Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Two Under Two'sday - Week 1

Second child syndrome is setting in nicely.  Instead of 100+ photos from Kenley's birth and hospital stay, she got about 10 taken from the Husband's phone.  Sorry Sissy.

Likewise, instead of taking weekly photos and posting weekly updates, she'll be getting monthly updates, but hopefully these (attempts at) weekly updates as our family adjusts to life as four with documented milestones do the trick  - until Ashlynn turns two, that is.  Another 52weeks of updates just seems really daunting.

I still haven't decided on a format, but I guess I will figure it out over time with what is actually relevant.  Hope you enjoy these snippets into our life.

Kenley was born at 7lb 9oz - a whole 2.5 more pounds than her sister and 21" long (insane!) - Ashlynn was 17 1/4".  Amazing what an extra 4 weeks can do!  She still seems little of course, but at the same time, I'm at a total loss for putting together how she was actually inside me.  I mean, I wasn't small by any means, but when holding her I can't figure out how she was squeezed in there with the rest of my organs.

She was discharged at 7lbs on December 2nd, and back up to 7lb 2oz on December 3rd.  We go back today for another check up.  Hoping her gain is good as she's been eating well and seems satisfied.  Diaper count is also right on target so we aren't anticipating any hiccups.

She did seem jaundiced when leaving the hospital, but our pediatrician wanted to see if it would run it's  course by this appointment.  This was a big relief as dealing with Ashlynn's jaundice blood draws were more taxing than any shots.  I'd gladly take shots that last 2 seconds and a few tears over the lifetime it seems for a lab tech to squeeze tiny blood drop after drop out of a newborn's teeny tiny foot. Pure torture!  Hoping to hear she looks good and no testing is required.

Other notes, belly button fell off on Sunday, but we are still sticking with a sponge bath until it fully heals.

On Ashlynn's front, her left side lateral incisor (top) finally broke through.  She's up to 12 teeth total and has finally caught up to the majority of kids her age.

Let's face it, Ashlynn has never been an amazing sleeper.  She'll hit strides and sleep through the night with early wake ups, or have a middle of a night wake and sleep in, but considering she didn't sleep through the night until almost 11 months old, she's not winning any medals in the sport.  (However, that was partly my fault as I breastfed and felt if she was waking and wanted to nurse it was because she was hungry, even if it was habit and for comfort).

Since returning home with Kenley, Ashlynn has been sleeping through the night.  She's been waking up any time between 5am and 6:30am.  The last few days, earlier and earlier.  I'm amazed she's been sleeping through Kenley's cries.  Kenley is in our room and while I try to attend to her quickly, she does have a set of lungs on her.  She also does not like her diaper changed or cold wipes and I don't have a third hand to try to keep a pacifier in while using my other two to change her.

Since my milk has come in, Kenley has been eating and sleeping like a champ.  I nurse on demand and she'll go anywhere from having short cluster feeds where she nurses for bit, snoozes for 30minutes and wakes for more, to sleeping for 2-3hour stretches and the occassional 4 hour stretch.  It seems like each night she'll have one period where she just can't get enough and is up for a bit nursing on and off and needing to be burped or held.  The rest she just goes back to sleep and I seem to be waking naturally before her most of the time when she's due again to eat.  Overall I'd say she eats around 10-11 (when I go up), then again 1-2am, and 4-5am, and 7-8am.  It's actually pretty bearable and I don't feel too much like a zombie, though I have been napping during Ashlynn's nap to try get energy to get through the second half of the day.

This section is long, really long, I apologize in advance.  I was going to do a separate post, but it's all related so makes sense to include it here.  Feel free to skim or skip if not interested in the adjustment details.

Going back before Kenley's birth, we had the holidays (which I never got to recap).  My mom, Mimi, came down on Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Ashlynn was so excited and played with Mimi until Nanny and Pop Pop arrived to celebrate Hanukkah.  We have a mixed religion family.  Nanny, my step mother in law, is Jewish and my own mother was raised Jewish, but no longer actively practices.  Growing up, we always celebrated Hanukkah by lighting the menorah, playing dreidel (ie. eating gelt), and getting to open one present a night from the "display" under the tree (all the gifts from friends, family, and little things my parents would wrap in advance). We've decided to celebrate the same with Ashlynn and Kenley, as well as adding in Nanny's traditional Passover dinner and opening our girls to other traditions our family has.

