The Whirlwind of Motherhood

I was warned that life would seemingly go faster with two children. It’s true. Sweet Pea turned 6 months old at the end of May. How did half a year already pass?!

Babykins is turning 3 in a few months. She sleeps in a toddler bed and is quickly becoming potty trained. Sometimes I look at her and wonder when did she start becoming a little girl.

Sweet Pea is different than her sister. She is quick to laugh and quick to wail (I think she’s going to have what we might call a “strong personality”), and has a strong desire to not sleep in her bed at night. All babies grow quickly, but it’s still shocking to think that the chubby baby that is learning to sit and roll over had very little controlled movements 6 months ago.

It’s so hard to write about these days–the mundane triumphs, the trivial woes, and the never ending sleep deprivation. My daily grind can seem repetitious and dull to an outside observer (and sometimes it is to me!). However, I find more and more that there are moments in my days that amaze me.

There is breathtaking beauty in seeing my girls grow. I cannot orchestrate these times that dazzle, so it is a privilege to observe them. For example, I get to hear Sweet Pea’s delighted giggles as she watches her sister frolic around her, I can watch as Babykins unabashedly runs about in a rainstorm. I am the audience for Babykins’s yells of, “Momma! Watch me, Momma!” and the receiver of Sweet Pea’s nuzzles. Like I said, so many little moments of immense joy.

This isn’t the life I wished for growing up, but I suppose this just shows that it can be wonderful that our wishes don’t always come true.

 


Keeping It Real on Good Friday

Yesterday I took both girls to a midday service for Good Friday at another church in our circuit. Generally I try not to get too worked up about circus act that comes with bringing two little children to church. However, Good Friday services are so somber and quiet that the girls’ inevitable antics seem especially jarring even in the most child-friendly churches. Why? Because while people are reflecting on Jesus’ suffering and death, things like this are going down in our pew:

  1. 4 month old Sweet Pea grinning like a fool in the silent sanctuary.
  2. 2.5 year old Babykins slamming her water bottle against the pew.
  3. Sweet Pea needing to eat during the sermon.
  4. Me realizing that Babykins is pooping right before communion (I left her in the pew to finish her business while I went up).
  5. Babykins loudly annoucing, “All done pooping!” as the rest of the congregation silently leave the sanctuary.

Needless to say, the feeling of piety was pretty low after that. At least the children keep me humble.

 


Baby Sleep: A Tale of Ecstasy and Woe

Sweet Pea is 4 months old, which means we have already cycled through many sleep phases in her short life. Despite this being my second child and despite the fact that Babykins now sleeps through the night even though we let her sleep with many “bad habits” (Nap in the swing? Check. No schedule? Check. Nursing to sleep? Check. Nursing in the middle of the night? Check.), I still find myself subject to the roller coaster of emotions relating to baby sleep.

Sweet Pea will go through a few days that she sleeps “by the book”. Her awake times are predictable, she goes down for naps without a fight, and she drifts off to sleep at night in a timely manner. Then I feel like a sleep master–I unlocked the magical door to my baby’s sleep!

But then everything will fall apart and Sweet Pea just. won’t. sleep. Careful observation of her wake times does nothing. Turning off all the lights in the bedroom just means she yells in the dark. Leaving the house doesn’t make her sleepy. And when she does sleep, it’s only for a short time. At that point, it’s fairly clear that I’m a failure as a sleep guru and a mother.

But here’s the secret that all those sleep books and blog posts never fully admit: YOU CAN’T MAKE A BABY SLEEP! Sure, there are things you can do to encourage sleep but babies do what they want, when they want.

Now could someone please remind me of this about every other day? Thanks.


The Diaper Drying Experiment

Our dryer has recently had the audacity to break on me–during our bought with the stomach flu, no less.

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It couldn’t even break in a decent way like the heat going out or the tumbler malfunctioning. No, it had to do something stupid like have the “Start” knob snap off. You’re a jerk, dryer!

Once upon a time, I thought I could easily get by without a dryer. What an ignorant lady I was! I’ve been frantically trying to keep up with our laundry because hanging everything to dry adds a fair amount of time to this chore. A big part of the problem is the cloth diapers.

I do a load of cloth diapers every other day since we have 2 in diapers. This load takes up almost all of the space on my drying racks. Additionally, the diapers take well over 24 hours to completely dry (and that’s with a fan blowing on them). That means other loads of laundry can’t go through the wash until the diapers are finished drying.

