Bean is already four weeks and one day old! I can’t believe that the first month has come and gone. I was expecting Bean’s arrival to mark the beginning of a dramatic transition in our lives, and while there definitely are aspects of our lives that are more challenging with two kids, I feel almost … normal. I remember not feeling a sense of normalcy until Monkey was almost six months old! I should add that I’m writing this while both kids are sleeping and I’ve had a pretty decent night’s sleep, all things considered. If you would have asked me how I was feeling on a weekday while my Husband was at work and when both kids’ schedules collided so that they were wanting to eat at the exact same time all day and I didn’t have a chance to clean up breakfast dishes until 10:30 a.m., and didn’t change out of my pajamas until 1 p.m., I guarantee I would have had a different answer. But honestly, when I put things in perspective and look at our new family, I have to admit that the addition of Bean has been so smooth, and entirely different from what I expected. I mean, we all actually went to Target last weekend!! And it wasn’t terrible!
I remember my mom trying to assuage my fears about the arrival of Bean. I was so terrified about how things were going to go with a brand new needy baby and a Toddler Tornado. Monkey’s arrival was really, really hard. Probably mostly because it made me realize two things: 1. That I didn’t have as much independence as I was used to, and 2. Just how important that independence was to me. I didn’t even realize how much it meant to me until I couldn’t go anywhere or even do simple things like brush my teeth! Plus, Monkey had an opinion about things from the moment she was born. She was hard to put to sleep and never slept for more than 20 minutes unless someone was holding her. She wanted to be held all.the.time. And I think she never wanted to sleep because she never wanted to miss out on something. She’s still like that. So for me, not having my independence, plus having a baby who barely slept, along with all the usual and normal fears and concerns and “I have no idea what I’m doing” moments, my early motherhood was hard! I think it is for most people.
Now that this is the second time around, things are automatically easier because you have more confidence in your abilities as a parent. And like my mom told me, “Every pregnancy is different. Every baby is different. You’re afraid about ‘what if’s’ and you have no idea how things will go. Bean could be completely different. Everything could be completely different.” And she was right. My mom and tons of other people told me, “You’ll be amazed at how different they are.”
So far, Bean is completely unlike Monkey. She sleeps all.the.time. She appears super laid back. In fact, she cries so infrequently that when she does I feel terrible! Right now when Monkey cries I’m like, “Oh, I think I hear a noise in the other room. Meh.” Not only does Bean sleep all the time, but we don’t have to hold her when she’s sleeping. We can put her down to sleep in a rocker, or a swing, or the bassinet and she doesn’t wake up 30 seconds later, wide-eyed, crying and otherwise furious that you dared to put her down. We can even put Bean down when she’s not completely sleeping and she falls asleep on her own! People! This did not happen in my house until Monkey was SEVEN MONTHS OLD! Since we put Bean down to sleep, and she’s literally sleeping all the time (except when she’s eating or getting her diaper changed), I actually feel guilty that I don’t hold her ENOUGH! What a completely different experience!
In the first two weeks after Bean was born it felt like we didn’t even have another child because she’s just always sleeping and not demanding much attention. One night I said to my Husband, “Oh, I guess we should go check on Bean to make sure she’s still alive.” And there was even a day I saw her sleeping in the rocker and was surprised to see a baby! As if I forgot that I had pushed a 10 pound watermelon out of myself.
And it is so crazy to me to see just how different they are. Monkey still wants A LOT of attention. Her personality is so BIG and she’s so interactive. It’s a huge swing to go from mothering this little person with such big emotions and very definite ideas on what she wants, to this baby lump, who sleeps all the time and is perfectly content as long as she’s fed. And most of the time she’s content even if she’s NOT fed! During most of the day we’re actually waking her up to eat. I mean, Bean will actually CRY if you don’t swaddle her and let her go to sleep, whereas Monkey would cry whenever you laid her DOWN to sleep.
Bean is just now starting to interact with us and she’s beginning to feel like a person who’s connected to me. My DAUGHTER, rather than just a cute, beautiful, cuddly baby that I’m caring for. In the first few weeks, newborns really do feel like baby lumps. They don’t really make eye contact with you; it seems like you could be any Joe Schmo feeding and holding them; it doesn’t seem like they identify with you, the MOTHER, or you, the FATHER. But now, I’m starting to see her become a person who has thoughts and emotions, rather than “Oh that baby who sleeps all the time.” I’ve spent a lot of time lately staring at her and saying, “Hello, little person,” wondering what she might be thinking. She’s starting to coo when she sees us, and any day now I think her sleep smile will be a real smile! Did you know that a Baylor College of Medicine study showed that mothers who see their baby’s smile experience a natural high? As in, brain activity in the areas normally associated with drug use. Isn’t that amazing!? It totally makes sense to me. It’s like baby-smile crack!
I’m so excited to continue watching Bean’s personality unfold and develop before us. It’s like opening a Christmas present every day. I have two daughters. Love. ♥