Divide and Conquer

I wanted to write a post about the huge difference between parenting one baby – your first baby – and your second one.  It’s an interesting stage/transition, one that I bet many of you can relate.

So when we were pregnant with Poppyseed, Oatmeal and I went to Bradley Method Childbirth classes together.   When I was pregnant with Middle Baby, Oatmeal and Poppyseed went to the park together while I laid in bed and refreshed my memory on the Bradley Method notes I had taken 2 years before.

When Poppyseed was born, Oatmeal was pretty much all hands on deck from the very beginning.  He changed her first diaper, and probably her second, too.  He stayed up late with me trying to coerce her back to sleep.  I actually felt jealousy toward him around weeks 1-2 because he was better at getting her to stop crying than I was – even without boobs!   When it was time to “sleep train” he was literally at my side, helping to rock her to sleep, trying different ways to get her in the crib, and probably had her feeding schedule memorized.  I remember leaving him alone at the house with her for 2.5 hours when she was only 3 weeks old.  When she was 7 weeks old, I left her with him for an entire Saturday.  According to my blog archives and my memory, he kept his 7 week old for 8 hours and was just as calm when I got home as he was when I left.

What I’m trying to say is that because she was our first baby, we did EVERYTHING together when it came to her.  One of us sat nearby with clean wipes while the other changed a diaper.  One of us fed, the other burped.  We took turns going into her room at bedtime.  When he was home, it was pretty much 50/50.  We never talked about it or planned for it to be that way, it’s just the way it was.

Then, enter Baby Middle.  It was no longer 50/50.  It became “divide and conquer.”  As soon as Baby Middle was born, Oatmeal realized the importance of keeping 2 year old Poppyseed from climbing all over me while I tried to work through all of the trial and error that comes with breastfeeding a new baby.  He made it a point to take Poppyseed somewhere like the park or store when I was getting Middle down for a nap, or trying to take a nap myself.  At night he would help me cook, and he would be the one to make Poppyseed’s plate and I would be upstairs giving the baby a bath.  I would put the baby down for the night while he put Poppyseed down for the night.

While he was being extremely helpful, this caused a bit of panic for me.   I guess to put it bluntly, when Poppyseed was 3 weeks old, he knew her as well as I knew her.  When Middle was 3 weeks old, that was just simply not the case.  At all.  When Middle was 7 weeks old, I went back in my old blog entries and read all about that day I left Poppyseed with Oatmeal all day long.  As I read that post, I thought to myself, “There is no way in hell I could leave Middle with my husband for that long length of time right now.  No way.”

It bothered me – probably more than it should have – that Oatmeal wasn’t spending as much time with our new Baby Middle as he did with Poppyseed.  I began to worry that he would not be as bonded to Middle, and selfishly I was also concerned that I would never get a break!

Well, as anyone who has experienced this phase can probably guess, I can already tell that it was just that – a phase.  In recent weeks I’ve found myself relaxing quite a bit.  Oatmeal is much more involved with Middle.  He grabs him every evening when he gets home and spends some time playing with him.  On the weekends he is pretty much all hands on deck, just like he was with Poppyseed.  We decided this week that we would take turns putting him to sleep for the next few weeks.  On Oatmeal’s first night to put him down, the baby gave him hell!  Two nights later, however, Oatmeal got him to sleep without any crying at all.  So yep, it’s coming around.

I just wanted to share that because, in all honesty, I wish I had been more specific and open about some of the ups and downs when I had Poppyseed.  I don’t remember so many of those little things about her newborn months, and I wish that I had written (aka typed) some of those details in my blog so that I could look back on them now.  Because as my friends and I like to say, “This is just a season…” and sometimes when you are in the thick of it, you just need a reminder that what you are feeling is very normal, and very okay, and it will pass.

Otherwise, we have had some good times as of late.

On Friday I had plans to meet a friend of mine and her littles at the pumpkin patch.  Unfortunately her family came down with a virus, so I decided to just take my tots alone.  (Translation – I had already told Poppyseed that we were going, and she didn’t forget.)  So I grabbed my morning cup of Starbucks and off we went.  Middle woke up early from his nap in the carseat and began screaming shortly after we arrived.  Poppyseed was running around and having a grand old time jumping from pumpkin to pumpkin while I was looking around frantically for a place to nurse the baby.  We were probably on a 2 acre lot full of people and pumpkins, but as luck would have it there wasn’t anywhere to sit.  Finally I noticed a family taking a group picture on a swing and so I parked myself there when they were finished so that I could feed the baby.  During that half hour Poppyseed basically ran around unattended. She basically got free range of the entire pumpkin patch and enjoyed hopping in and out of other people’s photo ops, petting the chickens, and probably licking the goats.  I just reminded myself of that book I read “Free Range Kids” and figured it was a character building experience, so props to me for all of that good parenting.  😉

And after the baby was fed and happy, I got these gems captured on my iPhone.  So that’s something.

Before I fed him.

Before I fed him.  Oh, Middle.

Hey there Scare Crow.

Hey there Scare Crow.

She had no idea why I kept laughing, but she knew something must be funny!

She had no idea why I kept laughing, but she knew something must be funny!

Then on Friday night, as if the pumpkin patch outing wasn’t enough to do me in, I drove them to the Woodlands to watch Oatmeal play in a basketball game with his brother.  My MIL came along to help, and it was actually really fun!  Oatmeal happens to be quite athletic, and he scored this awesome shirt.

You know you're getting up there in age when you are on a team with this as the logo...

You know you’re getting up there in age when you are on a team with this as the logo…

On Saturday went to the Brazos County Fair, where Poppyseed enjoyed coming into close contact with even more goats, chicken, and also some cows and horses.  We were there pretty much all day, and everyone had fun!

This kept her busy for quite a while.

This kept her busy for quite a while.

Real men wear their babies.

Real men wear their babies.

He carried the kids and I carried the gear.  Fair is fair.

He carried the kids and I carried the gear. Fair is fair.

Saturday night we just laid low at home and tried to pretend that the Aggies didn’t play such a terrible football game!

And then on Sunday we drove to the Woodlands, where are dear friends just moved.  My friend Carrie has a baby boy just 7 weeks older than Middle.  We are sure they will be BFFs, they just don’t know it yet.

Baby Middle is 10 weeks, and Duke is 17 weeks.  Heartbreakers, y'all.

Baby Middle is 10 weeks, and Duke is 17 weeks. Heartbreakers, y’all.

Well, I’m proud that I actually posted a blog this week, but it’s off to bed for me!  Toodles.

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