Well, the first 12 weeks are almost over. I can't believe how quickly it has just passed by. I know everyone makes this comment, but it's true. In some ways I can't believe it has only been 12 weeks because it feels as if Beth has always been here with us. I certainly can't imagine a life without her in it now.
People say the first 12 weeks/3 months are the most difficult. It's a time of transition in which you and your baby are getting to know each other, the sleep deprivation is extreme, trying to get into some sort of routine can be difficult, and getting your head around how much life has changed can take a while. This was certainly the case with Nicholas, and it took me a long time to adjust from having no children to having one, but surprisingly going from one child to two has been quite simple. This time round I didn't get to have the same amount of time to adjust. As soon as I got home from the hospital, life just continued on as previously, and Beth just had to fit in. This meant attending all our previous activities, such as Mainly Music, swimming, kindergym etc, but this time with a baby in tow. Thankfully, Beth is such a relaxed child that taking her out doesn't really present itself with any issues. As long as she has milk on hand, she is fine.
The most difficult thing I have found about this whole transition has been Nicholas. He has been super rough with Beth at times. The first eight weeks were the most difficult, with pinching and hitting being his main forms of expressing his anger at Beth being around. I didn't really expect this kind of behaviour. He has always been such a gentle boy, so I was unprepared for it. The most helpful parenting resource I have found throughout this time has been Janet Lansbury's blog Evaluating Child Care, especially this blog post: No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame, and there are many others that have been helpful too. This post in particular has provided me with insight and clarity in dealing with Nicholas' rough behaviour. Most of all, I appreciate how gentle and yet firm one can be while setting boundaries, and all without using spankings, manipulation, punishments and timeouts. This way of disciplining my toddler really resonates with me, as I know I could easily become angry instead. It challenges those first reactions, and requires me to have a calm and respectful attitude. Daniel and I have been consistent in applying these principles and I feel that in these last few weeks Nicholas has really developed an understanding of what we want from him. He is more gentle with Beth, and even interacting with her more (like placing little toys in her lap). I see their relationship developing and it is beautiful. I am very grateful for Janet Lansbury's posts and the way they are helping me become the parent I want to be.
I can't believe that next week I am going to have a two-year-old and a 12-week-old. I never imagined I would be in this position.