I have had so many moments in my parenting journey where I've fought and fought with something only to discover I was missing something 'key'. In a lot of these cases, I realize that I could have saved myself a lot of frustration if I had simply discovered this 'key' thing earlier. Like the time when Clara was only an infant and we tried swaddling and cuddling and rocking her for days and days of fussing and crying only to discover that whas she really wanted was to be put down so she could stretch out!
When Clara was about the same age that Audrey is now, she went through a stage where she became increasingly fussy. I was thrown because she had previously been a rather contented baby, and suddenly she seemed discontent all the time. It took me a couple of weeks to discover that she was BORED. My baby had grown to the point where sitting in her high chair and watching me rummage around the kitchen was no longer enough for her - she needed more stimulation.
A few days ago, Audrey started doing the same thing. Luckily I caught on a little bit quicker this time, and after only a few days of checking her mouth for signs of teeth - I started setting her up with more toys and stimulation.
What is this, Mum?
It feels nice...
Does it taste yummy...?
This has been a valuable discovery for me, since she is now much more happy sitting in her high chair or bouncy chair for longer periods of time. She has also finally gotten old enough that she enjoys watching Clara run around and play for longer periods of time.
About Clara, I've discovered that her stubbornness has waned. After weeks of watching way too much TV, and feeling somewhat sick and too lazy and tired to fight this too hard, I tried saying 'No' one day. This was predictably followed by a tantrum, however the tantrum only lasted for a few minutes and then Clara wandered off to play with her toys.
I actually won an argument with this girl???
So, for my own future reference, I've discovered that even if I'm feeling completely exhausted (as I still do, with this not-quite-sick-feeling threatening to last into its third week...), I probably don't need to expect a battle of epic proportions to get Clara to obey.
These are exciting revelations for me - parenting is, at least in some ways, getting a bit easier for the moment. :)
Random food for thought - especially in light of it being Valentine's Day... I've over heard a few conversations about this recently, and even come across some articles on discounts given for well behaved children in restaurants, so I thought I'd pose the question...
What do you think of younger children, and toddlers - who may be unable to behave appropriately - dining in restaurants? Particularly higher end restaurants, where people around them may be out on dates or business meetings, etc.
This week is Valentine's Day, as well as my Birthday. Earlier in the week, we were trying to make a plan to have supper with my family sometime this week - for my Birthday, and because all of my Birthday/Valentine's Day plans with Brian are being pushed into the long weekend, the fact that today is actually Valentine's Day didn't really cross my mind. Thursday night was the first evening that worked for all of us to get together, so we were about to make a reservation for supper.
As Brian and I were discussing how Clara might behave for a late supper out (I teach piano until 6:30, so we wouldn't get there until at least 7), we realized that it was Valentine's Day, and that the restaurant would probably be filled with people hoping to have a quiet romantic evening - and that it might not be the kindest thing to bring our toddler daughter, who may be unable to behave at that time of day. So, we changed our plans and will have supper with my family on another evening.
This, to me, is just common courtesy. If I don't think my child can necessarily behave in a certain situation, I should not bring my child into that situation if it will probably ruin a nice experience for other people.
However, I know that not everyone would make this particular call, and sometimes there are children in restaurants who are causing all sorts of disturbances to other customers.
There are also parents and families who go to great lengths to teach their children how to behave properly in restaurants, and children who are naturally gifted at sitting quietly...
Years ago, Brian and I went out on a date of some kind at a relatively high-end restaurant in our city and ended up at a table next to a family with a young daughter and a baby. The girl was probably about 3 - maybe 4 - years old. Despite the longish wait for their food, the little girl sat beautifully and if we hadn't specifically looked over at their family, we would never have known that there was a young child at the table at all.
My opinion? I think that restaurants should have and stick to the policies that say 'Disruptive persons will be asked to leave'. End of story. No age particulars, because although children are more likely to act out because they may not yet understand the social norms, it is not ALWAYS children who misbehave in public. Families should expect that if they or their child is disruptive in a restaurant, the restaurant is within their rights to ask them to leave - without causing offense.
I think it's great when children know what is expected of them in 'fancier' restuarants, and hope to teach our children how to behave in them. In the meantime, we will attempt to teach them at more family-friendly restaurants, at family-friendly times. I hope also that I will understand if we have a bad day and an attempt at someplace nicer ends in us being asked to leave.
Those are my two cents. What are yours? Do you think kids should be allowed in fancy restaurants, or not? Does it ruin an evening for you if the family sitting next to you on a 'night out' has a bunch of rambunctious toddlers?
