Two weeks ago today we brought Emma home from the hospital. I had to stop and think about that for a moment, because man, that time has flown. I've been asked what feels different about becoming a Mum the second time around; it feels less all encompassing but so much busier.
When we had Milly the pattern of our days stopped. With me on maternity leave, Mike on paternity leave, our schedule revolved around baby. We're both on leave from work again, but Milly still wakes up between 6:30am and 7:30 wanting her 'hot cereal'. She still needs a nap in the middle of the day, although she'd disagree and we've been battling about that a little. She needs dinner about 6:30pm and my time and attention to read books and tuck her into bed about 8. Caring for baby Emma just needs to fit in around.
We're starting to develop a pattern to our days, with a divide and conquer approach. Mike gets up with Milly in the morning while I nap until Emma wakes for another feed. She prefers a clean nappy before eating, so he'll change a crying Emma then bring me in a coffee. Milly will chat, play and clamber around our bed while I feed Emma. Mike will have a shower, get Milly dressed, maybe they'll go out somewhere before lunch and nap time. Emma will generally sleep for a couple hours in the morning, but more often than not seems to be waking for a feed just as Milly dozes off. Mike entertains Milly in the afternoon, or often we've had a visitor. I'll juggle the two girls as Mike makes dinner, often literally as Milly likes to climb onto my lap as I hold and feed Emma. Eating dinner together at the kitchen table sometimes involves eating with one hand and holding Emma with the other. Mike gets Milly ready for bed then I join them to read bedtime books and tuck her in. We've had some tough nights getting Milly to go to sleep (although we're seeing major improvement after putting a baby gate on her bedroom door last night) so we try and take turns dealing with her until she settles and we can relax (and feed Emma) until bedtime. I'm generally not asleep long before Emma wakes for a feed, normally somewhere from 11pm till midnight. After spending half an hour to an hour feeding her, because she'll doze off mid-feed, I wake Mike to change her nappy and give her a top-up bottle while I go back to sleep. He'll deal with Milly if she wakes overnight, and I handle Emma's second nighttime feed and nappy change on my own.
I have another two weeks until Mike returns to work and I'm not even considering how on earth I'll manage when that happens.
Milly is the most amazing big sister. She is so gentle with Emma and loves to cuddle 'baby sister' and help with her care. Handing us a nappy, tucking in a blanket, Milly wants to be involved any way she can. And watching Milly tend to her baby dolls, we're seeing so much of our behaviour and actions replicated, (including having nappies and Emma's clothes strewn around the house as her dolls do 'stinkies' and need to be changed).
If Emma is crying Milly will quietly go 'shhh shhh shhh' and wants to give her a dummy. She'll walk in the front door and ask 'What baby doing?' The other night Milly got to give Emma a bottle and the look on her face was pure delight. She loves for Emma to hold her finger, or especially to suck on her finger and seems to think she is giving her milk when Emma does so. I think, and certainly hope, we are seeing the start of a wonderful relationship between the two of them.
I'm still thinking about how and what I want to document of Emma's first year, but I have been recording a little snippet of each day in a 5 Year Diary. So many of the entries though are focused on Milly. Her language is exploding and her interactions with Emma are so incredible. While lying on the bed with her arm around Emma the other day, she said 'I love her. I love big sister. I love her much.' Seriously, how gorgeous. But, it makes me conscious of differences between parenting a first and second child.
The other day my sister-in-law shared that when she had her younger child, she was so focused on her oldest that she never really stopped to appreciate those newborn days. I'm keeping that in mind too, as I adjust to being the Mum of two amazing girls.