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: