Here are a few things I learned my first two weeks at home with a new baby:
1- Projectile poop is a thing. A really disgusting thing, as my three year old would say. And it will shoot out like a machine gun and cover you from head to toe in smelly, pasty poop, and it will usually happen right after you've used up all your energy to take a shower. FAIL.
2- Baby penises are a loaded weapon. Oh yes. Don't be fooled by that cute face (I'm talking to you, Rocco). But a baby penis will douse you in urine. He will make it rain. It's a foreshadow that even cute, little penises transform into bigger and badder penises, that go on to make babies that will pee all over you. This baby penis is taking my diaper skills to new levels.
3- Those hormones are here to stay. At least for now. It doesn't matter how many times I watch Tangled and Frozen, I will still cry in those last scenes. And by cry, I mean snot-heavy sobs. Thank you, hormones, for making me look like a completely bent out of shape new mom with a weird Disney princess obsession.
4- That first poop after giving birth is still one of the scariest-holy shit (literally)- moments you'll go through once you get home. Doesn't matter if it's your first kid or your fifth. It's terrifying. That toilet is your nemesis. You will never be so petrified and your butt will freeze up the second you feel the urge to go because you just won't know what kind of pain is coming your way. But when you do gather the courage to sit and pray on that toilet seat, you'll let out the biggest sigh of relief heard around the world- and you'll live to tell the story. Maybe on a blog.
5- Once you have a second kid, a compact car is the equivalent of a clown car. A minivan never looked so appealing. Two massive car seats in a 4-door BMW, plus Rocco's stroller, Maya's travel stroller, beach toys, and all the amassed kiddie litter (think Goldfish, Cheerios, stickers, coloring books, sippy cups) strewn all over the car seat floor, makes car rides very crammed and very uncomfortable. And forget about anyone else riding with you because there's just no vacancy. There's barely room for your own thoughts. It'll just be you, screaming kids, and Disney songs forever and ever. Or at least until they turn 18.
6- Each time I say 'my kids' or 'our kids' it's like a happy shock through my body. Kids- plural. Like, am I really saying 'my kids?' Holy crap I have two kids. It's pretty damn cool. And surreal.
|The Snuggle is Real.|
|Suffocate you with kisses.|
The first two weeks at home with two kids has been an exhilarating roller coaster of emotions. My heart is bursting with love when I see Maya and Rocco together. It makes all the exhaustion, sleep deprivation, and anxiety, worth it. We've been fortunate, so far, that Rocco is taking after Maya. He's a pretty textbook baby- an absolute angel. He eats like a champ, usually every three hours, and sleeps pretty well too. He likes to grunt. It took us a couple of days to get used to it and realize he wasn't really awake, so we just let him be. Unlike his sister, he's still waking up to feed in the middle of the night. We got really lucky with Maya because she stopped waking up in the middle of the night after 2.5 weeks. Rocco also eats a lot more. Maybe it's a boy thing. Thank goodness for Enfamil Ready to Feed bottles! Those suckers live next to my bed and make those dreadful middle of the night feedings a lot easier and manageable.
I grew up as an only child (I credit my extensive imagination and independent spirit to that), and even though I had a wonderful childhood with close cousins that could have passed as siblings, I knew that I wanted Maya to have a brother or sister in her corner. It's only been a couple of weeks, but to see her excitement over Rocco, warms my heart. She constantly wants to hold him and touch him and she loves giving him kisses in the morning when she leaves to school. She even gives him a rundown of what's on her daily calendar ('Rocco, today I have soccer, so you stay here with mommy while I go to school.') Granted, we do have to keep an eye on her because as the saying goes, 'love hurts,' and sometimes her hugs may be a little too tight or his head may be dangling a little too much because that's just what happens when you're a three year old. And when we gave him his first bath, she wanted to make sure all the soap was out of his hair and she innocently, yet unknowingly, sprayed down his face with the shower head and we had to tell her that water boarding her little brother was probably not the best idea.
It helps that Maya is in school during the day because it lets Coco and I spend quality time with Rocco, considering we are still getting to know him. We make sure, though, that we give Maya that one-on-one time so she doesn't feel neglected or shut out of the circle. We don't want her to grow resentful of the new baby. During those first few days, we set up some play dates with her school friends, I took her to a press screening to watch Hotel Transylvania, and we went to the park. This kid's social calendar will put yours to shame.
