Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Number Two

From the moment of birth, I've been amazed at the differences between Zoe and her big brother.

Of course, her entire life is different. For one, she hardly ever gets to sleep uninterrupted during the day. Jed, passionately in love with his "buddy," can't stand to have her out of his sight for any length of time. She tries to nap in her little chair but Jed's lolling all over her, cooing and bringing her presents and making sure she is keenly aware of every little thing he does. Poor girl. Are all number twos chronically sleep deprived?

Speaking of sleep, my girl is an AMAZING sleeper! After the year of sleeplessness following Jed's birth, during which he nursed every. two. hours. around the clock for at least ten months, I was expecting the same with number two. But by 8 weeks or so she was already sleeping big chunks of the night (5-6 hours a stretch) and she's continued. Still sleep deprived, but I am so much more functional than I expected. She's an angel.

Since I didn't know what I was doing and needed to fill my days, Baby Jed got bathed twice a day: morning and night. Yet he still managed to be a filthy little kid. I'll never forget the day I found a dead bug under his chin roll (gross, huh?) Baby Zoe, on the other hand, gets bathed twice a month whether she needs it or not. Poor stinky little gal. We're too busy playing during the day to mess with baths.

Jed hated to be wrapped up. Zoe loooooooves to be swaddled and has since birth. As soon as you lay her on that blanket and start to pull it around her, she looks up with a radiant, quiet gaze as if to say, "Thank you, Mom, for making me so snug and cozy so I can go to sleep." Then you just lay her on the bed, and for morning naps and often even at night, she'll mutter to herself a bit, squirm, and then having assured herself that she is not going to come loose, drop off into slumber. Looks like a little skinny pig in blanket. My pretty little pink hot dog.

Zoe's been blessed with a lovely little routine from day one, so different from my early transitional months with Jed. Heck, I didn't even know what a routine was! I remember how hard it was to get those naps in with him. When I finally realized he needed two regularly scheduled naps it was like torture being stuck at home trying to fit them in. Nowadays, Quiet Time is always religiously observed. I've become one of "those" moms who will let the world go to heck in a handbasket before missing a nap. With occasional blips in the morning, pretty much for Zoe every day follows the same pattern, and she really flourishes because of it. Mom was right - kids love routine. And now so do I. I cherish our quiet, happy at-home time.

Jed was a very content baby, but more sober. Zoe is all smiles, a joyful child. If you just look in her direction, her eyes light up, and she smiles a cheek-cracking, adoring grin. If you giggle at her, she opens her mouth wide wide wide and smiles and sometimes even blesses the world with her silvery little laugh. I call her my sunshine because that's exactly what she is -- even at 4 AM that smile makes my heart leap for joy. I love to lay on the bed with her at such unholy hours and just talk. She looks right at me, smiles like I've given her the best gift ever just by noticing her presence. We coo and giggle, have a little conversation, until slowly her eyes start to drag shut and in a moment, her eyes button tight, asleep.

My Jed has beautiful pearly white skin, but my Zoe has her dad's warm brown complexion. Jed was a translucent white with light pink cheeks and vibrant blue eyes at this age. Zoe has dark skin, much darker than mine, and murky blue-green eyes. She has short, patchy eyelashes. Too bad, how come the boys always get the dark, luxurious fringe?

In other ways, they are remarkably similar. They are both really, really good babies. Beautiful. Pleasant to be around. Michael says really most of the differences are in us. We've figured out how to make their lives, their needs, just as important as our lives and needs.


Brooke said...

LOL on the bathing! I know you thought I was weird/whatever when I told you how seldom my kids got baths :)
I say, generally, the 2nd and later children tend to get less scheduled napping (unless mom is adamant) because the older kid has places to be. And then some kids really just are NOT schedule kids... or at least not as babies.

NessaAnn said...

Brooke - I never thought you were weird but I was amazed that your kids never seemed stinky. Jed really is a stinky little kid.

Well, I try really hard not to "schedule" but create a routine. I never force Jed to nap, but I do try to have a regular time that is quiet so he gets a break and can nap if he needs one. The event, rather than the sleep, seems to be most important.

Our quiet time is fairly flexible, we do it as early as 11:30 or late as 2 PM, but I do try to make it happen no matter what. Same for Zoe. She doesn't always get a morning nap, but I try hard to let her have at least a little one because then she's a lot happier the rest of the day.

Predictability, little traditions to look forward each day, seem to make my kids more content. I like the Waldorf idea of cyclical traditions for family stability and I've been consciously trying to institute more of them into our day. We sing little songs before praying, before bath, before bed. We read scriptures and have scripture stories at breakfast. We read books before quiet time and before bed each day. Jed knows what's coming and he really looks forward to those things each day. It's fun, and I look forward to seeing how things develop as they get older and change.

I hope homeschooling will allow us the flexibility to keep our little routine going.

Yeah, but even beyond that, we're a napping family. My mom, grandma, and great grandma all still take naps!

(blah blah blah might as well have made this another post! I talk too much.)

Tessie said...

I loved that post.

Eric Dowdle said...

Second children - sleep deprived.


NessaAnn said...

Yeah, Eric, I was thinking the other day about how much more sympathy I feel for you now. Being dragged around by the neck all day really can't be all that fun.