While 'two under two' was short lived for me--lasting only two months--I feel it is still important to talk about life with two littles and to finish up this mini series. As you can probably guess, life with two has been quite hectic, leaving me with little time even to sit down and write this post. Actually I have had very little time to sit down and do much of anything, as I am constantly protecting Ayrton from Liana's loving, but deadly, grasp. (Okay, not literally 'deadly', but there was a point that she managed to pick him up out of his bouncer and as his head became too heavy for her, she dropped him on our hardwood floor!). Without further ado, let's dive into the diaries of a second time mum!
AyrtonWhile pregnant with Ayrton I was more exhausted than I had ever been in my life. I have an 8:00 AM-4:00 PM office job and every day by 3:00 PM I was completely wiped out. I'd be sitting for a good portion of the day and suddenly be in desperate need of a nap. And I mean desperate need. I even caught myself from nodding off a few times! (Oh boy, I apologize to anyone from my office if you're reading this!). The utter exhaustion came down to the little sprout growing inside my belly. I am not sure if he ever slept because from where I was sitting, all I could feel was a baby bean bouncing between zumba class and practicing self defense moves.
Not surprisingly, outside of the womb, our little man is still as busy as ever. I have several videos of him lying by himself just kicking around, cooing and smiling his big goofy grin. Of course this is completely entertaining to Liana, who can't keep her little paws off him when he's within reach--but we'll get to her in just a moment. Time has absolutely been flying by with him; I am going to blink once and he'll be sitting up, blink twice and he'll be crawling, and three times he'll be walking. It seems as though he is growing up so fast already and hitting his baby milestones like it is his job! He coos like a maniac, smiles like it's going out of style, reaches for objects he's been tracking, pushes down on his legs when his feet are on a hard surface, briefly calms himself by sucking on his hand, and is consistently rolling from tummy to back (I can count three times in the past two days as consistent, right?!).
(You can read Liana's two month update here).
LianaLiana's biggest achievement and area of drastically noticeable growth has been in her speech. Hearing her talk now I am shocked that her pediatrician ever recommended early intervention speech therapy (click here to read my blog post on that). Of course, she was only fifteen months old at that time and was in the care of a wonderful and caring woman who only spoke Bulgarian while Liana was there, which made it hard for Liana to put sounds together when she was hearing so much of two different languages at the same time. By eighteen months old, after being moved to a day care program, she finally had ten distinct words. Presently, only six months later, Liana has well over 100 words in her vocabulary, uses several word phrases, correctly uses "manner words" (please, thank you, you're welcome and excuse me), uses the names of people appropriately (she has even been known to call me Danielle on occasion!), and repeats everything she hears.. literally everything. Yesterday I had the GPS on while driving and I hear her in the back seat repeating, "Mill Street" and "three miles."
Other developmental milestones she has reached include jumping with both feet off the ground, kicking a ball, throwing overhand, standing on her tip toes, running, walking up and down stairs on her own, climbing onto and down from furniture without help, mimicking behavior exactly how she sees it being done, impeccable ability to follow directions (example- telling her where something is when she can't see it and she walks right over to it as if she's known the whole time), recognizing songs and beginning to sing along (she loves her ABC's and Wheels on the Bus), imaginative play (especially if it involves her play kitchen or plethora of baby dolls), and naming objects when I point to them.
I don't mean to brag, but being a mum it's kind of inevitable that I say this... I have the smartest two year old in the world. I am not exaggerating. Since Liana has mastered all of her two year milestones, her pediatrician decided to test her on three year milestones. These are the ones that Liana is showing amazing progress on already: showing affection for people without prompting, showing concern for someone who is crying, understanding the idea of "mine", "his" or "hers" (thanks to her older brother, haha), dressing and undressing herself, understanding on/off and open/close, saying her own name and age, naming her friends without seeing them, screwing and unscrewing lids and turning door handles (she's been a pro at these last two for quite a while now).
Life With TwoAdjusting to being a second time mum has been wild, but also surprisingly easy. It's a bit crazy seeing my family grow together, introducing a little man into what used to be mummy/daughter time, and also knowing two other lives depend on me. To be honest, I don't think I quite felt like a real mother while caring for Liana. There were a few points with her that were definitely rough to get through, but overall, I feel like parenting her has been way easier than I had ever expected. She's fun to watch and play and interact with, and we genuinely enjoy learning from each other. I feel lucky to have her in my life as my little companion. Enter Ayrton to the scene and the whole dynamic changed. He is also a fairly 'chill' baby--he's not fussy about where he naps or who feeds him, he enjoys car rides and babywearing, and he actually likes a tiny bit of alone time on his play mat (unlike Liana at that age). Despite them both being easy to handle separately, when they are together it's a whole different story. Juggling the two of them makes me feel like a proper mum, in every sense of the job. Competitions for attention, necessity for discipline, and at times, utter chaos, is what real parenting is about. Not to say that anyone with only one child isn't a 'real parent', I just personally did not feel like I knew the ins and outs of parenthood until I had to do it with two. With only Liana, it always felt like I had a cute little sidekick along for the ride. Structure, discipline, and boundaries are the game changer for me.
Speaking of boundaries, let's talk about personal boundaries. Liana loves Ayrton. She loves him so much, that she cannot stand to be away from him for a single second. This means that Ayrton cannot nap without Liana squealing in his face or lifting his eyelids to make sure he is, in fact, napping. Ayrton cannot lay on his playmat alone; Liana will crawl under the little gym to lay next to him every time. Liana cannot enjoy a popsicle without offering some to Ayrton (and by 'offer' I mean shove into his mouth while exclaiming, "yummy!"). But on a sweeter note, she insists on hugging and kissing him every morning when she wakes up, every night before going to bed, and each day she leaves for school.
It has been quite the task to keep Liana entertained while feeding Ayrton, and keeping Ayrton calm while I'm playing tea time with Liana. Loving them is easy, but giving them both my attention is proving a bit more difficult. We are learning to remedy this challenge together, and so far we've come across a few activities we can all enjoy together, especially being outdoors. As difficult as certain points during the day are right now, I am excited for my family to be growing together and growing closer as the children get bigger and can interact more. When Ayrton was born, I was relieved by the thought of no longer being exhausted by 3:00 PM every day. Little did I know, exhaustion was about to be my entire life--at least in the beginning. We've come a long way in the past two months and I can already see that, together, our little family is growing as a unit. (Click here to read about how I dealt with exhaustion during the early months with Liana).
This is where my journey ends with two under two. Last week on the 20th, both of my babies celebrated their second birthday together; Liana turning two years old and Ayrton turning two months old. What a bittersweet day for me! The two of them are growing so fast, but I am happy that they are close enough in age to be growing together.
This is the third and final post in the mini series surrounding Ayrton's birth. You can catch up on the first two posts here... Life is Unpredictable and Meeting Ayrton.
Also, keep an eye out for a post on Liana's woodland fairy themed birthday party!