Houses and Homes

Both babies are napping and I really should be napping too, but sometimes I need this time to think, have a tea and just relax.  Even though I’m exhausted.  Baby girl was up every two hours last night (!) and therefor, so was I.  Plus, my son is no longer in daycare, so I can’t just lay around with her.

But yes, all that to say, I’m tired but need me time more than I need sleep right now.

I wrote a while back that I was needing to think about three things: my marriage, our home, and my job.  Today I am thinking about our home.

I want to move.

I’ve been wanting to move for some time now.  We bought this home 6 years ago thinking we’d only stay 5.  It’s a townhome and it was great for the two of us.  But now that we are a family of 4, it’s just not doing it for me.  Plus, our new neighbours are so noisy and we just so happened to get bugs shortly after they  moved in.  By bugs I mean, cockroaches.  I hate to even write that word because it’s so fucking nasty.  I hate them so much.  Not only are they nasty but they scare the shit out of me.  Too many times I have opened a cupboard  to find one in there.  We bought some industrial stuff and that seemed to work for a bit, but they just keep coming back.  Which isn’t surprising.  If we have them, our neighbours have them.

So yeah, I’m so done living in a townhome.  I want a standalone house with more space, more windows, a backyard, and a big bright kitchen.

I want to be in our family home.

So we’ve been looking and although there are some that have come close, we haven’t found the perfect home yet.

We also have some work to do in our current place.  Like renovate all the bathrooms and do something about the bugs.  Both of these things are currently in motion – we’ve contacted contractors and an exterminator.  So yeah, that’s all happening.

But in the meantime, I want to be happy in my home.  I’m here all the time seeing as I”m on maternity leave and I need to feel comfortable in my space right now.  So there are a couple of things I’ve been working on:

  1. Keeping it super clean.  This is easier said than done with two littles, but it’s super important, especially given then bug situation.  So I often prioritize cleaning over all of the other things.  I have a cleaning schedule that I try to keep to and that works most weeks.  But I’m considering getting a cleaner come in twice a month because I just can’t keep up.
  2. Going minimalist.  I’ve been wanting/trying to do this for some time now.  It’s so hard with kids because people keep giving us shit.  By shit I mean toys.  We have too many toys.  Toys which are currently scattered all over the living room floor.  I do put quite a few away and rotate but ideally I’d like to just get rid of like half of them.  In all other respects we’re pretty minimalist. I try to do a big declutter once a year and that helps to keep things in check.  It also helps that neither my husband nor I like shopping.  I hate spending money and I don’t like buying things that I don’t really need.

I really can’t wait to move though.  This is the longest I’ve stayed in one place and I’m getting antsy.  I also really really want a back yard for the summer.  It would just make my life a lot easier.  I can take my son outside to do some much needed running around while the baby naps.

Speaking of which, they are both still napping – though baby girl has been waking after 45 minutes, and if she does this again that means I only have seven minutes left to myself.  Fingers crossed she’ll go longer!

Overwhelmed

Today I was feeling very overwhelmed.  Both kids were losing their shit at the same time and I could’t be two places at once.  I’m pretty sure my baby girl is teething and she didn’t sleep well because her big brother was freaking out and he woke her up.  My two year old has just been totally insane the last few days.  He’ll be super happy one minute and next thing you know toys are flying across the room and he’s biting the kitchen chair out of frustration.

When my husband got home from work he tried to help but my toddler only wanted mom.  He screamed when my husband tried to get him milk.  Only I could get him milk.  And the baby only wanted to be in my arms.  I was nursing her and my son wanted me to colour with him.  My husband said he would and the toddler screamed “MOM!” and then threw his crayons.

WFT dude?!

I put the baby girl down for a nap at 4 and took my son out for a walk and it was nice, but I couldn’t relax.  I felt so tense and frustrated.

While I was putting the kids to bed I felt angry.  It took the baby 40 minutes to fall asleep even though she was super tired (probably because she was super tired) and I could feel the anger rising.  I noticed it and tried to just breathe, but my breath was sticking.

I still feel like I can’t get a deep breath.

I know I’m lucky because today was not how every day is.  Usually my baby girl is so sweet and happy.  My little guy is usually a lot of fun.  He loves to play and laugh and he makes me laugh so much.  Rarely are they both freaking out at the same time.

And I know that I should have taken more time to myself this morning while she slept.  Instead I cleaned the bathroom, organized my sons toys, and I don’t remember what else, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t something that nurtured me.

Now that they’re sleeping, I’m going to do some relaxing yoga, have a cup of tea (who am I kidding, it’ll be another glass of wine) and then head to bed.  Hopefully I’ll get a good night’s sleep so that I can handle whatever comes my way tomorrow.

 

Tired

I kept my two year old home again today.  Normally he goes to daycare in the mornings, but after what happened on Monday I just don’t really want him with her anymore.  So I kept him home.

