Last week was my first full week managing both girls on my own, with no grandmother or husband here to run interference. I managed pretty well!
I have to admit that I had been fearing my first weeks alone with two children since the moment I found out I was pregnant. Georgia wasn't a difficult newborn by any means, but I think I was very hard on myself in the beginning and made things out to be, in my mind, much worse than they actually were. So much has changed in five years because life with two children has been a breeze for me.
I don't stress about sleep (mine or the kids') because we can always nap. I'm much more comfortable nursing a newborn; it doesn't even occur to me that I need to be home for feedings because I throw a blanket over my shoulder and let Hattie Elizabeth eat on the go. I don't worry about how I will make time for and pay enough attention to both girls - I'm not one who can let a baby cry or a child feel ignored - but as long as their immediate needs are met and I get cuddle and playtime with each, we will survive this stage of my attention always being divided.
It's difficult for Georgia at times because I know she thought Hattie Elizabeth would be like her friends' younger siblings, old enough to at least sit and interact with her. Every day it does get a little easier, though. At a month old, Hattie is sleeping less during the day and able to focus on us for short amounts of time when she's awake. She has learned to swat at the little toys hanging from her activity mat, so Georgia has great fun "teaching" her how to reach for things.
One of my greatest joys is watching and hearing Georgia read books to Hattie each morning. After eating, Hattie Elizabeth is usually pretty alert and will listen and watch as Georgia turns the pages for quite awhile. The BOB books we have are all black and white with one bright color mixed in, which I know infants love. Sister story time is good for both of them!
Lots of times when I'm feeding Hattie or having to hold her constantly during the "witching hours", I split my attention so Georgia doesn't feel as left out. (I had forgotten there are days when newborns literally want to nurse for hours.) Today we worked on a craft together and played Barbies. Other times she practices writing or just cuddles up beside me and I read books to her. It doesn't always work out when the baby is extremely fussy, but I'm certain these little snippets of time help Georgia not to feel alone after having had me to herself for five full years.
My days are full.
When the baby is asleep, I give Georgia some undivided attention, rush around to do a couple of chores or start dinner, and prepare for our next outing of errands. We're gone from the house for a few hours each day. Yesterday I had to take my car in for service. Other days there are doctor appointments, dance classes and groceries to be bought. Today I have to go to the DMV to renew my license, and after lunch we are having friends over to play.
Every day I think I will have time to sit down for half an hour to blog or upload photos from my camera...anything on the computer for some me time, but that time somehow just gets away from me. Tomorrow any time I have at the computer needs to be spent paying bills and responding to a few important emails that have sat unanswered for a week. I don't like being on my phone or computer unless I have to when I'm with my girls, so these sort of tasks get crammed into those spare minutes when Georgia is occupied and nobody else needs me.
Other times, I think about catching up on blogging. I really do. But to be honest, when all is peaceful I would much rather just read a chapter in a book. Or, more often, sit and relax every muscle in my body and just breathe, without having to think about or focus on anything except the quiet moment I'm in.
My evenings are crazy.
After getting both girls into pajamas, we put Georgia to bed and I feed Hattie Elizabeth at 9. I know she will need to eat again at 11 (and I like to go right to bed after that), so I either shower, do some postnatal yoga or rush around finishing up half done things that must get done - laundry, running to CVS because we're almost out of diapers, putting away groceries.
I always have it in the back of my mind that I'll have a half hour to spare before feeding time rolls around. But something always comes up to fill that time. Hattie wakes earlier than expected. Georgia comes downstairs upset and sleeps in our room. David and I decide to have some couple time watching a movie together. Or I'm just beat and need the extra downtime without focusing on anything in particular. Last night I was truly debating whether or not to spend time blogging or washing my face and brushing my teeth before bed. Hygiene won that one.
At any rate, we are settling into a routine that will inevitably change when Georgia starts back to school after Labor Day. And I will eventually get all of the photos backed up and memories preserved. Until then, I'll be enjoying the time with my girls. And relaxing every chance I get!