Posts Tagged ‘ going from one to two children ’

Coping Tactics

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

My last post made it clear that we are in the thick of things. Thanks for your comments and private messages of support and commiseration. All very much appreciated.

One of my favorite pearls, from Anti-Jen: “You’re doing a good job. That job is to make sure those kids know you love them. That’s pretty much all there is to it.” A nice way to boil it down. Plus, it makes me feel semi-competent. I may not be able to find the magic solution that immediately cures Roy’s separation anxiety, or gets Vera to sleep through the night, but making sure they know I love them? That I can do.

We are moving in the right direction. The last two days at daycare drop-off, Roy’s clinginess and pleading disintegrated into nervous whimpers, rather than heartbreaking wails. And last night, at one point, Vera slept three whole hours in a row. That’s enough to shove me over the hump and into the “well rested” category.

I’m fine with copping to difficulty. I certainly don’t see much good in perpetuating the myth that parenthood, or life, for that matter, is a breeze. I’m not, however, one to wallow for too long, if I can help it. I feel uncomfortable if I’m not doing something to make things—at the very least, my mindset—better.

Here are a few things I do to get by:

1) Exercise. For me, it’s running. Always has been. On extremely stressful days, my husband will hand me my running shoes and force me out the door because he knows I’ll come back happier. I also appreciate yoga. These days, I’m doing baby yoga, so I can bring Vera with me. I like to multitask my bonding.

2) Drink. Coming off nine months basically alcohol-free, I’m still a lightweight. A little glass of wine or one quality microbrew after the kids are in bed slows my brain down to a better, more manageable speed.

3) Vent. I’m lucky to have some incredible friends. Ones kind enough to ask how things are and then be ready to listen to the honest answer. Sometimes it helps to have a sane second party help you sort through things. They know I’m always willing to reciprocate. As soon as I’m sane enough to do so, that is.

4) Appreciate. Especially when I’m feeling like everything’s too much, I make a point to focus on a few very specific things that make me feel incredibly lucky. An awesome writing assignment. A clear view of the moon. Vera’s roly-poly thighs. Roy’s nonstop hugs. Clint’s mean meat-smoking know-how and Manhattan-making skillz. I’ve no shortage of things to appreciate.

5) Blog. If you’ve been reading Love & Diapers long, you know that I kid. During times of stress, it’s crickets over here. I’d like to be showing up more regularly. I’m going to try. Apparently, it would help. Did you see the recent study that shows the blogging relieves stress in new mothers?

What helps you feel less overwhelmed?

 

Image: Red wine pouring into wine glass via Shutterstock

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Tummywatch Tuesday: 38 Weeks

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Today at the dentist’s office, the hygienist asked when I was due. “The 29th,” I told her. “Of this month?” she asked.

Look at me, you guys. How sweet is she? I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear she regularly slips me extra floss.

Very happy to have made it this far. That crazy hour or two of contractions last Wednesday got me thinking that I’d go into labor much earlier than I’d like. They made me feel delicate, a state to which I am unaccustomed, pregnant or no. It was suddenly apparent that I need to rest and relax and maybe not carry my toddler, plus his diaper bag, plus a couple of shopping bags, across whole parking lots like a pack mule. A really pregnant pack mule.

So I let the pendulum swing in the opposite direction on Thursday and became Officially Serious About Taking It Easy. I cut out my morning walk. I picked Roy up as little as possible. Rested on the couch. Drank more water. Thursday proved uneventful, so I continued in this manner.

Then Friday, as I was getting ready for dinner with a bunch of girlfriends, the contractions came back. They were up high on my belly, just as they were on Wednesday, not low in the period-cramp region, where I remember my true contractions happening two years back. So I did not panic. I did, admittedly, feel a little sorry for myself for having to miss my big night out. I drowned my sorrows in a can or two of sparkling water, which I sipped on the couch while watching bad Friday night TV. Why is Friday prime time programming so godawful? Do not homebodies, antisocials and those who’ve fallen ill or pregnant deserve viable viewing options?

