Navigating Life with Two: The First Three Months as a Family of Four

IMG_0769Felicity is already three months old.  I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that she has already been in our lives for three whole months.  I feel like it was just yesterday that we were bringing her home from the hospital, and yet here we are, leaving the foggy newborn phase behind us.  Mercifully, it hasn’t been very foggy for us, thanks to our little sleeping beauty.

I feel like the first four months with John really dragged, and that it took forever to emerge from that initial fogginess.  I didn’t feel like I had a grasp on motherhood until well into John’s fourth month, when he decided to sleep-train him and introduced him to solids.  We’re not quite at that age with Felicity, but I imagine that this month will pass just as quickly as the first three did.

When John was a newborn, I only had him to focus on.  I was obsessed.  I noted every feeding, every nap, every diaper change religiously.  Andrew and I kept a journal for the first few weeks with John, and I obsessed over every detail.  We were up at all hours of the night, and I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water.  Thoughts and worries about John consumed me, and I barely had time to think about anything else.

This time around, I don’t have the luxury of obsessing.  I don’t just have a newborn at home.  I can’t write down the time of every feeding, diaper change, and nap.  I have a general idea of when Felicity needs to eat, and I rely on her cues to know when it’s time for a nap.  After presenting our dutifully filled-in log at Felicity’s four-day appointment with the pediatrician, I promptly tossed it back in my diaper bag, where I found it a month later.  I just didn’t have time to obsess.

IMG_0813At three months, we have settled into a loose routine.  John still determines most of our lives.  He only takes one nap, so we are always home for it.  We are generally home for his meals.  We still go to story time at the library once or twice a week, and the playground nearly every afternoon.  He is in bed promptly at 7:15pm every evening.

At three months, Felicity has learned to go with the flow, which generally means going along with her brother’s schedule.  She takes three or four naps a day, and at least one per day takes place in her stroller, carseat, or baby sling (normally her last one).  She can pretty much be fed anywhere, though we are committed to at least forty-five minutes whenever she gets a bottle to prevent spit-up.  Besides doctor’s appointments, she really doesn’t ever have anywhere to be.  While she has a settled bedtime routine, the actual time is still flexible, though it’s generally between 7-8pm.  If she wakes up at all overnight, it’s only once.  She’s a fantastic sleeper, and after two months of navigating reflux issues, I can say that she’s a fantastic eater as well now.

We haven’t hit the four-month sleep regression yet, but I’m confident that I have the tools necessary to handle it.  With John, I didn’t even know that such a thing existed until about halfway through his fourth month.  I learned about it just in time to sleep-train him, saving me from countless more sleepless nights.  After two months of maintaining good sleep habits with Felicity, we are hopeful that we won’t need to sleep-train our daughter.  At the very least, it shouldn’t be such a traumatic experience.

I have also had the pleasure of watching John grow leaps and bounds during these past three months.  Just a week before Felicity was born, he was incapable of playing independently, barely spoke, and needed to run around constantly to burn off his massive amounts of energy.  Now, he will play on his own while I tend to Felicity, prepare meals, clean the apartment, and occasionally sneak in some daytime reading.  He isn’t exactly speaking in full sentences yet, but his vocabulary has probably doubled in the past few weeks and he’s begun to very effectively string words together.  He still has a ton of energy, but he’s handling the additional time indoors like a champ (it’s not nearly as easy to get out with two kids as it was with one, especially when one of them takes three to four naps per day).  I am so proud of my little man, and it is just incredible to see how much he loves his little sister.

IMG_0796Life as a stay-at-home mother to two children has had its ups and down.  I’ve had to hustle two crying children out the door for appointments with our pediatrician.  I’ve had one kid crying to be fed while the other one cries because he doesn’t want the food in front of him.  I’ve had to juggle countless nap times where both of them desperately want to go to sleep at the same time.  But I’ve also had the pleasure of watching my son “read” to my daughter, choosing books that he thinks she will like.  I have seen my son’s smiles bring joy to my daughter’s face, as well as the other way around, and both of them have left me feeling as though my heart will explode for love of them.  On a regular basis, I am reminded that I am so lucky to have these two beautiful children, and I am lucky to be able to spend my days at home with them as I watch them grow.

Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!

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