8 Weeks and Counting

We've had 2 kids for 8 weeks now. It feels like much longer. Mark O's personality is starting to come out. He squeals and smiles at us, cries a bit in the evenings and loves to look at the ceiling fan. So far, he's spent most of his time with me, and when M or Laurel come home in the evening, he cannot stop staring at them. He recognizes our voices. And you might not believe this, but M taught him how to touch his nose.

There are enough diapers and pacifiers stashed around the house that you would know immediately that we're the parents of young children. It can be loud. The entire house falls into a state of chaos in a very short period of time. Mark O spits up everywhere and Laurel somehow gets yogurt on the undersides of all the chairs and tables. And the diapers! So many diapers.

We have an awesome hairdresser who cuts M's and Laurel's hair. I was watching her comb Laurel's hair one day when I took Laurel in for a bang trim. I knew it was knotty and probably had yogurt smeared in it, but Laurel was not protesting at all. I watched as the hairdresser gently flicked her wrist above each knot, effortlessly gliding the comb through Laurel's hair, while she chatted with us. Soon Laurel's hair was silky and smooth, with no tears.

The next time I fixed Laurel's hair at home, I tried to replicate what the hairdresser did, and lo and behold, it worked. The little flick of the wrist untangled the knots without pulling on her scalp. This is what parenting a second child feels like to me. There's no magic involved, but you have figured out these little tricks that just make everything work better.

Today we divided and will hopefully conquer. M took Laurel out to breakfast and a haircut and I got Mark O and the grocery run. (It's not as unfair as it seems. I got the kid who sleeps all the time, and he got the one who can run.)

We're trying to think creatively about our schedules and making sure that everyone gets enough sleep, enough exercise and enough alone time. I'm finding that the less multi-tasking I do, the better off I am. As necessary as it is to sometimes nurse the baby while I'm answering emails, it leaves me feeling kind of jittery by the end of the day.

I got back in the habit of picking up Laurel from daycare on foot this week. Despite the cold weather (it is still snowing in Pittsburgh!), it has been good for everyone - to get some fresh air and a little time at the playground before dinner makes the evenings a lot better. I've been working hard to finish a curriculum rewriting project and put together a workshop for my neighbors, both of which are now over and went really well. Today I feel blissfully free from my To Do list. I'm looking forward to a visit from my friend and her son this week, and starting Laurel's new daycare schedule.

It's been an interesting 8 weeks, juggling all of this. Figuring out our roles. Getting used to being a family of four. Watching Mark O come out of his newborn shell and Laurel becoming a big sister. Carrying on my work and volunteer commitments in whatever way possible.

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