Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beautiful Babyhood

After the birth of my second child, I suffered greatly from post-partum depression (PPD). At the time I didn't realize that that was my problem. I was exhausted! I had an extremely active 20 month old and an extremely fussy newborn, and I was on my own two days after coming home from the hospital. I hated my life, I went through moments of wishing I didn't have my kids, I was convinced my husband hated me, and I felt that God didn't care too much for me either.

When my newborn was six weeks old I got a Moby wrap--that became a lifesaver! I could carry the crying infant any time she needed and still get things done around the home. Most importantly I felt like I could be a mommy to both of my kids at the same time, rather than just one at a time.

Well, that fussy infant reached a point somewhere near six months or so where she wasn't so fussy anymore. She became the sweetest, most pleasant baby anyone could imagine. She has been a great source of joy and entertainment in our home over the last year.

She has also been my baby. She doesn't seem as grown-up to me as her sister did at this age. She just seems like a baby still. Though she definitely has her moments of independence, she is very much a cuddler and loves to be near one of her parents. She says words, but she's not really what I would consider talking. She's not really potty training yet. Beyond those little milestones she still just seems like a little baby and not the big girl that she is quickly becoming.

Over the last few weeks I have felt like I have re-entered that post-partum depression (or perhaps a pre-partum depression?). A few weeks ago my little baby weaned herself from nursing. To some degree there was a bit of relief in this since, being four months pregnant, breastfeeding really wasn't the most comfortable thing in the world. But she had been much more of a comfort nurser than her sister had been. My oldest needed to be encouraged to nurse--she was always too much of a busy body to take time to stop and eat. But my second cares more about food than she does about anything else in life. If she was hungry, she wanted to nurse. If she was tired, she wanted to nurse. If she was hurt, she wanted to nurse. I knew my milk had changed back to colostrum, and eventually she went from nursing a few times a day and through the night, to nothing. I seriously went through a stage of mourning. This beautiful time of connecting with my child had come to an end. She suddenly became much more independent of me, and started to become as much of a Daddy's girl as her big sister.

Also in the last weeks she has gotten much better at doing things for herself. She can climb into her highchair, get herself into her car seat, and once the straps are over her shoulders, she can buckle herself in. She can undress herself, though she is not quite so good at the redressing part. :) She loves to wash her hands and brush her teeth. She enjoys independent play, and in the last few weeks she and her sister have gotten much better at playing together for LONG periods of time. These are tasks that I know I will great appreciate once the new baby comes, but did she have to do all of her growing up so fast?

To top it all off, last week she decided she didn't want to sleep in the crib anymore. For the last several days she has been sleeping in a toddler bed. I know it's really the same size as her crib, but somehow she just looks so small in that bed, but at the same time seems like such a big girl. She's been amazing about staying in the bed. We haven't had a single instance (yet) of her getting out of the bed. (Her sister had been much more difficult!)

I know I can mostly blame pregnancy hormones, but having my little baby be so grown up just makes me want to tear up and sniff a little bit. On some days it makes me want to just cry into a pillow. And any time she crawls up into my lap, I just hold on tight, knowing that these precious baby days will quickly pass, just as they did with her sister. Yes, there will soon be another precious bundle to hold, but I don't want to miss out on a moment with the sweet baby that I have right now.

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