Friday, December 7, 2012

Things someone should tell you about pregnancy with a toddler at home...

When I first became pregnant with our soon-to-be daughter, I had assumed that little man wouldn't have to adjust until she was born.

Boy, was that an incorrect assumption.  

From the beginning of pregnancy until now- getting close to the end- there have been adjustments on both his side and mine.  Some of them were frustrating for either one or both of us, some were not so huge of a deal, and some were downright funny.  I'll share a few things I've discovered along the way here:

- Sickness.

Most people who know me well know that I'm not the most fun in my first trimester.  I tend to have a lot of morning sickness, very frequently.  I was very nervous about being sick in front of little man and just how he'd react.  At first, he reacted just like I thought he would, as he often does.  Little man kind of sat back, observed what I was doing while hanging over the pot in the bathroom, and watched me for a few moments. Realizing this wasn't a fun thing, he became scared, and- like he normally does- he began to cry and reached out for physical comfort.  That was, um, interesting...trying to throw up with a crying toddler nestled in my lap.  

Soon though, he became accustomed to my sickness, and would often just grab a few toys and play beside me.  Once he realized it was a normal thing, little man was okay.  But goodness- hearing your child cry as you are unable to comfort them is possibly one of the hardest things I've had to deal with this pregnancy.

- Logistics.

As mentioned, little man requires physical touch frequently to feel comfort.  In the early stages of pregnancy, this wasn't a huge deal, because I was small enough for it not to matter.  As I've grown with our daughter's pregnancy, it has become harder and harder to meet those needs.  Babywearing is still comfortable and helps greatly, but I can't wear him 100% of the time.  And, yes, it is somewhat uncomfortable to pick your child up and down at this stage of the pregnancy, but that actually hasn't been my biggest concern.

Something I'd love to have heard from second time mothers is the effect carrying your toddler has on your pregnant bladder.  Because, yikes!  As soon as I pick little man up, he seems to nestle his little legs around my belly and almost take a seat on the top.  However, that puts pressure on new baby, which puts pressure on my bladder.  And I thought I had discomfort from one babe seated on my bladder!!!

- Play.

Playing one of our favorite games- "Put the squeeze pouch caps into the old oatmeal container!"  You can find more information and ideas about great DIY toys on TheKavanaughReport.blogspot.com.
I've found that to succeed in keeping little man happy through some of my more rough days of pregnancy, everything has been turned into a game.  Peek a boo over lunches so that he will eat without a fight, seeing how far he can walk away from me while holding onto a string or shoelace so I can lay on the couch but still be present in play, and even buying him a potty specifically so we can "play" bathroom and "go" at the same time.  (He now will give me a cheer when I'm successful in the bathroom, lol, which I appreciate because in pregnancy your bathroom habits are not always guaranteed!)

No matter what we are doing, if I can find some way to turn it into a game, he is more entertained and less likely to recognize that I'm not feeling quite up to par at the moment.  Being able to continually try and make things fun for him is important to me- even when I'm not feeling fun or even comfortable.  

- Love.

I didn't expect my feelings for little man to change at all with this new baby on the way.  I've always felt a very strong connection with little man and he opened up my eyes to a new way of loving someone the second he was born.  However, since becoming pregnant with baby number two, my love for him has only intensified, and I believe two things to be the culprit for this change.

The first is I've realized even more how to enjoy every single moment with my child, to savor each smile, to try and remember each word.  I realized very early on that I would only have a finite amount of time left as a family of three, and each moment that I was able to share only with him became so much more precious.  I truly believe that when you understand that time moves quickly as your children grow, you appreciate them more- even on the bad days.  You try to understand better why they are not happy, you try to hold more patience for them and calmly respond, and you turn into a better parent.

The second reason I believe my love for him has grown is seeing the connection he already is forming with the new baby.  While the new baby is still just a confusing concept in his mind, he has recently begun to point at things surfacing around the house for little babes, and exclaim, "Baby!"  The tummy time mat, the swing, the tiny pink clothes... he knows they all belong to "Baby!"  Seeing him recognize things are not only his any more, even if it is more conceptual than concrete, makes my heart swell.

There have been many changes occurring in our lives as we prepare for the new baby.  Thankfully, pregnancy is long enough (for the most part) that you're able to enjoy them, learn from them, and reflect on them.

How did your relationship change with your first child before or after your second child was born?

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