Our house technically has 3 upstairs bedrooms. One is the Master bedroom, the other two were initially smaller bedrooms, but the way our house is situated on the lot means the back bedroom is closest to the garage - so a previous owner chopped a big hole in the wall and put in patio doors so that there was closer access to a backyard deck as well as to the garage.
So, our 3rd bedroom is actually our entrance room now, which really is great because if it weren't, we would have to walk all the way around the house and yard to get to our garage.
Unfortunately, it leaves us with only one small (7 by 10 foot) bedroom for the girls, which they will have to share until we either move out of this house, or until one (or both) of them is brave enough to move into one of our downstairs bedrooms which are a long walk away from our bedroom upstairs.
Here's the back story:
When Clara was about 6 months old, we moved her from the bassinet in our bedroom to her crib in the other room. By 6 months, this was WAAAY too late for us for a couple of reasons. 1, she was starting to hit the top of the bassinet with her head every time she kicked her feet. 2, As time went on, I became more and more terrified of something happening to her if I moved her across the hall - I was really becoming consumed by terror, and was often unable to sleep at night because of the ridiculous thoughts that constantly haunted me. When we finally moved her into the crib, I slept soundly for the first night in weeks, and I realized that I had been neglecting to 'cut a cord' that needed to be cut (for me) - she was ready and old enough to be distanced a little bit more from me, and I needed to let that happen.
Audrey's story has been different than Clara's in a lot of ways. Most importantly, Audrey is not yet sleeping through the night where Clara was at about 6 weeks. This meant that Clara was happily sleeping all night long in the bassinet and all we had to change was the location, and the transition was really easy and fast.
This was my plan:
I had hoped to have Audrey sleeping through the night, and in her bassinet, before we tried to move her into Clara's room, but it was starting to look as though this might not happen on its own before Audrey is too big for the bassinet.
What was happening, I think, was that I had become too lazy to put Audrey back in her bassinet after her first feeding every night because I was only partly awake when I picked her up - I don't have to get up to reach her in the bassinet. Then, she would sleep in our bed and 'snack' all night long. We used the Baby Wise method with Clara, and if what they say is true (it all worked well for Clara), then Audrey will be less likely to sleep through the night if she isn't getting 'full' feedings and becomes used to 'snacking' at night. This makes sense to me, and the only reason I haven't tried harder to fix this situation is truly laziness on my part - because I really appreciated how everything went with Clara. I won't lie, I also like the cuddle time with Audrey - Clara wasn't really a fan of cuddling...
So I hoped that if I had to actually get up to feed Audrey, maybe I wouldn't be too asleep to put her back in her crib and after awhile her eating would regulate and maybe she would even start sleeping through the night sooner. Since this wasn't happening with her sleeping in our room, I figured we might as well move her straight to her crib and start getting both girls used to the new sleeping arrangment.
We started on Friday night.
Friday evening started with a couple hours of back-and-forth between the girls: Audrey would fuss and wake Clara, then Clara would fuss or talk or yell and wake Audrey, etc. Finally we brought Audrey downstairs with us where we were watching the movie 'Hugo' to wait for Clara to fall asleep properly, and fed Audrey for the last time around 10:30. Then she slept in her crib until about 2, and at that point I just brought her into bed with us and fell asleep.
Saturday night was really good - both girls fell asleep shortly after 8pm and Audrey slept until midnight when she woke up hungry. After feeding her, I put her back into her crib and she slept again until about 3:30. Then I fell asleep feeding her and she was in our bed for the rest of the night.
Last night wasn't so great again - the girls took turns keeping each other up until we brough Audrey downstairs to give Clara some peace. Then we put Audrey in the crib at about 11, but when she started fussing shortly after midnight, she ended up in our bed for the rest of the night.
I had taken the opportunity to clean the bassinet bedding with Audrey moving to the crib, and it's still kind of disassembled. I was hoping it would motivate me to keep up with moving Audrey into the crib, but it might actually mean she's spending more time in our bed. Possibly a backwards move???
Has anyone else had to move an infant into a toddler's bedroom for nights? What age did you do it, and how did it work? Any advice?
Interestingly, Circle of Moms just recently published this article on how to tell if a child is spoiled.
It gives ten 'signs', including frequent tantrums, being unsatisfied, unhelpful and ungrateful, attempting to control adults and embarrass parents in public, an inability to share, disobedience unless bribed, ignoring parents, and an inability to play alone.
