Hi guys! I literally cannot believe that little Miss Lennon Grace has been here for a full week (as of 8:54pm last night, if we are being exact). I am still deciding if I want to share her birth story, or if I want to keep that private– but, I will tell you this, what I thought would be a quick checkup at the doctor (aka: left the house with wet hair, no hospital bag, etc) turned into holding our daughter less than 6 hours later. I don’t know if you are anything like me, but I don’t like being in the hospital, especially with a newborn. It’s like as soon as babe is born I am trying to figure out how I can get discharged. I cannot wait to get home and in my own space, and that was even more so this time around because I missed Luca so much. I am so thankful that Ricardo was able to be there when she was born, and that he got to sleep the first night in the hospital with us before departing with the team for New York. My Mom was a lifesaver and was home with Luca while I was in the hospital, so I literally was on facetime with them the entire time that I was admitted. Lennon was born Thursday night and we were discharged by noon on Saturday.
This week home with two under two has been surprisingly a whole lot less intense than I had mentally prepared myself for. To be honest, the hardest part right now is caring for myself and for my recovery. Luca has literally blown my mind the way that he has grown up and taken on his role as big brother, and Lennon has fit into our family seamlessly thus far. To think about the time that I spent worrying about nonsense makes me laugh now. If you are reading this and you are a first time mama, or if you are pregnant with your second and wondering how the heck you will do it, just take my word– you will DO it, and you will do it SO well. I promise.
That whole thing about how your heart “just doubles” is real. Of course, my love for them is different: with Luca, I have known him and loved him for 19 months– I “know” him, with Lennon, I feel like I have known her forever, yet I still don’t really “know her” quite yet. If that makes any sense at all??
All of this to say, I have been paying attention to things over the last week so that I could write this post for all of you that are bringing home a second baby in the near future. I wish that something like this existed when I was worrying, so I promised myself that while I am “in the trenches” that I will pay extra close attention and that I will find the time to sit down and write and provide content for others. So, here we go. Five things that i’ve learned in the first week being home with two under two. Side note: a lot of these can apply for first time mamas too 🙂
Find a safe spot for your newborn: okay, so what I mean by this is that you never know when your toddler is going to turn up, or when they are going to need you immediately– and when this happens, you will need a “safe place” that you can place your newborn so that you can focus 100% of your energy on your toddler. Lennon’s “safe place” quickly became her dockatot in the middle of our kitchen table, surrounded by our chairs (so that Luca can’t reach up and grab the handle). Whatever your location of choice is, you will need a spot like this!
Toddler’s feelings > Infant: So, I spent a lot of time alone while in the hospital with Lennon because R was out of town and my family was home taking care of Luca (and trying to keep his life as normal as possible) which resulted in me having a lot of conversations with every nurse, doctor, person that I encountered. I picked their brains. I wanted to learn from the people that are the “pros.” One of my doctors told me “I have two kids at home, they are a little further apart in age than yours, but one thing that I learned and tried to always keep in the forefront of my mind during the transition of not being the only child anymore is that you can hurt your toddlers feelings, but you can’t hurt your newborns.” I remember thinking, holy shhiiiiiiiit, that is so brilliant. So, friends, when it comes down to it and you have two crying babes (and you know that your newborn is OK, safe, fed, etc) choose to care for your toddler in that moment,because their feelings can be hurt by you, whereas your newborn really doesn’t understand in that moment what is happening. Sure, it’s heartbreaking to hear any of your babes upset, but, I try to remember this when I have to prioritize my love and care in a given moment. I think it’s worked so far. Luca has been adjusting like a champ, he is so aware of his baby sister, when she is upset he has to figure out where she is so that he can run over and pretend cry with her (not kidding).
Baskets of Things: Okay, your house will prob look like a war zone… mine does, and I wish I could say that I am okay with it, but I am not. A messy house stresses me TF out. But, I am trying my best to ignore that my carpets need to be vacuumed and that my kitchen counters are full of things that need to be put away. It’s hard, but the truth is, when ranking my priorities, my kitchen counters and carpets are at the very bottom. Point of this: it’s okay. One thing that I have found to be really helpful is to keep baskets of anything that I could possibly need on hand in a split second handy in the rooms that we spend most of our time in: my bedroom and the living room. So, I have a changing table set up in my room and it is stocked with not only Lennon’s things, but also Luca’s– this way, if we are in my room and everyone is taken care of I don’t have to run to Luca’s room for a diaper or change of clothes if he needs them– the same goes for Luca’s room, I have a few diapers for Lennon and swaddles, etc there too. I stock these little baskets with diapers, wipes, infant socks, hats, nipple balm, Solly baby wraps, Luca’s diapers, and clean onesies/clothes for each of them. The less trips up and down the stairs, the better.
Drawer of New Toys For Toddler: So, I read this one somewhere while I was pregnant and immediately started to collect little things throughout my pregnancy that I knew Luca would like. I started a drawer in our downstairs guest room with new books, toys, etc. This has been amazing because whenever I need to sit down and really focus on giving Lennon a good feed, I am able to pull out something new to occupy Luca. The biggest struggle so far has been the breastfeeding thing– mostly because they have been only Luca’s for so long, and now he has to be told to wait, or “Lennon’s turn” is what i’ve found myself saying and then when it is nap or bed I say to Luca “Luca’s turn” so that he is able to process that there is enough for them both, but that it isn’t an on demand milk factory kind of deal. New toys and a stocked DVR of his favorite shows have been very helpful during this first week home.
1-1 Time With Toddler: Newborn cuddles are everything, having a baby sleep on your chest is pure euphoria.. but, I will be honest, it happens far less the second time around. This is mostly because you sit down a whole lot less than you did when you just had one baby. Toddlers are busy, they like to play.. so, that means that you’re up and busy and playing. I have tried my absolute best to spend one on one time with Luca when Lennon is asleep (which is a LOT during the day). As much as I would love to sit and have newborn cuddles with her on my chest, I have tried to lay her down in her Dockatot, place her in the Mamaroo swing, or even lay her down in her bassinet while she sleeps so that I can spend this time with Luca (how it used to be). Obviously, sometimes this doesn’t happen, and that’s okay. But, when she is sleeping and content, I get down on the floor with Luca and we play trucks, cuddle and watch Mickey Mouse, or something of the sort. Before you judge me and think I am neglecting my Leni, let me go ahead and reassure you that this little girl is lacking nothing. Luca goes to bed like clockwork at 7pm, and the night is Leni’s… literally, she sleeps all day, and is up all night. So, homegirl and I bond and cuddle at night. It’s actually working out quite perfectly 🙂 (silver lining).
Baby Wearing: So, I thought I was obsessed with baby wearing the first time around– and I was, but, my appreciation for baby wearing has grown so much this time around because it isn’t just sweet and comforting for newborn, it’s 100% necessary to have free hands. If you don’t have a baby wearing option, you need one. I’ll link my favorites below, but pretty much Solly Baby has been a game changer both the first time and now. I am waiting on my Wildbird sling to arrive and once it does, i’ll let you know my thoughts. I have the Ergobaby, but I prefer that once they’re a bit older, and its bulky, so it isn’t as easy to throw on under an oversized sweater and wear around the house.
us mamas are in this together, we are raising the world. from my overflowing, exhausted heart to yours. xo, Grace