Newborn: you wake them every few hours to nurse to make sure they grow strong and healthy.
Infant and Toddler: you do whatever you can to keep them from waking so they can be rested and not cranky.
Preschooler: you want them not to sleep so deeply that they don’t wake up when they have to pee or else you end up waking them up in the middle of the night to preserve a dry bed.
And then you get pregnant and never sleep well again in your life because pregnant women don’t sleep well and once you give birth, you become a mother who hears every little sound that goes bump in the night. Which is a good thing because you have to wake up to feed the baby and potty the big sister!
This time around, I’ve learned:
— second c-section recovery is much easier (and not because of forgoing labor, as many assume, since I did labor)
— the value of meals from friends
— the importance of the big sibling gift
— that paid paternity leave is a wonderful benefit
— that getting a bit of baby fever is common when you know this is your last (several friends have confirmed they felt that way, and my doctor said she did, too.)
My experience with Caroline taught me
— how to maximize my sleep (nurse the baby in your own bed and sleep!)
— not to fret over the state of the moment but rather to enjoy it. Each stage has its time and passes quickly
— that it is easy to take a newborn with you anywhere and everywhere, so enjoy *that* while it lasts
— the value of
a sling (oh, who am I kiddin’) many slings
— not to bother with pumping regularly
But, of course, Elizabeth has already taught me that every baby is different. Unlike her sister, she is not a nurse-all-day kind of girl. Now, that may have been difficult to handle at first with Caroline, but I adjusted. I watched lots of shows. I read lots of internet boards. I was actually looking forward to that life of leisure again. Well, Little Miss Elizabeth is a much less intense and a much more efficient nurser.
She has taught me that I have been wrong in touting swaddling as THE sleep solution. She doesn’t care to be swaddled at all. It seems to give her gas.
She has shown me that she is her own little person already. She has taught me that, contrary to Brown v. Board of Education’s ruling, love for our kids can be different but equal.