Anyway. The contractions stopped later that evening. I haven’t had once since. Knock wood.

What else was I going to report? Had a whirlwind organizing/nesting weekend, which only made me realize how much further behind I am this time than I was last. Two weeks out from baby #1, the nursery was ready, my bags were packed, the house was spotless, the back-up route to the hospital was mapped out. This time, the nursery is not even close to ready, the house is full of half-finished baby-related projects, and I’ve pulled my suitcase out, but not yet gotten around to packing it. Oh, what a difference one child makes.

Little girl is the size of a bunch of celery, according to Parents.com’s week-by-week babytracker. She seems to have cut out some of her daily tai chi sessions, for which I’m appreciative. Her activity level last week was so high it was a little unsettling (as well as distracting). Maybe she was thirsty? At my appointment today, everything checked out well. The doctor said that her head felt lower, and I am dilated a little bit more, to an “almost one.” But there’s been no thinning of the cervix. Which means I’ve probably still got some time. Though Doc did make a point of saying, “No guarantees.” Noted.

My money says I’ll be around at week 39 to improve upon that tired-looking pregnant photo up top there.

We’ll see what Baby Girl has in mind.

Celery bunch image credit: iStockphoto

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Tummywatch Tuesday: 35 Weeks

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

We have arrived at 35 weeks. I tried to pose a little better this time, so you can get the full effect of The Tummy:

Yep. I’m pregnant.

So how was your holiday? Ours was lovely, thanks. For us, the season starts with a big bang on Thanksgiving, when we host 20-some, then is peppered with all sorts of out-of-town celebrations, then nearby celebrations, ending in a pretty quiet Christmas Day at home. We love it from top to bottom. Roy just adores all the action and seeing all his people, whether it’s an evening with a houseful of aunts and uncles and cousins or a quick run by the neighbors’ to drop off some holiday snacks. Talks about it for days before and after.

According to Parents.com’s week-by-week babytracker, little girl is the size of a honeydew. Even though I’m bigger by the day, and even with all the holiday action, I’m still feeling better than ever, physically. Mentally, though…. After things wound down and I looked at the calendar and saw that the 29th was this week, I went into a bit of a panic. I’m due the 29th of next month. Which means that we’re not having a baby “in January,” we’re having a baby this month. That’s a shockingly small amount of days in which to accomplish all the things I’d like before she comes. Thankfully, “like” and “need” are two very different things. I keep reminding myself of that.

On one hand, there’s that feeling of having so much to do, and the over-the-top excitement of finally getting to meet our little girl. On the other hand, there’s a mellow sort of sadness about losing what we already have: our little threesome. I want to prepare for what’s to come, but I also want to hang out with Roy as much as possible, to soak in all this focused time we have together before it doesn’t really work this way anymore. I’m sure I hug him too much. Request kisses too much. Gobble his bellybutton and tell him I love him and ask for a quick cuddle, please, too much. If there is such a thing as too much of any of those.

As Christmas night was winding down, we decided to sneak in a walk before bedtime. Boo to unseasonably warm temps for stealing our white Christmas, but long, ice-free strolls do make for a fine consolation prize. Roy begged to take the wagon. Pleeeease? Pleeeease? Clint complied; dug the wagon out of the garage and loaded it down with blankets and pillows and then tucked his tiny bods in, so all that showed was a little stocking hat-topped head. We wandered up the block in the dark, toward the neighborhood’s best light display, looking at the stars and moon above. After a couple of silent minutes, I glanced back at Roy and caught him grinning ear-to-ear under all those covers, beyond happy at the holidays, the sky, the wagon, his family. I wanted so badly to bottle that moment up and keep it forever—just the three of us in that perfect slice of time.

I can’t help but feel a little sad that there won’t be moments like that anymore.

I can’t help but hope that the foursome version we’re trading it for delivers similar ones that feel just as amazing. If not, doubly so.

Honeydew image credit: iStockphoto

 

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On Going from 1 to 2: Should I Buy My Boy a Babydoll?

