Getting Used to Life with a Newborn Again

Photo by Jenna Norman. From www.unsplash.com

Baby Oscar is now six weeks old. I love having him lay all scrunched up in a ball on my chest. His smell and soft fuzzy head is intoxicating. This week he has even given me several early smiles (I swear they weren’t gassy ones!) It has been wonderful staying home and snuggling with him each day, but I am still trying to get used to having a newborn.

I had forgotten how many noises a newborn makes. Like his sister did, he sleeps in a Pack and Play in our bedroom at the foot of our bed. All night long I find myself sitting up and hurriedly grabbing my eyeglasses from my nightstand so I can check on him after being woken by a strange sound. In my already sleep-deprived state, I have often resorted to sleeping with my head at the foot of the bed, glasses on, positioned so that I can see over the footboard and side of the Pack and Play. He makes lip smacking sounds when hungry, grunts when trying to pass gas or poop, dinosaur-like noises when stretching, kittenish mews, sweet yawns, and pissed off crying screams.

Unlike Abby, who can generally tell me what is wrong or what she needs, I have been plunged back into “what does baby need?” I feel a little more skilled this time around, but it is still hard to assess when Oscar is screaming for no apparent reason. Is it gas? Is he hungry again, so soon? Is something really wrong? Is he over-tired? Too hot? Too cold? Did his sister do something? Was it a spider in his bed? A sleep-deprived brain can come up with anything.

Maybe it is just my anxiety, but I feel the need to check on him whenever I hear something odd, so I don’t get much sleep, even though he sleeps way more than his sister did at this age. You would think that since this is my second child I would be a little more relaxed, but I can’t seem to be. It doesn’t help that a trillion articles about SIDS seem to show up in my Facebook newsfeed each day, making me paranoid.

Another thing I have had to get used to is diaper changes. I must admit I have been peed on quite a few times. I was not prepared for the speed and accuracy at which my tiny baby boy is able to shoot urine. And the poop! This kid uses at least two clean diapers per diaper change because I swear it is his mission to poop as I am changing him or as I am dressing him.

He wants to nurse all the time, and as of yesterday, has gained almost six pounds since leaving the hospital. I don’t mind too much, now that we finally seem to have the nursing thing down pat. I have been trying to get him to take a pacifier, because I think that a lot of the time he acts like he wants to nurse he is just really using me as a pacifier. We’ve tried five different ones and finally found one he will take, but he hasn’t figured out how to keep it in, so unless someone holds it the pacifier pops out and he wakes or gets upset.

With Abby being older I had forgotten how restrictive it can be to have a young baby. He wants to be held all the time. Sometimes I don’t get to take a shower for a couple days. My coffee is constantly going cold before I can drink it. Often I am so busy I forget or don’t have time to eat. The cycle of nurse, change diaper, clean up spit up, seems never-ending. I am waking up every hour and a half again to nurse at night.

I am so relieved that Abby hasn’t shown any signs of jealousy towards her brother. I am sad because I feel like I have to pay so much attention to the baby that I don’t get to spend as much time focusing on and interacting with her. I try to give her extra attention when I can, but it is not always possible. Whereas she always wanted to sit on my lap, have only me get her a drink, snuggle with me at bedtime, etc., now it is “Daddy, come snuggle me!” that comes over the baby monitor at night. I must admit that I can’t help feeling like the third wheel now. I know how my husband must have felt when Abby was in the difficult stage where she only wanted Mommy.

I am so tired that I want to check out at 8:00 p.m. every night. I usually go to bed at 9:00. I feel bad doing that because it means I get little to no time to spend with my husband. No more Netflix in the evenings together. We barely get to have a conversation at dinner time between Abby talking or the baby crying. I hate it because I don’t want him to feel neglected. I miss spending time together.

All too soon my maternity leave will be over and I will return to work. It is going to be so difficult to know someone else is taking care of my baby, to wonder how both kids are doing all day, to know I am missing seeing my baby’s milestones while I am sitting at my desk. For now, I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.

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Just Chill

Photo by Viktor Hanacek. From www.picjumbo.com

Having a two-year-old and a newborn is great, most of the time. Abby is old enough that she wants to be my helper. She enjoys fetching burp rags, throwing away diapers, and other small tasks. Other times, it can be an exercise in seeing how long I can keep my cool. Sometimes I swear Abby tries to find as many ways as possible to do the opposite of what I say.

Picture this: the baby is sleeping, Abby is quietly coloring at her small table while watching a cartoon, and I finally get a moment to have breakfast and a hot cup of coffee three hours after everyone else. Immediately, Abby is drawn to the noisiest toy in the room.

“Do not touch that rattle,” I say, “your brother is sleeping.” Her life’s purpose becomes to get that toy, make as much noise as possible, wake the baby, and deny me a much needed moment of peace, quiet, hot coffee, and a moment to myself. When my attention has turned elsewhere she picks up the rattle, shakes it in front of the baby’s face, gives him kisses, trips on a toy, and knocks over a bunch of other toys. “Leave your brother alone!” I hiss. Keep calm, she loves the baby, she wants to help.