I love when websites come out with lists like these, because they are always followed up with about a billion angry comments from parents saying 'What??? You can't expect a 2-year-old to know how to share!!! That doesn't mean they're spoiled - my kid isn't spoiled!!!". I always kind of assume that parents who are so defensive of something like this are probably the parents who are actually just trying to convince themselves... but maybe not.
Anyway, the article says very clearly that they are all 'possible' signs, and gives an appropriate age and frequency for all of these so I don't see the need to be offended. And of course, everyone needs to realize that all of these things can be part of normal child development, and when we see children behaving this way in public, it is completely unfair of anyone to assume 'spoiled' or to judge the parents in any way.
It gets me thinking, though - because I, of course, don't want to raise 'spoiled' children. But what are spoiled children, really?
I was a spoiled child - and the comment above about 'embarrassing parents in public' (assuming deliberately) is interesting to me, because I've never heard this before, and because I did this to my Dad all the time. I didn't realize that I was trying to do it for attention, but it's likely that attention is exactly what I was looking for.
I was 'spoiled' because I grew up being given everything I wanted in life without having to work for it - which means that I have a little bit of an entitlement problem, and it stresses me out sometimes when I can't buy things I 'want' whenever I want them. I also wasn't expected to help out at home with chores (until I was older, but by then I think it was too little too late), and I struggle with keeping my own house in order because I'm seriously not good at disciplining myself to do something I don't 'want' to do. I desperately do not want to pass along these same struggles to my children.
We don't give Clara everything she wants, but we do give her a lot, and rarely do we leave the house without getting her some kind of treat - and she's perpetually in need of new clothes, and my clothes-buying money-saving method means I spend $10-20 dollars on sale items each and every time I go to the mall to spread out the cost over time, and to make sure I don't over-purchase items until I really know she needs them. Is seeing us come home with bags of clothes for her seemingly constantly going to hurt her somehow in the long run? Is it ok?
I'm inclined to think that yes, this will be ok, provided she learns the value of working for things as she grows - which may be more difficult if she seems to be getting a lot of 'stuff', but not impossible. And so far, she really is a good shopper - we don't have temper tantrums or begging fits in the mall. She will ask for things, by saying 'I buy this?' or 'Is this mine?', and she is totally ok with being told 'No'. She stays with us and doesn't run off if we let her walk down the mall beside us instead of being in a stroller, and is actually quite patient when we shop for something 'boring' for a toddler.
When I was a child, I remember seeing the giant pink teddy bear that a friend's Dad had bought her for Valentine's Day. I was so impressed because I didn't get any kind of gifts for the 'minor' holidays except candy and chocolates. Maybe it was simply my spoiled-child-syndrome that wanted another opportunity to get more 'stuff' (this is likely, actually), but I've carried that with me as a good idea. I also liked how this family had taken Valentine's Day from being simply a holiday for lovers, and had made it a holiday for anyone you loved. As I grew older, I liked the idea of giving something that wasn't always candy to kids...
We get fliers from Build-a-Bear in the mail, and recently I saw this bear. I love him, because he looks a little bit like the bear I loved growing up, and thought it would be a cool Valentine's Day gift for Clara. It also occurred to me that I probably didn't want to get her a new bear for every holiday, but the beautiful thing about Build-a-Bear is that they carry a ton of accessories for bears and I thought that after buying her this bear- we could buy it a t-shirt or accessory for each holiday instead of getting her candy or a larger gift... Thoughts? Is this too materialist? I really am a fan of minimalism, but I also like toys - like teddy bears and dolls - that you can play with in many ways, and dress up, etc. so it kind of feels like just one toy still.
Am I on the road to raising a spoiled child?
Some days I feel as though my love for my daughters is purely functional. I 'love' them by feeding them and clothing them, and making sure their needs are met over the course of each day.
Lately, I have felt a surge of emotion almost every time I look at these little girls. Audrey is at my favourite baby age - still completely dependent, but old enough to react to us and start showing a distinct personality.
I seriously need to learn how to use a better camera... I think the bunny is teaching her some kind of martial art...
And Clara... well, Clara is becoming more and more her own unique little person. I love her so intensely and every once in awhile it hits me like a brick wall. I remember moments growing up when I would catch my Dad looking at me with this funny gleam in his eyes, and I could tell he was fighting back tears. I know what those moments were, now - they were moments of such overwhelming love and emotion that he had to blink back tears.
Clara is also becoming more and more - each day - like me. She is spunky and stubborn, and talks constantly - about everything. We hear her chatting to herself for hours after she goes to bed, to her stuffies, going over and over the events of the day. She is adorable.
She is also a pain in the butt.
