Asa turned 2 weeks old yesterday, and I wanted to record some of my thoughts on my recent “upgrade” to mom of two.
I love what a friend said, “These last 2 weeks flew by compared to the previous two!” How true that is. Living with Asa on the outside is much more exciting than the agonizing wait for him. I could pretend it wasn’t that bad – and probably will – as the years roll by, but let me remind you, Self, being overdue by a long shot is hard and you didn’t exactly like it.
Asa still sleeps rather long stretches at a whack. I’m talking 4-6 hours. Now his rhythm is he’ll wake up in the morning, be up for 1-2 hours. Then go back to sleep (easily or sometimes that’s a little trickier!). Once asleep, he sleeps about 4 hrs. This gives me time to prep dinner (yes at 9 am!) when we don’t have a meal brought or thawing, play with Cedar, do chores and do our lunch time.
Lunch time with C may be my favorite. Around 11 she’s inside and we sit ourselves down to leftovers from the night before. I’ll grab several books, too! We pray. I pray, then I ask if C wants to pray. As we hold hands, she’ll smile and sing a prayer and say, “Am” (amen). Then I read books out loud while we eat lunch. It takes a while for her to eat, so we take our time. I resist the urge to get up and “do something,” instead being with her and soaking up our special time. Some days I’ll make us tea as well. We’ll sit across from eat other at the coffee table. Loving one another with our eyes, sipping tea and trying to teach her the usage of “me.” Of course she says, “Me” as she points to her mother and wants to make sure that I am fixing tea for myself. Or that I take a drink of my tea too. Or to check that my drink is all gone. “Me” mostly means “you” and “person over there,” but I don’t mind. I love figuring out our secret language to communicate in that even dad can’t decipher sometimes!
After lunch, she heads down for a nap. These days, I will change her diaper, read a book or say a prayer in her room. She sleeps in a twin bed with a rail, so I usually lean over the rail or lie next to her in bed. I kiss her and tell her I love her. She has (finally!) learned to stay in her bed during nap time, so that’s no longer a boundary we have to enforce. She takes between 30-45 minutes to fall asleep on her own. We leave the door to her room open because she’s used to incorporating her life into ours and gets upset when the door is closed. She lays or sits in bed without interacting with me much. Even the other day I had a friend over for a little bit, and Cedar merrily went about putting herself to bed while she watched us chat in the next room. Friends, this is a FAR cry from the toddler who refused naps for almost 2 months while she was cutting her 2-year molars. Far cry! All my fears of having a toddler who doesn’t nap while juggling a newborn have not been realized. Praise. The. Lord.
Almost everyday (read: 10 days) the kids overlap in their nap time. Because I feel amazing, yet know I can easily overdo it, I do try to take even a 20 minute nap or just sit down with my feet up to relax for part of the time. Any other moms out there just need that bit of rest time in order to keep your mental and emotional energy up until bedtime?!
Asa enjoys being swaddled as a sleeping cue. Without a swaddle or being held in the ring sling, he will usually only sleep about 45 minutes. Once he’s swaddled, he can easily sleep 4 hours even during an active, noisy day at home! He also likes the wubb-a-nub we introduced around 1 week. Similar to Cedar, he wants to suck to sleep, but would get frustrated when nursing and milk keeps coming out. When I see he’s to that point, I switch to the soother, turn on the pink noise of rain from my phone’s app and if I’ve timed it well, he’s asleep within a few minutes!
Can I just say that having a second child takes about 25% of the energy it took to have the first. With your first everything is new and unknown. You don’t have a rhythm. You’re learning how to care for a baby and how to balance your own needs in the midst. This go-round I know the things that are hard for me – going into a long night without enough rest, or letting a baby get overtired and battling for hours, etc. I know some tricks to soothe a baby. I know some signs of when baby is tired. Breastfeeding is a no-brainer for me. Hah! It should be! I spent 18 months working on that relationship with Cedar, and that only ended 5 months ago!
The best part about feeling like this whole ‘having a newborn is old hat’ gig is that we just get to ENJOY him more. I’m not so anxious or worried if his needs are being met. I’m not too freaked out dropping him when I walk (lol ever plan out how you’d fall with a baby in your arms and not harm the baby? Yup. I’ve got that scenario down pat. Thankfully, my clumsiness has held off when I’m carrying my children!). So we get more joy. I just sit and sniff his head. I smell him so much that I connected he smells reminiscent of his father. There is an essence to both of their smells that echoes one another. I get to notice that. I get to just sit with my two kids and watch them interact. Watch how Cedar kisses and smothers him. Watch how she climbs into his crib and lies down with him while he’s sleeping. I get to cover them with a blanket and smile thinking of all the nights they’ll spend snuggled under blankets together – watching movies, reading books, comforting each other when they’re scared, and plain old bed-sharing. I can’t wait until Asa is old enough to share a bed with his sister.
I’m noticing that Asa’s hair is getting lighter. We may have another blondie after all. I’m noticing how Cedar’s speech has seemed to increase once her brother was born. I notice how heavy, yet familiar she feels in my arms compared to her brother. I miss the bump she used to sit on during these last months of pregnancy. I notice that I see my family more because I’m more intentional at needing to spread my time and hugs, listening and love between 3 people now instead of just 2. I notice how full my heart is. How it bubbles up at any given moment. How I just can’t get used to saying, “the kids” without smiling. How I kiss both of their faces one more time before I crawl into bed. I’ve kissed them a lot today, but I just want them to know they’re safe and secure. They’re loved and wanted. They’re accepted and dear to my heart regardless of what happened that day. I need them to know our home will always be a place to be themselves, to show emotion, to confess fears and wrongs, to receive forgiveness and offer it. To laugh. Oh how we laugh.
Our days won’t always be like today. Things will change. Our rhythms will shift. Teeth will come and fall out. Foods will be favored and then rejected. Nursing will be the fix-all and then gone one day. But for now, our todays are good enough. They’re rich enough with love and peace, rest and excitement. Our todays are not perfect, but yes, yes, they’re good enough. And I am grateful.