My sweet, snuggly, easygoing Asha is 8 weeks old today. I'm not one to believe that "everything happens for a reason," but it does seem fated and somewhat magical that this steady, gentle soul entered our lives at such a transitional moment.
I'm going a little bit crazy with two kids, I admit. They are so LOUD, all the time, and I hate noise. My brain short-circuits, and I just want to run away. They have competing needs and I feel like I need four hands for each of them, when I only have two to do everything. It's in those moments, when Amaliya is shouting mean things at me and dinner is burning and daddy is late and I'm totally burned out from 12 hours with no moment of silence and at least one person always touching me, that I have to pause.... and be grateful that, of all the second babies in all the world, Asha is mine. I can put her down to tend to her sister; I can lie her in her crib and know that she'll nap; She doesn't mind waiting a few minutes to eat, and then eating quickly so I can get other things done; She goes to bed with minimal pageantry and no fighting required.
Yes, she cries, and yes, she demands as much attention as any other baby. She'll scream her protest at being put down while I'm busy with her sister, but as soon as I pick her up, all is forgiven. She's accepted the chaotic but inflexible routine of our household and adapted to it perfectly, in only 8 weeks. She smiles at me, and I know without a doubt that she's on my side. I need that, these days.
I'm not generally prone to guilt, but I do feel as if I've been failing a bit for the past few months. Sometimes I wonder if I'm not as bonded to Asha as I was to her sister at this point. Part of it is that I haven't spent much time alone with her, since her dad and big sister have been home a lot since she was born. Part of it is that we're frequently stuck in the house (with the weather being so damn hot and Asha screaming murder in her carseat or the carrier, it's really hard to get out and even take a walk) and being indoors/inactive makes me unhappy and rather crazy. And of course, part of it is those lovely postpartum hormones which have been doing a number on me for the last couple weeks. I don't feel as bonded with her as I'd like to be, and I also feel like her presence has drastically changed the solid bond I have with Amaliya. I feel adrift, taking care of both of them and loving on them the best I can, but not really connected, you know? I know this will pass, and I'm doing my best to take care of all of us (myself very much included) and find our new normal. I love my girls, they love me, and their growing love for each other is a beautiful thing to witness.
It's been hard, but now that my husband is back at work and Amaliya is settling into her new school, I'm trying to make the most of the days I have with Asha. I talk and sing to her, take naps with her, and try and be more "in the moment," breathe in her sweet babyness and let go of my anxiety.
I'll save my crazed postpartum ranting for another post, and focus now on my beautiful Asha. She's just started cooing this week, and it melts me. I love how she locks eyes with me when I talk to her, grins, and squeaks while frantically flailing her limbs. You can tell how excited she is to be part of the conversation. Her eyesight is much better now, so she can actually focus on and watch her sister's crazy antics (for the first month or so I think Amaliya was just an afro'ed blur and source of loud noise for Asha, and she was terrified. Now, she's fascinated!)
She's still incredibly strong - she pushes herself so far up during tummy time that she consistently rolls over onto her back. She's getting much better at holding her neck up and sitting upright in my lap. She'll get weighed at her 2-month appointment next week, but I think she's approaching 11lbs right now, and almost outgrown her 0-3m sized clothes.
|Lots of drool these days|
Asha Likes: Being talked to, making eye contact, watching her sister (from a safe distance), being outside, my left shoulder (still), her play mat, wiggling on her changing pad, and this balloon that Amaliya "bought"for her:
Asha Dislikes: Her carseat (sigh), the carrier (bigger sigh), being stifled by her sister's love (see below), being carried "like a baby"unless she's eating, being bathed and massaged, pacifiers (unless she's REALLY tired, and then she'll take one until she falls asleep), being woken up prematurely from a nap.
Sleeping: We're emerging from the chaotic newborn days, and Asha is turning into an excellent sleeper. She's in her crib at night probably 90% of the time, and only sleeps with me if she wakes up in the early morning hours and can't doze off again. She is AMAZING at putting herself to sleep. We started putting her down sleepy-but-awake at around 6 weeks, and she usually dozes off within a few minutes with minimal fussing. In the last week or so her sleep patterns have changed - she's not napping for such long stretches during the day right now, but she's consistently doing a 6-7 hour stretch at night (one night we got a solid 8.5 hours!)
We're working on a bedtime routine, since that will make evenings with two kids SO much easier. For the past couple nights I've changed and fed Asha around 6:45, rocked her in a dark room with white noise on and sang a little, and put her down in her crib around 7:00. She goes right to sleep, wakes up between 1-4am to eat, then goes back to sleep until 6. After I put her to bed I'm free to spend a little time snuggling and reading with Amaliya, and both kids are in bed by 7:45 which is so, so essential for my sanity and hygiene and marriage.
Asha is getting better about napping in her crib, but her favorite nap location is still the Boppy Lounger (but she's outgrowing it and getting more mobile, so its days are numbered). She doesn't seem to like sleeping on me much anymore, but that's probably because it's hot and we get sweaty.
Eating: There's not much to say here, really. She took to breastfeeding like a natural, eats 6-7 times a day and once at night, and has no issues taking a bottle. She tends to gag and choke on my milk a lot more than her sister ever did, but I think it's because I have an oversupply and am pumping extra to freeze. I try and pump regularly and not feed her when I'm engorged, and that helps. She's pukey sometimes and has really terrible gas that makes her miserable (due, I think, to the abundance of kale in my diet. I'm quite sad to give that up). Gas drops and gripe water seem to help though.
Nicknames (all given by her sister): Ashie, Ash-ba, Ash-bosh, chubby cheeks.
Asha is definitely one of those "trick babies." The kind of baby that makes babies seem so wonderful that you feel like you should have more babies. Terrible birth control, this one is. Aside from the temptation to always have a sweet smelling, snuggly baby in the house, I do feel that our family is very complete now that Asha is with us. She rounds us out, in a way. My husband with his intellectual, analytical brain on fire; me, like a dalmation on steroids, always jumping around and juggling a dozen things and unable to contain my need to MOVE; Amaliya, with her fiery temper and social nature, always talking, always needing to interact and connect and communicate; We're a mess of strong, at-odds personalities.... and then came Asha, with her steady gaze and aura of Namaste. She unites us. She brings us peace. She seems softer than the three of us, more sensitive, more gentle. She is exactly what we always needed.
And we do love her so.