However, a couple of years ago I read a blog post about line drying diapers even in the winter. I didn’t save it, so I can’t reference it now, but it seemed to claim that diapers on the line could be a year-round endeavor. Generally I have no motivation to hang up diapers when it’s freezing outside, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I was a little skeptical that the diapers would dry but the only way I would know is by trying.

The Experiment 

It was sunny, windy, and a high of 22 degrees on the day I tested this theory. I hung up the diapers at 11:15 a.m. and took them down at about 5:30 p.m. They were in direct sunlight for a good chunk of this time. I use prefold diapers and I’ve heard those generally take less time to dry than all-in-one diapers.

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Dry, diapers, dry!

The Findings

The diapers were frozen stiff on the line when I took them off. When I brought them inside and they thawed a bit, they were almost as wet as when I initially hung them outside. People with half a brain probably could have predicted that outcome given the fact that other sources of water remain frozen on cold, sunny days, but I was hoping something magical would happen when the sun’s rays hit the cloth diapers.

And no, science wasn’t my strongest subject in school.

Conclusion 

Almost complete failure.

In hindsight, the half remembered blog post may have been talking about sun bleaching diapers year-round, not actually drying them. And I will admit that my diapers do look significantly brighter. However, line drying outside wasn’t the space saver I was hoping it would be since I had to rehang all the diapers inside. Ain’t nobody got time for that with a toddler and infant to tend.

Bottom Line

I need to get the dryer repaired ASAP.

 

*Update on 2/9/17*

So a bit of research has shown that you can line dry clothes in the winter. . . sometimes. I think it was too humid the day I tried.

But at any rate, I fixed my dryer a few hours after I posted this! 🙂

 


Pew Wrangling with a Toddler and Infant

I’m going to regret writing this but. . .

Church with Babykins and Sweet Pea has been going much better than I anticipated.

Please note that I described the service as “going much better”, not that it is “easy”.

When I was pregnant with Sweet Pea, I would sometimes leave the church service and think, “How am I going to do this with 2?!” I would think about trying to catch an escaping Babykins while holding an infant or trying to slip out of the service to nurse Sweet Pea with a toddler in tow. It seemed impossible, especially since we sit up front.

Thankfully, Babykins is currently at a cooperative stage for church attendance. She likes hearing the music and flipping through the hymnal. She also likes being able to see the congregation, hence the reason we sit up front. And somehow I’ve managed to convince her that apple slices are an acceptable snack during the service and she’ll happily munch on those.

Likewise, Sweet Pea is proving to be an easier baby than Babykins was. She isn’t nearly as prone to crying fits as her sister, nor does she have the same intense need for movement when I wear her (I can get by with rocking her in the pew instead of marching around the back of the church). She is also a better nurser and I’m able to feed her in the pew. Sometimes she even sleeps in her car seat! About the only time I’ve left the service for Sweet Pea is when she needed a diaper change.

Of course, I’m still far from consciously getting anything from the service. I sing the liturgy mostly from memory as I awkwardly hold a hymnal open for Babykins. I half hear the readings while trying to get Sweet Pea ready to nurse. I less-than-piously stand for the prayers while keeping one eye open on Babykins lest one of her mischievous hankerings take hold of her. And there are moments throughout the service that I have one child strapped to my front and another child balanced on my hip. It’s exhausting, but manageable.

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However, I’m not naive enough to think that pew wrangling will stay at this manageable level. I know handling both girls will probably get harder at some point (like when there’s 2 mobile kids in the pew. Oh my!). I’ll get frustrated and wonder what’s the point of going to church. Then it will get easier, then harder, then easier, and then someday the girls will be old enough to not need my constant attention during the service. And then I’ll be by myself again and remember with laughing fondness of this time in my life–at least that’s what the church grandmas seem to do.

Now, getting to church on time–well, that’s a different matter entirely. :p


How to Make Your Husband Believe You’ve Lost Your Mind

Ever since Sweet Pea arrived, Babykins has become firmly attached to her baby doll. Throughout the day, Dolly does many activities with us–diaper changes, playtime, walks in the stroller around the house. Whatever I do with Sweet Pea, Babykins will eventually do with Dolly. Sometimes Babykins even insists that I take care of Dolly.