The other night we had friends over, and I had made this incredibly yummy looking (it was amazing) fruit pizza for dessert. Clara had decided to eat no supper at all, and so one of us - I can't remember if it was Brian or I - told her that she needed to eat at least a few bites of supper before she could have dessert. She refused. I got out a smaller bowl and pulled out just a few items from her plate and said she had to eat 'only this'.
Again, she refused.
Then we had a battle of epic proportions - she would take a bite, but then spit it out again and cry. In the end she could have gotten away with only eating one small piece of mushroom, but she refused to even do that much. I really wanted her to be able to eat the fruit pizza...
I sent her to her room twice, only to let her out again for a 'second chance' (I really wanted to indulge her, so I did everything I could to help her). At the end of our battle, she was sitting on my lap refusing to swallow OR spit out a piece of food, but demanding her soother which I refused until the food was no longer in her mouth. After about 10 minutes I fished the food out of her mouth with my fingers and she was sent to bed with no dessert.
It was unbelievable how much a fight she put up. Her stubbornness is a little bit terrifying sometimes.
She's also hilarious and has me in stitches most of the time with the things she says...
The other day I wrapped a gift for a friend, and showed Clara what I was doing. I told her that when my friend showed up, Clara should bring her the gift we had wrapped for her. Then when my friend showed up, she seemed to have forgotten about the gift until I said "Clara, what did Mommy say you should bring her?" and Clara said to my friend "I give you a necklace!"
I guess it's time we need to stop showing or telling her anything we want kept secret.
This afternoon she stuck her tongue out and slowly moved in to lick my face. I saw her coming and said "What are you doing? Don't lick me!" To which she replied "I have to lick you!"
Toddlers are so weird...
Brian's parents have offered to take Clara for an entire weekend. I think they are hoping to start a Christmas tradition for themselves to have time to do Christmas-y things like bake and decorate cookies with her, etc. The reason they gave us was to give us a chance to get some Christmas shopping done, which is definitely more complicated with a toddler AND an infant in tow.
Shopping with Clara has always been pretty ok - when she was younger, we just had to stop to BF occasionally, and as she got older and started enjoying shopping it became a fun activity to do with her. Now that we have to stop to BF inevitably every time we go shopping, and Clara is only so good at staying interested in shopping - not good enough to take a 30 minute break so her sister can eat - it's much harder to actually get anything accomplished. Especially since we're really bad at planning and our Christmas shopping usually amounts to aimlessly wandering through malls asking each other these questions:
Who do we need to buy for again?
Which family gathering do we need that for?
Didn't you want to make them something?
What did we already order online? Did we actually order that, or did we just talk about ordering that? If we order it now, will it still come for Christmas... no... ok, what should we get instead?
Who do we need to buy for again?
Isn't that what we got him last year?
Do you think we have enough for Clara's stocking yet?
Go away! I want to get you something...
Do you want another Starbucks?
Who do we need to buy for again?
Now do we have enough for Clara's stocking???
Crap, we forgot about Audrey (as will be inevitable this year, or it will be someone else, it always happens - not that we don't love y'all, there are just too many people to remember!)
So today at about 5pm, my Mother-in-law is taking my daughter for a fun-filled weekend at Nana and Grandpa's and we get to have a weekend with only one child again. I love my daughter dearly, so I feel a little bit guilty about being so excited about this. I keep thinking about the possibilities - sleeping in past 8!!! We are going out for supper tonight and we won't have to worry about a toddler tantrum!!
Unfortunately this weekend is also the week of my piano recital, so I technically have to 'work' on Saturday. That should be over by 3ish, though, and then it's Christmas shopping for us! I decided a few years ago (when I worked in retail) that it was a hilarious sort of irony that people would get so stressed over Christmas shopping - a time of year that was supposed to be 'the happiest'. The only way to not let other people's moods get to me (because working in retail, often these people would take out their anger on me) was to secretly find it comical. Ha! That woman just punched another person over a TOY!!! They're yelling 'It's Mine!', 'No, MINE!' Really??? I hope I'm never one of those women, but the things we do for our children sometimes... Anyway, so I don't mind the crowds at Christmas, because I find them kind of funny. Also, we spent a few weeks in Asia a few years ago as well where it was busier than Christmas shopping EVERYWHERE, and all the time, so Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve suddenly didn't seem that busy anymore in comparison.
Anyway, I'm excited, and I hope that doesn't make me a negligent mother. I'll be toddler-free!!!
