Sunday, January 17, 2016

you asked, I answered: life with two littles

Finally finalizing the last two posts in my "you asked, I answered" series because I'm here at Starbucks BY MYSELF. Just let that sink in for a minute, would 'ya?

Nice, huh? Stephen's been working outpatient for the month of January, meaning he gets home before Uriah goes to bed and has weekends off... Weekends OFF! So, here I am, by myself, finally getting around to that blogpost I promised when you asked on Instagram to describe my life with two littles and the transition to a family of four.

Gosh, where do I start? My experience has been totally skewed with the move that occurred when Ezra was three months old. I honestly think our adjustment would have gone much smoother differently had we been staying in the same house, in the same town, in the same job. But! That's life. And maybe it would have been worse. Though, honestly, it's hard to imagine that being possible...

In terms of introducing the big sibling to the new arrival, I was given really great advice on that matter and think we handled that situation best we could. Weeks before Ezra was born, we started putting things of hers out around the house. I didn't do it intentionally, I was just nesting and anxious and eager and wanted to see it all, clean it all and organize everything. Uriah took interest, though, and it started a lot of really great conversations. We let him sit in her carseat, practice rocking her rocker, "help" me fold her clean clothes, pick out a stuffed animal for her bed... I think it made him feel a part of the preparation and it gave him an opportunity to ask questions and for us to explain things - he started to get used to having her around before she was actually around.

Though it won't work out for everyone, we had a brief window of time that Uriah got to come see me in the hospital before he went home to bed and Ezra made her entrance. The goodbye was hard, but he got to see me awake and well and it made her immediate entrance into our lives a lot more real for him, I think. Like, he could see that she was coming, not just that we left the house and came back with a baby, he knew where we were and what we were doing and where she came from. Sorta ;)

The next day, my parents brought Uriah to the hospital to meet Ezra. I was glad we had someone he knew really well and was comfortable with bring him. It made it more special for me (and for them to be a part of that!) but it made Uriah more at ease, too. When he came in the room, Ezra was in the bassinet - Stephen and I were waiting for him with open arms. That was something someone else told us to do to make him feel like she hadn't completely taken over. After hugs and kisses for us both (and reassuring him I was fine regardless of the needle in my arm) we asked if he wanted to meet Ezra. Gosh I was so eager for him to see her and hold her, but I tried so hard to do it on his terms. Luckily, he said yes, but had he said no, I would have pointed her out in the bassinet and just said, when you're ready she'd love to meet her big brother. Stephen held her as he sat on my lap and, another piece of advice we were given, she "gave him" a present. It was a dinosaur book and to this day when you ask who gave it to him he'll proudly say, "Ezra!" We let him flip through the book before we asked if he wanted to hold his baby sister. Again with the doing it on his terms - I always asked and never told or assumed or pressured him.

The rest of the hospital visit was just as dreamy and easy as their first meeting. He quickly learned that he got love and attention for being sweet to his baby sister so he gave her repeated kisses and hugs and asked to hold her multiple times. When it was time for him to go, Stephen went with him to put him down for a nap at the house. Time with just dad, away from baby talk, was good for him, I think, and it allowed us to ease him into it all.

(Though I wasn't thinking through it all this much as it was happening, this is how I see it unfolded as I look back.)

The last piece of advice that I got in reference to baby girls arrival was the coming home bit. "Lay her on the living room floor and live life with her." It went something like that. Uriah was sleeping when we got home, so we had a chance to unpack and settle in. He was excited to see us when he woke up - excited enough to overlook the baby laying on the living room floor. We let him look at her, touch her, ask questions about her until his attention changed and he gave up caring. Again, it was all on his terms.

I never asked him if he wanted to hold her after that first time in the hospital. I never asked him if he loved her or if he would give her a kiss. I would talk about how much we loved them both, how much she loved him, what a good big brother he was, how happy we were to have two babies... I was just trying to put all the love and good vibes out there for him to pick up on.