We had a great morning, but holy shit I’m tired.  Toddlers are serious energy suckers.  And my three month old is teething – early I know, but my son started getting teeth at four months so I’m not surprised – so she’s bit a little fussy and wanting to comfort nurse a lot.  Which is also very tiring.  Her sleep has been weird too – last night she finally settled at 10 pm only to get up twice in the night and then start the day at 7.

So yeah, I’m a little tired today.

But happy.

I love spending time with my son.  I think he is just the coolest, funniest, and sweetest little person.  He’s also great with his little sister so I don’t feel like there’s any jealousy and if I need to tend to her he’s pretty good about it.

I’m also happy that they are both napping.  Well, my son is jumping and jib jabbering in his crib, but he’ll be asleep soon (I hope!).

So I think, I can do this.  I can have him home.  Maybe I don’t need to figure out another daycare option.

But the real question is, do I want to do this every day?  I get very little time to myself to recharge and I need that.  And today was a good day, but not every day is like this.  A lot of days are filled with crying and tantrums and just chaos and very little room to breathe.

I need days where I can just breathe.

I went to talk to my neighbour today to see if she would be willing to come by a few mornings a week to help out.  She can take just my son to the park, or stay here with the baby, or even just watch both of them while I go for a walk/get a massage/grab a coffee/feel normal.  And then maybe she’ll stay on full time when I go back to work.

If I go back to work…

No, I have to go back to work …. eventually.

A lot to ponder, but first, coffee.  Thank god for baby naps and coffee.

The Crazy Things I Did as a New Mom

Sometimes I think back to the first few months of my son’s life and think: what was I thinking?   I was not myself and I did some crazy things.  Some of these things are  just funny, and some were stemmed from my severe anxiety – so not so funny.  Here are some of those things:

  • In that first week I would put on movies at night so that I wouldn’t fall asleep while he slept on me.
  • I yelled at my husband because he fell asleep on the couch with the baby on him.  I yelled while they were both sleeping – the baby woke up crying and I scared my husband so much he jumped, yeah, with the baby on him.
  • I had a timer next  to the chair I nursed my son in to make sure that he nursed for 20 minutes – and no less – on each boob.
  • I used to let my son sleep on me for every nap for an entire year.
  • When we finally got him sleeping in his crib I checked on him every 10 minutes.  I finally stopped when I realized I was waking him up.
  • I would wake up frantic looking for my baby thinking he was in bed with me when really he was sleeping soundly in his crib.  This went on for months.
  • When we were introducing food I would scream for my husband every time my son gagged even the slightest on his food.
  • I  made him broccoli pops.  They’re like popsicles, only with broccoli and water.  Nothing else.
  • I cried because I took my son out in the rain.
  • When he was 4 months old I flew with him and while landing I was more concerned with shoving the pacifier in his mouth so that his ears wouldn’t pop than supporting his head.
  • I was so sleep deprived I poured orange juice into my coffee instead of cream.  I dumped it out and made a new coffee only to do the exact same thing again.

I’m happy to report that I am much more sane the second time around.  I honestly don’t think I’ve done anything ‘crazy’ – but she’s only 3 months so there’s plenty time still.

Feeling Robbed

My baby girl is 10 weeks old today and is just an absolute dream.  I feel so full of love and gratitude for her.

My days with her are so easy.  She sleeps well and on her own, she smiles, she coos, she nurses well – like I said, a total dream.  And I’m so different this time around – I’m not anxious or sad or angry.

I do feel something not so great though.  Like reverse nostalgia.  I see now how I guess ‘normal’ babies are and I can’t help but feel like I got robbed my first time around.  I wish I could have had this kind of experience with my son.  Don’t get me wrong, I felt a ton of love and gratitude – overwhelmingly so – but it was so fucking hard.

I can’t even compare the two because everything is different, but the biggest thing is the sleep.  And not just how long and where they sleep, but just their overall approach to sleep.

My son, two years old, still has to let out steam before he goes to sleep.  Sometimes its in the form of jumping in his crib (ok, always), sometimes its yelling, sometimes its crying.  And if I go in to comfort him it just makes it worse.  And he very often still wakes up crying.  I hate it so much.  And he’s been like that his whole life.

She falls asleep beautifully and peacefully ON HER OWN and wakes up smiling.  Smiling!

I have space to myself during the day which I didn’t get with my son because he had to sleep on me.  And when he wasn’t sleeping he needed to be held.  I feel so sad right now thinking back to that time.  I wish it had been a better experience.  But I’m so glad I didn’t let it influence our decision to have another baby because I can’t imagine the world without her.

Whenever I speak/write not so happy things about my son I always feel the need to say – I love him so much.  And I do.  God I love that kid.  He’s so funny and energetic and smart. He’s watching us all the time now and learning so much.  He has such a big personality for such a little guy.  He’s also ridiculously good looking. And I’m not just saying that because I’m his mom.  He has the most beautiful smile and the best laugh.  But oh man that kid stresses me out.  Always has, probably always will 🙂

 

 

My Thoughts on Babies that Sleep Through the Night (and Those that Don’t)

My sweet baby girl, who is 9 weeks old,  is a great sleeper for the most part.  Last night she slept in her crib from 9 pm straight till 5 am with no wake ups.  And she’s napping in her crib now and has been for over an hour.

