Wow, here it is seven and a half weeks after my second daughter Lana Jane was born and my maternity leave is winding down. I start back work full-time next week. I can't believe how fast the time has gone by. Being a mom the second time around certainly is a lot easier than it was being a mom for the first time. Friends have told me that going from zero to one is extremely hard but going from one to two kids is a walk in the park in comparison. I have to agree with them (so far).
Maybe it's because I've been through it before and I know my first kid (now four and a half years old) turned out okay. Maybe it's because I have good habits and a routine in place now. As a first time mom, a baby rocked my precious world and I was lucky to remember to take a shower or put on deodorant. After my second baby Lana was born, I was grocery shopping and exercising within a few days. Things just seemed to fall into place a lot faster. I wasn't sleeping much for the first three weeks but I knew what to expect. I prepared myself for this baby maintenance phase. Whereas the first time you become a mom, I think there is NO AMOUNT of classes, books or advice from folks to truly prepare you for what is coming your way!
Having a second child feels really special to me because I had the pleasure of seeing my four year old's reaction to it, watching her hold her sister and hear all her comments and questions. Just a few days ago, she said, "Mommy, your tummy isn't big anymore. I can't get in there and neither can my baby sister anymore!" I quickly told her "Yes, thank gosh for that!" :-) My clever, observant girl! She lays down and talks to Lana during tummy time on the floor. We all dance around the house together. I give them baths at the same time. We're a family and it feels awesome.
I still wouldn't say the initial baby phase is my favorite age but I am enjoying it more than I did the first time around as well. I remind myself that this (hopefully) will be my last baby so I am not as quick to stop holding her or rocking her because I realize that the days will come when she wants her independence. When I find myself frustrated from cries or sleepless moments, I remember that it's just temporary. In fact, for the past week, my Lana Jane has had 5, 6 and even 7-hour stretches of sleep already, at seven weeks old. So I really can't complain. My girls are good sleepers and I strive hard to make a bedtime routine even for an infant. I think they take after both their parents though - early to bed and early risers! We are morning people, what can I say? At 10:30 am on a weekend, I've already typically accomplished my errands and plans for the day.
I look at my two girls every day and say to myself, "You are so lucky! You have two beautiful girls." I know it's only the beginning and that the tough days are ahead - school, homework, boys, proms, periods, social pressures, etc. But I know that with my husband Kirk, we'll face it all head on.
I've always wanted a sister so I am thrilled to have two daughters. I don't feel sad at all that I don't have a son at all. I think I was meant to have girls actually. I love reading to them, playing games and dress up with them and dancing around the living room. I'd rather do that any day than go to a soccer game or teach how to throw a ball. (Well we do some of that with my oldest daughter but only for a few minutes here and there). I love the girly stuff, what can I say?
One of the best things about being a mom the second time around is that I have so much more confidence in myself. I hardly pick up a parenting book or visit an online site for advice. I have called the nurse's line at my pediatrician's office twice but mostly to confirm my gut. I'm relying more on my instincts and it's working out well so far.
I don't jump or fret when my baby girl is crying. Not even in a public place like I did with my first daughter. I figure if it doesn't bother me, then others shouldn't be bothered by it either. I don't worry about every little sound or lack of sound coming from the crib. I remembered how to give a baby a bath, how to change a diaper and to pack extra clothes for she and myself when we're on the go. Spit up and drool, I'm ready for you.
Maybe Lana senses my ease because she seems to be a mostly happy and content baby. Sure she cries when tired, hungry or poopy. But she's so alert and cooing and snuggly when she's happy and awake while I'm holding her. In fact, she wants to be in mama's arms nearly all the time. Although she also likes tummy time too.
I'm so happy that I went through the weight gain and discomfort of pregnancy, labor and delivery once again to have this second child. Being a mom twice really is amazing for my family and me. I'm taking the time to enjoy it more too.
I've taken the past few months to de-clutter many things in my life. I've trimmed down my social circle and networking. I put my phone away for hours and never even look at it. I limit my television watching to breastfeeding or bottle feeding times during the day. I think ahead to what we can do as a family even if it's just a quick visit to the library or visiting a blueberry farm to pick berries. And even though it doesn't always quite work out, my husband and I eat dinner at the table with our girls as a family and we put them to bed after reading stories each night. Kirk has been wonderful at pitching in and doing more around the house too. We've started cooking together and meal planning as a couple. He's in the kitchen just as much, if not more than me lately and I love it. We've made some healthier changes to our eating lifestyle recently too to help him feel better and it's rubbed off on my health too, helping me to lose some of this pregnancy weight faster.
At age almost 34, I just feel more comfortable with who I am and my abilities as a mom, wife and person. I'm getting the hang of this life I've made for myself and know that I'll get through the little curves, bumps, joys, sorrows and things that are thrown my way as long as I have this lovely group (pictured below) by my side:
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