Ezra was two or three weeks old before Uriah asked to hold her on his own, and it was well worth the wait. The holdings, the kisses, the hugs... It all came and went, and that was ok with me. Balance. There is a lot of balance those first few weeks, months, even know, almost one year in.

In the first week she was born, I made sure to spend some time with Uriah outside the house. I think we just went to the grocery store, but it meant the world to him, and to me. I also made sure to get some time with just him while sister was sleeping or with dad each day. Sometimes it was just a few minutes, groggy in bed, and sometimes it was a solid hour playing card games on the living room floor. Balance.

Ezra was three months old when Uriah hit her for the first time. It was the day Stephen started residency and the day my mom flew back to Idaho. I could say it all went downhill from there, but really, every valley has a hill on the other side and even if the lows of parenting are low, the highs are just as high.

Uriah still hits Ezra. Or kicks her or knocks her down or drops the Bumbo on her head (!!!), but he also kisses her goodnight and asks to hold her in his lap and is constantly trying to make her laugh and shares his toys (occasionally) and gives her his Cheerios and... Their blooming relationship is worth all the sleepless nights and quarrels.

It's a learning process for everyone. Take your time. Find your groove, your balance. For the rest of it, there's grace. Give yourself lots and lots of grace.


  1. Such great advice!! I especially love the not asking him to hold/kiss/etc the baby. My Rocco is a do things in his own time kind of kid and I'm afraid any pushing him to do things with the new baby will be hard on him. I'm struggling so much worrying about him not feeling as loved and important, but it sounds like it all works itself out :) Rocco isn't very independent which I'm totally fine with at this point since I work full time and feel like I have so little time with him. I love playing with him and spending all the time I can with him...heck I still rock him to sleep at night ;) but it does make me nervous that he will get such a shock to his little system when the baby comes. I am curious, if it's not too forward to ask, how you handled nursing? I dedicated A LOT of time to breastfeeding Rocco as we had lots of struggles the first few weeks and he was always a slow nurser after that. I didn't feel stressed about the amount of time it took...because I had the time to spend. But I am quite anxious about the second time around because Rocco really doesn't play alone. I don't want to make him feel anymore left out than he already will :/ thanks for keeping it so real!!

    1. It really does all work itself out! Sometimes differently than you expected, but still... :) Uriah is not an independent soul, either, so I understand that worry as I shared it as well! I was super curious and mostly worried about how the nursing would play out, too. I loved nursing Uriah and only stopped at 19 months because I got pregnant and my milk dried up. I wanted it to be just as special with the second one, but would that be possible with a whiny toddler at my feet begging me to hold him? For us, though, it was never a problem, and I was actually just discussing this with my husband the other day. Uriah has simply never taken an interest in it. The first time he saw me nursing Ezra he asked what I was doing and we just said, "mommy's feeding Ezra". He's never asked anything more, imitated it, nothing. There will be times that he wants to be held while I'm nursing, but it's almost like he's always understood that nursing Ezra is a necessity for her so he's ok to just sit next to me with my arm around him while I finish. I've gotten really great at multitasking, too. I can successfully nurse Ezra while getting him in and out of his high chair, help him go to the bathroom, and get him dressed! Haha! Again, it'll all work itself out with time ;) The nursing connection was easy to establish with Ezra, though, because my husband was able to take two weeks off around the time of her arrival, so I was able to get those good, long nursing sessions in while he entertained Uriah, before I had to tackle the two together. Help in those first few weeks so you can get alone time with both babies is huge, so schedule those friends and grandmas now! ;) Though I never used this bit of advice, a friend said that she put together a basket of toys, mostly dinky dollar store stuff, but new toys so as to keep her daughter interested, that she only got to play with when mommy was nursing. It made that time more exciting and special for her so maybe that's something you could try...?!

  2. Thank you so much for all the great advice!! We are so excited for this next adventure, but also real nervous. I appreciate you responding and being so honest :) it's always great to hear from other mamas just doing the best they can. I'll definitely try out your recommendations :)