Yesterday, my little Emmett Hunter turned one month old. Time is such a weird concept with kids - that whole "the days are long with the years are short" quote couldn't be more spot on. When Essley was a newborn, I had no idea what I was doing, she never slept more than an hour at a time (on good nights), and the whole experience was bone-crushingly exhausting to the point that I found myself almost wishing away the first few months. Then, suddenly, she was no longer a newborn, and I actually felt a little disappointed, wondering where the time went. In general, this time around is admittedly even more challenging in many ways, because I have a two year old to care for on top of a new baby. And just like with Essley, who was born around the same time of year (her birthday is December 28th and Emmett's is January 9th), my husband had to leave to go on the band's winter tour when Emmett was just a couple of weeks old. So it's just me here again, trying my best. I'm trying to get my toddler (who still dislikes sleep something fierce) to nap or sleep at night with a baby crying in the background (because it's the only real time I can finish projects and meet work deadlines, which is necessary to keep income flowing - a real maternity leave when you're self employed just doesn't exist). I'm trying to get the toddler fed and bathed and dressed with a newborn constantly hanging off my boob. I'm trying to keep the house in order (ha. hahahaha.) and run errands and pay bills and just function as a human on just a handful of hours of sleep a night. (I have a profound respect for single moms and dads.) The difference this time though, is that despite how hard it is - and anyone with a newborn, with or without other kids, will tell you it is freaking hard - I now know what a blur those first few months were with Essley, and I'm consciously aware of the disappointment I felt afterward at how quickly they passed. So with Emmett, I've really made the effort to be present and mindful, and to find bliss in the act of just holding him, nursing him, kissing his little face, even changing his diapers and getting him dressed in his teeny tiny little clothes. The crying fits and diaper blow-outs and projectile vomit that accompanied the newborn period with Essley exist with Emmett too - but this time I'm able to find the humor in them, and even appreciate them as part of the beauty of the journey.
Newborns don't exactly exhibit signs of strong personality yet, but you definitely start to get a feel for what they'll be like, even from just a few weeks old. Every child is different and while you don't want to compare, at this stage, it's so interesting to take note of things about Emmett that are different than - and the same as - Essley when she was just a few weeks old. Just like his sister, Emmett wants to be held all the time, which is actually pretty wonderful. He has also been more receptive to baby wearing (Essley loved the Ergo but wasn't into wraps and slings), which makes for a much more productive day for me - and gives me a great excuse to squeeze in even more precious cuddle time. Emmett also goes two to three hours at night between needing to nurse, which feels like a luxury (Essley went a half hour to an hour, tops). He sleeps in a cosleeper (we've used this one with both our kids and love it) next to my side of the bed, but just like Essley, much prefers to actually be in bed with us - and often spends a couple of hours in the mornings right there, nestled in. He loves to nurse, as did his sis (for 18 sweet months). He absolutely despises being naked, even partially, so changing his diapers or clothes or bathing him is often filled with wails. He is my little old man - his thick head of dark curly hair has slowly been falling out, leaving an awesomely hilarious receding hairline that is slowly developing into a tiny balding horseshoe. He already has dark brown eyes like his daddy (Essley's were blue for three months then slowly changed to a deep hazel-brown), and keeps them wide open and alert when he's awake. And he loves to look at his sister, who is clearly starting to fall as in love with him as her parents are, after a challenging first couple of weeks. (There were several occasions where books, dolls, and play vegetables were thrown at the poor dude's head in the very beginning.) The feeling I get from witnessing the pure affection between these two kids is something I honestly can't even put into words. It's powerful and humbling and I look so forward to seeing how it blossoms as they grow older. I am thankful every single day for the pure, mind-boggling level of love that I feel for my kids. I waited until later in life to have them, and I wouldn't change the experiences I had with my career and traveling in my twenties and early thirties for anything, but these kids are by far and away the best thing that has ever happened to me.
As for me, this time around I'm (for the more part) more relaxed, despite the extra work of having two. And being able to feel more relaxed has been a huge goal for me. My house looks like crap 90% of the time as a result, but that's just how it's going to be for now. I look like crap 90% of the time too, but I'm as I begin to emerge from the mental fog of the first month, I'm starting to focus on myself a little more. I've scheduled some self-care appointments (I just got a hair cut and have a mani and pedi coming up), and I'm starting to get into a mild exercise routine again (technically I can't exercise for two more weeks but I'm finally wearing my fitness band and walking again, so theres that). I'm still mostly living in leggings and oversized tees, both because my body is in a weird in-between stage (I've lost half the pregnancy weight but know from last time around that the rest will take some work), but I'm planning a solo shopping trip the next time Robbie is home for a couple days to add a few fresh pieces to my closet so I can feel a little like myself again. I'm also aware that a good night sleep just isn't in the cards any time soon, so I'm taking a few minutes a day to just relax and meditate instead. Last time around I was so caught off guard by the newness of this stage and just didn't know how to take care of myself with so much on my plate, so I'm really grateful for the knowledge of how important it is to care for myself as well as my baby.
And on a different yet related topic, one of the things I plan to focus on with the blog this year is this inclusion of more personal updates. While this has never been a personal blog, I feel a strong pull right now toward authenticity in blogging. I've seen such a massive shift in the blogging world since I started Bubby and Bean five years ago, and many of us now run our blogs as businesses. This is a wonderful thing and I'm incredibly grateful to have a job where I can work with brands I love to produce content (not to mention having a flexible schedule that allows me to work from home with my babies) - but I also think it's important to remember how the concept of blogging originated, and that ultimately it should feel like a community, and not just one big commercial. The blogs I most love reading are a good balance of "keeping it real" and other content (including sponsored posts that are done in an authentic way). I still plan to keep my kids' presence here to a minimum, but I'd like to do more occasional posts like these, where I share some pieces of what's going on in my life outside of the less personal design and lifestyle posts upon which I tend to focus, with less-than-perfect candid cell phone pictures like you see above, etc. And for those who have asked on Instagram, yes, I will eventually be sharing Emmett's birth story like I did Essley's. That was one of the most intense posts I've ever written (you can read it here), and I think I need a few more weeks to get into a headspace that is a little less sleep deprived first. But it's coming - promise.
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