Wednesday, July 5, 2017

One month with baby Eric

We have one month under our belt as a family of four.  And just like riding a bike, we are slowly remembering how to swaddle, shush, burp, and survive on very little sleep!

For me personally, from an emotional point of view, having Eric around has been completely different than when we had Olivia.  With Olivia, I was so scared and overwhelmed by the responsibility of being a mom and the seemingly monumental task of keeping another human alive, that the whole thing often felt really scary and serious.  But with Eric, I think I'm more confident in my ability to be able to take care of him...which has made for a much more relaxed and happy mamma this time around.

And, I attribute much of that relaxation to the fact that together, Matt, Olivia and I learned how to be a family and how to take care of each other.  We developed our little village with Olivia that we now have firmly cemented for Eric which takes out a lot of the unknowns and uncertainties that loomed with Olivia.  We know the doctors and lactation consultants to call; we have babysitters that we feel comfortable with; we have learned how to tune out unwanted/unhelpful parenting advice and perhaps most important to me, I know when I go back to work, he will join a school community that will nurture and love him as much as they did for Olivia AND that the bond he and I have won't be broken by the time apart.

So, that leaves me with less time to worry and more time to love on these sweet little babies of mine!  (That being said, don't be alarmed - I'm still the good ol' worrier I've always been.  Baby E had a clogged tear duct and for 2 days I had worked myself into a complete frenzy with worry about him!).

At 5 weeks old, baby Eric is still a pretty sleepy little guy.  He has figured out days and nights, but mostly enjoys sleeping both the day and the night away.  We have also gotten the hang of eating and I'm working hard to get those sweet chubby baby cheeks that his Aunt Naz requested basically the minute he was born!  I think we are getting there:

He is getting better at tummy time and is starting to track toys when we play with them.  He can also focus on the person talking to him and he really does seem to always look around if he hears Olivia's voice.

And, speaking of Olivia, she has been settling into her role as big sister.  She is really helpful and we try to give her room to help take care of him - burping, rocking, running in to give him the pacifier when he spits it out mid-nap.  For the most part, she has been enjoying it.  The 2 issues we have had are (1) her nighttime routine and (2) his crying.  At night, Matt and I have established a routine of taking turns putting Olivia to bed.  One of us does the whole routine-  teeth, nightgown, books, etc.  And, it is obviously a sweet and snuggly time that we both enjoy.  Well, recently when Matt has played tennis at night, I couldn't get Eric to settle down and go to sleep.  He'd cry every few minutes.  Which meant Miss O's mommy nighttime routine was extremely interrupted.  I won't bore you with specifics but I'll just say that all 3 of us cried that night.  So, we decided later that some nights we may have to amend the routine if Matt is gone to include Eric too.  Olivia reluctantly agreed.  Which leads to the second issue she has with him - his crying.  She can handle a little fussing.  But if he is really wailing, she gets SUPER upset.  I think its a mix of sadness for him and the whole "nails on a chalkboard" baby crying thing.  When we give him a bath she stopped helping us because she said it was too sad to see him cry.  Another time, there was an accident on the way to school, so our usual 15 minute commute turned into 45 minutes.  And poor Eric could not get to sleep, so he spent the better part of that 45 minutes crying.  At first Olivia was really concerned and trying to sing and talk to him.  She even had the idea to get my phone and put on white noise.  But nothing worked.  So as we finally made it into downtown, she had enough and yelled "Eric! You're driving me crazy!"

But, other than that, she continues to be a great big sister - eager to help, anxious to snuggle and attentive to his needs.

This month we celebrated Father's Day for Matt as a father of TWO.  This guy.  I do not know really how to put into words how much I love and admire him.  In the last few months of my pregnancy, I was sick and it felt like constant bad news each time we went to the doctor.  I can't count how many times I called or texted him close to tears with the latest update, always saying "Its okay, I'm fine" and always knowing that he wouldn't listen and would leave work to come meet me at the hospital.  He picked me up from work when I was sick, he took care of Olivia tirelessly, and he maintained his usual and much-needed logical, rational, thoughtful responses to each little stumbling block we reached.  I think that most times he doesn't get the credit he deserves, but in these past few months he was 100% the glue that held this family (and me!) together.  So, I knew I wanted to try hard to make his Father's Day special but in the end, it included a fussy newborn, a cranky 5 year old, and a tired mamma a few weeks out from giving birth and still trying to recover.   And even with the lack of relaxation and fanfare, he remained calm and grateful for our (unsuccessful) efforts.  There is no one I rely on as much as him and no one who exceeds my expectations as much as him.  We sure do love this guy.

(This is the day before Father's Day - at our newborn photo shoot....I will only say my nerves were completely shot before the photographer even arrived and, once again, Matt stayed calm, cool and collected.)

With Olivia, we were pretty regimented about making sure she slept in her crib.  With this little guy, we have been a little more lax about it - especially a certain daddy who claims he is so cute and cuddly that he needs to be snuggled to sleep!

(And a certain other dad I know doesn't mind a cuddle either!)
He joined Olivia at school for her (LAST!) Dad's & Donuts

While baby Eric took his nap, we made Matt a special picnic lunch and ate outside while Olivia played in/on the water table.

We also said our final goodbyes to Aunt Yazzie.  She and Grant and my parents came over for pizza one night before they left.  It was a sweet and lovely night that included Olivia grabbing me, Yasmin and Eric and forcing us into my room and saying "Okay, everyone on the bed for a cuddle."  (And then my heart exploded again!).  Lots of Facetime in our future!

We will also miss "coustint Crosby" too....who loves to snuggle with his mamma, just like his newest cousin

With a good swaddle, this little guy can sleep anywhere this month:


After a particularly sleepless night, I decided to venture out alone one morning while the cleaning lady was at our house.  So E and I took a trip to Starbucks, we sat outside - I drank coffee and ate oatmeal; he took a little snooze and it was about my favorite 30 minutes that day!

One of the most special treats we got this month was a visit from my dear friend Bethany.  She drove all the way from Dallas to treat us to a delicious dinner that she cooked herself for us.  It was so lovely to sit in my kitchen and chat with my friend while she cooked and then cleaned up.  After dinner we all played a game and she got in some snuggles with baby E.  The next morning she woke up early and took Olivia to get Starbucks for everyone.  In moments like this, I couldn't help but marvel at the little village we have of friends who have become family and take care of us when we need it most.

Another special visit was from Connie - an old family friend who crocheted a sweet baby blanket for Eric just like she did for Olivia.

This month we also began preparations for Olivia's transition to Kindergarten with uniform shopping. It was a surreal experience in which it seemed like I blinked my eyes and my little girl went from this baby to this big kid:

And here is Miss Sass in her new big sister shirt

Olivia was eager to learn about and help with E's monthly photo shoot.  

Before Eric was born, one of our friends told us about a nanny who warned against holding babies too much, lest they become "holdy babies" and will only sleep or be happy if they are being held.  We laughed at this idea, but as baby Eric becomes more and more particular about being held, we can't help but wonder if we created our own "holdy baby."  Though this term was no doubt meant with a negative connoctation, we are particularly proud of this accomplishment and the 3 of us are just loving our "holdy baby."

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