Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bringing Home Baby #2.

A reader and family friend is expecting her second baby soon, and her kiddos will be 24 months apart.  She asked if I would blog about bringing home my second (and third) babies and what it was like for the family and the older sibling(s).  I am NO parenting expert and can only write from our experiences, but if you are in the same phase of life as she, I hope this helps!  (Would love to hear any other tips in the comments, too!)

E was 17 months old when we brought D home from the hospital, and D was 28 months when we brought N home, so I've been where you are...twice!  ;)  The best advice I received was to defer to your older child for awhile.  What I mean by that is that your baby won't know if you are choosing someone over him/her....but your big kid will.  Just for awhile, if your big kid needs something, wants to show you something, is sad, whatever, give him your attention first and foremost as best you can.  Obviously, if the baby needs feeding or is screaming it's head off, then this advice is useless.  But during the down times, let your older child know you still see him, notice him, want him by giving him your attention.  The baby can sleep and not notice anything at all...but your first born will be made to feel so much more secure if he sees that his Mommy still knows he is there.

Another tip I'd pass along is to just give yourself and your whole little family some grace in those first sleepy weeks.  Your big kid will act out in one way or another.  Might be misbehaving, might be lots of whining, might be fits, might be a little bit of everything.  It's just going to happen.  The degree to which it happens is a variable you won't be able to predict, but, if you go into it knowing your kiddo is bound to have some struggles, then you won't be so flabbergasted when it does happen.  Extend him some grace.  His whole world is different now, too.  

Extend your hubby some grace.  Chances are, he's going to feel like the last man on the totem pole for awhile while people rightly spend time fussing over you and the new baby and the older brother.  Remember him.  Let him help in any way he can or wants to, and, biggest tip here, let him take the lead on parenting your big kiddo for awhile.  You need the time with your baby to bond and rest and snuggle and learn each other.  This is the PERFECT time to let Dad take over and have some special time with big brother!  They'll both love it, I'm sure.

Most importantly, extend YOURSELF lots and lots...and lots and lots...of grace.  All of this will be new to you, too.  You need time to heal, let your hormones work themselves into order, and to learn your new baby.  This was so hard for me at times, but let others help you in the way they want to help.  So what if your clean dishes end up scattered all over your kitchen after a helping hand puts them away for you.  Consider it a fun scavenger hunt.  ;)  If your family member is a good baby holder, run for a quick shower.  If someone offers to clean, let them.  Sweet heavens, let them!  Everyone wants to help, and that help looks different on everyone.  I thought I needed to prove to everyone that I could do all the things the first time I brought home a baby.  Oh, silly, silly Erin.  :)  

Lastly, your littles will learn to coexist happily over time.  The best gift you can give your child is a sibling, because they learn on each other how to behave in the world around them.  The first time I caught a glimpse of my eldest girls starting to actually play together independently of me was like receiving the biggest pay check in the world.  Your kiddos are so blessed to have one another.

Just push through those sleepy, blurry first few weeks and months, all the while extending everyone around you a bit of grace.  None of you know what to do, and you are learning together...finding your new normal as a family of FOUR!  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Six Months: A Letter.

Little Nora Cait,

You are six months old!  Half of a year!  Wow.  I am flabbergasted at how quickly you are heading towards your first birthday, and, while I assumed this big six month milestone would be sad for me, I am actually feeling quite celebratory.  We made it!!!  During those sleepy, overwhelming first few months of having three kids, I told myself that I just needed to survive until the gloriously stabilizing six month mark...and look!  We did it, Nora!  We not only survived, but we thrived, and I couldn't have done it without my little smiley buddy.
Here are some of the highlights of your sixth month!
-Not sure on your height and weight as we don't go to the doctor for another week, but I do know that you are way too big/long for your six month clothing.  You usually wear 9-12 month items, especially if the clothes have to button over your diaper, like onesies and rompers.
-You are wearing size three diapers....and should have been for awhile.  Oops.  :)
-You are a chunky, squishy baby with lots of rolls.  I LOVE THIS.
-Your hemangioma continues to grow, although it still seems to cause you no trouble at all.
-Over the last month, you have started to learn to sit up a little bit more, and you enjoy jumping in your jumper toy.  However, you seem to have lost the ability to roll from back to tummy, and this makes you MAD sometimes.  I have no idea why you forgot how to do it!'ve learned to nap on your tummy.  :)
-Your feedings have decreased in frequency a bit with about six feedings per 24 hour periods.  You nurse around 8, noon, 4, 7, dream feeding at 10, and one more time around 5am.
-Over the last month, you have tried a variety of baby foods, and you are getting the hang of tasting new flavors and textures.  You are a big fan of apples, peas mixed with pears, and sweet potato with a touch of cinnamon.
-You usually nurse both sides, and it takes you maybe all of five minutes.  You and your sisters.  Gulpers, I tell you.

