Bedtime Buddies

We have our crib set up next to the bed with only three sides assembled, so the crib mattress is sort of an extension of our big mattress. This gives E her own space to sleep while still keeping her close enough to keep an eye on her and breastfeed her easily in the middle of the night. It works – and she sleeps like a rock most nights. I get a good three to four hours before she wakes up to feed most

She’s been cranky the last couple of days and has had trouble sleeping. After putting her to bed, I went downstairs to catch up on Game of Thrones. I thought she was sleeping almost too soundly given how she’s been acting the last couple of days. As it turns out, R had gotten out of bed and got on our bed to lay in my spot on the bed, next to where E was laying in the crib.

R is so incredibly jealous of E most of the time, and this warms my heart. I have no doubt that E is sleeping better tonight because R is laying with her. (She always sleeps better when I’m in bed too.)

I love them both so much.

I’m going to finish this episode of Game of Thrones and then head to bed. I’m not quite sure I have the heart to move R back into her room tonight. We’ll see.

The Transition

I’ve heard so many times that the transition from one to two children is the hardest, no matter how many kids you end up with. I think I finally believe those people. Having two kids is like trying to landscape your yard in the middle of a hurricane.

My day goes a little something like this…

E wakes up, then she’s changed and nursed. Sometime during that nursing session, R wakes up and demands breakfast. I ask her to be patient. She throws a tantrum. I set the baby in the crib to change R’s diaper (because she’s still so freaking resistant to potty training) and if I’m lucky, E will fall back to sleep, but usually all three of us head downstairs.

Once we’re downstairs, I put E in the swing and turn it on to distract her while I get R breakfast. By the time she’s got breakfast, E is crying and wants to be picked up. I pick her up and interact with her while R eats, and at some point, R asks for more food, usually after only eating about half of what I’ve given her. I ask her to finish what she has. Another meltdown.

I nurse E again and, if the stars align, she’ll let me put her in her swing so I can go about my day trying to get things done, like dishes, laundry, or whatever else has to be taken care of. My chores are usually interrupted by a toddler who wants my attention, so I spend some time with her, and then E wakes up crying for the boob once more. My day is spent mostly with trying to keep the baby happy, while the toddler throws constant tantrums because she’s still not used to sharing her time with me yet.

It’s hard. It’s both emotionally and physically draining at times. At the end of the day, I’m exhausted. I’m not the mom I want to be, but I’m trying so hard to be a good one to both my girls.

Some days, I feel like I’m trying to tread water with weights tied around my ankles and I’m so close to drowning.

Today was not a good day. R is recovering from an ear infection and E has been abnormally clingy too – maybe it’s a wonder week, maybe it’s a growth spurt, maybe she isn’t feeling great, I don’t know – so both kids needed me. R threw tantrums. E cried more than usual. I could have been more patient and more understanding, but today was hard.

Tomorrow will be better. I have hope that eventually, at some point, parenting two littles will become easier. Until then, I’ll just work to keep my head above water.

Dear R: On the Arrival of Your Little Sister

Dear R,

Today was March 27, which means that I have officially hit 40 weeks of pregnancy with your little sister.

She will make her arrival into the world any day now, and I have been spending more time thinking about how it will affect you. For three years now, you have been our one and only, the light of our lives, the center of our world, and soon you will have to share the spotlight with this new little person. I’m excited to watch the two of you grow up, to see how your relationship blossoms as the years go on, but I’m also a little sad too.

You have taught me so much in your short life already. I have learned how to be a mother. I have learned how to love someone else more than I could ever imagine loving myself. I have learned forgiveness – not just for others, but for myself too, because I know I’m not perfect, and I know you know this too, and I see you forgiving me when I make mistakes.

I have grown up. I have you to thank for that.

I have also learned just how much I enjoy our one-on-one time. Our mother/daughter dates are something that I look forward to when we’re able to take them, and they seem to be one of your favorite things to do, too. That’s what makes me the most sad; it isn’t just that you will have to learn how to share me with someone else, but that our one-on-one time together will become more infrequent as I attempt to juggle my time between you both, and I don’t want to lose the bond that we’ve created since you entered my life.

Please be patient with me as I navigate this new world of being a parent of two.

Remember that you were first.

You were the first child that I brought into this world. You were the first to teach me about sleepless nights and colic, about breastfeeding and how to change diapers, about my own instincts and unconditional love; you were the one to teach me to have confidence in myself and my abilities as a parent, to ignore criticism when my gut told me that it was wrong, and to accept the fact that I’m not – and never will be – perfect.

You taught me how to be a mother, and I am so incredibly thankful for what you have brought to my life. As my firstborn, you will always hold a special place in my heart, and I hope that we remain as close as we are now as you grow older. I hope that you can look back on your childhood one day with fond memories of your time with me, because I still intend to have as much mother/daughter time as I can with you… even if you find yourself having to share that time with someone else sometimes, too.

I love you so much.

We’ll figure this out as we go.