Wednesday, May 5, 2010

:: Juggling ::

I think I have a few moments to write - let's see if it lasts! Archer is napping (no naps this morning means more than my share this afternoon, which is why I'm here at the computer) and Liam is watching a movie in the living room. There is no food to be cooked (right now) and the laundry can wait to be folded and the floor can be vacuumed tomorrow.

:: the Big Kahuna at three weeks old, photo by Crystal Clear ::

Well, Archer just turned seven weeks old yesterday. I go in next week for my last midwife appointment, which I am very sad about. I will have to make a point of dropping in on their open mornings to say hi and visit. The Birth Tides space is just so wonderful and welcoming. I remember being so happy to get to go there regularly when I was pregnant with Archer! It has a relaxed and calming vibe, and I think also because I love being pregnant, it is such a great place to be.

:: the Big Kahuna at three weeks old, photo by Crystal Clear 
Archer is lying on his quilt made by my mum ::

Time is just flying by. I spend my days barely getting anything done, and finding that there is always more to do. I forgot how much laundry one does when there's a newborn living in it who spits up on everything! Vega is going through a shedding phase, so my whole house is covered in dog hair and requires frequent vacuuming. Combine that with a new baby who nurses frequently (the Tank) and a two-year-old who can't walk and has a horrible case of the whines/tantrums and you have me doing everything in little batches just so that it will eventually get finished.

:: the Big Kahuna at three weeks old, photo by Crystal Clear ::

Thankfully my body really seems to be on the mend now. I had a huge horrible tear with Archer, and the stitches (many, many stitches) took over four weeks to heal and dissolve. Most of that four weeks was spent painfully trading between standing (ouch) and sitting on the couch (more ouch). So I am very grateful to be feeling like my old self again - I can even go for walks now! I have a lot more energy, which also helps. I lost a lot of blood during Archer's birth, which ensured that I truly became anemic (I was borderline anemic just before his birth and was working on getting more iron into my body) which slows healing and leaves you with no energy. So I've continued with my iron supplements and Floradix (amazing) and also some high-iron foods and recipes in my diet and I think that has helped.

:: the Big Kahuna at three weeks old, photo by Crystal Clear ::

Liam has had a really hard time adjusting to Archer's presence and the changes that have resulted from his birth. Even his usual routine of going to work with me, and seeing Teneille and Ronan every day was disrupted. At first when Spencer was home for four weeks after the birth it helped, but he's been back to his three-days-away commute so that is difficult - he liked having Dada around. He wouldn't look at or touch Archer at first, but now he will give him a kiss sometimes when we ask, so that is an improvement. He has hit Archer in the head a few times during a temper-tantrum, but he also hasn't done that for a few weeks. Other than that he doesn't really acknowledge Archer or talk about him (not that Archer does much) but Liam's language skills have a whole post of their own coming!

Liam has definitely entered the stage of temper tantrums, and hopefully it is just a stage. Sometimes I know he is tantruming because he can't communicate what he wants to us (and two year olds have a lot of wants!) and I am fine with those tantrums - I just try to get to the bottom of what he is trying to say. And sometimes he tantrums because he is over-tired or over-hungry, which is sometimes his fault, like when he occasionally refuses to eat or (more frequently these days) refuses to nap. But sometimes I just haven't had a chance to get him a snack, or I have been trying to get things done or even just get ready to leave the house, and we've been out and about past nap-time so he has to skip it. But the tantrums I don't like are those which are simply caused by his not getting his own way. I don't like these because I don't want my kid to act like a spoiled brat, but I have to remember that he doesn't quite understand yet that he isn't always going to get his own way. So I try to be patient with him, but he does spend some of each day in tears and anger. 

 :: Nutella tastes so good when you scrape it off the toast ::

It is definitely a lot harder than I thought it would be to juggle two little ones. It wasn't that I thought it would be a walk in the park, but I just didn't anticipate what some of the challenges would be. I didn't realize how hard it would be to deal with the fact that I cannot give Liam what he needs 100% of the time. I'm not a "hovering" parent, mostly because Liam is usually laid-back and happy most of the time to engage in independent play. But I really wish that I could spend more of this time off from work with him reading books or playing with his toys with him. But truthfully, I spend most of my days trying to keep the house (somewhat) clean and cooking three or more meals a day for us all, as well as nursing and keeping Archer in spit-up free clothes and clean diapers. Liam spends more and more time lately playing with his cars alone or (increasingly so) watching a movie. I never wanted to be one of those parents who plug their kid in front of a tv and walk away, but now I am that parent. I beat myself up for this constantly, that I don't spend more time engaging with my child on a one-on-one level. But I honestly don't know how I would get anything done otherwise.