We lit the menorah, opened presents, ate pizza and kugel, and enjoyed getting together.  Ashlynn was so excited to have so many grandparents around.  And even more to play with her dreidel window stickies Nanny brought her.

Thanksgiving was low key with a turkey that took forever to cook and just us with Mimi.  Friday morning, Mimi left and my brother and sister in law came over with their four girls and Mom Mom too.  Ashlynn LOVED helping her uncle and Mom-Mom feed her twin cousins.

That was the night we left at 1:30am and she woke up having Nanny here to take care of her.   She loves the family, yet we never have this much commotion and visitors in and out.  She had lots of fun with Nanny and Pop Pop while we got to meet Kenley.  The Husband went home that evening to shower and put her to bed, which she fought - understandably.   He then returned to the hospital.

The next morning he headed back home to pick up Ashlynn and bring her to meet her sister.  We had read that it was recommended for the mom to not be holding the baby when the sibling enters the room, but to go to the bassinet together for the introduction.  Instead, I had a hungry inconsolable newborn when they arrived and I didn't feel right putting her down crying.  Instead, the husband took her from me immediately so Ashlynn could crawl in the bed and get hugs and kisses before showing her Kenley.

Ashlynn was definitely excited to see me.  I have never been away from her overnight.  However, she definitely seemed a bit reserved and not completely herself.  She was interested in the baby and when Nanny and Pop Pop entered shortly after she was distracted by them too. I really wanted to get some time with her, but instead she was bouncing from sitting with me, to wanting to go to them.

When everybody left, I cried.

Ashlynn just wasn't herself.  I don't think she was jealous of the baby, I think she was confused about why her Mama was gone, in this strange room, in this strange place, in this odd looking bed.  It broke my heart I couldn't go home with her.  It was probably a lot of hormones too, but the whole thing made me so sad.

Pete decided to go home that evening and try to get her back on track and send the grandparents home. He wasn't much help at the hospital and sleeping on the chair just seemed like less support than being with our daughter who clearly missed her parents.

Mom-mom came over Monday morning to watch her while he came to pick us up and bring us home.  I came in the house by myself first and she immediately ran to me for a hug.  I picked her up and she wouldn't let me put her down (thank goodness I didn't have a c-section!).  She hugged me like never before, it was the sweetest and most heartbreaking thing at the same time.  We brought Sissy in and she was in love.  So smitten with her sister.  We also brought in her "big sister" present.  A Little Mommy newborn doll with her own carseat carrier.   We each now had our own baby's to mommy.  She LOVES her baby, Cami, and has been great about tending to her when I am to Kenley.

.... now to talk about the adjustment in the week we've been home.

Again, she LOVES her sister.  If she hears her cry, sneeze, or burp she asks to go see her, she loves rocking her in the Rock N Play and pushing the buttons on the bouncer.   She hands me the burp cloth and helps "pat pat" her back for burps.  She really loves pointing out her eyes.  Always going over to her and saying "eyes, eyes!"  (I think because she's actually real and open and closes them, unlike her dolls).  She helps me during diaper changes by handing me diapers and wipes when asked and throwing the diapers in the trash, her favorite task.  The past few days she's been wanting to hold her so I let her by holding her over her lap and letting her place her hands underneath.   Overall, she really loves her sister and having a baby in the house.

Now, the reality.  Ashlynn is 19 months old and clearly can't fully understand the change we thrust upon her pretty routine life.  I'm thankful she hasn't taken it out on Kenley (yet) via hitting or shunning her.  However, there is definitely a behavior change, which is understandable and something we expected with her being so young.  Things include, not eating as well, naps have been inconsistent, and of course the tantrums.  My lord, the tantrums!  I'm actually hoping this is our bout with the Terrible Twos and we don't have to suffer later.  It's definitely the same cause - she can't vocalize or figure out how to express her emotions, so it's just coming out in total MELTDOWNS.  Last Friday, she woke up screaming from her nap.  She wouldn't stop, so I brought her downstairs for lunch and she continued to cry/scream for a solid ten minutes.  This continued later that day and again on Saturday.  (They've been the roughest days so far).