Our 'no help' rule went out the window since Coco's Achilles surgery got thrown into the mix. I have to say, even though his mobility is limited, Coco has stepped up to the plate more so than I expected. He's determined and persistent (and that's why I love him) and he helps as much as he possibly can, juggling two kids, a knee scooter, night feedings, and still manages to cook a roasted lamb dinner! I can't even do that with two legs. He's our Superman! But back to the help. I'll admit, the day I got home, I cried. I literally face planted (God, it felt good to sleep on my stomach) and cried in my room. I was initially overwhelmed. How was I going to take care of two kids, keep my house in order, walk the dogs (hello, dog walker), help Coco, fit a bath somewhere in there, and so on and so forth?! Plus, having someone in my space was not something I planned on or wanted. We're all about doing stuff on our own. But I have to say, having my aunt here for the first five days was huge. She did laundry, cooked, kept the house organized, entertained Maya, picked up some of the daytime feedings with Rocco, kept Coco and I company while we did school runs, helped with groceries, and cleaned the house. I had friends who brought groceries (I love you and your easy meals, Trader Joe's), friends who took Maya for an afternoon, friends and family who brought lunch or dinner so we didn't have to cook, and one friend who actually did my laundry. Coco's mom came from New York for a week and helped us so much with the baby. She even gave us our first date night- at her encouragement! Coco and I were able to grab dinner at Lincoln Road while she took care of the kids. We were eternally grateful for the support! And to all you new mommas out there (and old, because God knows it gets a tiny bit more challenging when you have more than one kid), here's one advice I can give you. If help is offered, take it. Especially if you have a limited network of support (like Coco and I do). Also, there's a big difference between visitors and help. Unless you're coming to my house to cook me a meal, do a load of laundry, or watch my baby while I nap, then better you save your visit for another time, preferably when the new parents are somewhat settled. It doesn't make me a bitch. It doesn't mean I don't want to see you. It just means my sanity is a little more important right now and we have to do what works best for us. Those first couple of weeks are happily chaotic as you find a routine that works, and that's okay. So if someone throws a little help your way that can make life easier, swallow your pride, and take it!
|A winning recipe for a happy post-delivery vaj.|
|The doc is in! Drying up the breast milk.|
|My secret weapon.|
Let's talk about what happens to your body (and your vagina) after baby, because it's a whole big, ugly mess down there of monstrous maxi pads, sore muscles, and swollen goods. Oh, it ain't pretty. I do have to say, however, that I bounced back with Rocco a lot quicker than I did with Maya. I credit that to only having to push for 14 minutes as opposed to two hours. Hell, I was doing a Selena Gomez interview one week after delivery. I felt like a rock star. My bathroom looked like a geriatric nursing home with hemorrhoid creams, Tucks pads, cortisone for my episiotomy, pillow sized pads to wear with those unattractive (yet really comfortable) mesh panties they give you at the hospital, all lined up on the bathroom counter. And let's not forget the peri-wash bottle, which was like having a portable bidet at your fingertips. I couldn't live without it. Every time I went to the bathroom, I had a consistent routine that included all those gadgets and because of them, the soreness and pain were tolerable. Then came an unexpected UTI. Holy Jesus- that was painful and apparently very normal, especially if you had a catheter. It felt like I was peeing fire every time I went to the bathroom. Thankfully that only lasted three days. Amen.
My breasts didn't become painfully engorged until about the third or fourth day I was home. I rolled up to that hospital with my head of cabbage and those sweet nurses knew I meant business! I used cabbage to dry up my breast milk after I gave birth to Maya and it worked immediately! I think my milk dried up in three weeks. I did the same for Rocco. The nurses kept it refrigerated for me and whenever I would ring the call button, they would bring me my cabbage so I could apply them on my breasts. I didn't smell all that great, but it worked. I kept it up at home and interchanged it with ice packs. I found these Disney themed ice packs at Babies R Us and I thought, "These are the perfect size for my lady parts!" So I got Minnie Mouse covering the left, and Doc McStuffins covering the right.
I've been blessed with good genes. Let's start with that. I don't have some secret remedy or some magic pill that has let me bounce back to my almost pre-pregnancy weight. The fact is I'm pretty lazy when it comes to exercising. There are other things I like to do with my spare time. I hate sweating. I like eating and I like my wine. And even though I'm skinny, my body is jiggly in certain spots and that's cool. I have a small muffin top leftover from Maya's delivery and I'm honest with myself. I stepped up my 'body after baby' game with Rocco and got a belly bandit for that muffin top. So between that belly bandit, time, and prayer, I'm hoping it goes down on its own. That's my big plan. Our bodies made a baby, let's remember that, so let's be kind with ourselves!
