He’s Different, That’s For Sure

I have to go back and revisit this post from a few months ago, where I was having a panic attack about having a baby that was different from Bowie. But at the same time having a panic attack about having a baby that was the same as Bowie.

It is, I’m sure, no surprise at all to other parents of two or more to hear that Ferris is different from Bowie in a lot of ways. Like, VERY different. Most of these details won’t interest anyone but me, I’m sure. But I’m just marveling at how VERY different they are from each other, and I want a record of it.

So, to revisit:

1. Bowie never spit up. Ferris spits up. FERRIS SPITS UP A LOT. All the jokes about being the mom who always has spit up in her hair: I GET THEM NOW. In the hospital, I was letting Ferris nurse himself to sleep, just like I did with Bowie. But, he was way overfeeding himself, and this one time he erupted like a damn geyser. We had to change all the bedding in his little hospital bassinet, and the nurse saw the soiled blankets and got this “OMG what happened here?!” look on her face. She couldn’t believe the amount he spit up. The maternity ward nurse. So, yeah. I started limiting his feedings to 10 minutes, and it’s better, but he still spits up. And seemingly always when I’ve forgotten the burp cloth, of course. Also, the other night he spit up with the pacifier in his mouth, so it all shot straight into his nose. That was a fun hour following that, let me tell you what.

2. Bowie took to breastfeeding right away. Like a boss. Thankfully, so did Ferris. So glad we didn’t have to worry about that at all. Thanks, boys!

3. Bowie never had to go to the ER. And of course, Ferris still has not had to. However, Ferris did get a little overheated one night this week. The thermometer was reading about 99 degrees consistently (I took his temperature NO LESS than 10 times). I grabbed my trusty newborn how-to guide off the bookshelf, and it said 99 was a “fever”, and the doc should be called posthaste. So naturally I lost my ever loving mind. But, it was 6 p.m., and I hate calling people if it’s not really important, so I did a little Internet research and for once Dr. Google didn’t scare the crap out of me. The general consensus was to get his temp down with a bath or something, but not really to worry until 101 degrees. But, we had a little health scare. At 3 weeks old. Pretty certain I lost 5 years of my life there.

4. Bowie was a great sleeper. Ferris is…an okay sleeper. Bowie would give me 3 or 4 hour stretches at night. Which Ferris also does on occasion, but typically it is more like 1 1/2 or 2 hours at a time. And somewhere around 3 a.m. he usually decides he doesn’t want to sleep in his bed anymore, your arms would be much better thank you very much. I suspect this has something to do with his gas issues (which I will touch on momentarily).

5. Bowie self-soothed with a paci. Ferris has also taken a paci like a champ. But, he’s also very fond of his right thumb. We’re trying to discourage this, so that we’re not later trying to break a stubborn 4 year old of a thumb sucking habit. But, this may yet become a trend. Meanwhile, here’s the binky Ferris. You want the binky, don’t you? Yes you do!

The rest of my original list is totally irrelevant, because Ferris isn’t even a month old yet. I’m sure as the months and years go on, you’ll get the full story on loveys and toddler beds and potty training, but for now that’s all in the future for him.

But there have also been some other new surprises thrown in for good measure:

6. Ferris does this thing where he doesn’t pee for 4 or 5 hours, and then he UNLOADS. So, he’s often peeing out of diapers, even though they fit fine, and he’s really not peeing all that much as far as a normal daily amount goes. What this means: I’ll be catching up on laundry until I die.

7. Ferris is gassy. SO GASSY. He’s not a great burper. After a feeding, it’s kind of a challenge to get a good, solid burp out of him. And if we do, it’s usually not pretty (see #1). So, most of the time, he gets a lot of gas trapped in his system, and it comes out as farts. Big, loud farts. And he spends a lot of time before these farts squirming uncomfortably and getting red-faced.

