Lessons Learned from Month One of Parenting Two

I'm one month old!

Elyse hit her first big milestone — the completion of her first month of life — last Sunday, the 24th. I’m still having a hard time believing that it’s already been one month since we welcomed our second daughter into our family, as it feels like just yesterday we were busy preparing for her birth. But, I guess spending 1/3 of your first month of life in the NICU does help make the time zip by at warp speed. To commemorate this first four weeks, Elyse had her one-month check-up (sans any vaccines, thankfully) at the pediatrician. This check-up was also an initiation of sorts for me, as it was the first time that I’ve left the house alone with both girls. Thank goodness the appointment wasn’t until 1:45 that afternoon — it took me all morning to get everyone dressed, fed both breakfast and lunch, changed, packed up and out the door. But, I’m happy to report that we made it to the appointment on time and not one tear was shed by anyone, including myself. :0) 

Although she was a munchkin at birth, Elyse has been growing (and nursing) like a champ. Since she came home from the hospital on March 5th, she has grown 3/4 of an inch longer and has gained about a pound and three-quarters. I can attest to her weight gain, as some days it feels like I nurse her NON-STOP. On average, she is feeding about eight to ten times per day, and we’re changing her diaper just as frequently. If you do the math, it is fairly obvious how I’ve been spending a vast majority of my days and nights since February 24th.

Speaking from experience, the first three months of a newborn’s life are the most challenging for everyone — including parents, siblings and cats. :0) (Poor Piccadilly and Twinkles — at least they have each other.) Elyse has it pretty easy, though, as in true newborn style, all she really does is eat, sleep and poop. She’s been more alert as of late — checking out her surroundings and actually looking like she’s enjoying our daily routine — but, she is quite demanding. On a couple of occasions, she has even roused her big sister from her own late-night slumber with her shrill shrieks and screams. Tending to one, nevermind two, crying babies at three o’clock in the morning is bad enough. We’ve quickly learned that when Elyse is hungry, she’s ravenous, so you’d better be nearby and ready to feed her (this applies to me, of course). As cute as she is with her ever-growing chubby cheeks and sweet newborn grins, Elyse has given us a few particularly challenging nights — one night, I think she was up for a good four to five-hour stretch. All I can say is, thank goodness for Nick at Nite, old Friends reruns and closed captioning. I usually end up dozing off for a bit myself while Elyse nurses, but have definitely caught my fair share of late night syndicated sitcoms.  But, alas, I am proud to say that we survived month number one and we have a growing and thriving baby to prove it.

Since Taylor is back to work full-time, the responsibility of caring for both girls now falls on my shoulders alone. At first, I was terrified at the thought of parenting a toddler and a newborn by myself. Truth be told, I was dreading the first day that Taylor left me to fend for myself against my babies, who now outnumber me. I kind of felt like I was being thrown to the wolves with little to no protection. However, we all survived that fateful day and have had almost two solid weeks of success. Albeit, everyday really does feel like Groundhog Day around here, but at least we’ve settled ourselves into a comfortable little routine that seems to be working for the time being. Like Bill Murray, I greet each day with a crooked smile, as I know full-well what lies ahead (diaper changes galore, two screaming and crying younglings, feeding upon feeding, some stray temper tantrums, etc.), but am still prepared for the effects that one little change can wreak on our routine. Thankfully, we’ve been homebound for the better part of the past two weeks, so things have been fairly predictable. I do miss going out and running errands, but am still reluctant to leave the house for two reasons: 1). Elyse is still too little to be out and about just yet and 2). I can only imagine how difficult it would be to maneuver around The Christmas Tree Shop or Target with an inquisitive two-year-old and her ever-hungry little sister in tow. So, for now, I’ll rely on Peapod and Amazon to help me with my shopping, thank you very much. I have no idea how moms prior to the year 2000 got anything done…

Currently, I’ve managed to steal a few minutes to myself to write this week’s blog update, a task that I actually started much earlier today, while Taylor entertains the girls. I can hear Elyse screaming, so all must be well. :0) Tomorrow, I have my post-surgical follow-up with my OB and am hoping to get the green light to resume my normal physical activities, even though, with the exception of any real vigorous exercise (do you count walking five miles on the treadmill today as vigorous exercise??), I’ve been picking Clara up, driving and doing pretty much everything on the “Do Not Do” list for the last week or so. Oh, well. I feel great and have been listening to my body and its limitations. Note to self: Despite what the doctor says, you are still not allowed to change the cats’ litter boxes. Sorry Taylor. :0) Next week, I plan to start running and weight training again. Although I fit back into my jeans, I still need to tone up those muscles that have been on vacation since last July (I’m talking about you, abs!).

Silly Clara

Well, that’s pretty much it for this week. I apologize for focusing on the more mundane side of things this week, but after a couple of rough nights with shrieking Elyse, I’m pretty beat. As soon as I hit the Publish button and this post is live, I plan on lugging my tired self into the family room and sacking out on the futon with my family. I’m sure that Clara will find some way to entertain her father and I for the last half hour of her day, while Elyse, hopefully, looks on. Ah, the simple pleasures and treasures of my life…

Until next week, faithful readers!

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