So it’s been eight weeks without an Aly’s Angle, but I have a good reason. On October 17, 2017, Clark Gregory Simons came into the world, weighing a whooping 9 lbs. 12 oz.
Having two babies is no joke. One baby was demanding, and I remember thinking no other mother has gone through the events of new motherhood like I was experiencing. Having two babies is a different kind of hard. The word summarizing my last 8 weeks is CREATIVE. You definitely need to be resourceful with this balancing act of two.
For example: How do you bathe a toddler who decides to put lipstick all over her face and hair while you hold a fussy baby in your arms?
Solution: Quickly set down the baby while you undress toddler girl. (At this point, of course, the baby really starts to scream.) As you undress the toddler, try not to get lipstick all over her clothes or yours. Stick the little girl in a bathtub filled with cold water because that is what she demands. The bathtub is a good place because it keeps her captive. Next, nurse baby boy while you sit on the toilet and try to convince big sister to wash her face by herself. Unfortunately, you must cut off nursing a little too soon because your sweet little toddler decides she is “all DONE” and is now climbing out of the tub. With one arm holds the baby, pull the toddler out of the bathtub with the other arm. Now you have a completely wet, naked toddler to dry and dress. Dressing and diapering big sis with baby bro in your arms is another story, especially when the baby is wrapped on your front and the toddler protests her diaper by frantically kicking .
On average, I experience about four of these crazy moments a day. Then, I oversee about ten more tamed-down versions of this moment and one full-on crisis moment. Today’s crisis moment happened around 5 pm when Clark did NOT want his diaper changed. He was wailing away while Cooper started to scream because her baby doll stroller had become stuck in the doggy gate. In a bout of frustrated rage, she throws her doll. The dog confuses the doll for a ball. Hyper dog now runs around the living room with the doll as my distraught toddler screams, “Doll back. Doll back!” All the while, my 2-month-old is bawling while I try to put his clothes back on. During these moments, I only wish someone were capturing this drama on video.
Interlaced in these moments, I am blessed to witness the beauty of sibling interaction. And when one is napping, everything feels simple. I do my best to focus on spending quality time with the one, either Cooper or Clark. My pediatrician gave me great advice: spend at least 30 minutes a day giving Cooper your undivided attention without baby Clark. I have come to realize this 30 minutes is important to me as well. My goal is to give that same attention to Clark because when I am nursing him, unlike with Cooper, I am not just gazing into his eyes. Most of the time I am reading Cooper a book, chasing her around the house, or trying to grab a toy.
I know life is going to be different for Clark than it was with Cooper, but I am determined to make “different” a good thing for him. I tend to analyze, which is my biggest strength but also my biggest weakness. I want Clark to be given the attention Cooper received, but it feels harder to capture all the little moments with Clark because of the adorable business of Cooper. All parents out there, any suggestions?
How is Cooper adjusting?
Everyone seems curious as to how Cooper is adjusting to her baby brother Clark. Honestly, she plays more independently, and 80 percent of the time seems indifferent. Fifteen percent of the time she plays, sings, helps with her brother by getting diapers and watching me change him. Five percent of the time she wants to test the limit. Her light taps on his head end with a full- blown slap. Gently putting the binky in his mouth turns into hard press-forcing the binky in even when he doesn’t want it. I have found myself saying all day, “Be careful,” “Be quiet,” “Be gentle,” “You don’t want to hurt your brother.” All of a sudden I had the idea to switch the conversation. I decided to playfully tell my two-month-old Clark to be careful around Cooper. At the time he was kicking his feet in the direction Cooper was sitting. So I gently told Clark, “Baby, be careful not to kick your sister Cooper.” All of a sudden Cooper had this relieved look on her face which said, “Yeah, baby, don’t hurt Cooper!” I asked if she were okay and continued to remind Clark to be careful and gentle and not to hurt his sister Cooper. It honestly seemed like Cooper finally realized it is a two-way conversation that goes both ways in a sibling relationship.
My summarizing thoughts:
I think one of the biggest fears a first-time mom has when she learns she is pregnant with her second is a fear that somehow this new addition is going to change the mommy-daddy relationship with their first. At least this was a big fear of mine. I love the relationship I have with my daughter; I treasured the moments of just us. Thinking that special closeness could change terrified me. This is what I noticed.
Even without a newborn in the house, I believe most moms have moments wondering what happened to their sweet little baby when they turned two. Where are the days when we would just snuggle on the couch together? So even without a newborn, the mother-child relationship will always be altering and changing. Again my prayer is that different doesn’t mean bad. It just means different.
With a newborn in the house, everything your toddler does seems traumatically amplified. I don’t know if it’s because you want to create a peaceful environment for the baby and that’s not possible. Or maybe it’s because this innocent little creation sleeping in your arms contrasts so sharply with the little person trying to define her personality and boundaries. I feel lucky I exude most of my patient moments at home with my family, but I sometimes find my patience with Cooper feeling shorter. I don’t want to be impatient with any family member, so I have been reminding myself to breathe and to remember my intense feeling of not wanting a second to negatively affect my firstborn. My patience is something I can control, so I am working on it. Again any tips?
While I adjust to two babies, balancing #bebetter52 has been a little bit of a challenge. This week, however, I was excited to go to the story kidless and pick up some nutritional yeast. I haven’t had the time to make anything with it yet, besides sprinkling on top of pasta, but it does have a cheesy, nutty taste. Despite my multiple attempts to coax my husband to try it, he is grossed out by the name and won’t get close to it. I like it. I’m excited to try this Avocado Mac and Cheese dish I found online, complete with nutritional yeast.