Friday, October 25, 2013

Coping

(A few disclaimers before we get started:

Stockton's first four weeks have been WAY easier emotionally, mentally, and physically than Natalie's were. I'm just in a better place in every way, mostly because I'm not doing it for the first time again. 

I love being a mom and have fun and laughs and those wow-I'm-so-blessed-I-might-cry-right-now moments every day. BUT I think it's important to record the ups and downs, so don't think I'm being nega-Jessie. I'm just being real, y'all.

Yes, I have it easier than a lot of people, I know I'm not starving and my children are healthy and we have iProducts galore...doesn't mean I can't complain once in a while, people!)

look at the difference a few weeks makes! 

SO...we've made is 4 weeks and 1 day since our son was born. It's gone fast but it seems like he's been with us for months, not just weeks - time is funny like that. When people ask me how I'm doing it's always in that low-pitched funeral-voiced expecting-a-bad-answer tone, like "wow your life must be so hard, I bet you're just a hot mess 24/7" which is kind of to be expected since I do have a newborn and a busy toddler and that's a lot to handle, but life really is good. I, too, was expecting to have a rough time adjusting and dealing with two needy children and keeping them happy and myself sane at the same time, but really I've been very blessed and watched over and it's going wayyyy better than I thought. So believe me when I say things are good, okay?! (I always get these "no but really, how are things?" look when I say something positive about life at home.)

he has changed SO MUCH - these are pictures from his first week and he's already so much bigger now! 

THAT BEING SAID: it's definitely a challenge. It's hard to focus on Stockton's needs when I wish Natalie didn't have to play with her toys by herself. Sometimes I have to just let him cry in the crib so I can read to Natsby or have some cozies. I never want her to feel ignored. She seems to be unaffected most of the time - she loves playing in her room and enjoys her alone time and her little explorations and whisperings to herself, but it still wrenches my heart when I feel like I'm not getting enough time with her. It's gotten better as the days go by.

Same goes for Stockton, too - sometimes I wish someone could just be available with a snap of my fingers to go play with Natalie for five minutes so I can have some quiet time with him and get him calmed down and taken care of without a little girl tugging on my pants for attention. It's fun though, it's all part of the gig.

Stockton cries a lot. He still struggles with gas - people ask if it's getting better and I don't really know because it sort of seems like it is, but it might just be that we are handling it better and it feels more manageable. His doctor doesn't think anything in particular is wrong, we just have a gassy little guy. I can deal with his crying about a thousand times better than I could with Natalie's when she was little, but it is still definitely wearing on my nerves and emotions. Plus I feel bad that he's in pain, so I have that emotional dynamic to deal with as well. (I'm convinced any issue my children have is ten times worse for me!)


The nights are hit/miss. We've had a handful of really good nights where he spends a lot of time sleeping in his crib and little or no gassies, but we've had a lot of bad nights too when it seems like nothing we do helps and even when he poops or farts it still doesn't really make him feel better. Those nights are hard. Most nights though it's a mix of both - we get some sleepies and some gassies all thrown in together. Dealing with sleep the first six months is not my favorite, but we're getting through it and trying to stay positive.

you can tell he's bigger in the second picture (three weeks later) if you look at the back of his head 

WAYS I'M COPING:

MUSIC. I think the Mormon Tabernacle Choir station on Pandora was playing straight for two weeks. It brought a nice and necessary calming spirit to our home and really helped me be patient and loving instead of overwhelmed and frustrated. There's still music on more often than not, but we've branched out from MoTab.

I have to get out of the house. Like, HAVE to. But that's a challenge too, trying to wrangle two children into coats and carseats and carrying them to and from the car and hoping Natalie isn't whiny and Stockton isn't crying once we're on the road. Sometimes I go to all the trouble of getting in the car and just turn around five minutes later because it's causing me more stress than just being home. BUT most of the time the car is my rejuvenation - Stockton usually falls asleep and is quiet, and Natalie reads or plays or looks out the window and I get as close to "alone" time as possible in my current circumstance. I can put on good music and just veg as we take a tour of Lincoln. Sometimes we'll go to the store, but a lot of the time all I need is a good country drive.

on a morning drive east of lincoln
fall colors on a freeway drive
My perfectly helpful husband. I would NOT be okay if he weren't in this picture. He switches off at night with me, probably getting as little sleep as I am, and still goes to work cheerfully and comes home ready to help some more. HE IS THE BEST and our children adore him and I am so grateful he's ours.


TWEEN FICTION. Since Stockton was born I haven't read anything that wasn't labeled "young adult," which basically means "post-apocalyptic teen romance." I don't know why that's what my brain needs right now, but I AM ALL OVER IT. Divergent, Insurgent, Maze Runner, Scorch Trials, Steelheart; I'm expecting Allegiant in the mail today (yessss) and planning a re-read of the Hunger Games when I'm finished with that. I think I'm living vicariously through these angsty reckless lovestruck teenagers...I should be embarrassed but I can't muster the energy.

12:45-2pm. This is the golden hour(ish) of my afternoon when both children take naps. Often it's longer (like today - it's already 2:30 and I haven't heard a peep!...knock on wood) and sometimes it's shorter, but it's beautiful. Every minute is precious and I feel very refreshed afterwards. Usually I read (see above paragraph) but sometimes I blog and sometimes I watch TV, but I never do anything super productive. I'm tempted to tidy or do dishes or cook, but I forbid myself since this is the only time throughout the pre-evening day that I get to truly relax, so I need to take advantage of it.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. If my DVD player logged every time a movie was played P and P would be in the hundreds because I watch it ALL.THE.TIME. The music, the story...everything about it is perfect and it relaxes me to have it on. Natalie can correctly identify Mr. Darcy and Lizzie -  I couldn't be more proud. (especially since she is named after Jane Austen!)

I think the biggest thing that has helped me so far is relying on our Savior to see me through the tough times and give me patience and understanding when I reach what I think is my limit. I prayed almost constantly the first week or two Stockton was home, and I still have a prayer in my heart every day and night. When I'm up in the middle of the night with the baby I read my scriptures a lot and that brings me comfort and peace which replace my selfish frustration. A lot of the time I'm too tired to keep my eyes open, so I just pray instead. When I'm more aware of Heavenly Father I can feel His love and can tell when he is supplementing my own offerings and helping me be more loving and a better mother and wife. This has made my experience so much better - I encourage anyone who is struggling for any reason to just PRAY; you'll feel heavenly love and comfort and cope much better with His help than by yourself.

squished cheeks! taken today
We sure love our little man, regardless of the challenges. We are grateful for every day!

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