If anyone tells you the second baby is full of challenges — not the baby itself, but all that surrounds it — that's true. If someone suggests that you've done it once so the second time is a piece of cake, tell them to shut it.
There is no muscle memory for the first month. It was a blur. It is a blur. The Pickle (name TBD) is nearly three weeks old, and we're nursing just fine (after a bumpy start with it feeling like he might sheer off my left nipple). Sure, I don't worry as much. With Bama, every breath instilled panic. This time, we know babies breath crazy (it helps he doesn't have a hole in his heart). I'm not maniacal about bathing or clothes. I keep his head covered in drafts, bundle him up when we go out (one layer more than I would wear), but every bump and decision isn't agony.
On the other hand, there are lots of issues and areas that are question marks. I pulled out the dreaded What to Expect book to jog my memory about what I should be looking for this month.
When does he get to tummy time (immediately)? When did we start reading to Bama (about now)? How often should we bathe him (more often than we are but not very)? When does a nap routine begin (still a blank)? Why is he a bat and how do I fix him (still a blank)? When will his smiles be "real" (end of the month; now, if you're my mother)? Best way to trim his nails (nail file or bite them; I use curved scissors)? How often should he poop/pee a day (minimum six wet diapers)?
And then we have the combined world of Bama and Pickle. Thank goodness Bama is enamored with her brother. I think we prepped her well. When I went to the hospital, she said we were getting her "Tiny Baby." Her baby. He is her little baby, without a doubt. She likes to do tummy time with him, shimmying into the baby gym to be on his level, encouraging him to lift his head. She pats his hand and head and says, "It's okay, Pickle" when he cries. She helps me nurse him, which isn't very helpful, but at least she's not asking to join in. Sometimes, her love is aggressive, as is the case with most toddlers because they don't have full control over their bodies, and she nearly tackles him in embrace or with a kiss.
He is a little bigger than his sister was, despite coming out of the oven a week ahead of his due date. (In the end, we opted for a second C-section. I let my VBAC dream go; it was the right thing to do.) 8 pounds, 13 ounces; 14-inch head; 21.5-inch body. Yet, he seems itty bitty, swimming in her clothes, positively munchkin-esque next to his sister.
We were lucky that my mother stayed with us for the week or so after I came home from the hospital. (She and Grandpa arrived two days before I went in; we wouldn't have made it without them.) I'd literally fall asleep on the sofa bed, leaving Bama to her care. I couldn't wake up from naps, I was so tired. I could hear my mother and Bama talking, but I was so under, it was enough to hear them.
This was probably the only visit my parents will be able to make while we live in NY. My mother and Bama reached an accord, with only unabashed sweetness coming from my girl on my mother's last day here. (It would have been nice if it had come a little earlier, but I'll take it.) In that extra 10 days she was here, my mom spent more time with the Pickle and Bama than she'd been able to while we all lived in California. She also got to remind me to ask for help and get some sleep. It was a conversation only a mother can have with her daughter.