“Why?” She asks innocently, although we have had this same conversation probably about five hundred times. She knows the answer.

“Oscar is sleeping, sweetie. You can play with him later, after he has woken up. Babies need a lot of sleep. I need you to be quiet for a while and leave him alone.” I get up to deposit my cereal bowl in the kitchen sink and come back to find her jiggling his bouncy seat and shaking a different rattle in his face. Ugh!

“Oscar, I love you. Oscar! Here’s your toy! Oscar!” She sings in a loud voice. He blinks and squints and squishes up his face before falling back asleep. “Mom, I see him?”

“Abby, please go sit down, away from your brother, and be quiet!” For about three minutes she complies, but then as if someone hit the reset button she is right next to him again. The color book and episode of PJ Masks forgotten.

“Mommy, me give him hugs?” She piles baby toys onto his lap. “Oscar, hi Oscar!” She yells. Luckily, he turned his head to the side and kept sleeping.

I drop the towel I was folding and pick her up. “Please, let him sleep.” I give her a squeeze and a kiss on the top of her head. “He needs sleep. I know you want to play with him, but I need you to let him be. You find something else to play with for a few minutes. I will finish my coffee and finish folding towels. He will wake up on his own when he is ready.”

I fold all of the laundry and walk around the loveseat to the linen closet, literally five feet away. When I glance at Abby she is focused on the TV and sitting on the couch. While my back is turned, for all of twenty seconds placing towels on the shelf, she has scrambled to his side, is rubbing his head with one hand, and is trying to unzip his sleeper with the other.

“Mom, he needs new clothes. I help.”

“Abby-” aaaaand cue the baby crying.

“Just chill out!” I say, not sure if it is to her, the baby, or myself.

OK, it was mostly to myself.

A Baby “Sprinkle”

Photo by Rodion Kustaev.  From www.unsplash.com

Having a baby “sprinkle,” or second baby shower- is it tacky or a fun idea?

A few years ago I was researching ideas for my sister’s baby shower on Pinterest when I first saw pins about baby sprinkles. They are called a “sprinkle” to differentiate them from a “shower.” They are supposed to be given for parents who have previously had a baby shower for a child of another gender or to celebrate a second (or more) pregnancy. Often they are limited to a smaller number of attendees, usually just close family and friends.

Online it seems that opinions are mixes on the appropriateness of having a second baby shower. Many people call it “greedy,” “rude,” and “tacky.” Others thought it was a “fun” or “sweet” idea to show how much you care. I don’t know anyone who has had one, where I live I never seen it done. But, opinions are like belly buttons, everyone has one; some people like to show them off and others keep theirs hidden.

Three years ago I hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law, Casey, when she was pregnant with her fourth child, Missy. While technically it was her second baby shower, she’d had her last child ten years before and had not planned on having more, so she was basically starting all over again and needed everything.

While pregnant with Abby, I had two showers, one for family and friends given by my sister and one at work put together and attended by my and my husband’s coworkers. They were both very nice and I am very grateful for everyone’s generosity and everything we received, which helped out so much when Abby arrived and as she grew. Being that it was only two years ago, I have much of what I will need for baby boy, except essentials like diapers and clothes.

A couple of weeks ago Casey asked me if I would mind if she threw me a sprinkle next month, since I had given her a shower. I told her that would be lovely, but secretly wondered how many people would come or feel like I thought I was acting entitled and asking for more presents? She seemed so excited about it that I didn’t want to tell her no. She asked me to register online and to give her a list of attendees and their addresses.

I gave her a list with my friends, sister, mom, and aunts. I registered online at Target and Wal-Mart, adding diapers in two sizes, wipes, Diaper Genie refills, and onesies and sleepers in size 0-3 and 3-6 months. I didn’t feel right adding other more “frivolous” feeling items.

I decided not to care what other people think. I know it will be fun. Even if no one but my mom, sister, mother-in-law, and Casey come, we will celebrate my new little man and have a good time.

Have you ever been to a baby shower for someone who is having a second child? What are your thoughts?

Getting Ready for my Little Monster: Decorating Baby’s Bedroom

I have been anxious to get baby boy’s bedroom decorated and ready for him to come home to, or as my husband said recently, “nesting like crazy.” Part of it is because I am excited, part of it is because I want it to be done if he were to be born early. My cousin recently had a baby girl born several weeks premature due to preeclampsia, so not having things done or close to done for him makes me feel nervous.

The room has been used for the past two years as a guest room, so we had to do some rearranging and take all of the furniture that was in the room downstairs to an extra room in the basement that we had previously used for storage.