8. Ferris has a very reliable Fussy Time every late afternoon. He has a full belly, and he’s getting cuddled but he still cries, and squirms, and seems inconsolable. I don’t think it’s colic, it’s not that bad, and usually doesn’t last more than an hour or so. But it falls during the time of picking Bowie up from school and cooking dinner. Not so convenient. I’m doing a lot of things with him in the Moby wrap.

But, you know what? I was so worried about having another newborn and thinking I wouldn’t know what to do. I was forgetting that as a parent, you might not know what to do, but you will figure it out. You just do somehow. I don’t know what I was so worried about. Just three weeks in, and I already know all of this stuff about my new son.

I got this.

Different

Whenever I have a conversation with a friend who already has more than one child, the topic of how different they all are from one another always comes up. Little Johnny did x, y and z. Little Susie did none of those, she did a, b and c instead.

The basic feeling you leave this conversation with each time is HOLY LORD, my baby was such an awesome sleeper / eater / pooper / bather / babysitter stayer-wither that surely, SURELY, another child will just be hell.

I’m trying not to psych myself out too much on the subject. But, there are a few things I’m starting to wonder about as Life With Two Children creeps closer and closer.

Here’s a list of the things Bowie never did:

1. Spit up. Never. Really, he literally never did.

2. Require formula. Breastfed like a champ. Took me a few weeks to get used to it, but he was right there from day 1.

3. Need to go to the emergency room. Not once! Well, knock on wood, the kid is only 4. But I read about people having to take their infant to the ER and I can feel the terror in my veins.

4. Get constipated. Never. Not once. Oh the horror stories I’ve read about babies who can’t poop.

And some things Bowie thankfully did spectacularly:

1. Slept. At first it was the typical newborn wake-every-two-hours routine. But, within a month he was sleeping 4 hours at a time overnight, and slept through the night at 3 months old.

2. Like I said, breastfed. Zero issues. 13 months. Nailed it.

3. Self soothed with a pacifier. As a wee one, he had trouble keeping it in his mouth. But, it always worked to help soothe him to sleep. See also: didn’t become a thumbsucker.

4. Didn’t get attached to a lovey. I kind of secretly hoped he would. It’s just cute. I also assumed he would, as for a time in my own childhood I couldn’t leave the house without my stuffed Bugs Bunny, two small stuffed dogs and two blankets. But now I’m pretty glad, both because I’ve never had the “WHERE’S THE LOVEY?” bedtime scare, and also it says a lot about his confidence.

5. Transition to a toddler bed. SEAMLESS. Well, he fell out the first few nights. But after that ended: SEAMLESS.

So, I kind of have a mini heart attack whenever I think about having to do these things all over again with Little Man #2. Clearly it won’t go they way it did before. There’s just no way we could be that lucky twice.

And there are some things Bowie didn’t do well at all. Like not even a little bit:

1. Potty training. Holy hell you guys, it took us an entire year and a half to get this kid fully, completely, wearing-underpants-instead-of-Pull-Ups potty trained. When people warn you as a new parent that you’ll be dealing with lot of pee and poo, they’re not talking about diapers. 

2. Fall asleep alone. As a baby he would nurse until he fell asleep. And when I weaned, I gave him a cup of milk which he drank to fall asleep. And when we finally, begrudgingly, took away the cup of milk around age 2 1/2, one of us had to sit in there with him or lie in his bed with him until he drifted off. We’ve only been able to leave him alone in his room, unassisted in any way, to fall asleep for about 3 months now. Yes, three months ago, I was still climbing in bed with him. And even now, bedtime is still not without its hang ups.

3. Napping. Well, he did fine. Average. I mean, I did tell you he was a great sleeper. But, he was totally done with naps by age 2. I was so jealous of all my playgroup friends who were so bummed to have to leave to get home for naptime. I wanted to shake them and yell, “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW LUCKY YOU ARE?” Not that he absolutely won’t ever take a nap, BUT if we allow it, he will be up until 10, maybe 11 p.m. So not cool. But I have friends with 4 year olds who can allow a nap, and still have a reasonable bedtime. SO. JEALOUS.

