On These Pages Are The Stories Of Our Family We Go Together ! Welcome To The World As Viewed Through Our Eyes
Lynette .......... Caedmon .......... Libby .......... Tom

Friday, August 8, 2008

Ramblings of a Sleep-Deprived Mama

...My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness... 2 Corinthians 12:9

Whew! We've made it through the first 6 1/2 weeks of Libby's life and everyone is still alive...not necessarily clean but alive. Tom & I realized on Sunday evening that poor Caedmon had not had a bath since Tuesday (we did get him into the shower that night so he now smells sweet again).  This also made me realize my sinful, self-centeredness since I was complaining that I was only getting a shower every 2 or 3 days lately. Yes, personal hygiene is one of those things that can slip when one has two children 2 and under to care for each day. Caedmon was also nice enough to point out that mommy has been lax about other areas of hygiene ("what's that, mama?, " pointing to my armpit and the hair growing there...ugh!). Okay, enough of revelations about my lack of perfection (or should I say, cleanliness).

It is certainly different to start this motherhood thing for the second time. It is all at once easier and harder. There is a confidence that was not present the first time around. With Caedmon, everything was unknown and a brand new experience. At least with Libby, we've been here before. We have vague memories from those first Caedmon sleep-deprived days of all of these new and different baby things. Of course, it also feels like it was eons ago and sometimes everything seems new all over again. There is something comforting about looking at Caedmon and realizing that he is turning out pretty well despite the many mistakes we probably made in those first days and months. On the other hand, having two little bodies and souls to care for adds a brand new twist. I realize the blessing of the times I had to just snuggle with my sweet Caedmon when he was an infant. With Libby, there are not as many times to snuggle since Caedmon is in need of mama too.

Tom told me that I should get down some thoughts on Libby so she would be able to look back and see what we were thinking/experiencing during these first weeks of her life. I find it really hard to describe the personalities of newborns. I've read books where they try to categorize babies (textbook, angel, grumpy) but even with those guidelines, I can't put my little one a box. There have been times when we've claimed her to be fussy or colicky, but I'm not sure that's true. She has her days or her moments, but then there are equal days where she is fairly pleasant and sleeps easily in the evening. As I type, sweet Libby is sound asleep on the "boppy" pillow in my lap (of course, she was supposed to be eating but didn't drink much before dropping off to sleep). She's always been fairly good at sleeping in at nighttime. Getting her to sleep is not always clearcut, but once she's down, she's all about sleeping. She wakes only long enough to nurse; then, happily gets swaddled back up and deposited in her bassinet until the next feeding. During the day, she is now having good stretches of awake time. She likes to sit in her bouncy seat and coo and gurgle and smile at everyone or no one.
However, when it's nap time, I haven't quite figured out the key to getting her off to sleep easily. My friend Erin sings the praises of a sling. Libby's not crazy about my "hotsling." However, I am going to borrow a ring sling (the adjustable kind) from Nancy and we'll see if that works better. Libby is often a fan of the Baby Bjorn and also LOVES to be swaddled and patted. We found that the swaddle is the key to car rides. If we strap her in swaddled, she is quite content. Slowly but surely we are learning the likes and dislikes of our 2nd born.

One day, Libby will hate me for sharing this fact, but she is our crazy pooper. The girl cannot keep her diaper clean. I change at least a dozen diapers a day (all hers...Caedmon is a different story) and they are ALL poopy! And no one warned me that changing girl diapers can be equally if not more dangerous than changing boy diapers. If she's not projectile pooping, she peeing on herself. (Yes, I did say, "PROJECTILE POOPING"!) Ugh! I have come to dread changing diapers because it is rarely clearcut. In fact, we've been known to go through 2 or 3 diapers during one changing session. She introduced us to the projectile pooping in her first days at home. Tom and I were completely unprepared. We both happened to be with her at changing time and she was not all too happy to have her diaper removed. In her fit of screaming, she drew up her legs and the next thing we knew there was poop flying through the air. It hit everything in sight (which included Tom, our bed sheets and numerous other things). Gross!!! It was still the sticky brown meconium at that point too. All I could do was laugh because it was so completely unexpected. She has since had another poop explosion at her 1 month pediatrician appointment. I narrowly missed being the target of that one. It was quite an ordeal though with the latex gloves and disinfectant being used to clean the poop covered exam room!

Caedmon loves his baby sister. She is smothered in kisses all day long. However, he is not always keen on how much of mommy's attention she requires. The hardest times are when I'm nursing her. He could care less about me if I'm not caring for Libby but once the boppy comes out, he is in dire need of being as close to me as possible. In fact, one day he decided he could "help mommy feed Libby." That entailed him putting his hand on my breast...ugh! I think he was thinking about all of his big brother books where the big brother gets to help feed a bottle to the baby. Needless to say, I have been trying to encourage him to help in other ways. His big role is to be my burp cloth fetcher. I inevitably forget to have a burp rag around. He is great at finding them and bringing them to me. However, a few days ago, he decided that he needed the burp rag, too. Now, I always tell him to get two (one for me and one for him). He insists on his being placed on his shoulder, too. Yesterday, I told him to get a stuffed animal to burp. He came back with a Superman figurine. "I'm burping my superhero!", he informed me.

One big encouragement in this second round of life with a newborn is that Libby is growing really well. Caedmon was extremely small in his first 4 months of life. Looking back, I can find a number of reasons to blame it on. It really doesn't matter at this point since he's a healthy, active 2 year old. However, it did make me worry a little that I would produce enough milk to successfully nurse L-girl. The first weeks of breastfeeding are always difficult and I think every nursing mama wonders if her baby is getting enough to eat. My fears were allayed when at her 1 month appointment, Libby weighed a whopping 8 lbs 9.5 oz. Okay, for people like Gretchen whose son weighed 9lb 10 oz at birth Libby's weight does not sound that outstanding. However, she did gain almost 2 lbs since birth and she weighed a whole pound more than Caedmon did at the same age. Libby actually looks a little chubby and with Caedmon, he didn't look chubby until he was at least 6 months old. All that to say, I'm feeling much more successful at this breastfeeding thing this time around. Yea!

We're slowly starting to venture out of the house. When Tom or family are here, it's not so bad to try a shopping trip or to eat out, but the idea of just me, Caedmon and Libby was a bit overwhelming. We started slow. Early on, we went to playgroup at a friend's house. That was easy. Next, we tried swim lessons - a little more challenging, but still doable. This week, I really took the plunge. After swim lessons, we went shopping AND out to eat. Fortunately, both kids cooperated and I'm now feeling pretty good about trying again. There are some challenges. One of my big concerns was how well the Babyjogger double (side-by-side) all-terrain stroller would really work. It was fine. I even maneuvered through J. Crew! Lunch worked well because L-girl slept the whole time...and I didn't have to feed her until we got home. We'll definitely be hanging around home more than I did when it was just Caedmon and I, but now I know that outings with two kiddos can be accomplished. I'm sure they won't all be as smooth as our first, but even with just Caedmon, things weren't always smooth. At least I know I can do it!

So, to sum up, although I am sleep-deprived, dirty and feeling a bit overwhelmed at times, I am also blessed beyond words and actually, surviving this adventure of motherhood. I'm really enjoying getting to know my new baby girl and watching Caedmon accept her into his life. I pray that they will develop a loving friendship with each other. I know we will have sibling squabbles in the future but I pray that they will always value each other and the blessing it is that God has given them a family who loves them. Looking back over this post, it is truly rambling...however, it is probably a good reflection of me right now.

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