It’s been a while since my last blog post. In fact it’s been ten months. Or to put it another way, the last time I contributed anything to this site, Donald Trump was still thought of as a long shot. Since that time my husband and I have added another baby girl to our brood. Now is when the fun truly begins so it seems.
I myself was the second child. I know what it’s like to peruse through all ten of the first born’s baby photo albums while asking my mother if the camera was broken for my first three years of life. I remember the second hand clothes and constant fight for attention. So I was determined to make sure my second daughter wouldn’t feel as disenfranchised as I. Of course, my best intentions lasted all of three hours after bringing her home.
Let’s just say the whole “new baby” experience has been a little different this time. Now I understand where my own mother was coming from. When my first daughter was born I wrote her lullabies and played them on the guitar until she fell asleep. She slept on my chest for every nap, so I could savor every little breath that escaped her lips. But within minutes of bringing our newborn home to a baby-obsessed toddler I realized I was going to have to switch gears from new baby euphoria to new baby survival mode. The love drunk smile that remained glued to my face after Emma was born was replaced with two different looks alternating between panic and exhaustion and suddenly my entire vocabulary had been reduced to two words, “Careful, Emma.”
The true test of my skills came last week when my husband went back to work and I could no longer rely on a man-to-man defense. There were certainly adjustments. I was not accustomed to playing zone, but I’ve been figuring it out slowly. While my maternity leave with Emma could be described as a G-rated version of Netflix and chill, my bonding time with baby Zoey so far resembles a game of hot potato in which I can only hold her for five minutes before putting her down to go chase a toddler around the house. I’m not going to lie, there have been times I’ve asked the dog to keep an eye on the baby…out loud.
My first outing with two kids actually went pretty smoothly. I decided to bribe Emma with a cookie in order to get the grocery shopping done. It worked so well it made me rethink my entire parenthood model. Bribery was extremely effective with her and I am not above it. It made me wonder if this type of lazy parenting is how the childhood obesity epidemic started. But who am I to judge? My daughter thinks the word “happy” refers to the meal not the emotion.
Afterwards we went to the library to kill a few hours until nap time. Well, mostly we went to the library so that the other moms at story time could see my newborn in the stroller as evidence that I have been pregnant for the last nine months and am not just perpetually fat. Of course with Zoey in the stroller that left Emma unattended. This was very new to me. Until now, I have always enjoyed having Emma restrained wherever we went. Whether it be in a car seat, stroller, or shopping cart, I always knew she was somewhere safely tied up. As she wandered around the library pulling books from the shelf and banging her hands on every keyboard in sight I couldn’t fight that feeling you get when you’ve let your dog off leash for the first time. I may have even whistled to get her back to my side.
It’s a whole new experience to be a mother of two and I learned a few things last week. I learned that I’m way too exhausted to check to make sure the baby is still breathing 15 times a night like I did with the first one. I learned that my oldest is going to lose her shit every time I have to feed her baby sister. Luckily, I only nurse about 28 times a day, give or take. I learned that each day is broken up by how many hours are left until naptime/night time. I learned to play a little fast and loose with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation regarding screen time for two-year-olds because if watching you-tube is the only distraction that will allow me to keep both of my children alive and my sanity intact it’s a worthwhile sacrifice. I can at least rest easy knowing most of the videos my toddler watches are very educational. In fact, just the other day I overheard her singing a song about photosynthesis. Take that, tiger moms!