After a whirlwind few weeks, Pearl turns one month old today. Can you believe it? I feel like I always say that about my children’s milestones, but honestly I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone this time! Does it speed up every time you have a baby? It’s gone twice as fast as when I had Violet! So, before Pearls arrival when we told people we were having another baby only 18 months months apart, people thought we were mad! If I had a pound for every time someone said ‘Ooh, you’ll have your hands full!’ I’d be very rich! ? Everyone talks about the infamously difficult ‘Two-Under-Two’ situation and I wondered what I’d let myself in for – so is it really that difficult?! I’m about to find out! So I wanted to document our journey here to reveal our truth on ‘Two-under-two!’ and share our journey as honestly as possible. Here is our life as a family of four so far…..
The first few days I can only describe as that glorious newborn bubble. I felt on a total high from the birth and full of love in that heady, giddy way. Although I’m sure I was exhausted from the lack of sleep and the birth but I didn’t feel tired as the adrenaline kept me going. We stayed a night in hospital, with Violet visiting us in the morning to meet her little sister! This always seems like it’ll be a big moment but she seemed quite indifferent about her and just gave her a hard pinch on her hand! It’s a lot to take in for someone so small, she left and refused to hug me. Not quite the moment I hoped for! About lunchtime, I drove us all home, which was such a surreal feeling – driving along with the two car seats in the back with V beaming from ear-to-ear in the middle seat! A proper girl tribe!
Day three/four was a bump back down to earth as my milk came in as well as a rush of hormones that give you ‘the baby blues’. The midwife visited and told us Pearl was dehydrated (despite feeding 24/7) and was looking quite jaundice, so we went to the children’s A&E for a check-up. All was fine but we were given a feeding plan due to her dehydration/weight loss which included giving Pearl some formula top-ups, which did feel like a kick in the teeth after I’d been trying so hard with breastfeeding, to the point of bleeding and cracked nipples and the most excruciating pain.
This was short lived though as with a little bit of formula and my milk coming in which I expressed like mad, we got back on track quickly with feeding and Pearl put on ALL the weight she’d lost in two days, but I still struggled not to feel like a failure that our feeding journey wasn’t going amazingly as I thought second time round would be easy…… It’s not.
Our week was filled with visitors, presents, cards, newborn cuddles and I felt a bit like I was floating on a little cloud of happiness with our new addition to the family. Even with feeding struggles and sleepless nights, just one sniff of that newborn scent and I’d forgotten it all.
The second week felt like a total blur. We seemed to be busy every single day and I do wish in a way we’d slowed down the pace, but with limited time off together we wanted to get as much done as possible and see as many visitors as possible too! The visits still came in thick and fast, plus we went into town to get Pearl registered, built our new double pram (the Silvercross Wave!) and took Pearl out for her first walks. By the end of this week I was feeling exhausted and struggled with my expressing routine around all the visitors!
We think that Violet had a realisation that Pearl was here to stay as she was pretty difficult all week, throwing mega tantrums over the smallest things, getting very jealous and we even had a biting incident. I had my first experience of looking after them both for a few hours and felt terrified at the responsibility of two small people but just threw myself into it. I was doing absolutely fine until 5 minutes before V walked through the door when both babies started crying, both needed explosive nappy changes, Pearl was hungry and I realised it was 30 minutes past Violet’s dinner time and I’d left a pot of pasta on the stove that boiled over. It was the first moment I had where it was just utter chaos, screaming so loud my ears were ringing and I had a total fluster as I just didn’t know where to start with it all and which baby to attend to first and how! I was so frustrated that I looked like a flustered mess when V walked in the door when 5 minutes before hand I’d got a hold on it all! Always the way.
V was still off work for the third week, thank goodness! With the exhaustion kicking in now we decided to slow down the pace a little and tried to have some quality family time too. Violet seemed to get over her week of tantrums and turned into the sweetest little helper, fetching blankets and bottles when she heard Pearl crying. She also tries to stroke her and rock her bouncy chair which is cute but she doesn’t know her own strength and we often have to quickly tell her to ‘be careful!’ before she bats Pearl round the head with a well meant stroke (slap!).
We had our family photo shoot with the lovely Nicola Jackson Photography which I thought was total chaos on our part, she had her work cut out trying to capture a toddler, a baby and a dog but the photos were BEAUTIFUL, I’m so pleased with them. I’ll be sharing a whole post on this soon, but here is my favourite snap for now which I feels captures our family just perfectly. She’s one talented lady!
Towards the end of the week I started to feel slightly panicked by the thought of looking after them both on my own and a feeling of dread for V going back to work, I was enjoying our new baby weeks together too much! I couldn’t believe it was over already!
Back to the grindstone and time for reality to kick in. Luckily I had quite an ‘easy’ week with V at home for Bank Holiday then Violet at nursery Tuesday and Wednesday. V left for work on the Tuesday leaving me with Pearl for the first day on my own and I must have been slightly over confident as I planned to get a load of cleaning and blogging done as in my mind ‘newborns sleep all day’.... Hmmm, nope – not if you think you are going to get anything done! Instead she wouldn’t be put down and wouldn’t let me sit down either, so I spent most of the day pacing up and down the house, gently rocking and winding her, then when she did get put down I’d need to express some milk so I didn’t do a huge amount other than this. I wasn’t even showered or dressed by 1pm when I quickly shovelled a bowl of cheerios for my lunch with one hand, I forgot how all consuming newborns can be!
By Thursday my big moment had arrived, my first day on my own with both girls. I made myself a big cup of coffee and just threw myself into looking after both of them, just trying to preempt their needs and routines so every time there was a lull, I’d be one step ahead of the game and get things ready like spare nappies or snacks and drinks for Violet. I thought it would be utter chaos but actually it was fine, I even wangled a shower with Pearl in her bouncy chair and Violet reading in her cot. My friend Kirstie arrived for moral support and had brought cake which was very sweet. She left whilst everything was calm and once in my own all hell broke loose, with Violet refusing to nap and having an utter meltdown and Pearl not wanting to be put down, I felt torn in two as to which baby to attend to. I’ve quickly learned those are the hardest moments and learning to prioritise ones needs over another feels like alien – but I’m only one person! Poor Pearl is always being put down in her bouncy chair to settle rather than in my arms as Violet was which made me feel guilty but I just have to do what I need to do. V arrived home early and I couldn’t have been happier, she took both babies off me and told me to go to bed for an hour. That’s teamwork!
On the Friday, our day was smoother. I even managed to get them to both nap at the same time, so I caught up with my emails and blog and it felt really good to have a snippet of ‘me time’ within my day. The house got absolutely trashed with toys, dirty plates and cups but I just ignored it (which was tricky for me as a cleaning addict). This actually worked better as I just did a big tidy up once both babies in bed, rather than the constant clearing up from the toddler whirlwind that I used to do!
Overall, we survived our first month and I survived our first week together and kept two tiny humans alive, so I’m calling that a win. Two under two is even harder than I imagined, but with good preparation, a vat of coffee and a massive dose of girl power, we will get by! ??