Nurse Loves Farmer


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Sunday, 18 November 2012 22:00

Life with Audrey

Audrey is 3 weeks old this weekend (since Friday morning), and I think we're starting to adjust to being a family of four!

A couple of weeks ago, I did a post on Clara's reaction to Audrey, and how we tried to prepare her for being a big sister.  I also talked about how my feelings about Clara had changed and suddenly I felt as though I had to protect Audrey from Clara and that Clara was suddenly a threat.  Clara also seemed to 'grow up' overnight, and I suddenly seemed to expect her to behave in a much more 'grown up' way than I should have expected from a not-yet-2-year-old.  I'm not proud of these feelings, but I think they are probably normal and I have been trying really hard to combat these feelings by putting Audrey down at certain times a day so that I can spend some proper one-on-one time with Clara.

Interestingly, Brian's feelings about Clara have not changed at all, but his feelings toward Audrey are different than his feelings with Clara were. He has never been a 'baby' person, and he wasn't excited about doing the 'infant' thing all over again - I can respect that.  When we had Clara, however, he didn't have any other children to compare her too and despite the fact that he didn't really LOVE dealing with her colick, and diaper changing, and the fact that she didn't react at all when he made funny faces at her, he loved her to bits and she was his DAUGHTER.  With Audrey, however, he feels more irritated by her fussing than he ever was with Clara, because now he has a super-fun-and-exciting toddler to compare her to, and Audrey just really isn't as fun to him.  I get that also, and I know that he still loves Audrey to pieces.  I think it's good too, that we both recognize these differences so that we can make a conscious effort to spend our time with each daughter, so hopefully if we have an obvious 'Daddy's Girl' and 'Mommy's Girl', it won't be because we treated them differently.

Clara still loves her baby sister.  We were having some behavior issues with her a week ago, but since Brian has gone back to work and I began babysitting again (so she had her friend to play with), and her routine has started to return to what she knows, she has actually been a lot better.  She talks about Audrey all the time, and constantly wants to touch her and hold her.  She does sometimes struggle with 'sharing' things with Audrey - like her crib and high chair, and is a bit overly concerned over whether or not something is hers (That's Mine!!!) or Audrey's, but she has never asked us to put Audrey down or seemed jealous if we are spending a lot of time dealing with Audrey.  I am sooo glad for this!

Audrey is definitely turning out to be 'suckier' than Clara ever was.  Although Clara was colicky until she was six weeks old, we learned quickly that there was nothing we could give her that would help her.  It didn't matter how much I fed her, how much she was held, whether she was burped constantly or given oval or colick medications; she didn't want to be swaddled, and didn't seem to care if her diaper was clean or dirty - she just cried.  Audrey fusses predictably for a couple of hours in the evening, but it seems directly related to gas and although it's often difficult to get her to pass this gas, she will settle down afterward and be relatively amiable until the next day when her fussy-gassy time comes again. 

Unless we put her down.

I recognized when Audrey was still in utero that she was probably going to be a 'cuddlier' kid. How did I know? Well, I didn't 'know', but I suspected partly because I was hoping for a 'cuddler', and she did some things differently than Clara did.

1. Audrey didn't stretch out as much as Clara had in utero.  Clara was often stretching in such a way that seemed as though she was trying to make herself as straight as possible.  Audrey would stretch a bit, but it would involve just her legs - I assume she remained bent at the waist, and only stretched her legs out a bit.

2. Audrey didn't seem to mind having her space crowded.  I remember with Clara, if I sat too close to a table or something, and my belly was at all pressed on by anything, Clara would continuously kick at that location until I moved away from whatever was crowding her space.  She also responded quickly if I pushed on or poked at my belly.  Audrey didn't do this - she didn't seem to care if my belly was leaning against anything else, and I even caught myself sleeping almost entirely on my belly a few times, and she never seemed to mind.  She was also much more difficult to 'wake up' if I was concerned that she hadn't moved in awhile and tried to wake her by poking and prodding at my belly. 

Now that Audrey is 'out', my suspicions have been confirmed.  Despite the fact that I don't actually carry Audrey around as much as I expected I would, I do wear her in a carrier occasionally, and she is perfectly comfortable in it.  If I tried to wear Clara in a carrier, she would freak out about being held too tightly and never settled down.  Clara was also more comfortable from birth on a flat surface than Audrey has been.  If I lay Audrey down in her crib or bassinet, she doesn't completely settle, whereas she is better in a car seat or the high chair (which sits her in a similar position to her carseat), and she is always MOST comfortable if she is being held.  I've actually given up trying to make her sleep in her bassinet for the time being, because I get much more sleep if she sleeps in bed with me. I NEVER thought I would do this, but I'll get into that maybe another time.

Audrey is also much less concerned about noise than Clara ever was.  When Clara was born, I was advised to continue life as usual, and not to do things like 'keeping the house silent' when she was napping, because then she would always need silence to nap, etc. and we would always be walking on eggshells.  I think this was great advice, and definitely true for families who often listen to music and don't want that to change.  I wish I had maybe been more attuned to this when Clara was an infant, because our home is actually quite musical - however, after she was born, I found that finding music to play, creating a playlist or choosing cd's was just another thing to do and so our home actually remained quite silent most of the time and after awhile we found ourselves actually trying to 'not make a sound' after Clara was put down for a nap. It became nearly impossible for Clara to sleep if we had company because she did become used to silence.  This was annoying, but I had to realize that our home really was generally quiet, so I couldn't expect her to expect anything different.  Audrey, however, has become very accustomed to loud, sudden noises and doesn't seem bothered by either.  I know that now she is an infant, and this could change - but I suspect that the noise level in our house will remain louder than it ever was when Clara was a baby, and Audrey will adapt to that.

I could probably blog forever about the differences I've experienced with parenting both girls at this age, but for now I'll end there. I have heard some mothers say their babies were like night and day different from birth, and some mothers who say their babies were actually very much the same.  In some ways I can say both about my girls so far, and in some of these ways I think their differences/similarities are affected by how we are treating them the same/differently, and in some ways they are affected by their personalities.  And some things I have absolutely no idea about!

Can you tell I'm on Cloud 9?

The one thing I think at this point - when it comes to parenting, I will never be an expert, and it doesn't matter how many children I have or how long I have been a mother.  I think I could have 12 children and although some things would get easier, and I would get better at recognizing certain things - there would always be things that would be so much different because of each child's personality and because of the circumstances each child is born into - nothing is ever really 'the same'.

How were your babies the same or different? Did you recognize their differences or similarities as being part of their personalities, or a result of how you parented them, or their situation?

Read 2580 times Last modified on Sunday, 18 November 2012 12:15

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