There’s a new baby in da house! Like almost nine months ago but who is counting haha?Aster is three months old away from turning ONE which I can’t believe because it felt like just yesterday we brought her home. Life with two has a bit hectic which is why I’m posting her birth story when she’s nine months old. Lyra is just LOVING being a big sister and actually can’t stop kissing, hugging, and all around man-handling her.
Aster’s birth story is very different than Lyra’s, mostly because we scheduled an induction so we knew exactly when she would arrive. Well sort of because I had to wait quite a while to be called to the hospital. And when I was called in, I didn’t actually get induced until well after midnight. But after the pitocin started, contractions came two hours later and shortly after, Aster was born!
I wish I could tell you about the newborn days but they feel so far behind us now haha. Aster is cruising around on furniture, eating solids like a pro, clapping and waving and just growing up so fast. The second time around is certainly a whirlwind!
Isn’t retrospect grand? Chris and I spent so much time preparing for the labor and birth of our darling daughter that we didn’t leave much time to prepare ourselves for what we would do after we brought her home! (How hard can this be? Answer: Really fucking hard – Chris’ words, not mine.) Granted, her early arrival didn’t help either but now that we are six months in, this is how we survived (are still surviving):
We put our pre-baby lives on hold. While we adjusted to our new normal, we put all the TV shows, hobbies, constant social media updates, and distractions on hold. When we got home from the hospital, my three main goals were eat, sleep and breastfeed. It was definitely tempting to just jump right back in the swing of things but I think you’ll just burn yourself out. When you make the jump from two to three, everything will change. And even though your newborn will be sleeping most of the time, you yourself, new momma, will need time to recover. When your baby becomes more interactive, you will spend your day playing with her, feeding her, and putting her to sleep…and REPEAT. Today, my goals remain the same except I see it as a win if I can take a shower every other day, brush my teeth at a respectable hour, put on sunscreen, and catch the latest Bachelor episode (#obsessed).
Outsource everything that is possible (at least in the beginning). The first week home we hired a house cleaner. We used Instacart to get staple grocery items. Instead of asking for gifts, we asked our friends to set up a meal train. It was such a lifesaver not having to cook. This statement coming from a person who loves to cook too. We were grateful to spend our time bonding as a new family and not wondering, what’s for dinner? *Though, I must say if we had to do it again, I would specify to friends who want to visit, that 15 or 20 minutes would be great/ideal. We had some friends stay over an hour…there are so many ways you can say “please leave” with your eyes.
Made parenthood our own. Meaning read all the books, listen to well-meaning friends and family tell you their tales and give you advice…and then choose what works for you and make parenthood your own. In the beginning, we spent a lot of time trying to follow the advice of other people and obsessing word for word what our parenting books were saying about our baby. Then we realized, what works for others won’t necessarily work for us. This helped immensely especially since Lyra is not your classic ‘textbook baby.’ And I really hated second guessing myself but once I shut out all the ‘noise’ I was able to be present with Lyra and take my cues from her and TRUST myself.
Practice empathy. There were times (many, many times) when I wanted to clock Chris over the head because of something he did or said. And we would start arguing over a tiny thing that all of a sudden became a big thing. I’m not saying I was perfect or right in all of this – there were times I’m sure where Chris felt I was a raging monster. But when we were both able to practice empathy with one another, and really see and understand where the other person is coming from, it helped us 1) communicate better, 2) realize we are a team, and 3) appreciate each other more. We also practiced empathy with Lyra! There were many, many sleepless nights where we would just be like go the F*%& to sleep baby! But when we were able to take a step back and think about things from her eyes – as in I want to go to sleep, but I don’t know how – it helped us be more compassionate and patient parents.
We are definitely not experts (nor plan to be) in parenting but we are learning each day. I can’t believe Lyra is growing up so fast already! I remember those first few weeks where she would snuggle and sleep on my chest. I miss moments like those! And as much as I gripe about having to hold her so much now, I know there will come a day when I’ll miss doing that too.
If you have any survival tips for new parents, let me know!
What’s the matter? Cranky? Is it because you REFUSE to sleep? Because it seems like you’re fighting napping. Every. single. time.
Sleeping is SO much fun! You get to lay down on a nice, warm bed and be wrapped up like a cocoon. Doesn’t this make you feel safe? There’s even a soft hum of white noise in the background and your llama stuffie next to you. Doesn’t this look familiar to you? You get to close your eyes and drift into a peaceful bliss, where there is no need to cry or fuss. See, watch momma do it. So easy. Just close your eyes…
Aren’t you getting just a bit sleepy?
OK, how about if we rock you and bounce you up and down until are thighs can’t take it anymore? And we pat your back and your tummy until we can’t feel our hands? And we cradle you until are arms feel like burning?
Work with me baby. I love you but you’re turning us into raging zombies. Zombie parents are not nice. They hate everything, yell a lot, and are just not fun in general. And they eat their babies. Did you know that? Now, will you sleep?
I shushed a grown man today. I felt a little silly afterwards but it was a complete knee jerk reaction. Maybe people don’t know what I’m doing when I’m swaying back and forth in the baby aisles at Target. Maybe they don’t see that I have a sleeping baby strapped to me. Maybe they don’t hear me saying, “shhh, shhh, shhh,” in my meager attempts to replicate my white noise app. But if you do see me doing this, how about you don’t come up to me and shout like you’re at a Beyoncé concert and ask me where the nearest exit is. How about you not wake my sleeping baby?! And that’s where shushing adults are completely acceptable (says me).
I love apples! I don’t have a particular one that I like as long as they are firm and crunchy. Soft apples are the worst. The apples we received (see last post) turned on us really quickly. They became soft and mealy. I tried eating one and throwing lots of salt on it, but it still didn’t make it any better. I’m not a big fan of apple things in general – like in cake or pie, or things like apple butter, applesauce, etc – so I was at a real lost on what to do with five flats of apples until I discovered you can make dried apples in your oven!
I don’t own a mandolin so I cut the apples into thin slices (about 1/8 of an inch) really carefully and slowly. In the beginning I cored the apples, but then realized that was a waste of time since I could just use the whole apple. I placed the sliced apples on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a 225 F degree oven. After an hour or so, I flipped the apples and left them in for another hour or so. Then I lowered the temperature to 175 F and left them in for another hour. After, I placed them on a baking sheet to cool down. They are so tasty! And it’s such a great way to use up apples past their prime.
Tomorrow we find out if we are having a boy or a girl. So far, the Chinese gender prediction chart says we are having a boy and the Mayan gender calendar says we are having a girl. Either way, Chris and I decided to keep the gender a secret until August! We think its more fun that way.