Mommy lesson #66: A New Normal – life with a newborn and a preschooler

Tessa is now eleven weeks old, and it’s funny, but our “new normal” doesn’t really look that different from the old one. I remember feeling so uncertain before she arrived about all the changes that were bound to happen. I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to meet her, but at the same time as a person who thrives on schedules I’ll admit to some anxiety about how life as we knew it would change. The basic rhythm of our days has stayed the same, they just feel fuller. 🙂 The biggest addition has been breastfeeding, which was admittedly very time consuming in the beginning, when Doll Baby was nursing every two hours. I know those first few weeks would have been a lot more challenging if it hadn’t been for my parents. They were an absolute godsend – taking charge of cooking, cleaning, laundry, entertaining Charlotte, and even watching Tessa in the afternoons so I could get a nap. By the time they left at the beginning of June we were starting to come out of the “newborn fog” and I felt capable of handling my old duties again. 🙂 If I am able to, I absolutely plan on doing the same for my girls when the time comes. 🙂 Such a blessing. We also have an amazing support system of mamas who brought meals three times a week for a month and offered to host C for play dates when she was going stir crazy. You know who you are, and you were God’s hands and feet to me!

Tessa is such a sweet baby. She’s slowly starting to develop more of a personality, and it’s so much fun to see her grin and try to figure out how to laugh. She saves her biggest smiles for her daddy, which just melts me into a puddle of goo.

She finds her big sister absolutely fascinating, and will watch her for hours. She’s not a big fan of tummy time and would rather be held upright so she can see the world rather than lay down on her play mat. She spits up a lot, unlike her sister, so that caused me some concern in the beginning (I was having nightmares about reflux) but it doesn’t really seem to bother her. We bought four packs of burp rags and I’ve learned to scatter them around the house in strategic locations, and she changes clothes a lot. 😉
Charlotte has adjusted really well. She was made to be a big sister, and can’t wait until T is big enough to boss around play with. 😉

She loves to help me by getting diapers and wipes, handing me burp rags, or giving T back her paci when she fusses. She is also very generous with sharing her toys (we’ll see how long that lasts after T can actually take them). C definitely demands more of my attention these days, especially while I’m nursing, so we’ve come up with some games we can play while I’m sitting on the couch. Her favorite is “guess the animal” (or character, or princess) which is like twenty questions, or “yo-yo” which is like Simon Says. We also read a lot of books, and yes, watch lots of Doc McStuffins which is her current obsession. The theme song never really leaves my head, but I can’t complain too much about a show that encourages my daughter to want to be a doctor when she grows up and makes visits to the pediatrician exciting rather than scary. 🙂

Our daily routine looks something like this:
– T wakes up to nurse, then depending on what time it is Chris will take her in the other room so I can get a little more sleep or I’ll go ahead and get up. I eat breakfast then get Charlotte up and fix her breakfast. Tessa is usually ready for a nap by then so she’ll snooze while I get C and myself ready for the day.
– We usually do some sort of outing in the mornings. Mondays are chore days so we generally stay home and do laundry and clean house, but the other days we go to play dates or have friends over, visit the library or the splash pad or a friend’s pool. Thursdays C is still in her Adventureland preschool program, but the summer session ends this week and we have nine loooong weeks until it starts up again. T will usually need to eat while we are out and about so I’ve gotten a bit braver this time around about nursing in public. 🙂 Right now she will also fall asleep easily wherever we are, especially if she’s in her carrier on my chest, so she takes her mid-morning nap wherever we happen to be.

– I try to be home for lunch around noon, and the rest of the day is spent here usually. Charlotte still has “rest time” every afternoon in her room for a couple hours, and if I can coordinate Tessa to nurse and then nap at the same time I consider it a red letter day! (It doesn’t always happen, but it did today which is why I’m able to actually post on the blog!)
– The two hours after naptime and before Daddy gets home are Tessa’s most needy time, so they definitely are the longest moments of the day. Dinner time is still a little tricky since T doesn’t really have a set nursing schedule, so I try to prep everything ahead of time while she is napping (crockpot meals are my best friend for sure!). Chris is great about finishing up dinner when he gets home if I am needing to feed Tessa right then.
– We try to take a walk around the neighborhood or down the trail that backs up to it after dinner, then it’s time to clean up toys and get ready for bed. Tessa has decided that 8pm is a good time to want to go to sleep, which is when we usually start C’s bedtime routine anyway. We divide and conquer bedtime…Chris is in charge of C while I give Tessa a bath in our bathroom, get her in pjs, nurse, sing, and put her down. She’s still in the pack and play in our room until she drops her night feeding (she still wakes up at least once to eat). Depending on how long C can stall she’s usually in bed by about 8:45 or 9. Then Chris and I have about an hour and a half to ourselves, just enough time to watch a couple episodes of Friends or about half a movie. 🙂

So life is fuller, but with the best things possible. Just like my heart.

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