One of the things I did have to be mindful about when I got home were those unwanted baby blues. I was worried they would hit again, so any time I felt weepy or slightly off, I made a note to check in with myself to see how I was feeling. Even though this wasn't my first rodeo as a parent, it all still felt very new. Two kids is a whole different ball game! And now a boy! Thankfully, I was spared from the blues, but I made sure to do little things for myself- things like making my bed in the morning or getting a manicure and a fresh blowout. Yes, I spend most of my days in pajamas, and sometimes I don't even brush my teeth, but there are days I make it a point to get all gussied up, pack on the concealer, put some red lipstick on, and go out into the world. And again, because I bounced back a lot quicker after Rocco's delivery, I've been able to pick up some freelance work, have an outing with Maya or with friends, and that makes me feel a bit more human. It's got to be something worthwhile to get me out of those pajamas!
|Our new (and temporary) normal. Bye, Target.|
|The famous knee scooter. AKA Roll-anda.|
One of the biggest adjustments I've had to deal with is getting used to having a baby in Miami. Having a baby in a new city almost feels like having a baby for the first time. It probably sounds silly, but once I explain why, you'll understand. I had Maya in Manhattan, in the winter, and never had to worry about driving with a newborn in a car or extreme heat. My Uppababy was basically my mode of transportation, and Maya and I would roll out of the apartment everyday and venture out. The city was our oyster. If we rode in cabs, I would just hold the car seat. The only time she would ride in the car as an infant, was when Coco and I would head to Long Island or we were traveling to visit family. The whole 'put the baby in car, take the baby out of the car' ritual was not part of my day to day. Having a baby in the city, contrary to what people think, is relatively easy. Here, its more of an effort. For example, if I want to go to Walgreen's, its a freaking production. I have to get the kids in the car, drive to Walgreen's, park the car, take the kids out of the car, then back in the car, then drive home. Then take the kids out again. I'm exhausted just writing this. Having kids in suburbia is a whole other giant compared to city-living!
Having a baby in Miami, gives me major anxiety. And while rationally I know it's the norm for many (and it will eventually become my norm), right now, it's still a work in progress. One of my paralyzing fears at the moment, is the thought of forgetting a kid in a hot car (it doesn't help that the news stations continuously report on these stories). It makes me not want to leave the house. And because Miami has no seasons and we live in an eternal summer, my anxiety is heightened. It's something I have to work on and overcome. I've gotten lots of helpful tips from friends, my pediatrician, my OB (can you tell how I've let this consume me?) like leaving your keys, wallet, phone, or even a shoe in the back seat for checks and balances. I even told Coco I wanted one of those 'baby on board' signs I hate, just as an extra reminder. And I've taken ridiculous to new heights by asking him for a bell to attach to the car seat so any time the car is moving or the baby is moving, that bell will annoyingly ring and serve as another reminder for me. Hence, this is why I haven't ventured out with Rocco so much. I'm trying to work out my own kinks first. So what did I do? Well, to 'ease' my anxiety, I told Coco that I wanted to do a family Target run all together- knee scooter included. That was a not-so-brilliant idea. It was stressful. We looked like a hot mess: Coco on one of those electric scooters driving Maya around and me pushing a stroller with a four day old baby, looking like I was about to pounce on someone. Then Rocco got hungry and I had to feed him in the Starbucks/Pizza Hut sitting area. Ew. Seriously, what was I thinking?
Thankfully, as with anything, all we needed was a little time- and patience. We have slowly and somewhat gracefully settled into a nice routine as a family of four. While those first few days were filled with nerves and worry, I'm definitely feeling a lot more confident, reassured, and settled as a momma of two! I'm loving every second of it- even when I'm not. And everyday I look forward to the next adventure. My heart is full and happy because of those two meatballs! I'm thankful for a wonderful partner who supports me in everything that I do. Even with a knee scooter, Coco is unstoppable. We make sure to stay connected, to help each other out when the other is running on empty, because it can get hard. Without that marital teamwork, parenting as a unit becomes disastrous and joyless. You need to have your partner's back, and yes, its challenging, especially during those sleep-deprived moments when all you want to do is strangle one another. But that passes and there will be more moments of love and happiness than moments of annoyance and burden.
Remember the love and remember those beautiful and perfect little babies you both brought into this world, because there is no greater blessing, no greater gift, than family!
|My heart. My soul. My everything.|