(And that’s also why I decided to stick with my originally planned post title since they were both still under two in all these pictures…ha!)
|This picture was taken a month ago today and I feel like Charlie has already changed so much!|
In general, I’d say that’s been the overall theme of the past seven and a half weeks, nothing is that big of a deal…and I mean that in the best way possible. With Henry, in the beginning it felt like every diaper change, bath, and nursing session was a major production because as a new parent, there’s a pretty steep learning curve. This time around, I feel like I can do all that stuff with my eyes closed so it’s just much less stressful in that sense on a day to day basis. All those cliches about second babies are completely true and it’s just really nice having more confidence in my own abilities as a mom this time around. Granted, you definitely forget just how floppy newborns are and all the little sounds they make and things they do, so it’s been fun getting to experience all that again the second time around.
And then there is my sweet Henry aka the best big brother ever 🙂 For being so young, he’s seriously done so well with the transition. The first week or so, he wasn’t too sure about the baby and there were a few incidents where he’d cry when I was holding Charlie. I basically just tried to spend as much one on one time with him as I could, for example I’d try to be the one to put him to bed pretty much every night after Charlie was born, because I think it was good for both of us to have that time together since he had obviously been used to spending so much time just the two of us. We tried not to push Henry to show interest or affection towards the baby because we wanted him to adjust at his own pace, but pretty quickly he really started to warm up to him. Now, he’s pretty much obsessed with his brother and makes my heart feel like it’s going to explode daily with how sweet he is towards him. He constantly wants to hold his hand, lay his head against Charlie, watch him nurse, and share his toys and food with him. Granted, I know that some of it probably stems from the fact that when he does stuff like this, we always praise him so I think he likes getting the positive reinforcement. We’ll say “Henry, that’s so nice!” and then he’ll say “and kind!”…seriously, so cute 🙂 But I know that’s not all it is because you can totally tell from the look on his face when he looks at Charlie that he already genuinely loves his brother so much. I posted about this on Instagram, but it was so sweet that I had to share it here too. The other night when I was changing Charlie’s diaper, Henry was kissing his toes (so cute) and I jokingly said “Are you eating your brother’s feet?” (whyyyy) and since two year olds are pretty literal, Henry bit down on Charlie’s foot. When Charlie started crying and Henry realized that he had he had hurt his brother, Henry started SOBBING. He was so upset and I kept telling him it was ok, that I knew he didn’t mean it. And then all night he just kept saying “didn’t mean that!” and the whole thing broke my heart because it was just so sweet. Henry is pretty sensitive and lately when Charlie has been crying, he starts to get kind of upset. In the book we always read him about being a big brother, there’s a line where the dad says that babies cry to tell us something is the matter and in the book, it’s that the baby needs his diaper changed. So lately when Charlie cries, Henry starts getting very worried and frantically says to me “Change! Change!” and starts anxiously pointing me towards the pack and play where we change his brother’s diapers. It’s seriously so cute and seeing Henry’s tender heart as a big brother is just the best.
Despite his sweetness, I was a little bit concerned that Henry might try to act out or get into mischief while I was nursing to try and get attention, but honestly, it hasn’t been an issue. Usually when I’m nursing, he wants to be right there next to me looking at Charlie and saying “nurse, nurse!” (ha!) or he’ll just sit and read a book. Henry has always been really great at playing independently; he seriously loves to just sit quietly and read or play with his toys and I think the fact that he’s able to entertain himself has been one of the most helpful things with transition of bringing Charlie home. That’s not to say that he’s not a typical two year old because definitely does things he’s not supposed to all the time like touching the Christmas tree, jumping on the couch, pulling on the blinds, and the list goes on…ha. But it’s all pretty minor and definitely just normal two year old stuff of testing boundaries that I know he’d be doing even without a new sibling. He definitely hasn’t had any jealousy towards the baby at all and has been pretty good about being gentle. And although there are definitely challenges to having them less than two years apart, I feel like in some ways it’s been easier for Henry to adjust because he’s still pretty young.
