Friday, November 21, 2014

Newbies are my favorite

So here I am. Having the greatest morning with my girls - something that is either hit or miss these days - and ready to gush about the fuzzy newborn phase here on the ol' blog.

But somewhere along the way, I forgot that having a baby toddler throws all plans out the window. And makes a routine-focused, schedule-oriented, type A gal like myself want to shave my head and run around the block a few times. At least that would be something I would have complete control of. And I would get some much-needed fresh air. 

Anyway, having a new baby {and a two year old} is just a roller coaster of emotions to begin with. It's all "Oh my goodness you're so cute, and I want this moment to last forever and ever" and "Seriously? We've been trying to get out the door for an hour now, you're already on outfit #3 for the day, I just got on all 4 layers of winter gear for both of you, your sister has to go potty, and you choose now to spit up all over all three of us?"

If you haven't read this article yet, stop what you're doing and read it now. The whole thing. And if you've ever had a newborn, you will laugh until you cry. Because it is true. Every single bit. I'm just waiting for her perspective on a day in the life with a newborn AND a toddler! :)

Anyway. Where was I? So my girls and I were having the greatest morning. I actually had the energy to make a decent breakfast for Lyla, the three of us shared some cuddles, we had our own story time, and then went for a looong walk to the park. Oh my goodness the sunshine and chilly breeze never felt so good.

Then we got home. Lyla made it very clear with some shouts and stomping that she was hungry, and I couldn't remember for the life of me when I had eaten last. Needless to say, both of us were starving. While Lyla nibbled, and I nursed the baby, she had to go potty. So, I took her back to the bathroom.  {And let's be honest. It isn't nearly as simple as it sounds. Because Lyla is still having a wretched time pooing on the potty. So we go back and forth back and forth at least a dozen times with lots of tears in between. All to have her not go. The poor kid is terrified.}

When I returned from the 11th trip to the potty, I realized my plate was empty. I rubbed my eyes to make sure they weren't deceiving me. Nope. Plate still empty. The dogs had *somehow* gotten onto our dining room table and ATE MY LUNCH.

The whole thing.

They are so lucky I was having a good day with my two year old. Because all I did was yell some choice words and put them outside for a good long time. Oh. But I had thoughts of putting them up for adoption on Craigs List.

I wish I was kidding.

Then, of course, I felt guilty and was all "Oh doggies, I love you. It's not your fault. I realize your'e going through changes too. But you really have to start behaving."

But seriously ya'll. Do you have any idea how much energy it takes these days just to rummage through the empty cabinets and then actually make something for lunch...only to have it eaten by your dogs while your'e taking care of your toddler and newborn?!?!

But I did feel bad after my lashing. So, we kissed and made up. And I invited them on my lap.

Now that I've got that off my chest, I'm ready to talk about what was originally on my mind. Which just so happened to be newborn sweetness. Because here we are. Four weeks into life caring for a second newborn.

Ahh. The newborn phase. You either love it or you hate it. Or a little bit of both.

I mostly love it.

Ok, who am I kidding. I absolutely wish that I could go through the newborn phase at least a dozen more times before I leave this earth. Newbies make me realize the why behind families out there who are 19 and counting. In fact, I'd have a newborn once a year if I could skip labor, if said newborn had the super-human ability to sleep through the night on day one, and if I could skip the toddler tantrums and teenage angst.

They're just such marvelous, interesting, quirky, and hilarious little creatures.

I loved this phase with Lyla, and I love it with Adaline. Miss A, our precious little bug, has been such a delight from the moment we brought her home. She's so easy going, and just easy all around. Oh, and she's a cuddler. Yes - my last baby is a cuddler! Thank goodness. Because I'll be a little sad when she's no longer a newborn. Which, by the way, when are babies technically no longer newborns? Is it when they grow out of newborn-size diapers? Because we just hit that point yesterday. And I refuse to call Addie anything but a newborn. So if you tell me she's no longer a newborn, I'm going to find a way to squeeze her insanely long torso into a newbie diaper.


There's just something about their smell. Holy moly does the newborn smell get my pheromones going, or what. Gabe thinks it simply smells like dirty baby. I, however, would love to bottle it up and turn it into a perfume. I'm really not kidding. Call me crazy, but I think I'd make a fortune.

Oh and the little noises. Those sweet, quirky little noises that have Lyla asking if Baby Adaline okay? because she's never heard any other human making these noises. The tiny mouse-like squeaks, the grunts, the little sucking noise with the pacifier, and the snorts. Oh newborn snorts, how I love you.

