Toddler Treats, Newborn Dreams

Nu-Nu is two weeks old now and fast coming up on three! Her birth (and the pregnancy with her) feels like a moment ago and yet it also feels like she has always been a part of our family. We fall more in love with her every day.

Thus far, either she’s a reasonably easy baby or we’re just better used to this whole parenting thing. The sleep deprivation feels much less destabilizing than it did the first time around. She wakes up every 2-3 hours to nurse at night, but since she’s sleeping in our room, it’s easier to grab/feed/change her and get her back down without too much effort. Last night she actually went for a 4-hour stretch between feeds and I felt like I’d just had a full night’s sleep! I don’t think Smudgie did that until he was close to 2 months old.

She’s also taken to the carriers and slings better than Smudgie did, though I’m not sure whether that’s because we’ve started her in them earlier than we did him or because I’m more confident about baby wearing having been through it with my boy already, or just a temperament thing. Whatever the reason, I’ve gotten out with her around the neighborhood in the carriers twice. We’ve been so much more active with her so much earlier–she’s been to four restaurants, a museum, and a family holiday party already! My physical recovery has gone much easier this time, which helps. LG and I also both agreed that taking a newborn to a restaurant feels so easy after the past year of wrestling with a wild, uncooperative toddler in eating establishments, so that doesn’t feel like a barrier the way it did the first time, either.

And the museum– well, it’s been cold and even rainy lately, so we haven’t been taking Smudgie to the park much on the days we were all home. Saturday we knew we had to get him out of the house before he destroyed it, himself, and our relationships with our downstairs and upstairs neighbors. We live a short bus ride away from the MTA Transit Museum in downtown Brooklyn– Smudgie has lately become fascinated with buses and subways, so it seemed like the perfect trip. And it was! Nu-Nu slept peacefully against LG in the ergo for almost the whole time, a lunchtime nursing session excepted. Meanwhile, Smudgie got to ride a bus (“Want to go fast!”) and then “drive” a bus and traipse through subway cars at the museum. He was disappointed that none of the historic cars moved, but had a great time nonetheless.

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Smudgie insisted “On the hat, on the jacket” the whole time we were at the museum.

We finished off our day with lunch around the corner at Shake Shack–which Smudgie actually ate for a change!–and then a long wait for the bus back home after we just missed one. Smudgie melted down at that point, but Nu-Nu kept sleeping and we made it back in one piece and put the boy down for a long nap.

That was a great day, and I can’t help dwelling on it a little. Other days have been not as good. Like a lot of toddlers, Smudgie is having a tough time with this adjustment. He’s perfectly fine to his little sister, if a bit stand-offish, but he’s frequently been a beast to LG and me. Hitting if we’re not paying attention to him, whining and begging for treats, pulling power plays over dinner and dressing, refusing to listen to our requests, getting into mischief and grabbing things he knows he’s not allowed to touch. Typical 2-year-old antics,  but amplified thanks to his jealousy and confusion. I try to be very patient and understanding, to ignore the misbehavior or redirect, but it can be hard. And I haven’t even had to handle the two kids on my own yet!

Still, I know this is a phase. In between bearish fits, Smudgie is still my sweet, loving, affectionate and adorable boy. And I know that a few months from now Smudgie may still be a troublesome 2 year old, but he’ll also be better adapted to his new family. Maybe at that point he’ll even be willing to pose in a picture with his sister. Too late for the Christmas card, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.

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6 thoughts on “Toddler Treats, Newborn Dreams

  1. Wow it sounds like everything is going great! We also are finding newborn parenting much easier this time around, although i have to say that part of your ease is Nu-Nu– Eli is technically NOT an easy baby– he’s so gassy, and he’s taken to being fussy in the evenings already. Still, calming a fussy baby isn’t as overwhelming as it once seemed. What’s 1.5 hours of rocking and jiggling, after all? We’ve also been out with him quite a bit, although not as extensively as you have been. Partly, we’re trying to shield him from germs until he gets a bit older, so we take him to adult places like the mall, but not to kid places (except the playground, weather permitting). While Eli’s being harder on us than Nu-Nu is on you, Penelope is being easier on us than Smudgie is on you. She’s coping well so far with her little brother, but it could be because she’s a girl and he’s like her very own little doll. If anything, I have a hard time prying him out of her arms to feed him sometimes! But I am sure Smudgie will adjust very quickly, and who knows, maybe P’s jealousy will explode at some point down the line once the novelty wears off (I’m half – more than half – anticipating that to happen, actually).

  2. Phew…this sounds like my daughter lately (she’ll be 2 on Sunday) and I’m a little petrified of what she’ll be like once her brother is here in a month. She can definitely tell something is changing – VERY clingy to me, but also very… challenging. It’s been rough.

    I like your points though about it seeming relatively easier to get out of the house with a newborn this time around – I’m hoping it’s the same for us!

    I can’t believe Nu-Nu is almost 3 weeks old already!

  3. I’ve also felt that parenting a newborn is easier the second time around, and I’m sure that L is NOT an easier baby than M (holy hell, I have gassy, clingy babies). It really must just be experience. I’m glad you’ve had good days along with the challenging ones, and I’m looking forward to seeing you on Monday!

  4. you know I feel you on all of this! L was the same with the fighting us on everything, but great with his sis. It does get better and is getting better, it’s just so hard that they can’t say, mom, i feel ignored. help me. I’ve been making a point to cuddle L as much as I cuddle Kate and i think things are getting better. time, and making a point to include him.

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