One day, Babykins asked that I put Dolly in the Moby wrap after I had put Sweet Pea down for a nap. I had the time to play along, so into the wrap went Dolly. Babykins wandered off to do toddler things and I used the momentary peace to brush my teeth.

And that is how my husband found me when he came home for lunch: Standing in the bathroom, brushing my teeth, carrying a doll in a wrap.

Sometimes it is extremely difficult to explain what goes down here while he’s gone.


Eat, Play, Sleep, What?

Many mothers with babies swear by the Eat, Play, Sleep routine. It’s a simple enough concept: Feed your baby as soon as she wakes up, then let her play (or squirm around on the floor), and then put her down for a nap. Volia! Baby now has a “schedule” or a “rhythm”.

I tried to implement the Eat, Play, Sleep routine with both my girls. Babykins had dismal results–we had more of an Eat, Play, Burp, Cry, Eat, Cry, Sleep routine. Sweet Pea isn’t proving to do any better–she currently has an Eat, Play, Burp, Eat, Freak Out Because She Doesn’t Actually Want To Eat, Fall Asleep in the Moby Wrap. Sometimes she even throws in Spit Up a Prodigious Amount for good measure.

So, has anyone had real success with the Eat, Play, Sleep routine? Likewise, why do breastfeeding books claim that breastfed babies almost never need to be burped? My little ladies beg to differ on that point.

 


The Real Purpose of Our Baby Things

Since Sweet Pea is proving easier to put to sleep by wearing her in the Moby wrap, she’s not in the bouncer or swing often. However, these items aren’t going to waste; our cats have commandeered them for sleeping spots.

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It’s always nice when baby items get good use.

In all truthfulness, the bouncer was free and the swing was only $20 at a garage sale. Babykins exclusively napped in the swing from 6 weeks to 4 months, so we got our money’s worth out of it already. 


The Second Baby is Easier and Harder

Sweet Pea is now just over 3 weeks old. People have asked if she is a good baby. I’m always thrown by this question since babies aren’t intentionally good or bad (well, besides that whole original sin thing). The only proper answer to this question is, “Yes”, because how can I say my baby is bad?

But truthfully, our first baby wasn’t a good baby. She was fussy. I’m quite skilled with the Moby wrap because I bounced her to sleep in it almost every night from 6 weeks old to about 4 months. She and I had difficulty nursing and she gained weight slowly. Almost every outing ending with her red-faced and screaming. No, Babykins wasn’t an easy infant. But that’s okay because she grew out of it and is now a spunky 2-year-old. It was just hard to see her potential through the screams.

I don’t know if Sweet Pea will be as difficult as her sister, it’s still too early to tell. But I can tell that some things will be easier just because I have experience. I know that sometimes she will sleep and sometimes she won’t. Sometimes she’ll even sleep where she’s supposed to (this isn’t one of those moments since she is currently in the Moby wrap). But I know she’ll grow out of whatever odd sleep habit she develops. She’s also a better nurser. There’s no nipple shield to finagle this time and she’ll nurse in public without making a scene. If she was our first, I would say she’s a fairly easy baby.

But she’s not our first, we still have our lively Babykins to contend with. So when Sweet Pea decides not to sleep from 12 a.m.-3 a.m., it’s hard to fight back some of the postpartum hysteria because Babykins will still be up at her usual time in the morning. Sweet Pea may nurse much better, but she’s still unpredictable in when she’ll want to eat. And those 45 minute newborn nursing sessions are a bit tricky when an antsy Babykins decides that she wants a space on Mommy’s lap as well. Then there’s the whole thing that the people around here still want to eat and have clean clothes. And these factors is what makes the second baby hard.

But in my clearer-thinking moments, I look forward to spring when Sweet Pea is a little older, the weather is a little much warmer, and I’m a little less hormonal. Experience tells me that life won’t always feel this chaotic (or at least the chaos will become our new normal).

 


Sweet Pea Has Arrived!

Sweet Pea was born earlier this week on Monday, November 21, weighing 6 lbs 1 oz (the exact same birth weight as her sister), measuring 19 inches, and perfectly healthy. We left the hospital on Wednesday and were able to celebrate Thanksgiving at home as a family. Babykins loves her baby sister–our current challenge is making sure she doesn’t smother Sweet Pea with her love. We thank God for her safe delivery and we look forward to her baptism next Sunday.