Then, they have their distinct newborn movements. Gabe calls these movements "animatronic"- definition being "robotic devices to emulate a human or animal". And that's so completely accurate. Newborns have these robotic movements that seem so calculated yet so spastic at the same time. Lots of flailing limbs, head bobs, and of course the non-stop rooting. Love em' all.

They make me laugh, I tell ya. Like how they stare at the strangest things for hours - things like the couch cushion or the white wall. Or how they are so animalistic in that first latch on while nursing. Or how they have that "scare reflex" where they all of a sudden will throw their arms in the air while sleeping like something scared the bejeebies out of them. I catch myself laughing all day long.

Um. And can we stop for a moment and talk about the reality of how easy newborns really are? I mean seriously. You can put them in a chair, bouncy seat, swing, or any other nook in your house, and they will stay there and contently sleep for hours. I mean, my best friend's mom didn't come up with the term "neglect-o-matic", when referring to a baby swing, because she thought it sounded fancy. It's because you stick a newborn in any ol' spot, and they're happy. And you might unintentionally forget about them. Unless of course your newborn has colic, which my firstborn did. Then, you're screwed.

And call me crazy? But I actually get a twinge of excitement in the middle of the night when I hear those first cries before the BIG cry which means "Feed me right now no really right this very instant right now!" I look forward to the one-on-one time without the buzzing of a typical busy day. I mean sure, I have bags the size of golfballs, but this time period is short in the grand scheme of things. And I will sleep again. And once I do, I'll miss our middle of the night one-on-one encounters.

Oh my goodness, there's just so much cuteness. The unintentional smiles while sleeping, the little fists rolled into balls while nursing, the face perched on a hand while sleeping, the big stretches when first waking up, and the faces. Those sweet newbie faces. My personal favorites are the kissie-lip-pucker face, the catching-flies-while-i-sleep face, and the infamous scrunch face.

But my absolute favorite? The way they curl up into the fetal position, and snuggle up into that sweet spot between your shoulder and neck. Ahh. And you can feel the warm skin of their cheek on yours. Just a warm little ball of love. I could do that all day everyday for the rest of my entire life.

Oh. And fuzzy after-bath hair. That's the best.

Ok. I think that covers it.

But thank goodness I have a baby, you guys. Because all this talk of newborns is giving me baby fever over here.

Adaline, I just may squeeze you into newborn diapers for the next 6 months. ;)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Life with Two: A peek into reality

The first two weeks of Adaline's life were exactly what I'd hoped for. Our new life with two surprised me as they were so much better and easier than I'd imagined.

Gabe was on paternity leave. We all slept in. We made breakfast every morning. The weather was still beautiful, and we went for walks to the park - sometimes more than once. Lyla was adjusting and even thriving in her new role as a big sister. Adaline was {and still is} incredibly laid back and a rockstar eater and sleeper. And we had multiple days where we all stayed in our pj's until noon - with nowhere to be and nothing to care about but our family of four.

But it was Lyla's reaction to Adaline that surprised us most. She wasn't so sure about this new tiny human when she first met her, but after a few short seconds, she was in love. And the love and intrigue continued once we brought Baby A home. She made sure to let us know when "Baby Adaline crying, she's sad" or "Baby Adaline sleeping" or "Adaline needs baby paci". She would gently rub her head, watch her while she napped, hold her little hands, and continually ask to lay down with her little sister.

I was nervous about how Lyla would react to me nursing the baby. And the first time, it frightened her. She saw me feeding Adaline, looked confused, and began to cry. but she immediately walked over, observed for a few moments, and then said "Adaline drinking milk?" Now she pulls up a chair next to me and chats while I feed the baby. She also loved helping to burp the baby. She would gently pat her and tell her to burp. But this only lasted until Adaline started spitting up frequently. Now, Lyla gets this disgusted look on her face and says "baby throw up - ugh!" So I can no longer count on her to help in this area. :)

Lyla was also the comfort police. The moment Adaline seemed uncomfortable, Big Sis had to do something about it. When the baby started crying, Lyla would rush to her rescue with the "baby paci" and shove it in her mouth. We had to teach her to gently put it in...and explain that she didn't always want it. Or if she thought the baby was cold, she'd throw a blanket over her. And the moment Lyla woke from nighttime or nap, she asked to go say good morning to Baby Adaline.

My heart exploded nearly every 15 seconds of this new life with two.

But there were also some enlightening moments that made me deeply sad. Overnight, Lyla became a big girl. {No seriously, she was a giant compared to the newborn we brought home.} But not just physically. We all of a sudden {and unintentionally} expected Lyla to act like a big girl because she was now the big sister, and we needed her to be a big girl.

