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I survey the situation from my place on the couch, the cup of coffee I’ve already reheated three times cold again in my hand. The floor is littered with Matchbox cars, discarded stickers and various bits and pieces of other toys. Dog hair tumbleweeds around the furniture. I need to vacuum, but that would require buying some new vacuum bags, and if we’re being honest, last week I just pulled some old hair out of the last bag to make some room. The breakfast dishes are still in the sink; bloated, milk-logged Cheerios floating amongst coffee grounds.

It’s 8 o’clock in the morning. The older boys are still playing fairly well together, though very loudly, but I know the clock is ticking. Some time in the next 45 minutes their bro love will expire and they will transform into shrieking bear cubs tackling each other (and getting covered in dog hair). I know I should get up and start getting us ready for our day. The baby is napping — thank goodness — though it’s taken much longer to get him down than it did even a week ago. He needed to nurse more, had to poop, wanted to check out the world around him. When I nuzzled his neck before placing him in the crib, I noticed he smelled faintly of parmesan. I make a mental note to wash away the traces of spit up when he wakes up.

I’m tired. Six weeks of middle-of-the-night baby time coupled with refereeing the older two is catching up with me. The bags under my eyes can no longer be hidden by makeup. I avoid showing my face when we Skype with my mom so I don’t have to hear her say I look tired. I know I look tired. I AM tired.

I hurl myself up and head to my room. The clothing situation is bleak. I throw on a clean(ish) nursing bra, one of the few shirts that doesn’t emphasize the postpartum middle fluff, and a pair of stretchy shorts I got at Walmart for $3.77. I do my best attempt at eye circle coverage, and twist my hair into a top knot.

I return to the living room just in time to catch the tail-end of an argument over…blocks? A truck? World peace? I don’t even know. Whatever the reason, it involves shrieking, and I end up yelling at them to just leave your brother alone already! before hustling them into clothes and out the front door. Go. Play. Now. I reheat my coffee for the fourth time and join them outside.

They play. Eventually I hear Drew stirring and go to retrieve him. He screams bloody murder as I change his diaper (how DARE I?), but is content when we settle into the Adirondack chair to nurse. As we do, I occasionally have to shoo his brothers away from him, telling them to get out of his face while he’s eating. Repeat this process all day.

~

I know how this sounds. It sounds like I’m not so much into this three kid thing. Truthfully, it’s hard. It’s harder than I thought it would be. We are finding our groove and it’s certainly getting more manageable, but still. For every easy hour there are a handful of tough ones. The biggest challenge? I’m just totally outnumbered. It’s nearly impossible to attend to everyone at once. I just don’t have enough hands!

Despite all that, this three kids thing is also pretty spectacular. Owen and Ryan absolutely adore Drew. The first thing Ryan asks for every morning is “Baby Dooooo”, and Owen has really begun to shine in his role as Biggest Brother. And Drew? Oh, my littlest boy. He is pure sweetness and everything that is good. He’s a bit fussier than I would like, but he sleeps fairly decently and graces us with big gummy smiles and coos. And when he doesn’t smell like parmesan, he smells pretty delicious.

I know eventually the postpartum pounds will drop away, I will sleep through the night again, and my boys will graduate from shouting “THAT’S MINE!” to at least not needing me to referee every fight. I know this is a season in life and one day I will look back on it wistfully. So I am doing my best to stay in the moment and navigate with grace.

Unshowered, sleepy, occasionally grumpy grace, but grace none-the-less.

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Oh, hey! I had a baby! Three weeks ago! Andrew “Drew” Jay joined us on June 8th. We are overcome with love and happiness. Here is his story.

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On Friday, June 6th, I felt off. I can’t explain it exactly, but I felt differently than I had the previous 39 week. I was also losing my mucus plug (Oops! Sorry! Gross TMI birth stuff a must.), and since the same thing happened the entire day before my labor started with Ryan, I had an inkling this baby’s birthday was not far off. At just four days from my due date and having experienced lots of false contractions near the end of this pregnancy, I didn’t expect much to happen, but I called my mom anyway and told her maybe it was a good idea if she made the 3.5 hour journey my way. She agreed, and I went off to get a much anticipated pre-baby pedicure. I left the appointment with pretty toes, and headed to the grocery store.

While I was in the checkout line, I started to feel tired. SO TIRED. Like, about to fall over with exhaustion tired. It frightened me for a second until it passed, but reiterated what I already knew: something was up. A few hours later my mom arrived and we spent a nice day with the boys playing, planting flowers, and just…waiting for something to start. I was REALLY grumpy all day, too. Just like before Ryan. It did not go unnoticed haha!

Friday came and went without incident. Saturday morning I heard Owen calling for me at 6 a.m. I stood up and had a very mild contraction. I didn’t think much of it (again, lots of false labor), and went about my morning. The contractions continued on and off, but were not very strong nor regular. Sometimes I would have one an hour. Then maybe three. Then none. I was frustrated. I wanted labor to either ramp up, or the contractions to stop. Not this in-between nonsense. I was grumpy and emotional. Michael was supposed to be at work but after lots of back and forth (and an emotional breakdown from me), he decided to stay home. I’m so glad he did, because it was one less thing for me to stress about.

By the afternoon the contractions were stronger, but still not regular. Ten minutes apart. Then 22. Then five. Then THEY WOULD STOP. I started to walk circles around our cul-de-sac, occasionally being stopped by neighbors wanting to chat about how I was doing. By seven p.m., 13 hours after the contractions started, I had fed the boys, given them a bath, and done their nighttime routine. In that way, I was glad the labor had progressed as it had, because I was able to give them that stability and say goodnight to them. I told Owen there was a good chance I wouldn’t be home in the morning and his grandmother would be here instead. He understood what that meant and happily kissed me goodnight.

After the boys went to bed, it was almost as though my brain allowed by body to really get going. I bounced on an exercise ball and the contractions got more intense and closer together. For the first time, I experienced back labor (OW), so my mom would push on my lower back during a contraction. It helped a ton. This went on from 8-10:30 when suddenly…the contractions stopped. Cold turkey. That’s it. I’m done. I’m going to bed, I thought. If I wasn’t going to have a baby tonight, I wanted to go to sleep. I was exhausted from laboring all day. Just before 11, I texted my sister who was almost at my house. I told her to let herself in, lock the door, and I would wake her if anything happened. I got ready for bed, climbed in next to Michael, and we heard the door open.

“Your sister is here,” he said.

“Yeah, I hear her,” I replied, grumpily.

And then my water broke.

YES!

I shuffled to the bathroom to get stuff together as Michael let the hospital know we were on our way, called his mom to come stay with the boys and gathered up last minute items. Those mild and irregular contractions had instantly turned into strong and regular ones after my water broke, so I didn’t feel like hanging around the house much longer. By 11:40 we were in the car and making the short, familiar drive to the hospital. All my babies began their labors at night, so there is something nostalgic about that middle of the night drive for me. Though, contractions in a car are hell. Pure hell.

We arrived in no time at all, and soon enough I was changing into a particularly difficult hospital gown. (It took three of us to figure out the snaps on it!) I was hooked up to the IV and the fetal heartbeat monitor, and tried to find a comfortable position, which proved difficult with the contractions now only seconds apart. Michael applied pressure to my back and I worked through some of them laboring on my hands and knees. When I was checked, I was dilated to about five centimeters, and decided to once again get the epidural. The anesthesiologist was already on the floor, so it wasn’t long before I was being prepped for what I knew would be sweet relief.

I leaned into my wonderful nurse as the epidural was put it, and tried to focus on the sound of my baby’s heart beat coming through the monitor. I told myself the pain was worth it. It was bringing him to me. And soon I would feel relief and could rest. There were no longer breaks between the contractions, and I began to wrestle with my thoughts. I didn’t feel like I could do it any more. The pain so so intense and so constant. I tried to tell myself it would be easier soon, but I didn’t believe my own words.

Finally the epidural was in, and I leaned back onto the bed. I knew from my previous births that relief would come shortly. Only, it didn’t. Suddenly I began to feel intense burning and shouted at the nurse that something was wrong. She calmly said she would check things out, and her check revealed I was fully dilated and the baby was on his way out. Looking back, I realize now I was going through transition while sitting absolutely still for the epidural. Which explains the crazy head games and also ALL THE PAIN.

I am told Andrew was born in just minutes, but it felt like hours. I now understand what women mean when they speak of the “ring of fire”. I had always wanted a natural birth, but changed my mind in the end. This time, I didn’t have a choice. Drew was born the fastest of all my babies at 1:01 a.m., just an hour and a half after my water broke and hard labor began. And…before the epidural kicked in. As a matter of fact, the only thing I got from the epidural before they took it out was tingly feet 10 minutes after he was born. I won’t lie. It was the most painful hour and a half of my life, but I felt amazing afterwards. Like a rock star!

He was placed on my chest and my heart once again filled with love for our new son. He had a full head of dark hair, the longest fingers and toes, and lungs that announced to all he was here. We lay skin-to-skin while I delivered the placenta, and soon he began to nurse.

A few hours later, Michael brought Owen and Ryan to meet their new brother. Suddenly we were a party of five. In the time he’s been here, I find myself delirious both with lack of sleep and love. Every day is more challenging than I thought it would be, but oh. My three little boys. I am so very lucky.

Heading home!

Heading home!

 

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It’s been a long time since I stopped by here. No excuses or anything, it just is what it is. Let’s just dive right in then, shall we?

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Today I am 35-weeks pregnant with our third little guy. I feel fortunate that aside from a really crummy first trimester and the fact that I caught every single illness Owen brought home from preschool this endless winter, this has actually been my easiest pregnancy yet. I’m sleeping, I’m not really waddling, I’ve gained less weight than before and aches and pains have been minimal. Maybe this one knows I can’t possibly handle feeling like crap while chasing the boys around.

I am officially out of cool weather maternity clothes that don’t make me look like a sausage casing, though, so if this warm weather could stick around I would be grateful.

With five weeks to go (and I truly anticipate him staying in the whole five weeks. My babies tend to stick it out till the end.), it’s only just starting to hit me that he’s coming. Soon. Someone recently asked me if I was ready for him. I stared at her a few seconds and then said, I guess I will buy some diapers soon. And…wash some baby clothes? I mean, I do want to set up his nursery and all that jazz. It just hasn’t hit me as pressing yet. Talk to me next week and I might be singing a different tune. I always pack my “just in case” hospital bag at 36 weeks. You know, in case. I won’t need it, though.

As much as I’m excited for him to be here, I’m also not in any rush. Just like I wanted to savor the last days of our family of three before Ryan was born, I am feeling that way again. Before This Little Baby 3 arrives, I want time with my boys. My boys, who alternately drive me crazy and make me want to smother them with love.

Owen, at nearly four, is a BOY now. A smart and curious boy who is writing letters and trying to sound out words. A boy who joined a soccer team and has blossomed in preschool. He is an amazing big brother to Ryan and I am so excited to see him do it again at this age. He is excited for “his” baby and all the help he can give. While he continues to give me tons of “threenager” attitude and challenges my parenting daily, I am overwhelmed with love when I look at him. He is truly an awesome kid.

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At almost 22 months, Ryan is in one of my favorite stages. While he definitely exhibits some Terrible Twos-like behavior, overall he is fantastic. His language has really exploded and he talks to us all day long. Everything is “why?”, and he wants to do absolutely everything Owen does. Monkey see, monkey do. Because of this, he has already climbed onto Owen’s bike, is fearless in most endeavors, and would run head-first onto the soccer field if I let him. After a little rocky transition into a new room, we also moved the boys in together to free up the nursery. After the first month I can say for certain that it was the right idea. They bonded so much more and adore having each other there.

Ryan is my mama’s boy. He will be going a mile a minute, then instantly stop to climb in my lap for a snuggle. I know from experience he will adjust when the baby arrives, especially since he has Owen, but I do worry about him a little bit more. I worry about his transition from baby to big brother, from youngest to middle child. Hopefully it goes well!

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I’m so lucky to be mommy to these boys.

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And I know the gift of a sibling is the best thing I can give them. Come June, my lap and heart are just going to be so full. I can’t wait.

I blame it on that smell.

It lingers in the fold of his neck, grazing his cheek and wafting up towards me as I nuzzle into him. It’s not the newborn smell anymore, the smell I could never quite pinpoint the origin 0f (though I swear it came from his eyes), but the smell of baby. Sweet, pink, baby smell.

My baby fever is returning. I wasn’t expecting it so soon, but it here it is knocking at the door. It surprises me, this pull towards another baby, because I couldn’t even begin to imagine another so soon after Owen. It wasn’t until he was a year old that I even started to consider it seriously.

Ryan will be eight months in just a few days and I can’t believe he is that much closer to turning one. Maybe it’s because he’s my second and there is so much more going on, but I feel like his first year of life is hurtling by me at top speed. He spoke his first word — “mama” (be still my heart). Yesterday he was thisclose to getting up on his knees, prevented only by one chubby leg getting stuck. It’s all just happening so quickly.

A few months ago I found myself in the “two week wait”, wondering if a positive pregnancy test would be at the end. It wasn’t planned — I felt it was too soon. I wasn’t ready, not at all. While I worried about taking away from Ryan’s babyhood, about throwing yet another baby on Owen, about my milk supply drying up from pregnancy before Ryan was even a year…Michael calmly and happily said another baby wouldn’t be such a bad thing. The more we talked about it, the more I began to think maybe he was right.

As it turns out, I wasn’t pregnant. As I stared at a single pink line on the stick I felt relief, and just enough disappointment to know that our family isn’t full yet.

Something has shifted in the last few weeks. As I watch my boys double over in giggles while they play with each other, my heart swells and whispers to my head, another baby.

It would be a lot, sure. A lot, a lot. I’m tired now, you know? I just got back to my happy weight. I’m still nursing. I just got one out of diapers. There are enough reasons to rationalize it’s too soon, and yet I feel myself starting to ache for the time to be now.

My body, as it turns out, is in control. I didn’t ovulate for 14 months after Owen, and while it appeared I was trying to a few months ago, I’m pretty sure I haven’t yet as my cycles haven’t returned. Because of that, I might be longing for #3 for quite awhile.

Don’t get me wrong, my boys — OH, my boys. I don’t want another baby to replace the two who are growing so quickly. I want another baby because I’ve tasted how delicious this time is and I want more of it.

It’s really the smell’s fault. If only the baby didn’t smell so good.

Although, sometimes the baby smells like yogurt…

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When Owen was a baby he would bust out of the swaddle so often that I decided he must not like it. I stopped swaddling him early on and he was never a great sleeper. When Ryan was born I decided he would be swaddled, no matter what, and had great success with the Miracle Blanket. Of course I can’t attribute all the sleeping highs and lows with swaddling, but I know it helped significantly.

By the time Ryan was four months old he was such an excellent sleeper, but he was starting to wake himself up breaking out of his swaddle. I tried all the gradual weaning techniques to no avail. I even tried going to a sleep sack cold turkey and he completely lost his mind, unable to settle and sleep until I swaddled him again. We needed a new solution and quickly.

As I poured over parenting forums, I kept coming across the mention of a blanket called the Zipadee-Zip. It got great reviews, so I had to check it out.

The Zipadee-Zip is a blanket that helps ease your baby gently from swaddling to using a blanket. The starfish design allows the baby to have their arms free, but gives just enough resistance to keep them feeling snugly. There’s no need to worry if the baby rolls over, because unlike with a swaddle, they would be able to use their arms.

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Designed by Stephanie — a mom looking for a solution to her own swaddle-weaning problem — each blanket is handmade to order and comes in both stretch cotton or fleece. See how it works here:

Our Zipadee-Zip arrived just as I was getting Ryan for bed. I figured it was just as good a time as any to try it, so I nursed him, zipped him up and hoped for the best.

He slept 10 hours before waking up to nurse, just like that. That was the entire transition. There was no fighting, no crying. Just a happy, un-swaddled baby. Each night was the same, and even his naps got better.

As per Stephanie’s suggestion, I started with a small Zippy to make the transition as smooth as possible. I like that it covers his hands while he sleeps keeping them warm and his face free of scratches. Ryan takes comfort in sucking on his hands as he falls asleep, so I have to wash it a little more often than I might otherwise, but  I’m ok with that. If he’s fussy, he immediately calms down as I zip him in and he wakes every morning with a huge smile on his face. To say I love the Zipadee-Zip is an understatement. As a matter of fact, I just ordered the medium today! Eventually I will wean him from the Zipadee-Zip as well, but from what I’ve read that usually happens without a problem.

Do you want a Zipadee-Zip?!

Here’s your chance to get one! Stephanie has graciously offered up a free Zipadee-Zip to one lucky reader. If you don’t have kids yourself, it would make a great gift.

To enter, leave a comment about anything you want. Easy, right? I will randomly select a winner next Friday, January 14th.

Good luck!

 

 

Every night before I go to bed, I check in on my babies. Owen is usually sprawled out on his back at some interesting angle, blanket askew, his “Mommy shirt”, an old t-shirt of mine he made his blankie, draped across him. I gently tuck him back in, occasionally removing his wedged feet from between the bed slats, brush his hair off his forehead, kiss him gently and tip toe out.

Next is the baby. I turn the light on in my bedroom across the hall so I will have just enough light to see him, but not enough for him to wake. He looks like the world’s sweetest little starfish zipped into his blanket. Ryan will have rotated to his right — he always does — and will have pressed his face against the one bumper I have in there. The one bumper I put back in because he kept waking himself up trying to snuggle himself into the crib rails. I have stopped stressing about him sleeping like that now, but I always pause just long enough to see the rise and fall of his chest.

It occurs to me that my children will never know I do these things. They might remember the story hours I took them to, the outings at the playground. They might one day remind me of the pictures we drew together or the songs we danced around the living room to. They will know I parented them all day every day, but the memories of the night will be mine alone.

At night I am transported both back in time, and towards the future. Ryan’s dewy skin and sleepy suckling are all baby, and Owen’s rosy cheeks remind me of when he was tiny. The other night, though, before my eyes adjusted to the dark, I caught a glimpse of who my little boy will become. In the dark, Owen’s sleeping profile was so strikingly similar to his father’s, I actually gasped.

Babies don’t keep, but these nights will. In my mind. In my heart. In the dark.

 

We were pretty well stocked with baby stuff after Owen was born, so we didn’t really need to get much for Ryan. As it turns out, though, there were some items that I feel I wouldn’t have survived without the second time around, and since I’ve seen some bloggy moms who are pregnant with their second asking what they could possibly need, I thought I would share what I found helpful.

Baby Carriers

I wore Owen a fair amount, but this time it has become an absolute necessity that I wear Ryan. There’s no way around it, with a toddler, I need my hands to be free. When Ryan was new the Moby wrap worked wonders at calming him during fussy times. I use it less now at three months, but occasionally I’ll wrap him in a hug hold if he’s being a pill and he will chill out.

Three-ish weeks old.

Unless he’s sleeping, Ryan does NOT like the car seat, so when we go shopping, putting it in the cart isn’t an option. Owen still rides in the cart anyway, so if I were to put the seat in the big part I’d basically have no room for groceries. Because of this, the Bjorn is always in my car ready to go. If he’s sleepy, I’ll face him towards my chest and he’ll conk right out. If hes’ awake, he faces outward and takes everything in. I also use the Bjorn when I take Owen to the playground or just playing outside at home. That way I’m free to push him on the swing, play with cars, etc.

If Ryan is anything like his brother, he will eventually become too chunka munka for me to carry him in the Bjorn comfortably, so at that time I will switch to our Boba, which works all the way through toddler years.

Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper

Both of my kids hated the bassinet. It felt like the minute I lay them down in it, their eyes would pop right back open. Fail. Owen spent many of his early weeks sleeping in the bouncy seat, but with a toddler that comes into our room in the morning, I didn’t want Ryan on the floor in the feet zone. I mentioned this to a friend, who offered to loan me her Rock and Play. I had read reviews of it at some point and knew people loved it, but I didn’t know how much of a convert I would become.

The design keeps baby at a slight angle much like a bouncy seat, which helped with that newborn reflux. It’s high enough off the ground that I could reach him from bed and if he just needed a little soothing, I could gently rock it back and forth. We moved him out of our room and into his own by four weeks when he started sleeping longer stretches. I would set it up in the center of the room, and easily fold it up in the morning. We used the R&P for about 5 weeks before I transitioned him into the crib. I probably would have used it longer, but because he sleeps swaddled I was unable to latch him in, so as soon as he started wiggling around I didn’t feel it was safe for him any longer. That being said, by snapping baby in, the Rock and Play is designed to hold baby up to 25 pounds. I wasn’t willing to give up swaddling for that, though. Which brings me to…

The Miracle Blanket

When Owen was born he didn’t like to be swaddled. After a week or so of trying to force it, I gave up until around four months old when I brought it back to help transition him out of our room and into his crib. I can’t help but wonder if it was just first-time parenting naivety on my part. I may have done us all a disservice by not finding a swaddling solution that worked for him. Maybe we would have slept more! There’s no going back now, but when I heard about The Miracle Blanket, I knew I wanted to have it from the get-go this time.

(Not my baby)

 

I’m glad I did! This baby straightjacket kept him from smacking himself in the face and I thought it worked better than any of the Velcro ones I had tried. I can’t give the blanket all the credit, but Ryan is a really great sleeper, and I know the blanket has contributed to that. We used the Miracle Blanket from day one until just now at 12 weeks when he started to break free and wake himself up. We are now using a double swaddle method with a muslin blanket and a sleep sack, but I am tucking these blankets away for future children for sure.

(Actually my baby)

We also purchased a double BOB jogging stroller, but I haven’t used it too much since Ryan is too small to sit in the seat and I have to use the car seat attachment. Which works awesome when he’s screaming!

So really, we didn’t need that many new things at all. Got any must-haves to add to the list?

I was not compensated in any way for these reviews. I just really like this stuff!

I have a tendency to fall off the face of the blogging earth when I have a baby. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, it’s just that when I have down time, I tend to use it in other ways. Like sleeping. Or eating cookie dough straight from the fridge.

But here we are, six plus weeks into life with two children, and I figure it’s about time I document some of it; if not for you, than for me, because oh Ryan, I’m sorry, but what they say is true about second kids. I haven’t even purchased a baby book to document your first spit up, or the first time you said “Ah-glurg”, or all those countless little things that no one really cares about. (I’m lying, Ryan! I totally cared the first time you said “Ah-glurg!” You are a genius!)

My last post where I felt like I was really getting my footing was followed by a week or so of realizing that clearly, I had not. Michael was working a lot and I was home alone and Ryan was growth-spurting and yeah, it wasn’t great. I emailed a friend and told her that sometimes I felt like I was really failing at this two kid thing. Sure, they were both alive and fed and generally clean, but I found myself yelling more, playing less and mostly going through the daily motions of survival. It wasn’t a great stretch, but I finally swallowed my pride and allowed people to help me. (I’m not sure why that was so difficult — perhaps a feeling of I should be able to do it all myself? Who knows…) Michael’s mom and grandmother would pop in and I can’t remember a time I felt more happy to see my in-laws. They played with Owen while I vacuumed, held Ryan while I showered and provided me with adult conversation that I so desperately needed. It wasn’t much, but it was a lot.

And then, just as quickly as the clouds rolled in, they parted, and we’ve been grooving again. You know, until the next storm. At least I will be able to suck it up and ask for some help next time!

Ryan is amazing. One day he took a four hour nap and I swear, he woke up bigger not fitting in any of his clothes. He has started to smile and coo at his play mat and for the last few nights has been starting the night with a 6.5 hour stretch, which I can only hope will continue to get longer. Owen is Super Brother, loving on his baby from the moment he wakes up. He has tested his boundaries a bit (asking if he could push his dump truck into Ryan. No, you may not.), and has had a few regressions when it comes to going to bed and using the potty. (He was kind of interested in it before, now he requests the changing table and a diaper. I get it.) Overall, though, he has transitioned into his big brother roll really well.

As for me, I’m getting there. I’m still not showered as often as I’d like to be and while 30 pounds has fallen off on it’s own, there’s about 12 to go that I know are going to stick around until I start moving. I’m uncomfortable in my flabby post-pregnancy skin right now, anxiously waiting to fit into my pants or wear a shirt that doesn’t blouse out from the waist. I have been pushing the double stroller all over the neighborhood, and while pushing 40 pounds of kids, the stroller and the infant seat up hill certainly works up a sweat, it’s time to bite the bullet and make a date with the 30 Day Shred.

As I’m writing this, Ryan is napping in the crib, Owen is playing at my feet and I’m drinking a chai in the quiet of my dining room. No one is screaming or spitting up or demanding graham crackers. So far, today is a win.

I know not every day will be, but I’m pretty confident in the end, we will have more wins than fails. (I hope.)

Anna Sawin Photography

Yesterday was one of those days.

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There was endless fussing from the baby, and demands paired with meltdowns from the toddler. There was two solid hours of suckage that felt like at least eight, the cliche “hand-off-the-baby-to-dad” move as soon as he walked in the door, and the questioning of whether or not it was acceptable to have a glass of wine at 4 p.m.

