You guys – Charlotte will be 6 months old in 9 days. How is that even possible?! It has gone by so fast – and I know everyone always says that but it’s true. I’ve tried so hard these past 6 months to really soak it all in. Every stage, every moment. I have times where I ponder the bigger picture for myself, but in motherhood I am loving these moments.
Having a big gap between the two children you get to take home and mother means that so many things I’d forgotten with Bella I get to remember again. Sam and I must say to each other a few times a day, “Oh my gosh, remember how Bella used to…” Some things between them are incredibly similar. Their looks for one. They both hated tummy time. Has hair but it’s so light and wispy you can hardly see it. Loves to be outside. We didn’t have a dog when Bella was little but Charlotte loves Charlie. Every time she sees him she starts to laugh. I told Sam it’s probably because she thinks he’s a ridiculous looking human. 😉 She ADORES the kitties.
There are some strong differences too. To me, it’s not exactly a surprise but it’s more of a “Huh, so each baby really is different” kind of reinforcement. Charlotte loves to be carried in my Tulas and slings. For hours. She’ll fall asleep in them and be perfectly content. Poor Bella – her reflux was so bad for so long that it was miserable for both of us to babywear. She’d just barf and puke through the whole thing. I enjoyed it with her as she got a little older though.
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Charlotte is lazy. And I’m giggling as I write this because it’s just so adorable. She could care less about rolling or sitting up. I mean, she will. But if possible she just wants to have us hold her. Bella was a powerhouse with getting herself going. She walked at 10ish months. Skipped crawling almost completely.
Charlotte wakes up 1-2 times a night and *most* of the time I don’t mind because I just nurse her and go back to sleep. She’s a pretty good napper though, and she’s very vocal about when she’s ready to go. I’m so, so thankful for this (you have no idea) because it allows me a chance to get things done, take a shower, be with Bella, and have some time for me. Bella (because of that stupid reflux) slept sporadically and was always hungry (because her food always came up) and so for nearly a year she rarely slept more than 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Ever.
You might think that because of all we’ve had happen I’d be a total nutjob at keeping the girls safe or taking them to the Dr at the slightest cough, but in some ways it’s the opposite. I kind of dread going to the Dr and each appt of their gives me a lot of anxiety. It’s getting better – we have an awesome pediatrician here – but for a while I would have given anything to never go back to a hospital or clinic again.
Part of this has to do with me being more comfortable with motherhood this time around. The difference is pretty clear even to me, and even 6 years later. I remember stressing out so hard with things over Bella – nursing and solids and diapers and laundry detergents and organic and candles and TV and strollers and omg what does everyone think of me.
And much of that is replaced with a sense of a little more confidence now. I interchange disposable and cloth diapers because it works for us right now. I waited until this week to start solids even though one of the nurses told me I could at 4 months, because I didn’t feel like Charlotte was ready. That’s something I would have stressed myself out over with Bella. I haven’t let Charlotte cry it out but I have let her cry for a few minutes when I know she’s exhausted and me going back in to start it all over again would just rile her up.
But the part I love the most that changed is the amount of time I spend being present with her. I know how fast this goes. I can look at Bella and think, “Wow, this was you and now you’re so independent.” I am able to sit and rock Charlotte and push aside those feelings of clean-work-house-laundry-vacuum for longer than I would have ever been able to with Bella. The adjustment to having two (and going from one very capable child to another totally dependent) was rough at first, but I knew we would find a routine. And we have.
I love the bond between my girls. Bella and Charlotte adore each other. Charlotte’s whole being lights up when Bella comes into view. Bella is so kind and so gentle with her, but even when she gets loud and crazy Charlotte just laughs and laughs.
She is the best helper, I try to watch how often I ask her to be a little mama so I don’t take advantage of her capabilities, but she has made this transition so much smoother. Yes, there are times where she runs out of the room yelling, “AND EVERYONE IS SO NICE TO CHARLOTTE AND HORRIBLE TO ME” ::tries not to laugh:: but those are few and far between.
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I am so glad I got to do this again. To count baby toes, change diapers, haul 50lbs of crap into a 30 minute appointment only to realize my kid blew through her diaper and outfit again, to nurse another baby, to watch Bella be the big sister she’s wanted to be for years, to buy small outfits and set up a nursery.
There have been moments this is so overwhelming to juggle and at those times I find myself laughing and shaking my head because I know – I know what it’s like to want those moments so desperately and instead to find yourself in a hospital watching your baby and that hope fade away.
This is the best. These days are my favorite. And I’m so glad I get to be their mama.