So on Wednesday, I started talking through some of the things I plan to do different with Baby Girl No. 2. (Here's Part One, for those of you who didn't catch it.) Today, we'll finish up the list of some changes - in action and perspective - I hope to make on this go-round of baby-raising.
5. While my babies come first, I have to prioritize myself, too.
There were days in the early months of Ella's life where I didn't eat. Where I fell asleep, nursing, sitting up, on the floor of the living room. Where I skipped exercising and shopping for me and doing anything but washing cloth diapers and changing spit-up-upon onesies.
It was rough. I didn't like myself, and while Ella was worth it, I don't think it helped my post-partum struggles.
So this time, I plan on taking little steps to save my sanity.
I bought a belly-binder, for instance.
I know; it seems silly, shallow, even.
But I will have had two babies in under two years. The second I can, I will be back to my exercise routine. I bought a double jogging stroller to assist with that. And the belly binder - something my midwives swear by - will help remind my stomach muscles what, and where, they used to be. I'm hoping it helps me feel better about myself, too.
I am also really, really excited to get out for jogs with the girls - Ella and I already do so now. And I am making it a priority as soon as I can, post-partum.
I'm also making other little outings a necessity in our lives.
For the first five months of Ella's life, I lived in fear of leaving my house. Mostly because she absolutely hated her car-seat and traveling in the car at large. She screamed like a banshee; I cried profusely.
I'd literally have mini anxiety attacks before going anywhere that was more than 10 minutes away, which, in our small town, is pretty much everything.
So, first of all, I'm praying Little Miss here doesn't hate all forms of rear-facing safety like her sister did, and second, I'm going to make us take trips, anyway.
We'll continue going to Story Time at the library; we'll keep up with our Mommy and Me tumble class. We'll participate in the organic-foods co-op, making semi-frequent trips to the farm. We'll pick blueberries this spring, go to play-dates, make little excursions to Target, visit the park, attend La Leche League meetings, and in general, keep our lives full.
I simply don't do well being cooped up in my house all day. A few hours out, even if it's just to take Ella to the playground, help my mental stability and my mama abilities greatly.
They make me get dressed, brush my hair, call a friend up. They give me something to do outside of nurse, diaper, and sing the ABCs. And I need that.
The same goes with reading books, taking naps, watching Parenthood.
I can't let it all fall by the wayside, especially as I parent these girls alone while the hubs is gone.
I don't need much; I can make it 99 percent about Ella and her sister all day, every day. But I'm going to hold onto that 1 percent, for my sanity alone.
6. They may be weirdos, but they are my weirdos. And I won't over-think them.
Ella would randomly nap for three hours, and I'd freak out.
I'd promptly call my mom and wonder if she was dead or dying or coming down with some serious illness and, maybe, should I wake her up?
The answer was, and is, of course, no.
She was just tired. Sometimes babies take long naps. Sometimes they don't nap all day. Sometimes they will cuddle down in their baby wrap like always. And others, they'll insist on spending their play time in their bouncy seat, content as can be. Sometimes they nurse to sleep; other times they want to be rocked. Sometimes they tolerate diaper changes, while other times they scream like a banshee if a sock slips off their foot.
They will eat all day and then skip most meals the next. They will grow and then stop for a while. They will crawl late but walk early. They will sleep with you but then the insist some alone time in the crib.
They are weird.
Really, there is no explaining it.
But it's enough to freak a first-time mom out. It did to this one.
But not this time.
If she wants a three-hour nap, I'm going to let her take it. If she will only nap on me, so be it. If she likes to watch her sister from the bouncy seat, thank God. If she wants to nurse for hours straight and then goes eight hours with nothing, that's OK, too.
I will not stress out over the unexplainable. I won't worry if she's not textbook.
She can be a little weirdo; that's OK with me.
7. Thanks to a little bargain shopping, I will invest where it counts.
I don't need much for this baby. I have a lot left from Ella.
But there are certain things I know we'll need; things I didn't have for Ella - not that I needed them, but they would have made things a heckuva a lot easier.
Like muslin blankets. Heck, more receiving blankets period.
Or the aforementioned baby carriers.
Bamboo inserts for my cloth diapers. Extra wet bags to hold the dirty ones while we're out.
Forget the latest and greatest in swaddlers, play-mats and snuggle nests.
I'm spending where it counts.
Because with two under 2, I can use every little bit of assistance I can afford.
8. While it didn't work for No. 1, I'm still going to try it with No. 2
Other than the bottle-paci stand-off Ella insisted on - which basically scared me off of bottle-feeding any of my children, present or future - there are other things she didn't like that I'm prepared to give another whirl with my second-born.
Like swaddling. Ella howled if she was even slightly constricted by a piece of cloth.
But it works for so many babies, and I understand why theoretically speaking. So I'm trying it again. Because man, wouldn't that be nice, if she actually slept, you know, at all.
Also, cloth diapering. From minute one.
The first diaper this little one will wear will be all cloth.
Ella wore a few weeks of disposables until we felt equipped to clothe her little behind. But I kinda sorta hate disposable diapers.
Especially for breast-fed babies.
So she will be hours old and rocking a cloth bum. Nothing's cuter, and frankly, I am so excited.
(Speaking of disposable "diapers," this mama won't be rocking anything disposable down there this time, either. I've got post-partum cloth pads, a.k.a, mama cloth, ready to go as soon as this baby girl comes out.)
I also think I'm going to work on using sound machines and the rocking chair to lull this little one into sleep more. With Ella, I got lazy. I always, always, always nursed her down. Because it was easy.
And I'm not saying I won't do that again.
But I'd love to get into the habit of rocking her, her sweet little head on my shoulder, while we listen to lullabies. It may help transition her to her own crib and room better than Ella, who never slept well without me, or my boobs, until very recently (now that she's in her own big-girl bed, in fact.)
I also plan on starting baby-led weaning a little bit earlier with this one. And I'll include her in meal times and other family events much earlier than we did with Ella.
Part of me hopes all this works; part of me doesn't care; I just want to try them.
To say I did. To say that this baby needed something different than her sister, and that we provided that.
I want to give her the option to be an individual; to be different than her sister. To have different wants and needs.
Because my job as her mommy is to meet each of my children's needs, no matter how different they may be.
So, that's it. For now. I know I'm forgetting things. But I'm 34 weeks pregnant. I'm leaching brain cells as we speak.
I'll keep everyone posted as we go, just like with Ella. I look forward to recording how different this little one may be.
I find it exciting, knowing that babies are individuals from Day One, noting their little personalities from the moment they are born.
For this mama, it's a challenge. And it's also a dream come true.
I hate that I have to say this every time, but I do: Please remember that this is how I parent my children. I don't think everyone should do this; I don't care what anyone else does, furthermore.
This is is what works best for my family. This is not an attack on
parents who do things differently at all. That being said, I expect
respect for me and for other mothers who post here - no matter their parenting choices - so please, no judgment in the comments section. Questions, by all means, are totally welcome, though. Thanks in advance.