Sunday, February 12, 2017

Life with TWO

I love being a mom.

But being a mom requires some adjustment. And now, being a mom of two.. has required even more.

Let me be frank... My first "wake-up call" as a mom of two happened as Adeline started crying for food as I was finishing feeding Lydia from a messy mac & cheese dinner.

I hurried and put Lydia in the tub, grabbed the baby and started nursing her beside the tub. Lydia then started yelling "poop!" which is what she does to let me know she needs to go.

So one hand on the baby eating, one hand pulling Lydia from the tub, to the toilet.. both kids start crying as I try to use a towel to mop the floor with my foot from all the water that spilled out from pulling Lydia out..

When all the sudden.. I have to go to the bathroom too.. and as I'm only just a couple days post-giving birth, this means I really really have to go!

But Lydia is on the toilet and I am feeding a baby.. and so.. I'm in a predicament.

I selfishly get Lydia off the toilet, hurry and go.. and as I put her back on I realize there is poop on the floor because I had grabbed her off mid-go.


Face palm.

And I thought to myself [sarcastically].. "Wow Anna, you really rock at this mom of two thing!"

I remember the last time I kissed Lydia goodnight before we brought her little sister home. And I remember the first time she saw the "baby" and smothered her in kisses and a good eye poke. I hope she will always love her as much as she does now. (Just maybe a little bit more soft).

I kind of feel like I'm on some sort of safety patrol between Lydia and the baby.. CONSTANTLY.

Lydia loves on that baby so much that I felt like I had to keep her in her crib for the first 2 months to avoid Lydia's excited and overly squishy (not to mention suffocating) hugs.

The crib strategy worked until Lydia figured out how to climb into the crib. So then it was putting the baby in her crib with the door shut... but then Lydia learned how to open the door. So now.. I just listen for a door opening and that is usually my cue that I have about 1 minute and 23 seconds before Lydia is in the crib trying to hold the baby.

My next wake-up call happened at my first Sunday back at 9 AM church.

Brian was working and I was determined to get it right by myself.

I had it all together. I was up at the crack of dawn so I could shower, do my hair, and brush my teeth all before the babies woke up.

I got both kids fed, dressed, and I had time to pump so that I would have some milk to feed the baby at church and wouldn't have to leave to go nurse her.

But the best part of it all was.. I got to church EARLY.

You read that right. I was early enough that we actually got to choose our seats and have time to kill and even listen to the prelude music.

Lydia didn't know what to do with herself and wanted to dig in immediately into my church bag for toys and treats which is normally fine.. but I wanted to savor those.. Savor this time where I wasn't rushing and hushing my children.

The Bishop's wife came over to me before the meeting began and told me if I needed to go nurse the baby or something then she'd be happy to help with Lydia.

I thanked her, but secretly did a little jig inside because that wasn't going to happen.  I had this mom thing down! I was all set!

And then the meeting began.

And it was all great. For about 10 minutes.

Lydia was happily coloring and eating raisins. We made it through the hymn, announcements, and even the bread part of the sacrament.

But the baby started getting fussy.

Never fear! I have a bottle! As I am about to pull the baby from her carseat to feed her, I feel something warm and sticky on my hand..

I look into the carseat...

And the baby has pooped all up her back and front.

There is a POOL of poop surrounding her.

My heart panics but I breathe.. I got this. I can just feed her in her carseat and then go change her after sacrament.

But all of the sudden, I see that underneath the carseat.. you know the little holes the straps go through to hold the baby in? Ya those? Well poop is LEAKING out of those onto the bench underneath.

Gross... really gross..

And I realize.. I didn't pack a change of clothes for the baby.

And I didn't pack the right sized diaper either.

And so... I gather toys for Lydia, rush her to the Bishop's wife... grab my belongings and the baby carseat and try to catch the poop dripping out of the carseat as I exit the chapel.. get in my car... and drive home to quickly bathe the baby, pack my neglected needed belongings, (plus cleaning supplies for the bench) feed the baby.. and get back before the end of sacrament.

And that ended my determination to always have it together.

Instead, my determination to just roll with my best would have to work.

So this is what life with two kids is like (at least for me).

With just Lydia, sometimes I felt like a champion and other times I had no idea what I was doing. It could feel easy and yet it was the hardest thing I had ever done to start the road to motherhood. It was madness and pure happiness.

