Paternity Leave

Monday was Tim’s first day of paternity leave.

He gets 10 weeks off.

TEN WEEKS!

paternity-leave

I don’t even know what I’m going to do with myself for that amount of time.

Oh wait, yes I do! I’m going to go on playdates and leave Isabelle at home. I’m going to use Clara’s naptime to do things I want to do instead of bouncing Isabelle. I’m going to leave the house. I’m going to workout. I’m going to (try to) remember to eat. I’m going to spend more time with Tim. I’m going to think of some new hikes to try and adventures to go on…

I can’t wait! 

Tim took two weeks of his paternity leave right after Isabelle was born, but we intentionally held off on the rest of it until Isabelle was this age (almost 5 months) because I knew at this point we’d want to try to get Isabelle sleeping in her own bed and on some sort of sleep schedule. Clara was a really great sleeping newborn but life got hard after the four month sleep regression, so we were anticipating the same for Isabelle. However, our girls seem to be nothing alike and Isabelle has never slept well sooooo maybe she won’t get worse?! Fingers crossed.

I don’t want to rush into any of that ‘sleep training’ stuff yet, though – I just want to enjoy having an extra set of hands around the house during the day.

On Monday I did a bunch of stuff during Clara’s naptime and it was glorious. On Tuesday I went on a playdate to a park and left Isabelle at home with Tim. Now that I’ve been experiencing life with two kids – only taking one kid somewhere seems like a mini-vacation! I love it!

Paternity Leave

Sidenote: I really, really think it’s ridiculous that most companies don’t give their employees adequate (or any!) paid maternity/paternity leave, so I consider us very blessed that we get to have this time together.

(Although, let’s be honest, after 10 weeks I may be more-than-ready to send Tim back to work!)

Did you and/or your partner take any maternity or paternity leave?

Posted in family, motherhood | Tagged | 8 Comments

A little of this, a little of that.

Since I’ve barely shown up on this blog over the last week or so, I thought I’d try to catch up with a quick update:

photobooth

– We now own a fish. We went to a third birthday party last weekend and each toddler was encouraged to fill a mason jar with rocks and little plastic decorations and I thought “Oh how cute, a fake fish bowl for the under-the-sea themed party” but then they put a REAL FISH in the jar and I was like, “well shoot, now I’m a fish owner.” Of course, we forgot the fish food the hosts provided for us so we had to go out and buy that and then we decided we need a better bowl.. we’re going all in on this new pet.

– The weather has cooled off here and everyone is so relieved. It’s been grey every morning and everywhere I go people are so, so happy that it isn’t sunny anymore. Seattle is a strange place.

– I’m obsessed with the ‘Neapolitan novels’ (series) and if you haven’t read them I really think you’re missing out. I’m on the third book (out of four) in this series and just love each one so far.

– I had a few really fun playdates this past week and it seems like I’m not the only mom who is struggling with life lately. I’m not happy that anyone is having a hard time, but it means so much to me that I have ladies in my life who can walk alongside me and relate to what I’m saying.

In a nutshell, life is busy and wonderful and although some things really seem to be hard for me right now, a lot of thing are going really, really well.

Thanks for all the support and love so many of you extended to me after reading my last post. I really, truly appreciate it and the encouraging comments helped lift my spirits immediately

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Treading water

I feel like I’m over here treading water lately, guys. I’m not going to lie, this mom-of-two thing is kicking my butt like none other lately.

Do you know those days/weeks/months when everything just seems especially hard? I’m in the midst of a long spell of that.

I’m not sure if it’s the fact that Clara didn’t nap some days recently, or that Isabelle hasn’t napped her entire life (10 minutes is not a nap, Isabelle!), or that I’ve been running around like a crazy person trying to get lots of ‘life’ stuff done, or if the construction next door is making me actually crazy… I just can’t pinpoint what is causing this funk of mine. I just know that I’m in survival mode.

I’m so thankful for the playdates, coffees, conversations with friends, and the tiny bits of ‘me’ time that have kept me going.

current thoughts - mother of two

Believe me, I’ve tried to keep this girl’s hair out of her eyes. All attempts have failed.