It is my job to embarrass my children. I'm pretty sure that's what my Dad was thinking when he got our car stuck in the parkade when I was a teenager in the backseat trying to hide so that no one saw me. I should clarify this - the car was not exactly 'in' the parkade, it was stuck at the parkade entrance (or exit, I really can't remember) with the barricade arm (you know the ones with the big red and white stripes?) stuck INSIDE his window so the car couldn't move forward or backward. Don't ask me how he did it...
I always wanted to be the 'cool' Mom. The Mom that my kids WANT to be seen in public with, and the Mom that my kids talk to about personal things, and the Mom that my kids invite to hang out with them while they're watching a movie with their friends... k, that last one might be pushing it.
Maybe I still will be, but it seems I am already embarrassing Clara. I mentioned a few posts ago how I love to sing and dance around the living room/house/garage/public places - and Clara has started responding by giving me this blank stare:
And saying 'No, Mommy!'. Every time I start singing. 'No, Mommy! Don't! Sing!'
Maybe it's a good thing to embarrass your children... it gives them a sense of humour about life, doesn't it? Maybe not... but I think there's no way around it for me. I WILL embarrass my kids.
When I was a kid, it used to be some sort of braggable accomplishment to be able to pat your head and rub your belly at the same time.
I'll admit I still feel a little bit like I'm somehow a better person because I have always been able to do this :)
I have decided that this is a useful parenting skill. Really. As a parent, you may someday be required to pat the back of one child while rubbing the back of another.
One child is an infant who occasionally requires someone to swaddle them, hold them at exactly a 12 degree angle while patting their back at 96 beats per minute while standing on one foot and bouncing around in a circle in order to fall asleep or even stop crying. Ok, the last two are slight exaggerations...
The other child is a toddler who has always had 'poop issues', and now requires a parent to cuddle them while they are pooping and to have their back rubbed repeatedly in a downward motion. Also, the toddler is potty trained, so keep in mind this takes place with the toddler on her floor potty while the parent is squatting next to it.
Now, imagine that one parent has to fulfill both of these roles. That was me the other day, and I couldn't help but be grateful for the ability to rub my belly and pat my head at the same time.
This is not my best day ever.
There were monkeys.
Terrifying space monkeys, perhaps...
Today started with a temper tantrum about going to the potty. Clara has this obnoxious way of curling herself up into a ball if you try to pick her up when she's having a fit, so that you can't put her down - or do anything else with her. She has been having a lot of accidents lately, so I didn't really want to trust her 'I don't have to go pee' statement, and wanted her to at least TRY.
I managed to wrestle her onto the potty, but by then she was so worked up that there was no way she was going to go and kept throwing herself onto the floor anyway. By this time Audrey had also decided she was starving (or something) and was screaming violently from the other room.
Ten minutes later, Clara was sitting at the table eating cereal when I hear a stream of liquid hitting the floor.
Me: "Clara, are you peeing?"
She continued eating her cereal. This one was strange to me for two reasons - first, she has never before acted like she didn't care about being wet and normally gets really stressed out when she pees herself. Second, she lied to me and normally even though she knows she's done something wrong she will tell me the truth.
I know she hasn't been feeling well lately - this one brought her total accident tally for the last 24 hours up to 6. Maybe she has a bladder infection, I'm not sure, but I pretty much flipped out.
Brian and I were talking last night about how my fuse with Clara is so much shorter because I feel like 'she should know better.'
That moment, when there was pee all over the floor and Clara didn't seem to care and lied to my face, I fell apart. Suddenly I felt completely defeated. I hate the concept of yelling, but I have to admit that I yelled at her. I was angry. I used my 'angry voice' and told her repeatedly (as I was cleaning up pee from the kitchen floor) that it was bad to pee on her chair, and that she needs to pee in the potty, and blah, blah, blah...
And I'm ashamed to admit that I stayed mad at her - and continued lecturing her - until she cried. And I felt ok about this in the moment, because I WANTED her to be upset about what had happened. And yes, I realize that I just made her upset about something else, but for that moment it made me feel better anyway.
I feel like a terrible mother.
I'm ashamed of how often I've gotten short tempered and irritable with Clara. How often I've told her 'don't' to things that aren't bad, but just annoy me for some reason. I feel more like I've become more like an older sister somehow than a mother... and she just gets on my nerves.
I have this voice in the back of my head telling me that she desperately just wants my approval, and to know her Mommy loves her, but then another voice pops in and says 'Then why is she being so belligerent???'.
I love her immensely - I know that, but sometimes by the time I've finished dealing with her tantrums or cleaning up her accidents, I'm physically exhausted and too overwhelmed to just BE with her...
Does anyone else know what I mean? Or am I just a terrible person..
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?
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