We’re on vacation.
With a toddler and a 9-week old.
We must be crazy.
B is always (ALWAYS) saying he needs a vacation. Before Matthew was born, we booked a trip for when he’d be 8 weeks old exactly, and we hopped on that plane at the end of August, and off we went. Just like that, for four nights to Colorado springs, complete with super fancy meals and busy activities at the Broadmoor. It was wonderful. Traveling with a baby was EASY!
This time, we said we’d take a vacation when “the new baby” was 8 weeks old but we didn’t book it. Bryson is a fussier baby than Matthew was (Bryson is sooooo gassy) and 3 weeks ago, there was no way I thought we’d make this happen. But B said he needed a vacation, so I started planning.
Vacationing with a toddler is hard. Not the baby – but the toddler. Bryson goes wherever we go, just like Matthew did 2 years ago today. Matthew, however, has opinions about what we do, and don’t, do. Matthew has a shelf-life at restaurants of about 45 minutes. Matthew NEEDS his daily nap. And now, Matthew needs an adult beside him in the big bed. Bryson’s quirk right now is that at night, he’s too gassy to sleep. That’s not a big deal… I can function on
little no sleep.
We’re in a two bedroom townhouse and B is sleeping in one room with Matthew, and I sleep in the other room with Bryson. We come back for naps, eat quickly, trick Matthew out of the pool to avoid crazy fits, and I nurse very publicly in 95 degree heat. This is hardly a vacation!
So why are we doing this? To get away from it all? No – we brought “it all” with us. To relax? No – no one besides the boys are relaxing. To spend quality time together? No – we’re doing a lot of “dividing and conquering.”
We do it so that our boys learn to adjust away from home. We do it so the boys can learn early what it’s like to see, and experience, different places. We do it for our own sanity, because even with the chaos, we’re not bored at home. We do it so that we can say we did! And we do it for moments like these – the moments that become family memories.
I had a whole post written, but not yet saved, on my mobile WordPress app when I added pictures and it crashed. I hate, hate, HATE the mobile WordPress app on our phones. Gah! It was a REAL post too, and not just a post of photos.
But now, this post is just a post of photos. Because its 5:05 AM and I’m tired. And my nursing, fussy, gassy baby may be nursed enough to sleep to sleep in his rocker and not with me.
The gist? We’re on vacation, but it doesn’t feel like a vacation since we have the complexities that come with traveling with a toddler and a newborn. But we are having fun – as evidenced by the storage space being used on my phone to document said fun. 😉
(I keep getting upload errors when trying to attach images, so there will be no snapshot to this edition of “The Monday Snapshot!”)
I started taking these pictures of Matthew on accident, really, when he was a little over a year old. I was cycling out his 6-12 month clothes and replacing them with 12-18 month clothes. When I took the picture of him on his pile of retired clothes, I wished I’d done that every time he moved up a size. I told myself then that I would do that every time he moved up to a new size… And I’ve remembered to do it!
Matthew was still in some 18-24 jeans (and could still wear them now) and t-shirts until just now so I’ve been waiting to take the photo. It turns out that Bryson is moving to all 3-6 month clothes now (which is exactly when Matthew moved into them too), so it was time to take his photo on his 0-3 month pile of clothes.
Taking Bryson’s photo today really made me wish I’d done this all along with Matthew. Sigh!
My cousin gave Bryson a new book, and Matthew promptly made his way over to read it to him. They sure love each other!
Our neighbor loaned us their baby napped. Matthew loves having full access to his baby brother. When Bryson fusses, Matthew runs up and meows like a cat (which is “bong” in Matthew’s language!), trying to make him smile. He’s so sweet!
I took the boys out today – it’s a beautiful day!
I was so excited to get out of the house! Everyone is feeling better, including B and me, and it was time to get some fresh air. We went to the mall to buy some bargain-basement deals at Baby G.ap for next summer 😉 before getting lunch at Chip.otle. Chip.otle is Matthew’s and my favorite lunch spot and we hadn’t gone since before Bryson was born. Just going there, and sitting in the sun with my boys, eating together and talking about all the cars and trucks that drove by… I realized something…
… I realized that the fog has lifted.
Having a newborn puts a damper on everything. I hate saying that, but it’s true. Sure, there are sweet baby snuggles, bonding with your spouse as you both get to know this new little person, and watching your first child grow nicely into a doting big brother. But there are also the sleepless nights, the toddler who needs you NOW but you can’t help because you’re nursing, and moments with your spouse when you wish he could just read your mind and go get you your nipple cream already. It’s hard. It’s bittersweet. It’s exhausting.
Everyone tells you that the first several weeks with a new baby will be very difficult – but they really weren’t with Matthew. B had 5 weeks off and we were in a very magical time (that’s B’s description of it). It was like we’d just met and fallen in love all over again. We got out of the house right away and were very active, and Matthew was a very content, alert, happy baby from the very start. Of our entire marriage, those 5 weeks are probably my favorite. Sure, I was ready for B to go back to work so that Matthew and I could get into our own routine, but that was the ONLY reason I was ready for him to go back. I wasn’t ready to let go of our fun days and evenings together.
This time around, we were both so frazzled most of the time. Matthew needed our attention and so did Bryson, so we had to divide and conquer. I hated that. I hated not being able to give Matthew the attention he needed and deserved. I hated putting Bryson down as soon as I could so that I could run to be with Matthew. I hated that B and I weren’t able to work together – and that we had to work separately and on our own (for the most part) for those 5 weeks that he was home with us.
It wasn’t magical this time. It wasn’t bad – and it was actually quite good – but it wasn’t magical.
I think we had a real dose of the early weeks of parenthood this time around. Bryson lives in a loud house and was having a hard time getting settled. He never had the tranquility that Matthew had as a newborn. B and I actually talked about Bryson being “unsettled” quite a bit, and neither of us wanted to label him out-loud – but we both did. Because it was true.
But it’s not true anymore.
Bryson sleeps for 3-4 hours each night when we put him to bed (but still comes into bed with us around 2:30 AM because I’m lazy). He is an especially happy baby in the mornings and spends hours awake in his “gym,” the bouncy chair, and the swing. He tolerates the car really well now, which he wasn’t doing early on, which allows us to get out and about as a unit of 3 (we got out every single day in those first 5 weeks too, but Bryson would scream a lot of the time in the car getting here and there). He takes a nice, LONG nap each afternoon while Matthew sleeps, letting me get things done that need to be done. Heck, he was even a good sick baby yesterday – letting me focus on both boys and not just on him. And he is a great little nurser who eats quickly and efficiently (Matthew was a very slow nurser), and lets us all get on with our day, which usually involves lots of basketball games between Matthew and me.
Bryson is now the content baby that his big brother was early on – his big brother who didn’t have a toddler pulling on him all the time, trying to play with him whenever he felt the urge. I recently read that you should not judge parenthood or your child’s temperament for the first six weeks – and I found that to be so true this time around. Those first six weeks are full of nothing but uncertainty and haze. Those first six weeks are exhausting.
We had a wonderful morning today after a horrific day yesterday. I won’t lie – we had another disastrous night last night because Bryson is so stuffy and can’t lay flat to sleep – but knowing that he is going to be content the next day gets me through those nights. I don’t lose sight of that now because I know that the day time ahead of us is going to be OK, which is something I couldn’t say in the first 5 weeks of Bryson’s life. Because I go into the nights now knowing that even if they’re rough, that the next day will be good – I know that the fog has lifted.