When we moved into our house this room had been wallpapered with a tacky striped paper and a sports-themed border. We removed both and painted the room a greige color. I didn’t want to repaint the room since we had so recently painted it, so we left the walls as they were. I found some cute vinyl decals of monsters on Wal-Mart’s website.

I painted two pictures to hang in the room, based on a similar project I had seen on Pinterest.

I found a cute monster-themed alphabet print in Etsy and framed it.

A fingerpainting that my nephew had made and had given to me for Christmas was already hanging in the room and I decided to leave it because it is colorful.

I couldn’t find any fabric with monsters on it at Wal-Mart or Hobby Lobby, but found some with a cute pattern at JoAnn’s on an out of town trip. I sewed a valance for the curtains using it. It turned out to be a little long, but it will do. The blue curtains had already been hanging in the room.

 

We brought in the crib and rocking chair formerly in Abby’s room. Before Abby was born I had recovered the rocking chair cushions in gray fleece. The bookshelf was my husband’s from when he was a kid.  I would like to paint it but I’m not sure I will get that done any time soon. I added a couple fabric storage cubes with monsters on them from Dollar General. The other I had and previously used in Abby’s room. The teal hamper I bought at Walmart.

Right now the room is a little bit crowded because the swing and Pack and Play are being stored in there until the baby arrives, then they will be moved to the living room for use.

Did you go through a nesting phase while you were expecting?

The Name Game

Photo by Drew Hays. From http://www.unsplash.com

Decisions, decisions.  

When I asked Abby what her ideas for baby names were, she said Elmo and Coco.  Sorry, kid, those aren’t going to make th cut.  With only ten weeks left before delivery, my husband and I have finally gotten serious about picking out a name for our new baby.  

Well, maybe.  Last week he finally wrote out a list of boy names that he likes.  I had to restrain myself and wait a week before asking him if he was trying to play a long-running joke on me, as he included some pretty far out names on the list, like Apollo, Ulysses, and Magnus.  No offense to anyone who likes those names, of course,  but they seem a little grandiose for me.  He swears he is not trying to play a joke on me, although I still have my doubts… 

Coming up with names is difficult!  We didn’t want to go down the road of using family names, unless they were middle names.  Multiple names on our combined list just scream “nerd parents!” Because there are comic book character names, more than one Star Trek character names, and musician names.  

It is so hard for me to narrow down the list.  There are only three names on the list that I actually really like.  I never put too much thought into picking boy names over the years; you might remember that I have mentioned that I naively always believed that I would only have girls.  The name I am most attached to, Julian, is a name that my husband used to like but now says he feels like it is a name our kid will get picked on for having.  My second favorite is Oliver, which he for not care for.  My third is Liam, which he says is only so-so.  My husband favors Logan, which I just don’t like at all.

In order to weed out a lot of duds we took turns using each name in a sentence, like, “Quentin, quit picking on your sister,” Or, “Carter, just close your eyes and go to sleep.”  There were many names I couldn’t picture saying or just didn’t sound right.  Finally we were able to cut the list down to six.

Now it’s time to get down and dirty as the real discussion and debate begins.  I have no idea how long it will take us to settle on one, but hopefully it will be soon, or before we head to the hospital anyway!
   

 

It’s a… Whole New World

Photo by Aditya Romansa. From http://www.unsplash.com

At my 19 week prenatal appointment my OB/GYN ordered a sonogram.  I was very excited to finally get our first look at our new little one.  Later that week we went to the radiology department of the hospital.  The technologist asked if we wanted to find out the baby’s sex, which we did.  

It’s a boy!

Boy, was I not ready for that surprise.  No pun intended.

I always thought I would have another girl.  I never considered the fact that it could be a boy.  I mean, I knew it was technically possible, of course.  I just never thought it would happen to me.  

When I was a kid and played house I never pretended to have a boy baby.  I grew up with just a little sister and thought that boys were weird and gross; they talked about poop and farts and boogers and liked to burp, kick each other in the crotch, and to scare girls.  I never even considered what it would be like to have a boy until my amazing nephew came along nine years ago.  He made me think thay maybe a boy wouldn’t be so bad.

I had just naively assumed this baby would be a girl too.  I thought I was ahead of the game and so prepared because I wouldn’t have to buy any clothes.  I would have everything I needed for the baby.  I would have two girls that could play together like my sister and I did.

I am not trying to be silly or dramatic, but it took about a week for me to process and for reality to set in.  I’m having a boy.  Abby will have a little brother.  

I am totally not prepared for a boy!  I don’t have any boy clothes.  I don’t know how to take care of a little boy.  All I know about is being a girl.  Boys are so much different than girls!  Over Memorial Day weekend we took Abby to the zoo.  When we were looking at the giant tortoise exhibit a little boy yelled, “Did you see his butt hole?  Did you see it?  COULD YOU SEE IT, MOMMY?”  Oh Lord, am I ready for this? 

It’s a whole new world.   Ready or not, here it comes!