I’m seriously in shock over how well this baby sleeps.

My son, on the other hand, was a terrible horrible sleeper.  He would only sleep on me for first six months of his life.  Not next to me, but on me.  For all his naps and night sleep.  It was less than ideal.  The moment I would try to lay him down, even make the slightest movement towards the crib, he would wake up and scream.

Trust me when I say that we tried everything.  Swaddling, white noise, blackout curtains, bouncing to 100, no bouncing at all, rocking for exactly 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 2 minutes, hands on his chest once he’s in the crib (though he was already screaming by that point)….I even prayed and I am not religious.

In the end it was just easier and better for all of us to just let him sleep on me.

Until the day he decided that he wouldn’t sleep on me anymore.  And then we were fucked because he just wouldn’t sleep.  We had to let him cry.  And it was awful.  And it took a long time – four months in fact – of letting him cry every single night just so he would go to sleep.  By 10 months he was going to sleep without crying and sleeping through the night – though getting him to sleep through was not our goal, I just needed to be able to put him down.

(As an aside, at two years old he’s a wonderful sleeper now, so I’ll take it!)

Flash forward to our second baby.  This baby girl is a DREAM.  SHE SLEEPS!!!!!

So how did we do it?  Here’s the secret….. we didn’t.

I would love to say that I am super mom and used my super mom powers to get this one to sleep, but the truth is we tried all the things with her that we did with our son.

I really think she is just a better sleeper.

OK, I guess there were a few things that we’ve done.  They are:

  • swaddling – I am more adamant about the swaddle than I was with my son.  But she has also taken to it better than he did.
  • using white noise right from the start – we didn’t introduce white noise till about 3 months in, not sure if doing it right from the start makes a difference, but we did it
  • letting her fuss – I think this is a big one, we’re definitely not as nervous with her, I don’t jump at every sound so she has a chance to settle back on her own.  I don’t let her cry, but I don’t pick her up if I think she’ll fall back asleep.  I also don’t have a choice sometimes if I”m with my son I can’t get to her right away
  • believing in her – I really do believe that she has the ability to fall asleep on her own and get herself back to sleep. With my son I thought I had to help him – though in retrospect I really did need to help him, he would scream otherwise.  I give her more opportunities to fall asleep without my help.

So yeah, there were some things that we did, but honestly, she’s just a calmer baby.  And I am extremely grateful for that!!!

If you have a baby who doesn’t sleep well, my advice is to do whatever you need to do to maximize sleep.  And at the six month mark, if they’re still not sleeping well, sleep train them.  If they’re not sleeping it’s not only affecting your ability to be a calm, patient parent (at least it was affecting mine and contributing to my anxiety and depression) but it’s not good for your baby.  My son was frantic and once he started sleeping he was a lot calmer.

And if you have a baby who does sleep well, count yourself lucky! I know I do!!

 

Feeling a Little Off

I’ve been feeling pretty emotional lately.  I have cried I think every day this week.  Today I cried watching a video of an army guy reunited with his son – but really, I think most people feel emotional watching those kind of videos.  Yesterday I cried because my son hit his head (pretty bad) and while he was napping I started thinking the worst (what if he’s concussed and I just put him to bed and something horrible happens while he’s sleeping?!).  I felt anxiety rise and finally I just went in to check on my son.

He was fine.

I was not so fine.

I started thinking about awful it would be if anything were to happen to my children. Why I would do this to myself is beyond me because next thing I know I’m balling my eyes out – just as my husband comes home.  Welcome home honey!

I’ve also cried this week looking at my sweet baby girl.  I feel so blessed and grateful and she’s just so amazing and perfect and I feel so lucky and all that makes me FEEL ALL OF THE FEELINGS.

I’ve also been feeling extremely impatient this week.  I’ve been getting frustrated quickly and that worries me more than the crying.  Because this is where it starts. Frustration turns to anger turns to hopelessness turns to all of the bad things I experienced after my son was born.

But it really does feel different this time.  For one, I am wayyy more myself.  I am totally aware of what I’m feeling and I know that it’s all very normal.  I’m still hormonal – it’s only been 8 weeks – and I’m still sleep deprived, even though GET THIS GUYS – my baby girl is an AMAZING SLEEPER!!!!  Sometimes I think, whose child is this?!  Probably a topic for another post but she naps on her own, she doesn’t scream when I put her down, and all week she’s been sleeping 6 and 7 hours straight.  Amazing.

But yeah, all that to say, emotionally I’m feeling a little off.  Not totally, just a little.  I’m going to just keep a very close eye on it and if I start to feel worse then I’ll do something about it this time.