:: Sparrow was not feeling the Family Love ::

 :: this is their gangsta-shot ::

Luckily Archer seems to be a very easy-going baby as well. I have learned that when I know he is hungry (it's easy to tell by the sounds he makes, and I usually remember when it's been awhile since he last ate) to feed him right away before he gets angry. He doesn't fuss for much more than that (hunger) and the occasional fart that causes him some grief. He was a bit gassy and tearful in his first few weeks, and I resorted to busting out the gripe water, but I've cut down on the dairy in my diet (namely cheese) and that seems to have helped. Plus, I think that sometimes babies grow out of things or just adapt. He woke every three hours to eat in the night for his first few weeks, but seems to have it down to just two feeds a night which is nice. I feed him at eleven pm when he goes to sleep for the night, and then usually once at three and once at six or seven. He will go back to sleep until 9 or 10 am which suits me fine, because that's when Liam wakes up too.

 :: long-john jammies, 3-6 months size ::

I'm starting to think about going back to work in a few weeks, and while that carries some stress of its own it will also be good to have that solid schedule again. I am lucky to be self-employed and have a wonderful and understanding business partner who is in the same boat as I am (motherhood!) so I have some flexibility. I have been "testing" myself on days where I have to go out and actually do stuff, to see how long it takes me to get ready with two boys. At first I was definitely not ready, but I think the boys and I have a morning routine down where I can get myself and them ready, make and eat breakfast, feed and water and pee the pets, and even make a slow-cooker dinner (some days) before I have to be at work at 1pm.

 :: sweetness ::

:: one of Nana's quilts for Liam in the background,
Archer at seven weeks ::

(Note: I wrote this last part a week later.) At Archer's baby shower on his one month birthday, we had some great gals and lots of kids over to my store to celebrate. Teneille (my business partner and bestie) and Jessica (my Mama-bestie-doula) organized a great party and we had so much fun and some new friendships were formed (I just love that). Liam stayed home with Dada, and after I fed Archer upon our arrival he snoozed for the whole party, so I passed him off and got to mingle and snack on all the amazing food! We received some really special and mind-blowing gifts, including my friend's double Chariot Cougar which she generously passed on to us, and a custom diaper bag from Santa Morgie designs. A bunch of gals pitched in to get me the bag, including some of my ladies from out-of-town who couldn't make the party. (We carry these bags in our store, and they're always available for custom designs and colours.) When you have two, you definitely need more room in some areas, and the Chariot will be great for walking to work on nice days, and next year cycling again (yahoo!) and I really need the diaper bag room too.

:: first ride in the Chariot! Liam liked it better when it was moving, Archer just falls asleep ::

:: I love the looks on their faces here, so funny ::

That's all for now, and I think my next post will be an update on Liam's development (verbal and gross motor) and also all the crazy differences between he and Archer! It is such a trip to have one baby who is an achondroplastic kid and another who is on the giant side of size. (Archer was 10lbs 3.4 oz at birth, and now 15 lbs at 8 weeks old. Aye-yay-yay!)

:: The Tank or, as Jess likes to call him: Pork Chop at six weeks ::

:: after-bath cutie at seven weeks old ::


Destini said...

Archer is just gorgeous! Your mother makes beautiful quilts too! Liam will adjust, especially once you get back to a work schedule and Archer doesn't require quite so much attention. Love the pictures of the beautiful boys! Enjoy your last couple weeks before work starts!

Theaterre said...

Great pics! Try nettles to bring your iron worked very well for a friend of mine. Nettle tea, nettle lasagna, etc.
Juggling two will come with time, but it sounds as though you are doing great!
Good luck with going back to work, hopefully it will maintain a good balance for all of you.

Emily said...

Those cheeks on Archer...I could just eat them! I definitely understand what you're going through. My maternity leave with Grace was one of my toughest times as a parent. Seamus was pretty much still a baby himself at 18mo old, and juggling their needs and my own seemed impossible. I still battle with Mommy guilt on a daily basis, and I have learned from other experienced moms that it never goes away! But I have to tell you, as tough as it was in the beginning, having my two kids close together was the greatest gift I could have given our family. They really are the best of friends and entertain each other in a way I never could. My husband and I love seeing the way they interact and learn from each other. We're adding baby #3 into the mix this fall, so it will be interesting to see the family dynamic change! But hang in there, you are doing a fantastic job and your two boys are blessed to have you! And a little TV never hurt anyone, so don't worry about that!

Jess said...

Don't be too hard on yourself, my little love. I use the t.v. baby sitter sometimes, too. If it works for right now, and isn't a permanent thing, then live in the now. It gets easier, one day you won't remember life without both of them.

Chelsea said...

Thanks, mumma-friends! So nice to hear words of encouragement, it really means a lot. xoxox
Emily: CONGRATULATIONS! I am so excited for you and your family.

Kim said...

Don't beat yourself up about not being able to devote 100% to Liam right now. Basically nothing can get 100%. You are doing amazing. Having two kids so close in age is hard. My mother had four. I was 5, then Charlie was 3, Katie 17 1/2 months and my brother a newborn. It would have been impossible for her to devote to one kid. Preston has fits too still whne he doesn't get his way and he is 4 1/2. Liam was used to be center of attention and now has to share it, but independent play is fine. I live in front of the tv and I'm still doing ok so don't worry-he will be fine.
Archer is adorable. Those cheeks! I am so happy you had a great time at your baby shower. Also glad to hear you are feeling better physically!