Monday, July 29, 2013

Post-Partum Update: Week Three

We are officially three weeks and three days into our new life with Tate (by the time this post runs, we'll be four weeks into it). I'm happy to report that--so far--it's much easier this time!
I don't want to jinx myself because we're still early into this journey and a number of difficulties could still pop up, but compared to where we were as a family 2.5 years ago with Henry, life is going well.
Several things are different this time. First, we aren't going through such a monumental identity shift. We were already parents. We already felt the gravity of what it means to take responsibility for another human life. We were already prepared to sacrifice some of our freedom (okay, a lot of our freedom), and to put our heads down to go straight through the hard parts. Getting through the hard parts (mainly sleep deprivation and seemingly endless breastfeeding) is easier because we have perspective this time. We know that the hardest parts will get easier relatively quickly and that our little guy will grow into his personality more and more with each passing day.
Further, my recovery has been so. much. better. People said the birth and post-partum process would be easier, but I was scared to believe them. I'm relieved that they were right! I was mobile so much more quickly. I've had much less bleeding. Plus, breastfeeding has been much less painful. I remember crying when Henry would latch on.
Our dear friend also set up a Meal Train for us, which means we have friends stopping by three times a week for a visit and to drop of deliciousness. It has made a huge difference!
I don't mean to make it sounds like it's all cake and roses around here. Having a toddler and an infant is just plan hard! They are at very different developmental levels and need very different things. Henry needs lots of conversation and gross motor activities and adventures into nature and cooking and art. Tate needs lots of quiet and rest and soothing interactions with his primary caregivers.
Honestly, one of the main things that makes the discrepancy bearable is that we decided to keep Henry in daycare from 8am-3pm every day. Although it's definitely a financial strain, he gets his needs met, and we're able to focus on Tate. The first two weeks, my family was here, and they got to shower Henry with attention. Matt took three full weeks off and is now working two weeks of half days. He's able to get Henry ready in the morning and drive him to daycare (which he will continue to do, even when he goes back to work full-time). He stays with Tate in the afternoon, while I pick up Henry. Then we're able to get through the afternoon/evening routine with all hands on deck. We still put Henry down at 6:30pm, and we try to put Tate down at 7pm (although "down" is relative, since he wakes up every three hours to eat through the night!).
I am definitely nervous about what our lives will be like when Matt goes back to work full-time and I have Henry and Tate alone every day for 2.5 hours. I'll have to come up with a plan. The most challenging thing we're facing right now is Henry's behavior. He's completely in love with his brother and treats him very respectfully and gently, but he has started testing boundaries a ton. He requires much more vigilant supervision. I can't breastfeed Tate in one room with Henry free to roam throughout the house.
Matt and I keep reminding each other that Henry is going through a lot of transitions. It helps us maintain empathy and patience for the little guy. We also practice "relay parenting," where one of us will be primarily in charge of Henry while the other one gets Tate. Then, when our patience wears thin (usually with the toddler), we switch.
Ironically, in our quest to get everything settled and to put down roots, we've introduced so many changes into our lives all at once. Hopefully things will settle down when we move into our new house and Henry's Montessori school resumes session again.

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1 comment:

Jennie said...

Sara, it sounds like you guys are doing great and figuring out routines as you go! That's all you can do really, as life with a toddler and a baby changes frequently. When I was first getting used to being alone with 2 kids, there were a couple things that helped me (but obviously, they may or may not help you or, might help sometimes but not everytime). First, whenever possible, I would try to breastfeed the baby while the toddler was eating at the table in her highchair. Second, I wore the baby in a wrap a lot! It's also nice that very young babies can be put down on the floor somewhere safe and walked away from if you need to give the toddler your attention. You will figure out what works best for you though! Best of luck!!

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