Cooing Babies, a Screaming Toddler, and Life as We Know It

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This post made possible by my amazing husband who let me sneak away with only one baby–Daniel (the one who doesn’t ever take pumped milk in a bottle) to Panera to use my free pastry reward for signing up for their reward app. Here’s to coffee, a cinnamon roll, finally writing, and the cutest little date ever! 🙂 FYI, this post is a bit “stream of conscious and was developed over time.

Life as we know it continues to evolve, adjust, and change. Sometimes daily. The first couple weeks after Mitch started his new job consisted of us working toward a “schedule” or routine. Rebekah never really lost hers, though it became more flexible and relaxed. Daniel and Joseph both created a fantastic night routine that yields more sleep for us than I thought we would have for a few more months. I’m talking 5-8 hours straight! (Fingers crossed it sticks around.) 

The boys are filling out with chubby cheeks and chunky thighs, and of course those wrist bands and arm rolls that ease my worried mind. I still find myself fretting about if they are gaining weight. But at our last lactation appointment, all she said was “You guys are awesome. Keep doing whatever you are doing.” And they rocked their two-month appointment with even more weight gain and all around stellar health. I really do count my blessings they are so healthy.

I am pretty sure Daniel would sleep through the whole night if we didn’t wake him up when Joseph wakes up to eat. I am feeding them the same way I did Rebekah, but it has been a very different experience. They latched great right away, and go for longer stretches at nights. So I think every baby is different, and after the first 2-4 weeks, we just have to allot for those differences as long as they are healthy and growing.

I know these swaddles don’t work for every baby (once again, personality varies preferences), but these Woombie swaddlers (Amazon Affiliate link) are magic. A friend lent them to us, and they have made a HUGE difference. They kind of look like straight jackets, but their calming effects are worth it. We will definitely be borrowing or buying the next size up this week. We’ve tried the velcro kind, but our boys figured out how to get out of them. Plus, I love the Woombie two-way zippers that don’t require unswaddling the boys to change them.

Maybe I should call them baby cocoons rather than straight jackets? 😉

Daniel and Joseph not only look different, but their personalities are quite opposite. They made that evident within the first couple hours of meeting them! We had to adjust their nicknames because “fireball” and “angelic one” made it sound like we were playing favorites. Joseph has a fiery, assertive personality, but it suits him. He may grow into a determined and passionate man someday. And if directed in the right direction, those people are our movers and shakers helping to enact social justice. Fiery passions and pooping with gusto aside, he is the sweetest snuggler, settling his head right over my heart. Most of the time, he just wants to be held close.

Rebekah struggled for a bit after Mitch went back to work. She missed the undivided attention and wanted to be treated more like a baby again. And after a peaceful period of a month or so, her tantrums have returned. Of course that is also just her age. She is a two-year-old. I have to fight the embarrassment and frustration and remember that it comes with the age asdnd is normal. Most of this seems to be behind us now, for the time being. The last hour before Mitch gets home is always long. The boys get hungry and fussy and Rebekah usually gets wound up after a recharging nap.

This morning Rebekah was dancing around the living room to Disney music on Pandora. She was singing along the best she could and twirling in her green summer dress. Over and over she declared, “I like this musak!” She is most definitely our singer, our diva. At least once a day she grabs one of her stools, stands up on it and sings to us. Usually she sings a song made up on the spot. When Mitch plays guitar, she requests her “Ukelala” and plays and sings with him.

We have discovered some new books lately that Rebekah wants to reread over and over. Curious George Goes to the Beach is a new favorite, so is Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? (I love the rhymes!), Pirates Don’t Change Diapers (This book is so fun! She now can make pirate sounds like “Argh” and “Matey”), and Maggie and the Pirate by Jack Ezra Keats. She loves all of Keats’ books despite the realism and occasional sadness. I think they help cultivate empathy.

She has also been on a huge Mother Goose nursery rhyme kick. She has memorized several. Mitch brought home a book from the library that has become an instant hit with Rebekah and would be an awesome book for elementary school teachers to use in a fun lesson: The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors.

Thank you for your prayers over Mitch’s job search. It kind of worked out perfectly. He had a small gap in employment–but he got to be home with us when we needed him most. And he is now working at the library running the Bookmobile, working different desks helping patrons, doing deliveries, and much more. It is a fantastic position. He loves it. The pay and benefits are better than his last job. His coworkers are great. Simply put, it has been a huge blessing. And our library is one of our favorite places in Columbia! The Daniel Boone Regional Library offers so many cool services, programs, apps, book sales, etc.

As far as our dog Hazel goes, she is struggling. I’m not sure it is because of the boys, but she is restless. She roams out of the yard if we don’t keep a close eye on her when we are outside. She has gotten into the trash, eaten some baby wipes, thrown up, and most recently tore up the carpet by our bedroom door. After that, we almost shipped her out. But Hazel is family. So we are redoubling efforts on caring for and loving her. We think a lot of it may just be her needing more affection and attention. As an attempt to “practice what I preach,” I am repeating the mantra “Hazel made a bad choice, she is not a bad dog.”

As far as my mental health goes with three under three, it depends on the day. I can say with relief that so far I have not had signs of postpartum. But I have had moments of anxiety, paranoia, and certainly crabbiness. After nursing all the time and constantly holding babies who do not always like to nap on their own, a toddler climbing on me, and a dog pawing me for attention and licking my leg, when Mitch gets home I sometimes want to hand them over not have ANYONE touch me for awhile. Don’t get me wrong, I adore snuggles, but sometimes I just want to not be touched. 

Also, at least once a day all three will melt down crying or fussing at the same time. Very stressful. Once I have them all calmed I am usually a hot sweaty mess and Rebekah pacified with something I shouldn’t do too much of like a cookie or kid’s show. But hey, some moments are about survival. This season is short. And every season will have its unique challenges.

In other news, though I relish a clean home, I’m learning to lower my standards. Dirty dishes are common, toys are usually strewn all over the house, and laundry, well, I get it washed and dried, but it is often days before it is folded and put away. So yeah, I’m still adjusting.

And SO MANY DIAPERS! We are still cloth diapering some. But with my track record with laundry, we are flying through the disposable diapers. I completely underestimated how many diapers two newborns would go through. Yikes! Sorry landfills! 

Life is about adjustments. And I believe in engaging life, even if it is messy, loud, and sometimes leaves me sweaty and frazzled and wanting to hide away for a few hours. These past three months simultaneously feel like the blink of an eye and an eternity. And I am frantically trying to etch these moments, these memories, these sweet, short days in my mind. Here’s to life as we know it. This beautiful, messy life.

Real life moment–I started this post at Panera. Finished it two weeks later . . .