And in an instant, one that I hadn't prepared for, Lyla was no longer a baby. She had grown up.

The tears stung as they streamed down my face at the thought.

Then there was the moment when I realized that Gabe and Lyla were developing an incredibly close bond - one that I couldn't participate in because I was taking care of a newborn. Don't get me wrong. I have the best husband. He was (and continues to be) a saint during those two weeks he was off - cooking, cleaning, changing dirty diapers. But most of all, he entertained Lyla and gave her all the attention that I was unable to give her. He took her on walks, played the tickle game when he was exhausted from middle of the night diaper changes, and took her on a father-daughter date to a soccer game.

Lyla adored this one-on-one time with her dad!

But we all know good things must always come to an end. And after two of some of the very best weeks of my life, Gabe left me to fend for myself with two children.

The nerve.

And that's when reality slapped me in the face. So hard, it left a mark.

I woke up my first morning ready to tackle the day. And things were actually off to a really good start. I fed the baby. Made a huge breakfast of eggs and pancakes for Lyla and I. And then I got both girls dressed so we could go to the park as the weather was supposed to get frigid...and I was desperate to soak up the last few moments of sunshine.

It was 9:00 when we started getting ready for our walk. We didn't make it out the door until 10:30.

My first dose of reality had been swallowed.

My second dose was a bit stronger, and shortly followed our arrival home from the park. Where Lyla had no less than 5 tantrums. The baby started to cry, at first it was a subtle quiet cry, but quickly turned into a SCREAMING I'm hungry cry. That's when Lyla told me she had to go "yucky poo-poo". {Something that has been a struggle for months}. I ran Lyla to the potty. She sat and sat. Meanwhile, the baby was still screaming. So, I took Lyla off the potty and told her we'd try again later. I started nursing the babe. Then Lyla came out of her room crying hysterically. She had an accident. I stopped nursing the babe. Went to go clean Lyla up who was crying harder than I'd seen her cry in awhile. I sat her back on the potty. Baby started screaming again. Lyla begged for me to take her off the potty. I made her sit in case she still had to go. I went to check on the baby. Then I heard Lyla screaming louder. I ran back to the bathroom, and she had gone in the potty {something she is terrified to do}. She cried uncontrollably and refused to flush it and kept begging me to take her out of the bathroom. I praised her, hugged her, cleaned her up, and gave her a sucker. She was instantly happy.

So, 20 minutes later, I got back to nursing the baby.


Similar scenarios happen daily. But I'm sure I'll get the hang of it.


But more than the adjustment of handling two on my own was Lyla's sudden change from being happier than I'd ever seen her to a sobbing, cry-at-the-drop-of-a-hat mess. She cried over everything from having skin on her apple to the eyeball falling off on her turkey sticker for her potty chart. And it really was so sad to witness because she just seemed depressed and confused. She didn't understand why she was acting the way that she was and was having such a difficult time sorting out her feelings.  Needless to say, I've let Ellie {her silk elephant that we only want her to have during naps and nighttime} go with us everywhere. And the thumb? In her mouth 24/7.

But she's coping the only way she knows how.

The silver lining is that Lyla doesn't dislike her little sister and isn't taking any of this out on her. In fact, just the opposite. Adaline is sort of a buffer and turns Lyla's tears into laughter, and Lyla is still just as intrigued and in love as she was a couple of weeks ago.

And actually, as of today, Lyla seems to be getting back to normal. I've been trying to be more intentional about giving her one-on-one attention throughout the day. And I've also been adamant about getting her back on her regular schedule and routine.

So here we are. Each of us learning and adjusting daily. And still enjoying this time and trying to bottle it up.

Because as we all know, it will be gone in the blink of an eye. :(

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Halloween with TWO

Most bloggers are already posting their favorite holiday recipes and gift wishlists. I only dream to be that disciplined.

I've still got pumpkins on my front porch, all of which will probably stay there until Thanksgiving, and I'm doing a terrible job with restraint as Lyla's kitty-cat trick-or-treat bucket taunts me every hour with all the candy goodness that I won't allow her to have. I justify my lack of will-power on what I like to call the "nursing diet"- one of the perks of breastfeeding, for sure.

Oh. And my two year old is still sporting her one-size-too-small pumpkin jammies most nights while I'm still sporting a pumpkin latte in my hands at any given moment.

And Christmas music will wait to be played until the day after Thanksgiving. And not a day earlier.

Wearing big sister's outfit from two Halloweens ago. And so happy about it. 

