Taking the Time to Stop and Smell The Baby

Now that my first baby is in kindergarten, I really know what "they" have been talking about when they say "They grow up so fast!"

For a couple of reasons, I feel like I appreciate Juliet's newborn stage so much more than I appreciated it with Annabelle and Corgan. With Annabelle, I was never a nervous new mom and generally felt like I knew what I was doing, but everything was still so new to me. I was still always learning this new stay-at-home Mom routine and my new role as "Mommy". Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed relaxing on the sofa with her and getting excited about every little new thing that she did, but I didn't realize how fast every little stage would pass me by and didn't know to really just take it all in and appreciate it. Then when Corgan came along I already knew many of the Mommy tricks to caring for a newborn, but I had an 18 month old Annabelle to take care of at the same time. Corgan was a slightly easier baby from the perspective of him sleeping a little better than Annabelle did and he had less health problems than she did (although all of hers were fairly minor), however I rarely had the time to focus solely on Corgan without being totally exhausted myself.

Now, it's 4 years later and I already have "raising two newborns" under my belt. I did forget a few things, but most of it is comes back to me in an "ah-ha" moment. My next youngest "baby" was already nearly 4 when Juliet was born, so I don't really have another baby to constantly keep an eye on. Both of the Bigs are in school, so at the very least I have a few hours in the morning to focus on (or nap along with) just Juliet. A few days a week I have even more time than that because my parents now live nearby and love to take care of the Bigs in the afternoons too. Now that I am very confident in my mommy skills (as a mom of a newborn anyway), there is really very little "am I doing this right?" type anxiety with Juliet. I also realize how fast she will change, so I am really taking in every little moment that I have with her. I am doting on every little grin, every little coo, and every little snuggle. I LOVE to sit and play with her by sticking my tongue out as she mimics me and does the same or by laughing a silly laugh just to make her smile a smile so big that I can't help but smile and laugh even more! I also LOVE when I motor-boat my lips and she attempts to do it too. Or when she sees me chewing or talking and she opens and closes her mouth like she's trying to chew or talk too. I can see the intensity in her eyes as she tries to figure out how to do it!

To make things even better, I notice even more things that I never noticed before because her Bigs are so in love with her too and they constantly point out the adorable things that she does. They both LOVE to sit and talk to their little baby. They rarely call her their "little sister", she is their "little baby" or "baby girl". When she is in a swing or somewhere by herself and starts to cry, it isn't long before one or both of the Bigs is by her side trying to calm her by singing (usually either "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" or "Rock-a-bye Baby") and smiling at her. They constantly ask to hold her and both are getting quite good at it. They have never shown one ounce of jealousy in all (nearly) 3 months since she's been home! Annabelle daily remarks that she is the prettiest baby that she's ever seen, and she even adores the sound of Juliet's cry! Just yesterday she was describing her favorite of Juliet's cries to me, then when Juliet cried that way later in the day, Annabelle pointed out "That's the cry that I love!" followed by a little "Awe" in honor of how cute it was! I never would have imagined that 3 months later, they would still be so infatuated with their baby sister! I love that the excitement of the newness of Juliet continues with each new thing that she does, and I think that excitement rubs off on me too!

With Annabelle and Corgan, I felt like I couldn't wait for the next milestone and was always looking toward what they would do next. But with Juliet, I know that "next" will come soon enough, so I am in no rush at all. It does seem like the past 3 months have really flown by, but at the same time, I feel like I have let myself really enjoy them not only with Juliet and her newbornness, but with appreciating Annabelle and Corgan's new roles as Big Sister and Big Brother. Yes, Annabelle has been a Big Sister for over 4 years now, but it's definitely a different kind of role with being five-and-a-half years older as opposed to one-and-a-half year older. I know with my little brother (who is 7.5 years younger than me), I had a very different, almost motherly, relationship than I did with my sister (who is only 2.5 years younger). I very much value both of those types of relationships, and I am very glad that Annabelle and Corgan now seem to have both types in their sibling dynamics.

These first 3 months as a family of 5 have already been amazing, and I look forward to seeing what the future brings... but I'm not in a hurry to get there. :)

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