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. :(

No comments: