on knowing I know very little

As I get closer and closer to lady baby’s due date, I am preparing for her arrival in all the ways I can. The used bassinet I bought is washed, assembled, and ready for action. There are swaddling blankets cleaned and stacked underneath, one box of size one disposable diapers ready for action and a whole lot of cloth diapers deep cleaned, prepped, and ready for baby bum number two. I have a dresser full of baby girl 0-6 month clothing and about a million 0-6 month sleepers hanging neatly in the closet. (we are so lucky to have hand-me-downs!) I just bought a double stroller online today, it should be on my doorstep sometime next week.

All of this physical stuff I’ve checked off the list, but I still feel utterly unprepared emotionally and know that there’s no way to feel differently. There’s no way to prepare for the change that’s coming. Yes, the stuff is ready for whenever this baby decides to come on out and join the world. But emotionally or perhaps better stated, in actuality, I feel very unprepared. I have no idea how I’ll manage morning, noon, or night with two. I have no idea how I’ll get the kid ready for preschool, get myself fed and ready, and a newborn out the door. I know logically that I will figure it out somehow, some way. I don’t know if our marriage, my husband, my son, heck the dog, and me, are ready for the enormous change that’s about to hit us. I don’t know how we’ll make time for each other, for each kid, and for ourselves with another child added to the mix. I believe we will manage and we’re as ready as we can be, but it still feels so unknown.

I don’t know what kind of baby this baby will be. Leopold wasn’t a difficult baby or overly fussy, but he did want to eat, eat, eat, all of the time, he never napped consistently, and he grew like a weed. He was exhausting but there was much that was easy about him, he latched and nursed well, he grew quickly and it was easy to see he was thriving on breastmilk alone, and he was rarely fussy without reason. He was not a great sleeper until recently and he has always had an incredible drive to move and change and master the next biggest thing (crawling, walking, climbing, jumping, running, jumping, escaping cribs, going up ladders, signing, talking). It kept me on my toes for sure and I was always a step behind him. I know this baby will be very different in many ways and I will have to adjust my expectations and my parenting style to suit her personality and her needs.

The kind of parent you need to be is very much dependent on who your child is, you know? Every baby is different and I know it will be impossible not to compare lady baby to Leopold. The one thing I do know is how very little I know. Yes, I’ve had a newborn over 2 years ago and I remember somewhat foggily the sleep deprivation, the hours and hours spent nursing, cuddling, and crying into my sweet baby’s onesie that he actually exists. But picturing that with another child to care for who runs and jumps and can pick up said baby? And another, different baby whose personality and needs could be so very different to my other baby? I’m having a hard time fathoming what the reality will be like with a newborn and an almost 2.5 year old. I’m pretty sure I’ll rarely get a break, there will be a lot of take-out dinners, and it’s going to be a few months until I can take a deep breath, have a shower, and think “I’ve got this. the really, really hard part is over.”

I am expecting to be exhausted, to be emotional, to be afraid, to not know what or how I’ll get through the next exhausting day of being a stay at home mom of 2, to cry at everything and nothing, to be in much physical pain after delivery (which kind is yet to be seen…), and to be totally overwhelmed. I am also expecting to be utterly amazed at a new tiny human and cry tears of absolute joy of every single interaction between Leopold and his precious sister. I am on the cusp, just waiting for our world to be turned upside down in the best of ways.

35 weeks today. So close and so far to meeting our baby girl.

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10 thoughts on “on knowing I know very little

  1. I think you know more than you think you do! Coming from someone who is in the midst of it, you’re spot on regarding the challenges. Yes, you can’t predict what this baby will be like and there is really no way to prepare for the reality. However, you’re so realistic about the challenges and knowing that it will be a transition – that’s the important thing.

  2. I get this, I so so get this. On the one hand I know what it’s like to have a newborn, but then again I have NO IDEA what it’s like to have a newborn and a preschooler. And I have less idea what it will be like to have this particular newborn.

    I think the thing that terrifies me the most is the idea that right when I feel like I’m getting the hang of it, I’ll be going back to work. And then I’ll have to learn everything all over again.

    The whole thing is absolutely terrifying, and yet wonderful, all at the same time.

