When I was pregnant with Lennon (read more about that experience here) people constantly commented on how unmanageable life would be with my kids so close in age to each other. I told them I suspected the 1st year would be the hardest, as Lucille would be too young to understand the baby’s needs and would still be very dependent on me herself. I’ve decided to document the 1st year of my journey, broken into 4 quarters. Perhaps this will help other mothers who have families similar to my own. At the very least it’ll remind me of this year in our lives. It’s all going so fast right now I imagine I’ll look back one day and it’ll all be a blur.
Like Lucille, Lennon came into the world via c-section. This made the transition from 1 kids to 2 kids particularly interesting. 1st, it meant that I had to stay in the hospital longer and 2nd it meant that I had a longer recovery ahead.
I can honestly say that the emotional aspect of this recovery was worse for me than the physical aspect. Every day that I was in the hospital Lucille came to visit me. I am very grateful for that. But a 20 minute visit from my darling daughter hardly seemed enough, I missed her so much!
Worse than that was the fact that I could barely care for her. For 2 weeks after my c-section I was instructed not to lift my other child. I was very lucky to have family that was able to help me care for Lucille during this time so that I could (usually) follow this rule. Some days Peter stayed home from work, one day my Mom came and stayed with me while he worked, and several times Lucille went and spent the day with family members while Peter worked. Though I appreciate everyone chipping in and caring for my daughter for me in these weeks, I must admit, I hated having to depend on them. Partially because I’m an independent person who doesn’t like to depend on people for help, ever. But more so because I just felt like a terrible Mom. I felt like Lucille might think she was being replaced. Now that I had the baby I wouldn’t have time for her. I even worried that now that I had the baby I wouldn’t have time for her.
This recovery phase was short. I believe Lucille was too young to feel that she had been replaced, and honestly I think she liked having extra time with her family! It was definitely harder on me than her. There were times she’d get upset that I wasn’t holding her and snuggling her like normal, but with distractions from Daddy or other loved ones, she would forget she was upset quickly.
Though this phase was hard I knew it was important to take this 2 week recovery time seriously. If I had not I likely would have hurt myself. And then I would be struggling to take care of my kids for much longer than the 2 weeks. Because I found the help I needed in the 2 weeks following my surgery, I was able to go back to life as normal by Lennon’s 15th day with us.
If you read my pregnancy post you know Lucille slept with us until the day Lennon was born. The day we brought Lennon home we decided to try setting up an adult, full size bed in her room. We called it her princess bed and she fell in love with it. One of us still needs to lay with her to get her to fall asleep. But, it’s still a big win for us.
The hard part about our sleeping arrangements is that our rooms are all super close. So when Lennon cries, it wakes Lucille up. Most of the first three months, every time Lennon woke up to eat, Peter had to go snuggle Lucille back to sleep.
Once we got past the emotional first couple weeks the biggest challenge was definitely Lucille’s climbing. I had Lennon’s baby swing downstairs in the living room so he could nap in it and still be in the same room as us. Whenever he wasn’t in it she climbed it. I could NOT get her to stop. Several times she climbed into it and fell out and hurt herself. And even then, she still continued to do it.
Our couch in our living room is right next to a bay window. Towards the end of my pregnancy with Lennon Lucille kept climbing the couch and hanging out in the bay window. Then she started banging on the glass and dancing in the window. Obviously, she was always taken out of the window immediately. However, once Lennon came along it was harder to get her out of the window quick enough.
These are just 2 examples of dangerous climbing situations my daughter landed herself in repeatedly. I could go on, but you get the picture. I wish I had some great advice on how to stop this behavior. But, at 16 months old, there isn’t much I could do to make her understand why she needed to stop. She was too young to grasp the concept of consequences. Our couch was moved to the opposite side of the living room and Lennon’s swing was moved up to his room.
Eager to Help
Lucille is a born mother. She loves babies and animals and anything little and cute! From the moment she met Lennon all she’s wanted to do is take care of him. She tried picking him up the day we came home. She often tries sharing her water with him. She even wants to help change his diaper! If there was someone over the age of 5 around that was as eager to help as her, I’d be in heaven. But her help was frightening at first.
Instead of scolding her for trying to help, however, I’ve always praised her. After all, her intentions are good. Usually I say something like “thank you so much, but mommy can get brother. He’s too heavy for you. Why don’t you get Baby Bugsy?” (Bugsy is the name of her doll, featured in the picture below.) By redirecting her attention to her baby dolls, Lucille felt she was still helping. It wasn’t long before she started getting a baby doll on her own to change it’s diaper, feed it, etc. right beside Lennon. (Peter loved coming home to me breastfeeding Lennon and Lucille sitting next to us with her shirt up feeding one of her dolls.)
Remembering They’re Both Little
In Lennon’s first few months I caught both my hubby and I saying to Lucille “you’re not helping!” What a stupid thing to say! Of course she’s not helping, she’s 16 months old. Yes, it’s hard to breastfeed when Lucille is climbing me like a human jungle gym. But she’s a baby too, and I found I need to constantly remind myself of that.
Our babies are only young for a short time. It would break my heart to think that Lennon coming into our lives has forced Lucille to grow up faster. I don’t believe that it has, but it easily could. SO I find reminding myself of this constantly helps.
The Good Stuff
The first three months with 2 under 2 was challenging. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. These babies love each other more than anything! I love,that Lennon has an older sister who has literally made him her whole world! He watches her with such admiration. I think he likes her more than he likes me, and I’m glad for that.
Obviously, Lucille loves him too. And I love that she loves him completely, without jealousy. She will never remember life without him so I don’t think she will ever resent Lennon for coming and changing her life.
I always wanted to be a stay at home mom but after I became a work from home I started to worry. What if Lucille, who’s always been so social, became one of those kids that is shy around everyone other than her mom? How could I make sure her and Lennon would get the socialization they need? Though I do try to make sure they get play dates throughout the week, I love that by simply having each other they are getting used to being around other kids their age. Learning how to share, love, communicate…. more than anything I just love that they’re best friends!
Lennon is learning so much by watching his sister. And she’s learning so much about being a moral and responsible person from having him around. I think these little pals are the best thing that ever happened to each other!