Friday, December 28, 2012

Life with two littles

They're both asleep. Phew. Conventional wisdom says "hurry, run, sleep while they sleep!" and that's very good advice at times, but right now I am relishing having both of my arms free, and being able to sit and not bounce/jiggle/sway/rock. The house is dark and quiet...Ella is a few feet away sleeping in her Rock 'n Play sleeper--making little squeaks and grunts here and there, but mostly it's quiet. I managed to Swiffer my floors while holding her and that put her to sleep, and then I got the dishes unloaded, pumped a few ounces of milk, and now I sit...ah.

We're three weeks in to life with two littles, and it's been tough. Everything about it has been harder than I expected--from the recovery, the sleeplessness, the fussy-I don't know what to do with this baby-ness, to the loneliness of not having my favorite person to share it all with. Nothing can prepare you for how tired you become when you're not just AWAKE all night and day, but you're also caring for a little person (or two), worrying over their every sound and movement, and just so tense! Experience helps a tad, but it's definitely not simpler this time around.

It's beautiful though. Do I have to remind myself of that, constantly? Yes. But, it truly is a wonderful thing to watch not just one, but two beautiful little people grow and learn and experience the world. Watching them together is so sweet, and I have so many exciting plans for when they are bigger and can play together, share things, and really be companions. For now, there's a lot of "Don't touch her, she's sleeping!" being said, but the sweet moments are definitely there.

People have asked how Ella is sleeping--well, the answer is: "like a baby". Like a newborn baby who has no idea how to sleep. She has had a few four-ish hour stretches in the three weeks she's been in the world, but mostly it's a lot less at a time. She is very restless, still needs to eat often, and poops constantly, which is a bit of a sleep disrupter. How often is she eating is another thing I get asked a lot, and honestly, I have no idea. I committed to not watching the clock for the first four weeks. I feed her when she fusses, when she grunts, when she looks at me, when she flaps her arms...all the time. She eats a lot. It's exhausting, but I am establishing a great milk supply, and more importantly, a great bond. She is growing and thriving and that's all that matters for now. Schedules and patterns and some sort of sanity will come soon enough, I suppose.

Adelyn is doing better with the transition, but still struggling some. She has more separation anxiety than before, is more wary of other people coming around, and is asking for more attention to compensate for the time that I'm busy with Ella. It doesn't help that those pesky two-year molars are still bothering her, so it's obvious at times that she hurts and needs extra comfort for that as well.
She has been really interested in "helping" with Ella, and while it requires constant alertness and a lot of redirecting on my part, ultimately it's really sweet and shows a great sign that she is a nurturer. Gentleness and quietness aren't always her forte, but she means well.

We're getting by, day by day. We have had some great friends bring meals, come to lend an extra hand or two, and encourage me that I'm really doing okay, even when I feel completely in over my head. Family was exhausting and overwhelming on the days of celebrating Christmas, but I just had to remind myself that we are so blessed to be exhausted and overwhelmed by all of their love and care and nearness. If they would just not kiss my newborn on the face, life would be peachy. Did I mention there's a major flu outbreak? And stomach bug? And RSV? And Whooping Cough? Oh my. It's everywhere, and SO many people in our lives have had these things. We are so glad to be avoiding it so far, but it makes me cringe every time a visitor coughs, or tells me they have just gotten over being sick, or feel like they might be coming down with it...ah! It's hard to say no to people who want to hold and kiss and love on my girls, but any of the three of us getting sick would totally turn our world upside down, and it's precarious enough as it is.

So, we stay home a lot. If we do go out, it's a juggling act and I'm pretty proud of myself if I get everyone out the door with all the necessary clothes on. I'm usually the one missing a jacket or socks, but I still count it a victory. Baby-wearing is a great help, and will definitely be the only way I ever get both girls out to the mall, or Target. Plus, Ella looks so darn cute peeking out of my K'Tan:

Sometimes, we just go old home. In the midst of loneliness and chaos and doubt about myself as a mother, sometimes I just need my own to help me get through the day. 

And now that I HAVE gotten through this day, I am going to go enjoy a few more minutes of quiet, with a glass of wine and a grateful heart. I'm sure someone will be awake soon.

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