Recently I asked on Facebook what y’all wanted to hear about, and I was tickled to hear from several of you that you actually wanted to know how life with two kids was going! I’ve been thinking about what to share with you. I thought I’d start with a glimpse of these last seven months.
During the first couple of months, there were days that I felt overwhelmed. Interestingly enough, I did not have as many emotional break downs as I had expected. (This happens to me when I become exhausted and hormonal. I just sit down and have a good cry.) Still, I was tired from getting up at night with Adeline, waking up to pump, and all of that other fun new mom stuff. And yet I so desperately wanted to keep up my normal go-go-go pace for Lilleigh – and myself, just to make the transition easy and have things be “normal.” I wanted to take trips to the arboretum and aquarium and even just go to the library, and while each of these did eventually happen, they took a little more effort than I had originally thought they would. I had forgotten that it isn’t just a matter of physically getting both kids loaded up to go someplace, but you have to think about nursing schedules and what to do with the toddler when you happen to need to nurse the baby.
There was one little nugget of wisdom I held onto throughout those first weeks. I wish I could say it was a piece of Scripture, but it wasn’t. My mantra during this time became something I read in a book when I was up nursing one night. A phrase I had heard many times before but didn’t seem to understand until I was holding my newborn baby girl in my arms, with my 2-1/2 year old by my side. Lilleigh had been my “baby” until Adeline came out, and then suddenly Lilleigh seemed so big and so unlike a baby. “The days are long, but the years are short.” When it all seemed like too much, I repeated this to myself over and over again. It made me smile and gave me peace in the moment. Because looking at Lilleigh and then back at Adeline, I was reminded how quickly this hard newborn phase would pass and to enjoy my newborn snuggles and give myself grace when Lilleigh watched much more TV than normal because I just couldn’t muster up the energy for anything else. Our goal was survival.
Adeline got on a sleep schedule pretty quickly, which I am so thankful for! I do not want you to think for a moment that I have taken this for granted. I prayed for Adeline to be a good sleeper since before she was born and I’ve thanked God everyday since her birth for answering that prayer (along with others). Adeline’s smooth and quick transition for consistency made our days more predictable, as far as naps and feeds go, and also gave me some rest.
As far as outings have been concerned, we have cut back quite a lot compared to where we were a year ago. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I actually started to dwindle down our outings to a couple per week instead of our jam-packed weeks we had been enjoying. And, honestly, I think my daughter was thankful to have more time at home. Turns out one of her favorite things to do is play at home with her toys. And it’s a good thing because we do a lot of that these days!
About two-thirds of our mornings are spent at home while Adeline naps, and the other one-third are spent at the Perot museum, the Dallas Arboretum, or friends’ houses. I aim to leave our house before Adeline wants to nap, that way when we get to our destination, I can put her in the sling or Ergo and hope she naps while we are out. She will usually fall asleep for a bit, but that’s typically after a long bit of watching her surroundings. I’m fine with that. I like to try to keep a consistent schedule for the girls, both for their sakes and mine, but I am also okay if she chooses not to nap when we are out, as it usually doesn’t affect our afternoon schedule too much. Plus, it’s the price of getting to go out in the morning.
As for Lilleigh, she has really adjusted to being a big sister well, though it wasn’t totally smooth sailing. She did have a rough patch in the beginning that I was blind to see until I consulted some other moms for advice. We got that figured out and are in a really sweet phase at the moment. Lilleigh loves to “play” with her baby sister as Adeline rolls around on the floor or sits in her exersaucer. Lilleigh adores her sister, and I love watching how Adeline delights in her big sister’s every move. I am tickled by their interactions. I have been told to expect another possible rough patch as Adeline begins to crawl and grab Lilleigh’s toys. But for now, my heart is full as I watch these two.
As a new mom of two, there are a few things I think I have done well, that I am glad to share, in the event they may help one of you.
- When we had behavioral problems with our older child, I reached out to mentor moms for help. They were able to show me how her behavior may actually be connected to the arrival of the new baby and how to best approach the situation to avoid such problematic behaviors. They also helped me to come up with appropriate consequences should the behavior continue. Situations of big change like this can be hard on little ones, and rightly so. I wanted to allow Lilleigh to express herself in a healthy way, but I also could not put up with disrespectful and disobedient behavior.
- I made time to have outings with just Lilleigh. For 2-1/2 years it had just been Lilleigh and me during the week, playing at home and going on outings. Suddenly we had a new sidekick. And one who required a lot of my time and energy! I really wanted Lilleigh to know that she was still important to me, that she was still my first baby. So every chance I got, I would take Lilleigh somewhere just us. We did things like feed the ducks at the pond by our house, play at the park, go to Chickfila, and pick out new books at the library. She loved these outings! Anytime someone offered to babysit, I took them up on it and left Adeline with them while I spent one-on-one time with Lilleigh.
- As soon as I could, I began waking up early again to have quiet times. I am a morning person and love my alone time with Jesus before anyone is up. For awhile, getting up early, after being up throughout the night, just wasn’t possible, and I gave myself grace. But as soon as my energy levels picked up, I began setting my alarm a little early again. These quiet times give me what I need to get through my days.
If you’re a mom of two or more, what are some of the ways you’ve helped your family to transition to a new baby?