Over time, I gained confidence. The times that had felt so hard started to feel more manageable. And I felt like I was in a groove.

So we added a child.

Don't be fooled.. what looks like precious kisses in this picture is actually just Lydia wiping her nose on the baby's head. Yep.

And yes.. as shown above, we have some very crazy moments and it gets tough. But I find that I am learning so much this time around. And truly the good outweighs the hard by a long shot.

Here's my list of Lessons with Two:

Find balance. When Lydia wants my attention but the baby needs to be fed.. who wins? When Adeline is crying for me to hold her but Lydia is making a mess by dumping the bath water over the tub? Who gets it? Finding that balance can be so tricky and tiring. I can walk away feeling guilty for choosing to not let my bathroom become a swimming pool by letting the baby cry so I can clean it up.. or I can walk away from Lydia to change the baby's diaper when Lydia desperately wants me to color with her. I can't let myself feel guilty that I can't give my 100% to both children all the time.

Enjoy the small moments. When I do have the opportunity to give my full attention to a child (because the other is sleeping or something) I am learning to give it my all. Lydia is napping and Adeline is wide awake.. enjoy laying there on the floor with her and handing her toys to put in her mouth-even if there are dishes that need to be washed. It is just soaking in the joy on Lydia's face as we three sit in the dark with a flashlight on or allowing her to dump out the toy bin just to play peek-a-boo two times before moving on to something else. Enjoy those fleeting moments.. because that is what they are. Fleeting.

Fits happen. Lydia is my spirited child and often is loud and rambunctious. This also makes her fits seem a million times worse at times. I often feel like I have to hurry and 'calm her down' or that she has to go a whole day without a tantrum for me to feel like a success as a mom. But I am learning. Fits just happen. It's part of the stage. Lydia is 2 and learning how to control her emotions and she'll get there. It doesn't mean I'm a bad mom. Just one that has to learn to be extra patient.

There is only so much you can do. Dealing with two sets of needs at once is hard stuff. When both kids are screaming and it makes you want to scream too.. Take a breath. It is impossible to be the same mom with your first as you are with your second. My attention is split, but I am more confident the second time around and I need to let that confidence take over sometimes.

Prepare ahead. When you go out or have plans to go out. Just make sure to always refill the diaper bag with the much needed-family necessities. This time around I make sure to fill the bag after we get home from something because I definitely know myself well enough to know that the next time I am grabbing it, I am probably in a hurry.

It's okay to be tired. And it's okay to nap! (Even if there is a pile of laundry up the wahzoo on the bed). This one is hard sometimes, even now that Adeline is no longer a newborn. When both girls are napping I have always seen it as the time to get things done. That's when I can tidy the house, do some laundry, and clean the hard water stain in the toilet bowl. But there are some days that the baby had stuffy nose and was up 3 times and Lydia had a bad dream and was up asking for milk and comfort. And those days I really just want to lay down and take a nap with the girls. But I again let myself feel guilty for getting some rest even if I deserved it. Looking at all the "other" moms who seemed to have so much energy and are doing so much with their kids-they have tired days too. We just aren't seeing the big picture.

Let the older child get promoted to Mommy's Helper. Lydia has her moments where she gets jealous.. She'll get jealous when the baby gets milk and she doesn't. Solution? I have her help feed the baby. Does it always work? Nope. We still get tantrums. But we'll get there. Same with the bath.. When I bathe the baby, Lydia wants to be in the tub too. Solution? Have her help me wash the baby's legs. Most of the time Lydia loves being mommy's helper and for me I just needed to let her help more because she is excited about the baby too.

You really do have room in your heart to love another. Maybe this was a silly worry. But I was worried while pregnant that I wouldn't be able to love this new baby as much as I loved Lydia. Or that I wouldn't be able to connect with her or bond. Or that I would love Lydia less because I had someone else to love too. What's amazing is that it isn't about making room in your heart to love another, it's about your heart growing to hold all the new and overflowing love you have. I love and adore Lydia and I equally love and adore Adeline. All that has changed is that my ability to love has increased.

I am sure I have many more lessons to learn, especially as the girls grow and our family eventually grows. So I'll probably continue adding to this list.

I truly love these little beauties. They bring my home and life so much joy. I'm just so happy to be their mama.