|My sweet little bookworm 🙂|
The most challenging moments so far were over Thanksgiving when Henry came down with a nasty bug. He had a 103+ degree fever and seemed so sick and that’s when I really felt torn. Henry just seemed so little and helpless and wanted me to just hold him for hours, which I wanted to, but I also had to nurse the baby. Not to mention, I was also concerned with the baby and I catching whatever virus he had since the baby wasn’t even a month old at that point. Henry really wanted to sleep in bed with us and if it was just him, I totally would have had him let him. But since, the baby is in and out of our bed all night nursing, that wasn’t going to work. Cam ended up sleeping with Henry in the bed in our guest room while I stayed in our room with the baby, but it just felt really awful not to be able to be able to take care of both of my babies in the way I would have liked.
We’ve been able to get out of the house quite a bit over the weeks since Charlie was born, but lest anyone think I’m some kind of super mom, that’s definitely not the case and the main reason we’ve been able to do as much as we have is because Cameron works from home. He was able to take a few weeks off when Charlie was born, which was awesome, but now he’s back to work full time. But since he works out of a home office, the fact that he can help out here and can give me a hand here and there throughout the day is incredibly helpful. Usually he’s out of bed before I am in the morning since I’m in bed nursing, so he’ll get the coffee started and make breakfast, which is super helpful. For example, if we have an activity in the morning, getting out the door with two is definitely harder than getting out the door with one. Usually if Cam doesn’t he doesn’t have a conference call when I’m heading out, he can help get Henry’s shoes and coat on and help me get the kids in the car and it makes such a big difference. And I think having him home has really been helpful for the transition with Henry since Cam is able to give him attention here and there throughout the day. Plus, when Henry is napping, I’m able to just take the baby with me and run errands with just him since Cam is home. Or sometimes he will have an errand he needs to run during day, so he’ll grab coffee for us while he’s out and it’s little things like that that have made the transition to two so much less overwhelming because I don’t feel like I’m doing it all by myself, which might be the case if he was traveling more for work like he used to. Also, since he’s home during the day, he’s just a lot more in tune with the boys’ schedules/likes/dislikes/etc. than a dad might normally be. And if we’re going somewhere together on the weekends, he is always the one who drives so that’s when I’ll put my makeup on because I usually don’t have time to do it before I get out the door…ha!
In addition to Cameron being around to help out, the old saying about it taking a village is so true and we’ve been blessed to have lots of support from family and friends and that has made this time so much easier for us. My parents were out here from Michigan for Charlie’s birth which was great. And then my mom stayed out in Portland for awhile after and it was great to have an extra set of hands, especially in the very beginning. My in-laws live nearby and have been super helpful with whatever we need, from watching our dog for the first week after we brought Charlie home to watching the boys so we could go out to a date night for my birthday to dropping off a ton of food on Thanksgiving when Henry got sick and we couldn’t go. And then speaking of food, one of my friends set up a meal train for us and that has been amazing! We’ve had people bringing us 2-3 meals a week pretty much every week since Charlie’s been born, and not having to figure out what we’re having for dinner has been such a huge help.
|Because even though there are lots of sweet moments, plenty of the day looks like this…ha!|
Overall, I feel that (so far) going from one to two kids has been way less of a challenge than going from zero to one kid for sure. There are definitely challenging moments, like when both kids are crying and need something that very second, but those haven’t been as frequent as I anticipated they might be. In a way I feel like having two kids has made us more productive and efficient at getting things done, mainly because you have to be. With just Henry, I felt like I could put things off since I knew I’d have time to do them later in the day, but now, if I have a minute where both boys are quiet I feel much more motivated to just get something done. Not to mention, I feel like having two kids makes me feel like I just want to be an all-around better mom and human being. Not that I didn’t want to do that with just one child, but having to raise two little people just seems like such an even more awesome responsibility that it makes me really want to rise to the challenge.
I’m so looking forward to celebrating Charlie’s first Christmas and Henry’s third Christmas this weekend, and I’m just feeling so thankful for this little family of mine this year! I have a few other posts that I’m hoping to get up before the new year, but in the event that I don’t get a chance to post again in the next few days, I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas too!