This year's Halloween was extra special...and extra last-minute. I was so incredibly exhausted at the end of my pregnancy and was feeling a bit like a walrus scooting about everywhere I went, so I just wasn't up to the task of being super mom. I have so loved making Lyla's costumes the past two years, but it just wasn't happening this year. We even skipped our traditional patch outing with our friends and went a bit more low key instead because everything hinged on when our baby arrived.

And to be honest, I was getting to the point where I wasn't even sure if the baby would be here by the time Halloween rolled around. So I let that taste of bitter simmer around for a bit and decided to not go all out and make costumes for my one or possibly two littles.

Bah Humbug.

Luckily, our sweet babe#2 arrived the day after Gabe's birthday, and I suddenly had the urge {and energy} to make all kinds of Halloween memories.

And I miraculously managed to remember, just in the knick of time, to have a pumpkin painting party for Lyla's sake. Unfortunately, while we were at the patch this year, I forgot to get pumpkins for Gabe and I...and our unborn baby. So Gabe took Ly up the street to a local church where they picked out the perfect pumpkins for our little family pumpkin party. That we held an hour before it got dark...the night before Halloween.

Lyla took her job very seriously.

 Pumpkin painting with Grams

Wanting to show the world "Baby Adaline's pumpkin" 

 Proudly showing off her "pretty pumpkin"

That moment. When Gabe realized he is now outnumbered in a house full of girls. 

Once Adaline was actually here, I suddenly cared about a fabulously-adorable Halloween costume. In conjunction with her big sister of course.

Before she arrived, when I was sure we were having a boy, I mustered up enough energy to come up with the idea of a K-State cheerleader for Lyla {because I conveniently bought an outfit for $7.00 at a consignment sale} and a football for our little man. Perfect. It would be easy and cheap - Both necessities in my book right after having a baby.

Well, he turned out to be a she, and I just couldn't let her be a football for Halloween. It didn't jive well in my soul. So I decided on Willie the Wildcat and feverishly reached out to multiple Etsy vendors pleading that I was desperate and needed little cat ears by Halloween for my brand new without-a-costume baby. I couldn't find anyone who was willing {or able} to crochet some ears and mail them out in 5 days. Until I reached out to this gal, who took pity on me, and whipped up an adorable little beanie that I received the day before Halloween. Phew!

And all was well in the world.

 Our very own little Willie!

Why yes. I drew whiskers on my 8 day old. It's called being festive, people.  

Big Sis approved!

And then, of course, we had our little KSU cheerleader. Who was absolutely terrified to put the little wildcat sticker on her cheek. It took so much bribery to get that sticker on. And it lasted for a good 45 seconds. 

You win some. You lose some. 

But oh my goodness, we have grown leaps and bounds in comparison to last year's trick-or-treating experience. You see, Lyla is a sensitive soul, and is definitely a kiddo who needs to warm up to new situations. So you can imagine how difficult it might be on a night where people dress up in scary costumes, and you're expected to go up to total strangers and their stranger homes and talk to them in exchange for some candy. 

Needless to say, she was kind of a train wreck last year. With so many tears. 

This year, we were prepared to do a lot of cajoling and comforting. But she shocked the socks off us. Lyla was totally in her element. She laughed, cheered, and clapped during picture-taking time {I'm sorry, what?}, had no problem sharing her wagon with a friend, and was the first one out at each house to say trick-or-treat. I kept thinking, no seriously, where is my child? While Gabe walked around with his adult beverage treat of his own saying I'm just so happy my kid isn't crying in between sips. 

Look! That's my kid! SMILING and even CLAPPING for the camera!!! 

I'm not sure we've ever seen her have that much fun. Ever. 

And even though it was 40 degrees, we still took out our little 8 day old nugget. Don't worry, she was nice and cozy in the Moby. 

And the fun continued into way-way-way-past bedtime hours with obscene amounts of candy. Every time I looked over, Lyla seemed to have sugar in some form or another in her hands. 

Whatever. It's one night a year. 

And I felt bad. Because we did have one "incident" that evening. Our friend dresses up like a gorilla every year, and the boys sit out on the porch scaring all the kids while they come up to grab their treats. I agree, horribly mean. Well, gorilla needed a bathroom break, and Lyla took one glimpse and was a hysterical mess. She screamed and sobbed "Gorilla? GOOORIIILLAAAAA. Mr. Andrew a GORILLA" for a good 15 minutes. 

It's been almost a week, and she still wakes up in the night and from every nap asking if the gorilla went bye bye or if the gorilla is sleeping. 


But all in all. Another Halloween for the books. LOVE our tradition with our ever-growing trick or treat pack!