Yesterday was a rough one, but later on, our little family of four headed down to the beach before dinner, and as I watched Michael and Owen jumping in the waves and kissed Ryan’s silky head sticking out of the top of the Bjorn, I realized that despite it all, we’re finding our groove.

Ryan will be a month old tomorrow. There’s some saying about the days being long but the years being short, and I totally get that. Aside from a really rough second week where he was having a growth spurt, but I was convinced he was going to be colicky like Owen was (I was thisclose to calling up my friend who works on a psych unit and booking a long weekend), he’s been a fairly easy kid. I mean, relatively. He’s an infant, after all, so he cries and spits up and doesn’t sleep nearly as long at night as I would like, but compared to the first month with Owen, he’s been a cake walk. I’ll take the two 3-hour stretches at night (I bring him in bed with me after that because…yawn…) over the maybe hour and half at a time we got the first time around.

I know a big part of it is I’m more relaxed this time and thankfully am not experiencing the baby blues again, but it does fascinate me how different kids can be.

So, yes. This two kid thing. It takes a lot of multitasking and patience and some tears too.

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(Morning multitasking: chai, nursing, emailing, and tiny feet.)

It’s going with the flow and trying not to take things too seriously. It’s showering when I can (that fear I had came true. Showering with two kids is…difficult) and making a point to lie down with Ryan and take a nap as soon as Owen goes down for his. It’s a little extra TV (I both love and loath you, Fresh Beat Band.) It’s doing the laundry, but maybe not folding it right away, running the dishwasher but being physically unable to unload it for 24 hours, and needing to set an alarm to remind myself to put dinner in the Crock Pot.

But our groove, we’re finding it. Little by little.

Lately I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to have two children. I get asked about it a lot already. When are we having the next one? It seems to be a common question as O approaches his first birthday, as if the one-year mark is a counter ticking down to a sibling. I was asked a handful of times this weekend and my mother-in-law recently told me she had a dream I was pregnant, than waited patiently for me to confirm that her dream had truth to it.

We always loosely toss around the idea of trying for a second child around the time Owen is 18 months. I guess that means we could try around the time he’s 15 months, or 20 months, or what-have-you, but we both like the idea of having them about two years apart. Michael is an only child and while we’re very close now, my sister and I are nearly seven years apart, which caused some natural distance between us growing up. I want my kids to have an always-buddy, my house to be filled with (controlled) chaos (ha!), and to someday have my backyard filled with big family picnics. We imagine at least two, probably three children.

Sometimes when the reality hits me that I could potentially be pregnant before the end of this year, I am filled with joy and anticipation. I loved being pregnant. I would love to be pregnant again. I can only hope that we are blessed with an easy conception and a healthy pregnancy again when that time comes; we were so very fortunate for that with Owen.

But then sometimes, I wonder how can I ever even consider being pregnant again so soon? A year has just flown by — this time a year ago I was having fun at my baby showers and today I’m wrestling a 10-month old monkey. It’s so cliché to say they grow up so fast, but they DO. Especially these last few months, I feel like he changes and grows so much over the course of just days. The little peanut who used to cry all the time is now this ridiculously joyful, adorable, loving little boy who gives kisses and giant smiles, can feed himself some food and drink out of a cup and is speaking words. And is napping and sleeping through the night!

Sometimes it feels a little selfish to even consider starting the path towards bringing another life into our family, when I don’t dare to miss one small milestone of Owen’s. And then on the flip side, to imagine doing it all again, to experience another first smile, the first “mama”; to imagine Owen as a big brother. Well, that just seems wonderful. One small person has made our lives so much fuller. We have so much love to give him, and I know I have enough love to give to more.

There was never a perfect time for us to get pregnant the first time. Our ducks were in a row, mostly, sure. But I had lost my job and we wanted to sell our house so no, it wasn’t a “perfect” time by definition. But it turned out to be the perfect time for that baby, because here he is, and we wouldn’t change it for the world. So is there a “perfect” time for another? No, of course not. There will always be a lone duck off on its own, away from the others in a row.

For the immediate future, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy this time with Owen, before there are two. Before we are no longer first-time parents of an only child. Because this time will only happen once and I plan to absorb every minute of it.

If you have children, how did you know you were ready for more? Or that one was enough?

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