Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lessons from Eleanor’s first week

Well, time is flying by with Eleanor! Before it gets too distant, I wanted to write up a few notes from our first week with our little girl.

Lesson #1: Cloth diapering with a newborn – it can last about 4 hours when you only have 6 extra-small diapers. The continuous soundtrack to our home is the laundry machine. But before I know it I’m sure she’ll fit size small diapers, which we have plenty of.

Lesson #2: Eleanor is a serene child, peacefully accepting the chaos of her big brother’s antics and occasional delays in her food or changing. Luke is more of an intense child, whole-heartedly expressing his emotions, whether they be hunger, frustration, or (thankfully most often) happy excitement! It’s amazing how having a sibling to compare with makes both of their personalities more evident.

Lesson #3: While generally serene, our little girl isn’t fond of clothing changes. She must be thinking – “this would never happen in the womb” – as Erik likes to say.

Lesson #4: We’re second-timers at the newborn drill, but for Luke it’s all brand new. So Erik and I have been much less unnerved by the sound of newborn crying this time, especially since Eleanor is so easy to soothe. But Luke can’t tolerate the crying. One little squawk and he is sprinting away from her as if it were a war cry. And if she lets out a wail he quickly joins in with very distressed crying of his own. I don’t appreciate the added chaos of a second crying baby, but my heart is warmed by the brotherly sympathy it seems to show!

Lesson #5: A crazy day can get crazier! The day after Eleanor was born, we had a somewhat hectic time getting discharged at the hospital, and then rushed home so Erik could head back out to pick up my parents from the airport. Just five minutes into that trip he braked for a car stuck in his lane and he was rear-ended! Thankfully there were no real injuries and our car is still driveable, but trying to straighten that out (we still don’t have insurance info from the other driver) has been a bit of a headache this past week.

Lesson #6: A confession about life with two: it isn’t really double the work. No matter how many kids you have they take up most of your time. With two, you just give your attention to whoever most urgently needs it at the moment. And then there are times when they have simultaneous super-poops or Eleanor’s crying sets off Luke and it can be hard to choose, but ultimately someone is prioritized and someone has to wait. I can still only care for one child emergency at a time!

For us right now, it’s Luke who needs attention more often than Eleanor. She is content to sleep or spectate in her bouncy seat most of the time, while Luke clamors for a playmate fairly constantly. So I have to be careful to carve out time to just focus on Eleanor so that Luke doesn’t dominate all of our attention with his more vocal requests for it. Plus she is such a sweet cuddlebug to sit and love on. She definitely makes it worthwhile by sweetly looking into my eyes as her tiny precious frame snuggles in my arms. What a joy our first week and a half with her has been. She truly is the perfect addition to our family!

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