Saturday, September 22, 2012

Getting used to being a "Mommy of Two"

Ken went back to work 5 weeks after Calvin was born.  That is more than most dads get and incredibly beneficial to the family but I was still feeling unprepared and a little freaked out as the deadline neared.  It's a major balancing act.  Sometimes one of them has to wait or cry while I'm attending some other urgent thing.  I struggle to find ways to optimize the fact that there is only one of me and two of them.  The other day, I had Sidney feed Calvin his bottle (for 60 seconds) as I darted into the kitchen to heat a pan of noodles and steam the vegetables.  Dinner needs to get made somehow and I guess that's how you do it, feed baby and keep a preschooler occupied.  Right?


Sometimes the baby gear thing can get out of hand but I am glad I picked up this swing a few weekends ago.  It's a total lifesaver.  When Calvin is having trouble staying asleep, this is the perfect substitute for me jiggling, patting and rocking him for 30-60 minutes to calm down.  Babies under 2 months don't have the neurological capacity to calm themselves which is why you need to hold, rock, shush, pacify and bounce them constantly.  Add to this scenario a 3-year-old needing her lunch or to be wiped or put down for a nap or played with--I definitely needed this.  Swaddle is also key because it mimics the tight, coziness of being in utero which also settles down babies this young.  That swaddle blanket is called a Miracle Blanket and it lives up to it's name.  Didn't know about this with Sidney but now it's one of my favorite baby products ever.

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Last night, Calvin graced us with a 6 hour interval between feedings followed by a 5 hour interval between feedings.  I don't know if I can capture the exact emotion in one word: relief, gratitude, ecstasy...  Getting that much sleep at one time makes me feel so normal and unencumbered.  It's this clawing my way back to normalcy which creates the most hope and grief in these early days.  I realize in my old age that I am a creature who needs some predictability and control in order to function best.  My waning tolerance for the sleep deprivation, disorder, uncertainty and tedium only last with the assurance that these conditions are temporary.  I notice with the presence of an older kid, I just want to get through this early period fast.  Some people love the newborn stage but I am not one of those people.  Mommy loves self-sufficiency.

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Shameless Self Promotion: I wrote an article for Seattle's Child about how to prepare your family of three to be a family of four in the now out Fall 2012 special edition of "Seattle's Child: A New Arrival."  Unlike their monthly issues, this seasonal edition focuses just on newborns and related topics.  The article is not available online yet (though I will post a link in the sidebar as soon as it is.)  But you can now pick up a copy at Seattle-area, kid-focused establishments.  Here is the cover:


I am very grateful to all the child development experts and moms who I got to interview for the article called "World of Two."  It gave me insight, reassurance and tools to make this transition a little easier.  I'm also glad to share with other parents too.  While people have been having children for millennia and doing a fine job of it, my daily thought is that it's not easy.  How did people do this with even less support, technology, resources and information?  Perhaps vodka, chocolate, coffee, soap operas and romance novels?  Or unconditional love.  Who knows?

1 comment:

Danny V. said...

Frankly, I am in awe of those that have more than one kid and can still keep it together. There are days that Hannah simply wears me out... and that's with her in kindergarten most of the day. Kudos to you, Ms. K, and keep up the good work.