-We've noticed a significant change in your sleeping patterns this last month, especially regarding nap time.  You've taken it down from around 4-5 naps a day to only 3.  You sleep from about 9am-11am in the morning, another nap from around 1pm-3pm, and a final cat nap around 5:30pm until you go to bed for the night around 7pm.
-Like I said, you have started napping on your tummy most of the time since you refuse to flip back over to your back, and you used to put up quite a fight.  But I am also a bit stubborn, and I refuse to flip you back over three million times a, now you are a tummy napper.  And, guess what?  That's when your naps lengthened out from only being about 45 minutes long to now closer to two hours, sometimes three.  Bam.  WIN WIN for everyone.  ;)
-You've napped in church nursery a few times, but only if someone is rocking you.  Since you take your daily naps tucked away in a nice, quiet, dark, cozy closet, I can't blame you for not wanting to sleep in the CHAOS of the nursery.  Meh.  We'll push through.  You don't scream and cry in the nursery...but you also don't sleep.  Makes for an interesting Monday, that's for sure.   ;)
-You are still swaddled loosely from the waist down in your muslin blankets and seem to like it.  Also, you are taking to your paci more and more, and there have been a few times that you've pulled it out of your mouth only to figure out how to pop it right back in.  A skill I am SO READY for you to learn.  :)
-We celebrated Daddy's first Father's Day as a Dad of THREE beautiful daughters.  Love.
-Your Aunt Schmoo and cousin Charly came to visit us twice!  You two little girls will have so much fun together in no time.  You also got another little cousin this month, baby Daisy!  All these girls!
Sweet Nora, you show such a happy, sweet, peaceful spirit, and your smiley, gentle eyes get me every time.  You are beautiful and lovely and just plain wonderful.  Your squeals, your laughter, your cankle rolls, your wet kisses on my chin...sigh.  I can't get enough of you.

Happy six months.  WE MADE IT!!!
Love you forever,

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Five Months: A Letter.

Nora Girl, you are now FIVE months old!  
I love you, I love you, I love you.  
That's pretty much all there is to it. 
Here are some of the highlights of your fifth month!

-You weigh around 18 pounds and are 27 inches long, which puts you at the top of those charts, baby girl.  So long!  For some reason, you look smaller to me than your sisters did at your age, but maybe that's because they had round, pumpkin heads (like their Mama...), and you have a longer, thinner head (like Dad).  
-You had your first ear infection this month, and it was just plain pitiful.  You didn't feel much like eating, and your sleep got all kinds of thrown off.  If your elder sisters are any indicators, this will not be your last ear infection.  :(  Also, you were allergic to the amoxicillin...need to remember that for next time.
-You started sitting up in your Bumbo and trying to bear weight on your chunky little legs, and we love watching you figure out your sweet little body!
-Your first tooth is starting to poke through!  You've been drooling like crazy and gnawing on your hands for a few weeks, and, wouldn't you know it, a tooth.  Bottom right little toofee.  
-We changed over your clothes and are about to have to do so again as you are almost too long for your 6 month clothes.  Good thing your big sissies passed down a mountain of clothes for you.  ;)
-You started really belly laughing this month!  When I go pick you up after your naps, we go look in the mirror, and you give such a big smile and laugh that you shake and have to look away from our reflections--I love this!!!

-You nurse 7-8 times in a 24 hour period, usually going about 3.5 hours between feedings.  You usually only really nurse one side, and you wrap things up in about 5 minutes.  
-This month, we started trying out little tastes of baby food just to see what you thought.  Started with rice cereal...gag.  You were not a fan, and I do NOT blame you.  Nasty stuff.  You've sampled green beans, peas, squash, sweet potato, banana and apple.  By the time we worked up to the fruits, you were really getting the hang of opening your mouth for bites, etc.  Big fan of bananas and apples, no surprise.  ;)

-Not much has changed in this area.  You go to bed around 7pm and sleep till around 7 or 8am the next morning.  You get a dream-feed around 10pm, and then you wake on your own once around 4am and go right back to sleep until the morning.
-You take 3-5 naps per day, and the first 2-3 are around one or two hours in length.
-You cat nap in the car, on a blanket in the back yard, in your bouncy seat on the porch, in your reclined stroller seat at the zoo.  
-You are swaddled from the waist down, and you like to work yourself over onto your side to sleep.
-Can't tell if you are going to prefer the paci or your hand/'s a toss up at the moment.

-Your big sis Emery had her first dance recital, so you got to go and be passed around and loved on by your own set of adoring fans.  You spent a day at Mimi and Papa's house, and you went to the zoo for the first time.  Lots of time spent outside, going to church and being with family this month.  You are loved, Baby!

Little Shugie, we love you so very much, and I just enjoy being with you.  Simple as that.  I enjoy you.  Truly.  Happy five months!
Love you forever,

(And a happy Father's Day to your AMAZING Daddy!  You have no idea just how blessed and lucky you are, my dear.  No idea.)