Hello readers (if you are out there). So life with two while still teaching is, um, different. I am keeping my head above water but the whole “I’ll just finish the course before going on maternity leave” decision makes a lot less sense this side of things than it did before P. was born. I know it is still the right decision, but oh man I am SO GRATEFUL she stayed in as long as she did because if she’d been born any earlier I would have been screwed. As it stands I wish I’d somehow found time to write all the lectures, because P. is over two weeks old now and I have written exactly one. Only three left, but writing them in snatches of fifteen minutes here and there is really hard.
Some thoughts on the first couple of weeks (in bullet form and written over several days because that’s now how I roll):
- How to know you’re a second-time parent: I was in the shower, with P. in the bouncy seat in the bathroom. I heard a sound that made me think she was spitting up. Looked out- sure enough, milk everywhere. How I assessed the situation: 1. Is she choking? (No.) 2. Is she upset about being covered in milky vomit? (No.). I finished my shower!
- I had my first round of solo bedtime at the weekend because Grannie was out picking up Q. at the airport. It included sitting on the toilet nursing P. while E. was having his bath; lying down on the bed nursing P. while having “snuggle” time with E. as he read books and leapt around the bed occasionally pausing to bestow kisses on P’s head; and then trying to moderate my discussion forum while also keeping P. from screaming (she was not having a great evening) while E. kicked the walls of his room and sang at the top of his lungs that he liked to eat yoghurt and bananas.
- That particular evening aside, P. is already showing signs of being far more laid back than her brother was. Whether this is due to her personality or due to my second-time approach to parenting (read: it’s ok if the baby is not immediately on a predictable routine) is yet to be determined. But it’s a nice change regardless of what’s caused it.
- E. still having school for eight days after P. was born was the best thing ever. Then we had Grannie here while Q. was overseas, and Q. is taking this week off and then next week E. is in day camp. So I will only have two weeks left in the course when I have both of them home with me full-time and hopefully we will survive and it will be a bit easier to leave the house.
- Packing to leave the house for any length of time now feels like setting out for the base camp at Everest. Gone are the days of “Got a hat? We’re good!”. I knew this would happen but it has still been a big shock.
- E. thus far has been great. He asked me the other day how old P. was. When I said she was twelve days, he said, “I’m already getting quite attached to her.” He is starting to notice how unavailable I am and was getting tired of Grannie as a substitute. But he loves getting books that I can read when I’m nursing, and he loves giving P. kisses on her little head.
- Nursing was really hard in the first week (poor latch when milk came in and I got engorged led to a lot of pain) but things are much better now and have been for a while. P. gained a whopping 7 oz between Day 3 and Day 5 (and was 3.5 oz over her birth weight by Day 5) but then only gained 5 oz in the next week. This is above the minimum but only just, so I’m going to take her back in this week for a weight check just for peace of mind. The midwives are not worried, but of course I am.
- P. is sleeping really well at night. I feed her around 10 p.m. and then swaddle her and put her in the bassinet and she’s been known to go fairly regularly through until 3:30 or 4 a.m., and will then go three hours before waking again, which gets us past 6 a.m., which I then consider morning as far as I’m concerned. So I am getting a reasonable amount of sleep. I still feel like my head will float off my shoulders around 4 p.m. though.
- I survived driving P. down to the midwives for her two week appointment (at 12 days). All of my anxiety about parenting this time around seems focused on the car, because we never had one before and Q. has done most of the driving in our big city. P. was happy on the way there (fell asleep) and then screamed like mad on the way home, only calming down when I sang an invented “We’re ok, P.” song (she loathed my efforts with the Wheels on the Bus).
- We took P. and E. out to see labmonkey and Pea on the weekend, but Grannie did the driving that day. P. was again really good on the way there but did a lot of screaming on the way home. She was superb while out though- happy to just fall asleep in the carrier when we went out to a park. E. was great and would give us P. reports: “Her eyes are open! Oh, they’re closed again!”
- I need to buy one of those mirrors to mount on the seat so I can actually see her when we’re driving as if I don’t have E. to give me reports I find it extremely stressful.
- P. is the NOISIEST baby ever. The only way to describe it is she breathes over her vocal cords, so there is this near-constant hum of noise when eating or sleeping. It is a testament to how much less anxious I am this time around that I am able to sleep right next to her with that racket whereas with E. I was still sleeping in the basement at this stage (and then using earplugs for the rest of time he was in our room).
- Physically I had a much easier recovery, although I’m still having trouble with bleeding because I don’t spend enough time resting (curse of the second-time parent). My midwives spent a lot of time in the hospital making the point that my body had worked very hard even if I didn’t think it had. Emotionally and mentally it’s been much easier too. I’m just in a much better place than I was at this point with E. I’m prepared for all the newborn madness and I’m genuinely enjoying the snuggles. I’m already finding it hard to balance the needs of my two children, but I knew this would be the hardest part for me.
- I am happy. So very, very happy. She is safe, and she is here, and my family has the piece that has been missing.