Friday, March 23, 2012

A new routine

I am happy to report that after nearly 2 years of nursing and night-nursing, Mirabel is 99.5% weaned and very, very few tears were involved (and I'm not just talking about her). She's sleeping in her own bed and even lets her dad tuck her in at night and at nap time. Who knew that all it would take were 3 simple words... Go to sleep. Yep, that's pretty much all we said to her.

It started about 2 weeks ago. I didn't want to celebrate too soon. There were a couple of minor bumps along the way. Some nights she'd still wake up quite often, but would thankfully get settled back to sleep without requesting a nursing session. Then she came down with a cold--that always takes a toll on her sleep routine.

But these past few nights she's been sleeping 8-9 hours straight without waking. After that, we let her climb into bed with us, and she sleeps an hour or 2 more. She's never been the kind of kid that sleeps 12 hours, so this is definitely an improvement from before. I remember about 2 nights before we started this process, I was awake at some odd hour in the early morning, completely anxious. So many thoughts were going through my head. I didn't know how she would respond to my being away at the hospital when it came time to have this baby. I was certain that she would have some kind of nervous breakdown, considering how much she would cry when I wasn't there to nurse her before. This is a very dramatic child. But, thankfully, she is talking so much more and understanding even more words than she can speak, so we are actually able to reason with her.

Reason with a not-even-2-year old? Yep, I didn't think it could be done. There was a lot of praying involved, too, believe me! Now we are pretty much on an everyday sleep routine. Setting up a solid routine of napping at almost the same exact time every day, and getting in bed at night at the same time every evening helped, yes. But I honestly believe she was as ready for this next step as I was.

...And I think she has an idea that another baby is coming. Jose told her to give me a kiss a few weekends ago, and she kissed my belly and smiled. She sees the ultrasound pictures and says, "baby". She is taking on the big sister role quite nicely. So far ;)...

Now, of course, I still have some anxiety about how I'm going to balance 2 kiddos. But I know it can be done; plenty of women have successfully done it before me. I think the benefit of her having a sibling to play with, and getting to see our immediate family grow, will definitely outweigh any struggles we might face the first few months. It's all about finding a new routine.

The funny thing is, routines don't just work for daughters. I think they're a must for the sanity of a stay-at-home mom. I feel truly blessed that I get to raise Mirabel full time, but I would be lying if I didn't say that I often miss the companionship of folks my own age, even if it's just interacting with co-workers. But here's the secret. Playdates are just as much for moms as they are for babies and toddlers! Maybe even more.

I think the other secret is to not lose yourself. Recycle that thought, throw all the other negative ones out.

All these changes that have been taking place lately have caused me to think about how much I've learned since Mirabel was born. I've also been reflecting on how I'm going to do things differently the second time around. I'm not referring to taking a different approach to parenting, but rather, remembering that parenting isn't actually all about just parenting. Yes, there's a survival mechanism that turns on when a newborn comes home. But at some point, the autopilot setting must be turned off. Otherwise, you'll forget who you are and you really won't be able to enjoy every moment as much.

Also, kids are not dumb. I've learned that when I'm having a "bad" day, Mirabel knows it and acts out. So taking time out for yourself, and remembering you, isn't a selfish thing at all. Your kiddos will thank you for it in how they behave.

These past two years have been so sweet. And hard. Wondering if I was somehow responding to tantrums "the wrong way". (And having a few tantrums of my own.) Struggling to smile and remain patient after only a few short hours of sleep over a period of days. (And crying when I was certain that I'd failed miserably.) Surviving the first trimester mostly alone, just the kiddo and me, while my husband was working on the deal of his life, putting in nearly 80 hours a week. (Thankfully, he's home a lot more these days. :)

But there were many truths I couldn't deny, even on the roughest days... like.
Mirabel started smiling when she was 2 weeks old and hasn't stopped since; she's truly happy. She is so outgoing and confident, meaning she's secure in herself (Wow! I guess we didn't do that bad of a job; she must feel loved!). She is talking and understanding. She is empathetic and knows when others are sad, and she feels sad along with them--what a tender heart.

Yes, there were tantrums. Yes, she refused to eat solid foods until way past her first birthday, and, of course, it took her some time to appreciate what it means to get a good night's rest.

Right now, though, I'm getting a glimpse of her true character. These past few months it seems she's been developing at an exponential rate, both emotionally and psychologically. The tantrums are happening less frequently and she's learning to obey. (What a beautiful thing that is! Of course, she still knows how to use her scream, but the moments when she listens to us are worth celebrating.) I can have conversations with her. During quiet times when we're eating dinner together, or having a snack, she looks at me and smiles for what seems to be no reason, other than the fact that she is happy and content. My heart melts. I feel good. I've found a true friend in my first born, what a blessing that is.

And this is just part I! Who knows what this little girl growing inside of me will be like. Yes, I may know the gender, but it'll feel like Christmas when I get a glimpse of her personality on her birth day. Believe me, we knew that Mirabel had a powerful personality and set of lungs before she even opened her eyes for the first time :).

It's not always sunshine and roses, but, in all honesty, what do I have to complain about?


Cory said...

I was concerned about the transition to 2 kids as well. It can be difficult, but you can totally do it! Seeing your lady with the new baby girl will just melt your heart!
Congrats on another baby girl! So exciting!

Sophie said...

Thank you for the encouraging words :).

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