First things first: You're still alive! After an 8 year hiatus, it appears that I still have at least the minimum allotment of skills required to keep an infant alive. This is a relief.
Second things second: This is all very familiar...and I guess that's a good thing! There have been several "ah, yes" moments of recognition since you were born - both good and not-my-favourite - that have brought me right back to parenting for the first time. The super-sleepiness of the first few weeks, the first smile, the smell (OMG THE SMELL) of newborn baby heads, the feeling of a baby snoozing peacefully on my chest...the poop-through, the sudden spit-up of an entire boob's worth of milk, the agony of early breastfeeding, of night after night of sleeping in a half-seated position, of arms locked in spasm from holding a baby all day and all night. What has changed for the most part has been my perspective. Sure, I still find myself getting caught up in the worry and the panic and the gnawing anxiousness from time to time, but for the most part I can see the forest for the trees. Each of these challenges, these phases, are so transient. Breastfeeding DOES get easier. The baby WILL stop screaming. She WILL eventually go to sleep. Newborn poop DOES come out in the wash. While I am by no means a parenting expert, most days I am able to look at myself in the mirror and say: I got this. And that, my friends, is a small, but very important victory.
Today, I'm feeling sad. I went to bed feeling sad and a bit overwhelmed and it has carried over to this morning. We had a meeting with a decorator last night, which went very well in terms of content. She was lovely and full of wonderful ideas. Little E, on the other hand, decided to be as distracting as possible, spending most of the almost two hours crying or cranking or wanting to be fed. Big E was super sweet and wanting to be involved in the process which I enjoyed in theory, but in reality it meant that there were always three people in my face at the same time demanding my attention for two hours. By the end I was utterly exhausted. But also excited about the plans swirling around in my brain. Until I learned that my darling husband's ideas did not jive with those of my new dream home. And between the mental fatigue from the meeting and the sudden realization that all of this was going to involve much more back and forth and compromise than I had hoped, it left me feeling a bit defeated. Today I'm feeling fragile, and Little E is alternating between spitting up and crying and thank goodness she is asleep right now so I can write some things down and feel a little bit accomplished.
She's sleeping in the wrap, which is her favourite place and mine. Yes, soon enough I should really consider getting her comfortable in her crib, but today is not the day. I know my limits. I truly believe that little tiny babies can only benefit from as much closeness to mom and dad as possible. With Big E, she spent some time at the beginning sleeping in our bed, but it was never our intention and we were never very comfortable with it. We started transitioning her to the crib as soon as she would tolerate it. This time, little E started out with a little time in her crib, but quickly took up permanent status in our bed, and I have no qualms about it. She now reliably goes to sleep after nursing on her back in between J and I, and I'm happy with that. Of course I recognize that there is a point that she should make the transition to the crib for her sake and for ours (wink wink), and that time is getting near, but waking up to nurse is hard enough without having to get out of bed to do it. These days she has only been waking up one time to nurse, so at this point I think having her in her crib would be manageable. She might not agree.
Right now our days have no schedule. Fortunately, I remembered this from last time and was totally ready for it. Sure, I've read a couple of articles describing the daily "schedules" and "routines" that other parents have established for their 1- and 2-month old babies with regular morning walks and naptimes and feeding times and playtimes. But this time, instead of worrying about the damage I'm doing by not having a daily routine and wearing myself out trying to fight nature by nailing a baby down to a schedule, I'm going with the flow. It's not my forte, for sure. I LOVE schedules. But I'm much happier without one as the parent of a newborn. This I know. I was absolutely baffled about how I would get Big E to school on time now that Little E needed to be factored in. Luckily, J took care of the first week and my dad did the second, so I only needed to really start freaking out about it in week 3. I stressed, I lost sleep, I simply could not figure out how to make sure to be anywhere at a specific time, when who knows if the baby will scream to be fed or have a giant poop or GOD FORBID still be sleeping (more later on my insistence on letting sleeping babies lie). But you know what? It happens. It just does. And yes, sometimes we're late. Sometimes we're early. Most times we arrive at pretty much the same time we did pre-baby. Like all my mom-of-several friends say, it's the "new normal". And the best gift I can give myself and my family is the permission to be late. Without yelling, without rushing. Just being late and being ok with it. It's positively liberating. You should try it. As for the rest of our day, we walk, we chat, we squeeze in some tummy time and some singing, we sleep, we eat, we poop and pee. She spits up and screams quite a bit. I try to fit in the odd chore while she sleeps or sits happily in one of her chairs for 2.4 minutes. I get dinner on the table within an hour or so of dinner time. We try to remember to give her a bath twice a week. And if she lets us J and I watch an episode of The Good Wife before crashing into bed around 11:00. Lately she's been having a cranky period from about 7:30-10:30 or so, so our 40 minute episode often takes about 80 minutes to get through. But we take what we can get. And try to remember that it's all temporary. I'm sure that she won't keep having 3 hour nightly tantrums as a teenager, but even if she does it won't be while sitting in my lap.
She smiles a lot now. Man, she's cute. She has big bright eyes and she's super strong and she's trying so hard to talk to us. She makes little "goo" and "loo" and "ell" noises and likes to practice standing. She ADORES her big sister. Big E can almost always get her to stop crying. If Big E is around, Little E is her captive audience. Big E sings to her, rocks her, carries her around and helps her practice new things. They are positively smitten with each other, and that is BY FAR the best thing so far about baby #2. That and the naps we have together. Lying on the couch with Little E sleeping on my chest is my favourite place in the world.