Because I’m having a hard time.

It isn’t the busyness – that’s what is keeping me sane, actually – it’s the loneliness and frustration of listening to a crying baby and tantruming toddler, and the strain in my back from carrying a not-so-little baby because she won’t be put down, and the sleep deprivation, and the uncertainty of so many things. It’s the never-ending laundry and dishes and cleaning up toddler messes and changing diapers and making food non-stop and breastfeeding (every 2 hours! Still!) and trying to keep life organized yet fun.

I am so worn out from being a mom 100% of each and every day. I’m sure staying at home (as opposed to working outside of the home) makes it harder. I’m sure breastfeeding makes it harder. I’m sure the hormones make it harder. I’m sure this particular age of both girls is making it harder. I’m sure Tim’s long working hours is making it harder.

current thoughts - mother of two

But if I’ve learned anything from Finding Nemo it’s that I need to just keep swimming.

Even if that means crying in the shower and drinking an extra glass of wine or coffee, I need to keep going! I kind of have no other choice.

I do plan on getting some ‘me time’ soon during Tim’s paternity leave that starts next week. I just need to get there.

This motherhood thing… man, there is absolutely no way I could have been prepared for this.

Posted in being introspective, motherhood | Tagged | 16 Comments

Our first date night in… too long.

We went on a date last night.

This shouldn’t be news (because you know, we’re married and everything) but it is. It’s news because we haven’t actually gone on a 1-on-1 date since Valentine’s Day. I wish I
were joking.

date_night

After Clara was born, two short years ago, Tim and I went on a date every single week because my MIL would come over and watch Clara for us. It was glorious for everyone involved. But now that we live in Seattle and she lives in Chicago, date nights are a little harder to organize.

Plus, there’s the whole Isabelle factor. Meaning, I cannot (in good conscience) leave both Isabelle and Clara with a babysitter at bedtime. I can barely manage that fiasco by myself, and I just wouldn’t want to put that chaos on someone else unless I was paying them a small fortune. One day we will hire a more ‘professional’ babysitter who I know would be able to handle my kids better than I could, but for now we hire high schoolers (for just Clara) who will swear off having kids forever if I leave them with both of mine at bedtime.

Actually, now that I’m thinking about this, maybe their parents would pay me to have their kids babysit under this high stress situation because it could be used as a form of birth control!

Well, you get the idea, Tim and I never get out alone. But, the stars aligned last night and we arranged for a babysitter to watch Clara while a good friend offered to watch Isabelle for us at her house so Tim and I could get some quality time together.

This was the most generous offer for me. I almost didn’t take my friend up on it, but then I thought to myself, “Self, you guys really do need a date night.” And off we went.

I even wore a dress. And heels. And it wasn’t a breastfeeding-friendly outfit! And I didn’t get puke on it! Or pee!

We went to The Whale Wins in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle and I cannot say enough good things about it. I had two cocktails and the most delicious food I’ve had in quite a while.

We sat and talked in full sentences and took our time eating and ate food that wasn’t take-out or hurriedly made by one of us… Magical.

And I realized remembered a few things about myself. Like… that I like to eat dinner slowly and without chaos happening all around me. That I still love eating out at fancy restaurants. That I miss dressing up. That it makes a big difference to have dinner and conversation with barely any distractions. That Tim and I barely have any quality time together alone anymore but have a lot of fun when we do go out.

All-in-all, we had a great and much-needed evening. We’ve both been dealing with a lot of stress and busyness and it was so nice to relax for a while and just be with each other.

This date night simply wouldn’t have happened without a dear friend taking it upon herself to make sure Tim and I got out, and I hope to pass along the favor!

I encourage you, if you have friends with young children (or a young child) and they don’t have family (free babysitters!) in town, offer to babysit for them! This small gesture might be exactly what a couple needs.

Just wondering, how much do you pay babysitters? And when was your last date night!?

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True life: I have a fussy baby. (& giveaway!)

My post titles have tended to be a bit dramatic lately, huh? I blame the caffeinated sleep deprivation. And the rush of writing a post while both girls are sleeping.

But that’s neither here nor there.