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

I’m sure Roy knows I’m having a baby. Has from the very beginning. Soon after I got that positive on the pee test, back when my stomach was still relatively flat and I wasn’t disintegrating into a sobbing mess during any commercial featuring a person under the age of 20, he began insisting on sticking his finger in my belly button. I was nursing at bedtime back then, and that’s when it usually happened. He’d sit on my lap in his little footie pajamas, kiss Dad goodnight, then lodge his little pointer finger firmly into my belly button before getting down to business.

Maybe a month later, we explained to him what was going on in there, after which he decided he wanted to give the baby hugs and kisses daily. It wasn’t always a convenient time to drop what I was doing to lift up my shirt and allow my toddler to slobber all over my belly for a few minutes, but that little, “Peeeze?” sure can work some crazy magic.

As the months passed, my belly grew, yet his interest faded somewhat. We don’t make a point of bringing it up, but we do talk about it when the subject arises. Like when little girl clothes suddenly appear on the dining room table, or when I catch him staring at my big tummy. Then we talk for a moment about how those are for “sister,” or “Junie” as he’s termed her, and what a great big brother he’ll be.

So, he knows. I’m sure of that. What I’m not so sure of, though, is exactly what he knows. Or if there’s anything more I should be doing? Not doing? So I was psyched when my fellow Parents.com blogger, Dr. Richard Rende of Red-Hot Parenting, asked if I had any questions about going from one to two that he might pass on to his colleague, Dr. Laurie Kramer, a leader in the study of how new siblings adapt?

Boy, did I have questions.

For one, should we be getting Roy his very own, special babydoll? I’d heard and read that it was a good way to get a kid ready for having a real one around. He already has my old Cabbage Patch Kid, and every once in a while he’ll feed her a piece of fake pizza or check if she’s pooped her diaper. (Which hasn’t happened thus far, but I supposed it could be arranged….) But truthfully, he’s just not that interested.

Here’s what Dr. Kramer had to say on the pre-baby doll issue:

“Well, dolls are a good idea – but they are limited. It’s much better if you can have Child #1 spend some time around a real baby. So if you have friends or relatives with a baby try to arrange some time for Child #1 to be around them and play with the baby.”

Interesting. He’s been around babies at daycare, plus he has an adorable baby cousin whom he loves like crazy. He’s actually pretty good around real babies—gentle and helpful, ready to hand over one of his prized trucks to comfort any crying, and not at all pushy with the fake pizza. Maybe we’ll hold off.

So, parents of two or more: Did you do the babydoll thing for #1, boy or girl? Any other tips to pass on?

Parents of one headed toward two: Do you plan do the babydoll thing? Also, OMG can you even imagine what two will be like? Excited? Nervous? Me too.

Read more of Dr. Kramer’s advice on what to do before and after the baby arrives at Red-Hot Parenting.

 

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What’s More Difficult: Going from 0 to 1, or 1 to 2?

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Someone once told me that going from one to two kids is the hardest transition of all. That it is not double the work, but rather more than double the work. Having one kid will seem like a walk in the park. And any kids you add after two? Piece of cake.

This information stuck with me through the years, and I treated it as fact. When I got pregnant with #2, I decided to revisit it with a more discerning eye. Really? More than double the work? For everyone? I started asking around (if you haven’t noticed yet, I’m quite nosy), and I got different answers from different parents. Some swore that nah, second time around you have all the stuff and you know what you’re doing. The first time’s the killer. Others confirmed that yes, one to two will blow. Your. Mind. What little of it you have left at that point, anyway.

So I was intrigued when a survey* of over a thousand moms around the country popped up in my inbox. They asked all sorts of questions, but the one that caught my eye: Which transition is more difficult—the birth of a first child or the arrival of a second?

The results? About half (53%) of moms with more than one child said the adjustment to number two was more trying.

Those aren’t exactly illuminating odds, 50/50. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What proved to be the most difficult for you: 0 to 1? 1 to 2? Other?

 

*The survey was commissioned by Kroger’s to promote their new website ComfortsForBaby.com. In the interest of full disclosure. They’re not giving me free stuff or anything.

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