She completely clingy.  She cried for daddy when he left us last Thursday for his first day back at the office (even though he's been going in late).  And she wants to be picked up ALL the time.  Which after you pick up a newborn, you realize your toddler has instantly gained an additional 10lbs overnight.  She also has been fighting diaper changes a bit, which I think is directly her acting like "the baby" since Kenley cries during changes, as most newborns do.  The jealously of us carrying Kenley around definitely is coming out.  So yeah, that's what we are up against at the moment.  We are trying our hardest to give her as much attention as possible, which isn't that difficult considering Kenley sleeps the majority of the day.   I also think she's getting a little stir crazy, but I'm not up to venturing out with a 10 day old baby in a snow storm either.  She's run errands with daddy, but he's back at work this week wrapping up his busiest time of year and will thankfully be home next week through the new year to lend a hand.

Not much to report other than she's a pretty easy baby.  It's also easy to say that the second time around when you are confident in what you are doing and not second guessing every little thing.  Also having a toddler to distract you changes your priorities of who needs more attention now.

Mommy Update
Post partum recovery is pretty standard.  Luckily back into my clothes, but still living in leggings and sweats since I haven't left the house and I'm  a magnet for spit up and whatever mess I'm trying to entertain Ashlynn with (so far we baked chocolate chip cookies together and made homemade playdoh).

In terms of nursing, I was basically a human pacifier at the hospital.  That wasn't very pleasant, but I'm already recovered from that with the help of lanolin and some "triple nipple" given by the lactation consultant.  My milk came in the day we came home, and similar to last time, I dealt with some crazy (painful) engorgement.  I can tell my supply is attempting to regulate itself and I added my first pumping session last night.  My goal is to pump only once a day to not set my supply in a crazy direction, like it did with Ashlynn, and slowly build a freezer stash.  I'd like to try to introduce a daddy bottle feeding when she is about 3 weeks old so he can have the experience of feeding her too.  He only fed Ashlynn the first few weeks before we dropped bottles all together in the effort to regulate my insane supply and get her nursing properly.

.... and that's that.  I hoping each day gets easier and Ashlynn adjusts to life with Sissy.  Any tips or tricks from "been there, done that" mommas are greatly appreciated, especially from the 2 under 2 crowd!


  1. I have no tips or tricks for you, but I think you're doing an amazing job!! I give you so much credit for keeping Ashlynn home and not sending her to a day care; I feel like I would need to do that in order to recoup and have ANY energy to take care of one baby during the day and two at night! I can't wait to watch them grow together!

  2. We are hoping to start her part time when she turns two for some socialization and special Ashlynn focused time where she can learn and experience things she can't at home (art, music, group activity, etc).

    In terms of watching two, it's really amazing how easy a newborn becomes when they aren't your first time around. I actually feel like if I didn't have a toddler to chase, I'd have all the time in the world with this sleepy newborn! it's amazing how different it seems!

  3. I still can't believe ms kenley is actually here!! You guys seem to be adjusting SO well... And Ashlynn seems like such an awesome big sister. I love seeing the two of them together!!

  4. I love this post!! It sounds like you are doing SO AWESOME at handling your two under two and I'm so inspired by your patience. I don't have an infant and my 15 month old is throwing tantrums that I'm stumped on how to react to, so I give you mucho mommy creds. Go you!!

  5. Oh I just absolutely love this update! It sounds like you all are adjusting very well and Kenley is just adorable. I can't believe she's already over a week all and I am so happy that you did an update. I totally understand the need to make an adjustment since you have two under two but I certainly do love it when you do your updates there so fun to see where everybody is at. One thing that I have heard is to be careful picking up your Older child after just giving birth as your body has gone through some changes for the labor which might make your back hurts.

  6. LOVED reading this post. We keep talking about when we would like to have baby #2 and this is so helpful! I hope A continues to adjust and that the tantrums are kept to a minimum!

  7. I'm definitely interested in reading about how you are doing with 2! I can imagine how tough the adjustment is for Ashlynn. I think the tantrums are also where she is developmentally. Carter (who's 3 weeks younger than A) has just started with full blown tantrums too and it's so hard. You are doing a great job! It's good to hear how easy a newborn seems the second time around!

