Well, we are six weeks into ‘two kids’ and normalcy has set in – in a good way. Three weeks ago I was asking my friends who had one kid (trying for two) if that’s REALLY what they want to do. But you adapt, THANK GOD, and life gets normal. The first few weeks were so emotionally harrowing because we both felt like we couldn’t get a break and things felt unpredictable, despite having help. Plus my hormones were creating an emotional tornado inside – making me cry all of the time out of joy or self-pity (then I’d cry over the shame of crying about how sorry I felt for myself).
We’ve now got our rhythm down most of the time and when we don’t, we are fine with it. It’s amazing how you just adapt and can handle more, and now when I only have one kid it feels like NONE. Well, not exactly but one feels so incredibly easy compared to both.
Ellie (although we mostly call her little bird or birdie) is a magical baby and I’ve officially become obsessed with her. It took me a few weeks, though, for the love to morph into obsession, which I’m not sure is normal or not. It’s like your first baby is like your first love where you are OVERWHELMED with your feelings for them all the time. Like “talk on the phone for 5 hours a night” kinda obsessed. But your second love, say your college boyfriend, isn’t quite as overwhelming – not because you love them less, but because your emotions have done this before.
This is all to say that I’m now equally obsessed with both children, something that I didn’t think would happen. All these pics are from when she was 2 weeks old, but now, at six weeks, she is so engaging and smiley and responsive and fun. She is relatively easy, but definitely wants more attention than Charlie did. I could put him down for 40 minutes and he would coo at the wall, whereas this lady is like “that wall is boring, have you no stories to regale me with while holding me and rubbing my cheeks???”
But I honestly try not to compare as that’s not good for anyone, and I never do it in front of them, just in case it’s interpreted weird (P.S. I’m a NUT about kids listening/comprehending things because I personally believe that they understand at least contexts, if not full stories, REALLY really early).
Charlie has grown up so much in the last 6 weeks it’s insane. He can play more by himself, which has been a GODSEND. He’s communicating like an adult I swear (although I think nobody understands his language full of lisps like we can), so he can tell us everything that he is feeling. He also hangs out with his new friends, Big Bird, Goofy (classic Disney), Blue Fox, Blaze, and Peppa a lot more – something we used to reserve just for the weekends or “special occasions, ” but HA, not anymore my friends. Some days there are LOTS of special occasions. Like all day long. On the weekend, especially during college football season it’s a special occasion for like 3 hours in a row. I lay with Birdie and pin or catch up on my what my blog friends are doing while Charlie and Brian don their Duck gear and watch the game.
Charlie likes Elliot, a lot. He wants to hold her often, loves to make her smile, gets sad when she cries and otherwise pretends she’s not there. At times he wants to be held when I’m holding her, “Up, Mama!” (I swiftly swap), but his jealousy with her is not really a thing yet. He gets sad and frustrated without knowing why, and we just talk through it – and it’s been over a week since that happened so it’s getting less and less. He reiterates to us what we’ve been pounding into his head for months – that he’s such a good big brother, that she’s his little sister (we were told never “the baby” or “our baby, ” always “your sister”), that she needs more help from us because she’s just a baby, and most importantly that he’ll always be our first baby. He says it all the time, “Chahlie, firs baby.” It’s painfully cute.
Quick Tip: The Berenstain Bears have helped a lot – because it’s Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Sister Bear and Brother Bear (I realize it all sounds a little disgustingly perfect at times, and certainly outdated but it happens to be our family make-up, too, so it works for us). He loves to point to all of us, naming our titles – mama, dada, little sister (he calls her Elliot half the time), Charlie, Bearcat, and snack. He’s apparently hoping that we also adopt any food that comes in a wrapper as another little sister.
After we had Elliot I kept warning people with the “JUST WAIT IT WAS TOO SOON” story, and the look of sheer exhaustion on my face was pretty darn convincing. I told them to wait til their older one is 3 and in pre-school, and able to entertain themselves more. But now it’s starting to feel more doable and I’m sure in a year from now I’ll be touting the benefits of having kids only 2 years apart.
I did make one of the stupidest mistakes last week, though. I had to take a trip to New York to be on The View. It was a really quick trip (less than 48 hours) so bringing the whole family seemed insane since I’d be working the whole time. Brian and Charlie stayed in Sacramento with his parents (we were already there for Thanksgiving) and I went with Elliot. It was not smart (work was fine, just personally). I worked all day (our nanny took her during the day), then at 6pm when I was dying to be with her I snatched her back. But I also really needed to catch up on emails and posts, and to prep all my talking points for the live TV segment. Plus sleep. I needed to sleep. And this lovely little baby doesn’t like being put down, and certainly not when in a different time zone, and in a weird hotel room. Both nights I didn’t get her down til 3am, after 3 total emotional breakdowns. The second night when I knew I had to wake up at 6am to be on TV I was crying so hard, not knowing what to do. I finally came to peace with it – I wouldn’t sleep tonight and that’s ok. Nobody would die if I went one night without sleep and adrenaline would see me through the day. If you are wondering why I didn’t utilize my nanny during the nights it’s because I didn’t want to. Despite needing to sleep, I was across the country from Brian and Charlie and I wanted to be with my baby. I also didn’t want my nanny to be with her all day and all night – she was only 5 weeks old!
Lesson learned – we travel as a family or I just go alone. Also I’m just now letting our nanny hold her for more than a few minutes at a time, and that trip was hard for me. It’s a weird possessive, ‘mama bear’ thing I think. She’s my baby. She is going to spend enough time over the next few years with our nanny, and she will come to love her, so these are my months to get her to bond to me and Brian, first. I sound like a psychopathic toddler with the last box of raisins, I realize. Mine!
What else . . . we just got to New York where we’ll be for a series of shoots for two weeks. The whole family came and I’m super excited to live here for a bit again, especially during the holidays. We check into an apartment tomorrow, but right now we are in a hotel (we got a cheap “suite” at this hotel called Hotel Renwick) and we are just trying to keep both kids from waking each other up – because getting them down with the time change and no nap for Charlie was a FEAT.
Anyway, I just wanted to check in and say “hi.” It hasn’t quite been the most relaxing “maternity leave, ” but I keep telling myself that while I only took 2 weeks off, for the next two years I’m going take advantage of ANY week that isn’t loaded with shoots and take whatever days or half days off I want to. I have a flexible schedule, dictated by me which I realize is an extreme luxury and one that I’m going to take advantage of, for sure.
Sorry that all these photos are from a month ago – Stephanie Todaro took them when she came over to take photos for a sponsored post and I just saw them, so despite being outdated, I had to post them. Thanks, Steph.
Birdie is 6 weeks old now and I personally think she’s the cutest baby that has ever been born. I have proof:
She looks like a little bird elf. One that loves sleeping on top of her tired, happy mama 🙂
*Photos by Stephanie Todaro