Sunday, January 02, 2011

thoughts on a rough day

I've often heard moms say that they're shocked at how easy second babies are to care for, compared to their older child(ren).  I remember feeling so discouraged when I heard that when D was little, as there was nothing about caring for a baby that I considered very "easy."  It also kinda made me fear what those older ages would be like if they really were that much harder than what I was dealing with with a newborn...

Now, as a mother to a toddler and a newborn, I definitely agree that there are many aspects of babyhood that are less of a challenge than toddlers.  Babies are much more portable.  Packing a diaper bag is much simpler-- couple diapers, wipes, a change of clothes... no need for snacks, toys (yet), or (since I'm breastfeeding) bottles of any kind.  There's no need to argue, reason with, convince, or discipline a baby.  And, I am finding the baby-related aspects of parenthood to be easier with this baby than with my first, since I'm more relaxed, have more experience, etc.

But there are also definitely aspects of baby care that can be more of a challenge than with an older kid.  I've gotten so spoiled by how well D plays alone, leaving me time during the day to do other small chores or just sit and watch him.  So when I have a day like today-- a day where Quinn took a single 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon, but other than that I spent literally the entire rest of the day nursing, holding, and trying to soothe him-- it is draining and a bit of a shock to the system.  Babies are so physically demanding... and when there's just the baby to care for it can be ok, I can sit in bed and nurse him and then let him sleep on me and just be (though even that can be physically draining in itself).  But add to that needing to also care for an older sibling, and it kinda makes my head spin.

At least, I do have one more benefit of this being the second time around-- I have more perspective.  When D was a baby I'd get so caught up in the challenges of the moment/day/week/month and get bogged down by it, unable to see past it.  Today, while it was hard and tiring to spend much of the day dancing around the room trying to soothe a fussy newborn, I could at least remind myself of everything that will come-- things will not always be like this, one day I will be able to set him down for a nap without him waking up 10 minutes later, and heck that day may even be tomorrow.  With D, I often said my mantra through those early months was "this too shall pass."  With Q, I feel like I actually believe it, if that makes sense.

My mom leaves tomorrow.  I feel like there's this big reality check about to descend on me, once I really am left to handle two kids on my own.  Thankfully things have worked out so that I'll still have some help (D will keep going to Arjun's house a couple times a week).  I know we are extremely lucky to have that set-up, and also to have had my mom out for so long.  I'm kind of waiting with baited breath now, curious to see what life will really be like for us in the coming days/weeks/months, trying to enjoy this fleeting newborn period while also counting down each day and week till Q is a few months old and we hopefully find our rhythm and footing.


  1. I hope you all find your groove soon! My older child was never the type to sit and play and leave me time to do other things around the house, so I was used to having to plead for a moment to myself on days when I was parenting alone.

    I was fortunate that my daughter was such an easy baby. All she needed was a sling and a boob and she was happy. She napped on me all of the time, but I figured since I'd already been carrying her for 9 months, I could keep on carrying her if it kept her happy and let me continue dealing with her brother's more intense needs.

  2. You will be fine. You have been and are continuing to be an awesome parent. Each day, each moment, how you are with them and how much you love them comes through and is building their little brains and minds and hearts in ways you don't get to see, but modern technology and research now let us know. And it's not being perfect, or self-sacrificing, or keeping them happy that matters, it's being present and noticing them and responding to them in that very personal way you do --when we can, which needn't be even MOST of the time, amazingly enough! We are human, and cannot always be available, nor want to be available for all the bids for attention and care babies and toddlers (and any age child) can send our way. The good news is that's good for them too -- the only way they can develop tolerance for frustration, resilience, and motivation to do things for themselves.
    I am so blessed, so happy to have been here for this first month of Quinn's life, as I was for Donovan's. And though I leave with a huge lump in my throat knowing I won't see those bright little faces daily and delight in playing and talking with Donovan and holding and watching Quinn, I go knowing it is high time you get to realize how perfectly fine you and Zach will handle the challenges these active, sensitive, intensely engaging little guys present. In the very telling words of Donovan, "It's going to be OK!! [huge smile]" :)

  3. I can completely relate to what you're saying. It has been over 2 years since I was in your position, but I remember it very well. I always heard that having a second was "no big deal." After all, you are a seasoned/experienced parent. But I found myself at times more lost than after the first. My mind and body were being pulled away by two different little people instead of just one and suddenly I had to learn how to juggle even more than I had already become accustomed to. It was a very difficult transition and it took me a few months to acclimate. Then when I started talking about how difficult it was, everyone started admitting, "Yeah, the jump from one to two kids is one of the most difficult. It's worse than going from two to three." Uh, why didn't anyone say that sooner?

    You're right that "this too shall pass," but I know that when you're in the moment that doesn't offer as much comfort as you need at that time. But hang in there. You'll soon be juggling and in the groove...from time to time at least.

  4. My 2nd baby was a more easy going type of baby so that helped the transition a bit for us. Still, having a 2 year old and a baby was tough; really tough. I do believe the adjustment from a family of 3 to 4 was more difficult a transition than from 2 to 3 in many ways. Yet... you have much more experience and an ease towards mothering with the second. I guess it's the knowledge that "everything's gonna be alright".
    But oh... that second baby grows SO. FAST.
    In a blink of an eye, babyhood goes by - it's far faster than the 1st. Especially for me, since my 2nd is my last baby.

    Your little one is precious; congratulations!

  5. Interesting perspective. #1 was demanding from babyhood until now, at 4.5. She never was the type to play alone or give me any time to myself. #2 is totally different - tho at first it was nursing around the clock, he's always been content to be on his own, discovering. And when nursing, I can read or watch a movie on netflix, so tho I'm tied to him, I can still have some "me" time.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...