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.
Today 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.
After 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!
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:
My kids could not be more different either, but my fussy harder baby came first. My son is such an easy baby (knock wood!). Love your blog!!
Expecting our first little and if the movement in my belly means anything,I feel a mover and a shaker coming soon! Thanks for sharing your story.
It’s so interesting and crazy to me how different my two kids are. They were both on the “easier” side as newborns but since then pretty much everything is different. Shy vs Outgoing. Loves food vs Picky Eater. Late talker vs Early babbling. I could go on and on!
aww this would be a great read for my niece(:
Fussy babies are cray-cray! I’m hoping that all future children I have will be a lot less fussy!
I read your blog and sometimes I wonder if you are blogging my life. Our kids our roughly the same age and my first was my ‘trick baby’. So easy. Then came #2. Shit got real. Hang in there, please keep blogging so I know I’m not alone on this crazy journey!
I’m pretty sure I was the easier baby and my brother was a the fussy one, although I know I had serious FOMO and I never wanted to sleep when other people were around. Haha!
dude. if I had known more about Clara’s temperament when I was dealing with Amelia, I may have had to stop reading your blog. because Amelia is my Isabelle. I know that she came to me first because I needed a serious crash course in patience and character building, but I’m really hoping #2 will be my napper and easy one. although I guess if this one is the same as her at least i’ll know what to expect?
I think that was my greatest fear with Emmy, that she was going to be awake all day long and fussy because she was ALWAYS moving. Now that she’s on the outside, I know that she’s just legitimately always moving, even in her sleep. That girl is so squirmy!! But, there is a chance that all could change, and it’s my greatest fear that she’ll become difficult because I’m used to Bensen who was “easy” relatively.
Wanting to cry with her? I did this. A lot. My son was and is my fussy baby/toddler. Although now I can usually tell what he wants, his baby fussiness moved fluidly into toddler tantrums. I wouldn’t trade him for the world but those newborn days were ROUGH.
I feel like R is right in the middle of those. She definitely has her fussy moments, and when she’s teething she is a MESS. But she is also a really happy baby and we cart her around a lot. Hopefully when we have another baby she or he is just as good! Cute pictures of you all 🙂
Omg your family is so cute – thanks for chance