In a perfect world, some of this stuff would be exactly the same for the new dude, and some stuff would be totally the opposite. But, need I remind you, this is not a perfect world? It’s a little terrifying, the prospect of not knowing how all this stuff is gonna go down. I feel pretty confident doing this mom thing, but they’re going to hand me a tiny, squirmy, blank slate of a human being in 5 weeks. And it’s going to be, “What the heck do I do with this?” all over again.

If you have 2 or more kiddos, how did it go for you? Were they pretty much the same as each other? Or were they so vastly different from each other that you refuse to believe that they are made of the same genetic material?

Ten things I want you to know about having a baby

  1. Childbirth isn’t that bad. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it hurts a lot. But, you get through it. Some simple breathing exercises, an epidural, squeezing the life out of your partner’s hand, there are ways to get through. Think of it this way: it’s what your body was made to do. So, don’t have a planned C-section just to avoid labor. As a friend has said, “You don’t know pain until you sneeze with a fresh C-section wound.”
  2. Breastfeeding is hands down the best thing for your baby. I know some of you will have trouble with it. It’s not easy for everyone, in fact it’s not easy for anyone. If you stick with it and your milk supply is ok, you’ll get the hang of it. I’m not saying you have to stick with it for very long, an amount is beneficial. But, just try it. If it doesn’t work, so be it. At least you tried. P.S. It’s not weird, not even with a son. I too thought it would be, but it was quite the opposite.
  3. You don’t have to go for days without showering. I used to read about this all the time and I was seriously freaking out. I loves me some showers. But, I have yet to go a full 24 hours without taking a shower. There are simple tricks to doing this: putting the baby in a swing or bassinet outside the bathroom door, showering while baby naps… just rest assured you don’t have to give up your regular morning shower to be a mother.
  4. You can have alcohol if you’re breastfeeding. Just one or two drinks has no affect on your baby. More than that, and you should not nurse for 2 hours, but you can pump and have milk on reserve for such occasions. I mean, abstain from alcohol if you want to, but it’s not necessary.
  5. Go to every mom-baby activity or new mom group in your area. You might not click with all the women, but you will find a few good go-to people, and maybe even make some new friends. Plus, you and baby both need that time away from the home to keep your sanity. Trust me.
  6. Rotate the toys. Keep a healthy stash of toys hidden away, and a handful of toys out in the regular play area. If one day the baby seems to not want to play with anything, swap the toys with some from the stash and it’s like a brand new set of toys to them. Works like a charm.
  7. Sleep when the baby sleeps. At least in the first 6 months. I know you’ve heard this a zillion times, I know I did. But, I’m telling you to take heed. It’s so important to keep yourself rested and healthy so you can take care of the little one. Let the housework go. Nothing will happen if the laundry or dishes sit for an extra day, believe me.
  8. Take me-time or have a date night only if you feel like it. I felt really pressured into taking a date night with my husband, about the time my baby was 5 months old. But, I wasn’t ready. And I sat and worried about the baby so much that I could barely participate in conversation with my husband. He and his sister (our babysitter for that evening) told me I was too much of a worry wart and needed to “cut the cord”. But, I was totally ready two months later, and relished in the time away from baby. Yes, getting away is important for your marriage and for your sanity. But don’t feel pressured into doing it before you’re ready.
  9. Travel early and travel often. In the first 6 months, your baby is so portable and travels so well, you have to get out and go places, even if it’s only a few states over to visit family. After 6 months, they become more mobile and are harder to transport. They don’t want to sit still, they don’t want to be quiet, and good luck trying to keep their nap schedule. It will be tough to travel for a few years, so try to get the travel bug out of your system while the little one is still really, uh, little.
  10. Sex is going to feel different. And I mean *different*. And you may not want to have it for a while. But, don’t fret. You WILL want to again. And you just have to acclimate yourself to your new body and learn a few new tricks.