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Two + New

All is quiet in the Wilde house. Dad is at work; Amelia is at daycare; Jordan is snoozing peacefully; Mum is sitting down to write a post that has been on her to-do list for the last 3.5 months. Ah yes, this tranquility is indeed a rare and special gem!

Expectations vs Reality

During my second pregnancy, I heard a variety of parents describe what it was like going from one child to two. One parent said she expected it to be hard, but found that her workload more than doubled with her second child – and plenty of others seemed to agree! In fact, the general consensus was that it was much harder going from one to two, than from two to three. I must admit, I was a bit nervous. My womb-baby seemed pretty chilled out but what if he was just setting me up with a false sense of security? I’d considered Amelia a pretty cruisy baby; anecdotal evidence suggested that the second baby is often the polar opposite to the first. Would Number 2 be hard work?

When Jordan was born he didn’t cry. After a few heart-stopping moments he let out one squawk, then quietly got on with trying to breathe with fluid still in his lungs. He was whisked away to special care for extra oxygen and that was that. Only… as his breathing improved, he remained mysteriously quiet! The doctors and nurses even tried giving him all his shots and blood tests in rapid succession to upset him enough (poor baby!) to cry, but he just quietly bore it all. In the first week after he was born I barely heard him utter more than a half-hearted whimper; in the following weeks he proved that he could cry, but was simply choosing not to.

Mr Jordan is the most easy-going, happy, sociable baby I have ever met. He is now 4.5 months and I have established that there are a select few things that will cause him to cry:

  • Wind pains (which happened every morning around 5-6am for a number of weeks but has since stopped)
  • Being overtired and having his sleep interrupted
  • If I don’t attend to his need for food in a timely manner – he starts by fidgeting, then grumbling, then whinging, before finally beginning to cry, and will work up to a scream if I still haven’t got to him (usually because I’m sound asleep and too exhausted to wake immediately)

He calmly tolerates his sister’s over-enthusiastic attentions, he can keep himself amused quite easily, he enjoys smiling and chatting to anyone and everyone, and he loves sleep so much that the only time he complains about going to bed is when he’s overtired or a bit hungry.

The real challenge

Sleep deprivation is not something I missed from Amelia’s newborn days, but I have to admit that Jordan is a pretty good sleeper. He has been feeding a bit more again lately – 2-3 times a night – but he’s skinny and his reflux prevents him having big meals so it’s alright and a bit necessary. It certainly adds to the challenge, but it’s not the sleep thing that’s got me feeling frazzled. In fact, it’s nothing to do with Jordan at all – he’s easy!

It’s the toddler sending me around the twist. If you have one of these creatures, or have raised one at some point in your life, then you probably know what I mean already. This little firecracker of a daughter of mine is HARD WORK! She is very bright and speaks well. Too well. Too often. All day, every day, she is chatting away or making some sort of noise with her voice. If I were to divide up her vocalisations by category I think it would look something like this:

  • 30% – “I’m hungry!”
  • 20% – “NOOOOOOOO!! I don’t want [insert offered item/activity here]”
  • 20% – Humming, singing or making noises to go with her actions, including playing with Jordan
  • 20% – A mix of “What are you doing, Mum?” and “Where’s Daddy? Daddy’s at work?” and “Jordan’s got sore tummy. Mummy, you feed Jordan!”
  • 10% – Miscellaneous

She is a strong-willed child who is slowly learning not to screech when offered something she doesn’t want; who will definitely test the boundaries and make sure you mean what you say; who will smirk at you until you prove that you mean business, then suddenly comply so she doesn’t actually get in trouble (I’ve just put my foot down on this). If you ask her to do something she will often do so quite happily; if you TELL her to do something, she will dig her heels in and become angry, growling and whining like some wild beast instead of talking to you, ready to throw a tantrum at the drop of a hat.

It’s exhausting!

I’m so glad that Jordan is such an easy-going chap because Miss Milly has me on my toes all day. She can be so sweet and lovely and funny, then without notice she’s a writhing, screaming ball of fury lashing out with arms and legs. Apparently this is normal for two-year-olds. Most frighteningly, I’ve been told it gets worse at three, with is now just around the corner.

God help us!

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The Worst Night, then the Best Night

I knew it was going to be a bad night when I saw how tired and grizzly she was...

I knew it was going to be a bad night when I saw how tired and grizzly she was…

By Friday afternoon I knew that it was going to be a bad night. She had been unsettled all day, cluster feeding in little bursts that came every hour or two and grizzling frequently. Sure enough, the night held a similar fate. At one point, after having held her dummy in for what felt like an eternity (but was probably about half an hour), I gave up. I was grizzling as much as she was, desperate for a bit of sleep after a long and tiring day. Sean and I swapped sides, and he told me later that he spent two hours awake with her. At one point a fight erupted between us over a misunderstanding; there was something yelling of obscenities, some slamming of doors, some hurt feelings. It was a bad night.

How I look waking up for a night feed!

How I look waking up for a night feed!

Then yesterday, Saturday, came and she was a little more settled during the day. Having overcome a bout of thrush (and deciding that yes, it’s definitely gone), I was finally able to start expressing again. As it had been a while, I was only able to get 60ml (I say “only” because before the thrush I was getting up to 120ml after a feed). I set it aside though, thinking that perhaps Sean could do a night feed with that.

We survived Friday night, and come Saturday things were looking up.

We survived Friday night, and come Saturday things were looking up.

As it turns out, I needed my EBM (expressed breast milk) sooner than expected: the last feed before bed left her a little unsatisfied, and I was already too tired to keep trying to breastfeed her when both boobs were pretty empty – it would take forever to slowly fill her up as my boobs refilled themselves! So I whipped out my bottle of EBM, and she guzzled it down, probably about 50ml on top of the boob feed. After that she slept for about 6 hours. Can I get a HALLELUJAH over here?! We literally went from our worst night, straight to our best night.

Yes, that's a towel she's wrapped in... blame daddy, who thought she didn't need a blanket while we were out at my sister's house!

Sleeping peacefully. Yes, that’s a towel she’s wrapped in… blame daddy, who thought she didn’t need a blanket while we were out at my sister’s house!

Today I’ll be starting up my pumping routine again, to help build up supply and hopefully get a good store of EBM for top-ups and those occasions when I need Sean to feed her, for whatever reason. Breastfeeding is great, but it is very challenging; not being able to pump for a while really taught me the value of expressing and having that EBM on hand!