Night Night FarmToday I want to share about my two very different babies.

Clara was a dream newborn. Other moms used to glare at me as they watched her lie on the floor and then fall asleep all on her own.  Honestly, I never had to do anything to get her to fall asleep for the first four (or so) months. I thought all newborns could just fall asleep wherever and I thought other moms were just being a little overly dramatic with their sleep routines.

My best friend got married when Clara was two months old and she slept the entire car ride from Chicago to Saint Louis, and then she slept through the entire rehearsal dinner and the entire wedding, from me getting ready all the way through the reception. She was in her carrier right next to the DJ and didn’t even stir. She barely woke up to eat!

And of course, as a first time mom, I assumed this was totally normal. How naïve of me.

All throughout her babyhood she would wake up happy and just smile and smile at the walls, people, her toys, etc. She almost never cried. I couldn’t even tell when she was teething because it never seemed to bother her.

Now, sleep training… that was a whole different ball game. But during the daytime, she was happy.

She has continued to be my laid back child. I mean, yes of course she has tantrums and whines and all of that stuff, but she is not an easily-flustered or sensitive kid and it is so easy to make her smile. She continues to go through life easy-peasy and happy.

And then Isabelle came along. And I immediately determined she is going to be my dramatic one.

Night Night FarmAfter a few months with Isabelle, I now know what it’s like to have a fussy newborn/baby and I know why my mom friends had stared at Clara incredulously.

Isabelle decided from birth that she had zero interest in sleeping during the day. ZERO. She was a newborn who only took 20 min naps, and not many of them. Even at a few days old, she would be awake for five hours at a time and would cry almost the entire time.

If she fell asleep somewhere, we couldn’t transfer her to another place. If she fell asleep in her carseat, she had to stay there. If she fell asleep in my arms, I wasn’t going to even try to move her. If she fell asleep at home, we stayed at home.

Swaddling? She was having none of it.

We had to try so hard to get her to go to sleep. Bouncing and bouncing on our giant ball, walking her around the house, swaying back and forth, being in a dark room, etc.

High maintenance from the start, this one!

Unlike with Clara (who never liked being held and preferred to be on her own), we almost never put Isabelle on the floor (until recently) because she would cry and cry. I wore her all day every day, until my back would start hurting so much I had to put her down. She would get sweaty and cry. She would get tired and cry. She got two teeth (way too early) and was a mess.

There is always something bothering this child!

But, it is getting better. When she was three months old she started rolling and being able to suck her thumb, so she became less reliant on us to help her calm down.

Self-soothing is a wonderful thing!

Night Night Farm

Now that she’s four months old she smiles at us often and can entertain herself on the floor for quite a while. She loves tummy time and playing with her feet and hands and toys. She can get toys in her mouth so will chew on those. She laughs, which is of course the best sound in the world to me. And she seems to have a much calmer spirit than her newborn self.

And now it still takes her some effort to go to sleep, but I would expect that more at this age, plus I know what works best for her, so I’m not as worn out by the process.

All of this to say, fussy babies are exhausting, and if you had one, I feel for you! It’s so hard. It’s so restricting. Some days it makes me want to cry right along with her. There is something really emotionally and mentally draining about being around a baby who cannot be happy.

But there’s an end! And for us, that end is in sight!

I have full confidence that Isabelle is going to be my easy toddler, because she will probably want to make up for her difficult baby days.

That’s how it works, right?!

I can’t wait to see how Clara and Isabelle continue to be similar and different as they get older. It’s amazing to me that two girls, so genetically similar, can be so different – even as babies.

If you have an ‘easy’ (because it’s relative, no babies are actually easy) baby, I hope you’re counting your lucky stars. If you have a difficult baby, I’m right here in the trenches with you.

* Note: The adorable book I’m reading to Clara & Isabelle is the board book ‘Night Night, Farm‘ by Amy Parker. I love the illustrations, it’s the perfect amount of words for a baby/toddler, and the last page mentions that God made all of the animals and “He made me too! Night night, God.” which I love. I highly recommend this one for your little one or for a gift! If you want a chance at winning a copy, here it is: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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