When I got pregnant with Emma I swore I wouldn’t repeat all the mistakes I made with Alexa. What this new baby lacked in single child attention she would gain in experienced mother confidence. Ha, yeah, not so much. While both girls are very different in temperament, I’m still the same person. My mama bear instincts are still just as strong (though not nearly as misplaced). Sure, I’m a more knowledgeable mother since I’ve done it before, but the needs and drives didn’t morph into something completely different.
I was so sure that Emma would be the baby that I just left to her own devices because I couldn’t sit and hold her all day. I mean, I had things to do (I still do!), I had another child to care for, I was determined NOT to waste away in new mommy filth and anxiety. To some extent all those things held true. Emma actually sleeps pretty ok, during the day, by herself. Alexa demand attention like any other three year old. I recovered much quicker this time so I was able to get back to life like I had hoped.
The thing is, when Emma cries, my insides hurt. My heart strings are pulled because we’re genetically designed to answers the calls of our young. It also seems to hurt Alexa (be it her soul or her ears, your guess is as good as mine) but she hides from the baby tears and she demands that I hold her baby. ”PICK HER UP” she’ll tell me, as if I was slacking at my job if I stayed in the other room while making us all lunch.
It turns out, I actually love holding my babies….it wasn’t just out of necessity that I lounged with Alexa for months on end. It warmed me to the core and made me feel worthy. The same is happening with Emma. She may not need to be held at all times, but she’s such a calm and snuggley little bundle it feels weird putting her down if I don’t have to. I have to remind myself to let her sleep on her own because it’s easier to train myself now than to “train” her later.
Another dimension is that Alexa turned out amazing, so why in the world would I want to reinvent the wheel? I had to have done something right for her to be such a well adjusted child right? RIGHT? She’s loving without being clingy, she’s independent without being TOO insolent, she’s sweet without being fake, and she’s demanding without being overly nasty (usually…I mean she’s three OK?!?)
If I love the child my first baby turned out to be, why would I try something radically different with the second? Of course I’m tired from nursing all night….but doing it laying down while mostly sleeping is FAR easier than getting up every 2 hours. I’d love it if Emma learned to sleep on her own in the near future, but she’s just barely a month and a half old, so I need to ease up on my expectations! Nursing is so much easier this time, why do I think I’ll want to stop at a year? Because weaning was so rough with Alexa? But the bonding was magical. Holding a baby all day is exhausting, but having that warm little body pressed against your chest is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. It also helps that baby wearing is working this time (Emma loves the Ergo and I’m getting the hang of the Moby)…I actually get things done around the house when the babe won’t let me put her down. Hell we’re even able to take trips to the park and grocery store without dealing with a giant double stroller!!
I’m truly an attachment parent after-all. I thought I forced it with Alexa because it SEEMED right. It’s what seemed right because it’s what my heart told me to do last time and what it’s telling me to let happen again. Honestly I’m not here over-thinking this all day, it’s my natural state….I’m attempting to cone to terms with making the same mistakes again ;D