18 months old.)
Going from one to two might be really hard for you. Or it might not be. Every mom has her threshold. For some, it's one to two, for some, two to three. For me, going from zero to one kicked my behind so badly that #2 was a piece of cake. And #3. Number four was challenging but still not as bad as #1.

I can guarantee you one thing - you will enjoy this baby so much more. Remember how nervous you were about hurting the first baby? Remember how distraught you would get when he screamed? Now you're an old pro! You know that if you let him cry for two minutes so you can go to the bathroom, he will survive. You know she will fall off the couch and just bounce, that burping is overrated, and clean pacis are a luxury not a necessity. You know that Newborn Hell does have an end date. You know that you will want to have sex with your husband again, eventually. And you know that babies just get cuter and cuter and more and more fun with each day that passes.

It is going to take you a period of adjustment to figure out the basics - how do we get out of the car, how do we do baths, how do I get them both fed in the morning. You will figure it out, through trial and error, and after a few months life will start to feel kind of normal.

And then, you'll get pregnant again :)

What other tips do you have for Ginnylou, ProMommas?


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