I can't even remember a time before Sabine. It's amazing how quickly a household can adjust to the addition of a new baby. What seems impossible to imagine while pregnant feels like the most natural thing in the world once you are on the other side. So far, Louella has been the most amazing big sister.
There were moments of guilt through my pregnancy, although fleeting, that I worried I was taking something away from Louella. I'm not sure what exactly. It sounds like most moms with babies close together endure the same feelings of doubt and guilt. There was never a moment that I regretted my close pregnancies. But there were moments that I contemplated if I was doing right by Louella. I truly soaked in those 15 months we had alone. When I really thought about it, I realized that it really is only a first born that even enjoys the experience of the full attention of both parents.
For the first few weeks her personality, sleep patterns, and day to day life stayed the same. Once she crept closer to the 18 month mark we noticed some changes, but these were natural developmental changes that were to be expected. We started experiencing the odd temper tantrum, grouchy response and slaps on the arms which we weren't used to. Though she can try our patience, we have managed to keep our relative cool through these episodes and they appear to be improving. Things will be much easier when she finds the words.
When I pictured our lives I always pictured our children close in age, reaching similar developmental milestones, having more common ground and being natural, life long playmates and friends. I would look down the line to our future and hoped for tight bonds between siblings. Those reassurances always quickly put my mind at ease. Of course I'm not insinuating that close and meaningful relationships weren't possible between siblings with large gaps (I'm have 2 myself), but there is something special about siblings that share more experiences in the same time frame, with similar perspectives.
Life around here is at once calm and chaotic. Our day to day flows beautifully right now with their eating and sleeping schedules. Their daily naps allow me to have 1 on 1 dedicated time with each of them, plus their afternoon 2 hour nap happens to align perfectly so that I am left with that nice long stretch all unto myself. I spend this however I see fit - it is my 2 hours where I get to feel like 100% myself again. It's a very life-giving time for me. That way, when both of the girls are asleep by 8pm, I can give the rest of my waking hours to Jakob to focus on our partnership.
Some days can be harder than others. For example, Louella woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. Teething, a fever and irritability. She cried so hard she made herself vomit (which she has never done). Some days Sabine is more fussy. Getting out into town for anything that has a timeframe attached to it can be tricky. But at least 9 out of 10 days are generally very calm.
Louella enjoys participating in household activities, so during her waking hours we like to broom together, wash windows, and do laundry. In fact, laundry is her favourite. I just put Sabine in her baby wrap and clean along with her. This certainly makes keeping the house in order easy.
These warm summer days are also well spent outside in nature. Sabine and I lay out in the shade while Louella putters around the yard, finding rocks and sticks, picking flowers, and tracking bees. Her blow up pool has been a primary source of pleasure for her this year, especially as the temperature hovers around 30.
Together the four of us we have found a beautiful rhythm. I'm lucky that both daughters are of a very similar disposition. Genuinely cheerful, inquisitive and loving. This momma needs all the snugs she can get.