  3. It’s been such a blur that I hardly know what to say. The broad strokes are that it was easy in the beginning, then VERY difficult months 4-6, and now is getting easier again. And then, I am sure, it will get hard again! The baby stuff is like riding a bike. The EMOTIONS are like riding a rollercoaster you are not quite tall enough to go on, but you weigh just enough for the G force to keep you in your seat. My only advice is to sleep whenever you can – I am so very, very serious about that.

    You got this, woman. Like a boss.

  4. My advice is to freeze meals so you can spend your time sleeping and not cooking in the early days (or lots of take-out if it’s in the budget). It is not so hard and yet very hard all at once and alternating very fast. And yes, totally sleep all the time you can possibly do it. Naps, nights, badger someone else to do night wake-ups when you can so you get to sleep. Oh I miss sleeping.

    You can do it! It works out in the end, somehow.

  5. I can’t believe you’re 35 weeks… anytime anyone passes the 33 week mark (the mark at which I had my girls) their baby just becomes so… REAL… to me. I’m so looking forward to hearing all about how this little girl turns your life upside down (in all the best of ways of course) 😉 I don’t know that there’s any amount of preparing you can do really… every baby is so different, a family with a toddler has different needs than a family with just a newborn. It’s like you’re just gonna have to start from scratch and figure it out all over again. I have no doubt you’ll do amazing with it all. 🙂

  6. Pingback: Knowing Only What I Don’t Know | Stumbling Gracefully

  7. It’s a different road for everyone, this toddler/preschooler + new baby trip, but the destination is always the same: your new normal. You WILL find it, and, with time, you will smirk a little at your anxiousness and fumbles, and you will probably find yourself wondering what in the world you ever did with your time when it was just you and Leo during the days. 🙂

    It was intense and fraying in the beginning and early months, mostly because, you know, HORMONES, and also because I personally do not deal well with being pulled in two competing directions (the toddler’s needs vs. the baby’s needs). But, that intensity ebbed when the baby’s needs/schedule became more predictable (once the newborn sleeping and nursing all day long phase passed) and the toddler really understood that she was a fixture of our life. It takes time. You will get there, promise.

    My most heartfelt piece of advice, if I may extend any, is this: go easy on yourself, be gentle with your expectations. You’re a single human being with limits to your endurance and patience, and this is OKAY and NORMAL. This new chapter will be filled with amazing highs (like, seriously, so so incredible) and maybe even deep lows (dude, I lost my postpartum shit for a few weeks there), and it’s all okay and normal. One day you realize with a surprise that the days where you’re kicking ass far out number the days that are kicking your ass. It’s fun. It really is. But when it’s not fun–when it kicks your ass–this is not a reflection of you as a person or a mother. It’s just, you know, being a parent.

    I am; so excited for you, and I have nothing but confidence that you will be amazed at how much joy your lady baby brings with her. Dude, you got this.

    ❤

  8. “The kind of parent you need to be is very much dependent on who your child is, you know?” Spot on. I have no advice but I know you’ll figure it out and rock the mom of two like you rock the mom of one!

  9. I have no advice at all, but I feel you on the uncertainty. It’s almost more uncertain the second time knowing now how little we know. 🙂 Still, I’m quite sure that you will do well with two, whoever Lady Baby turns out to be.

  10. Oh my gosh girl, you’ve got this. Seriously. My only piece of advice is to, just go with it. That’s something that was very hard for ME to do with a newborn and a 18 month old. I was a wreck. My emotions ALL over the place. I was upset about having to splt MY time with my toddler and a newborn (silly) but, my Dr said that’s normal. ANyhow – I’m blabbering…just go with the flow. Does the dishes, laundry, bills, etc. HAVE to be done right this moment? No? Then don’t.

    Also – if you can get help from family…do. I did. Best thing ever 🙂

    And yes, one day, one magical day, it’ll all click…and you’ll look back and wonder, why did I stress about it?

    You’re going to be amazing. You’re going to have rough days but know this – Twitter and your Blogs buds will always be there, in support…rallying with you…encouraging you. And as always, you’re going to be one heck of a Momma to LAdy Baby. So excited for you!

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