  8. Kenley is sooo precious! I loved reading about your transition from one to two kids (it makes it seem a little less scary for whenever we add another baby to our own family). Ashlynn looks like a great big sister, too :)

  9. I heard an example once, of how we (mamas) might feel if our husbands brought home a new wife... all the while exclaiming how much we would love her, and how important it was for us to be nice to her, etc, while he cuddled her and kissed her and spent all his time with her :) It helped me understand a little how a sibling might feel when a new baby comes home. I'm sure you're doing great, and little A will adjust. Beautiful girls :)

  10. oh man. i read every. single. word. of this. i'm soaking it all in so i know how to deal when it's my turn! i'm sure blair will want to be held all the time too...she already does. wow. i'm so proud of you!

  11. Ashlynn's reaction at the hospital made me want to cry, because I totally sobbed when Truman left my room, too. It's just an emotional, hormonal time!! Keep doing what you are doing, lady.

  12. I have no tips or tricks, unfortunately, since I only have one myself but it sounds like you are adjusting amazingly! You are amazing mama!

  13. I bet Blair does great when a new baby comes, she'll be older so I think she'll understand more. I have a lot of friends who's children are 2 years apart and it seems that 5-6 months they have on Ashlynn really helps with communication and understanding. I think they still experience the same feelings, but its easier to communicate with them. Blair will be such a little helper!

  14. This made me feel better that I wasn't alone. I was probably more upset and missed her more than she missed me, but it just broke my heart to know that her life had been thrown upside down for a few days. Ugh, the hormones -lol!

  15. Wow, that example is so on point yet so upsetting at the same time!! I've been so focused on making sure Ashlynn gets the most attention, that poor Kenley is usually just sleeping in whatever contraptions (bouncer, rock n play, etc) we have in the same room. I try to save our snuggle time until after A goes down for a nap or bed so she doesn't have to see me holding the baby any longer than the necessary nursing sessions - which makes me feel bad for K! But I think Ashlynn knowing she is still getting (some) undivided attention is important for the transition. I'm just glad that she's young enough that in a few weeks it'll be like Kenley was always here!

  16. Aww thank you! Ashlynn really is a great big sister, transition aside, you can tell she really is smitten with the little baby :)

  17. I usually just walk away when she's in full blown tantrum. I feel she's too young to understand 'discipline' (which I would use a time out method) and I don't want to negatively enforce the behavior by playing into it. She's acting out for attention, so I just don't give it to her. I hope she picks up that she's getting the opposite reaction she's soliciting by acting that way. When she calms down, I go back over and try to explain whatever it is we are upset about "We need to eat lunch before we can watch Mickey, can we eat some lunch?" etc...

  18. Luckily I tried to get the husband to do most of the picking up the first few days, and whenever shed want me to hold her, I'd just sit on the floor and let her climb on me. Of course now that he's back to work, I'm back to doing the usual lifting (crib, highchair, etc) - it really is insane how heavy she seems!!

  19. Just LOVE reading this! I'm so intrigued about how life really is with two and I'm sure it changes based on the age difference between the two. You are doing a magnificent job! And if it makes you feel any better...Ethan has those melt downs now and clearly does not have the excuse that Ashlynn does!! She'll adjust in due time!

  20. oh that is good. Yeah its funny how they all feel so different. I was working in our church nursery on Sunday and holding a bunch of the babies. It wasn't until we were ready to go that I got to hold Ellie again and I couldn't get over how small she is!!

  21. You look great, mama! What a wonderful post on how you guys are adjusting as a family of 4. I'm always curious about how the transition goes for people. Sounds like you guys are doing a great job! Enjoy those newborn snuggles while you can! And congrats again!

  22. Gosh, that's a really great analogy for how an older sibling might feel. Hope I'll remember this when I have another :)

  23. I love hearing all about life with two under two and it is so refreshing to hear a genuine point of view. i can't wait to have another baby, but I'm worried about so many of the details, etc. You're doing great Erinn. You have such a level head about things :)

  24. Looking forward to this new series! Hope you're enjoying quality time as a family of 4.

  25. Congrats on Kenley Drew! I wanted to know where/which fabric patterns you used for Kenley's blankets in the pictures above. They are lovely and from what I've read on your blog, it sounds like you sew your own blankets. Thanks.

  26. Thank you! I think I got them both from Hawthorne Threads, one is from the Leah Duncan Tule collection and the other Felicity Miller Botanica, hope that helps!!

  27. Yes very helpful, thanks.


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