Little L is now 7 weeks old, and the sweetest little bundle of love we could have hoped for. In true second baby style, he is more laid back than his older brother — much happier to just chill out in the bouncy chair rather than being held all the time, very smiley and outgoing with all of our family including grandparents and aunt. He seems to fall asleep easier and cry less, though he is definitely all-around more alert and tends to wake up at little noises or changes of light in a way that his big brother didn’t as a newborn. He is also not as good a night-time sleeper as his big brother was, and is still mostly doing 2- and 3-hour stretches at night, with an occasional longer stretch thrown in (his record so far is 5.5 hours, but we’ve only gotten a 5-hour stretch twice, and once was when he was sick). At this age S was sleeping 7-hour stretches pretty much every night, and he got up to 8- and 9-hour stretches by the time he was 2 months old. But, then he stopped sleeping at just over 2 months old and drove me insane with sleep deprivation for the following two months, so I’m hoping that L is just gradually building up and won’t regress the way his big brother did (I can dream, right?).
Our big scare so far has been when big brother S brought a nasty daycare bug home when L was 3.5 weeks old. S was out of daycare for 3 days with a fever, and despite our maniacal handwashing and isolation campaign, poor little L got the bug and was miserably sick. There were multiple middle-of-the-night calls to the pediatrician wondering if we needed to bring our newborn to the emergency room because his breathing was so labored. Then, just as things seemed to be looking up, he woke up at 2am one night, wouldn’t let us put him down for the rest of the night, was hardly nursing especially on one side, and by 10am I had brought him to the pediatrician and confirmed what I already knew: he had his first ear infection at 4 weeks old. Cue his first round of antibiotics. I would have liked to wait longer, but at least those antibiotics are miracle drugs and he was back to his happy self within 24 hours. Now everyone is finally healthy again, and has been for the last couple of weeks, and we’re finally starting to figure out how to do this whole family-of-four thing.
Which, by the way, have I mentioned that it’s a challenge? My husband and I have agreed that going from 0 to 1 kids was more challenging emotionally/psychologically, but that going from 1 to 2 kids is much more challenging logistically. I mean, I know that people do it all the time, and with many fewer resources (family support, financial, etc.) than we have… but I just don’t know HOW. I mean, when you have a newborn and a toddler around, the newborn pretty much always needs something, and the toddler often needs something, so if you have one parent per kid it works pretty well, but then you basically can’t get anything done other than watching the kids. I mean, maybe you can take the toddler to the grocery store, or engage the toddler in a cooking/laundry project, but not all the time. So, how do people do it all??? Especially single parents or stay-at-home parents? There is a single mom of two young kids who is a professor at my university — since she was a single mom by choice, she has been flying solo since Day 1 of their lives. I have SO MUCH respect for her — always have, but now I want to study her life to figure out how she makes it work, because I literally have no idea.
At some point soon I am going to have to start taking both kids to do stuff at the same time, because my husband is already back at work, and our last family support leaves on Tuesday. I seriously have no idea how it is possible to take care of a newborn and a toddler at the same time, but I guess people do it all the time, so I’m just going to have to try it and figure it out as I go. I suspect that my toddler’s screen time will increase like crazy, especially while I’m nursing, because already it is difficult to pry him off me. Without intervention by another adult, he will reach across his brother to try to grab my face wailing “Mama, mama, pick me up!!!” the entire time that I am trying to feed poor little L. I have to say that overall he’s an outstanding big brother, very gentle and sweet, talking and singing to little L… but not when I’m nursing — that’s when the jealousy really hits. Ah, well… we will figure it out, and it will get easier as they get older, or so I am told!
Having family around has been wonderful — my mom was here for most of the first two weeks, and then my husband’s parents came for a month (they stayed at an extended-stay hotel, which was phenomenal, if expensive). My sister-in-law was also here for Christmas week. They just left today, and my mom will be back Mon/Tues, and then we’re on our own. Both my mom and my husband’s parents are wonderfully helpful — I haven’t had to cook or clean since the baby was born. So, now it gets real! But other than the two weeks of illness sweeping through the house, and other than the sleep deprivation, my parental leave has been truly wonderful so far. I have been just drowning in love for my two little babies, and I love seeing them starting to play together. My husband has been a total trooper — he is a true partner in this whole parenting game. Our family is such an amazing thing — it’s hard to believe how much we have grown in love since my husband and I met just over seven years ago. While I never forget our missing little daughter, and the two babies we lost so very early, I feel incredibly fortunate for everything that we have, and excited for everything that is to come.