Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Does It Ever Get Easier?

8th May 2012 - Today, our little family’s newest member turns a month old. And what a month it will have been! Anyone who ever said it gets easier the second time round has got to be barking mad. Breastfeeding still killed me the first week and a half – throbbing, engorged (and very sore) boobs, cracked bleeding nipples, blebs, yep, the works. You’d think after having breastfed Zara for a year I’d have been able to avoid these potholes, but no one tells you that knowing the correct techniques doesn’t protect your boobs from the shock of a new, very hungry baby. Im glad though that despite the pain I persevered, because feeding the little man has gotten easier.

What hasn’t gotten easier is the sleeplessness! I haven’t been able to figure out a good routine for both the kiddos yet, so working between Zara’s established routine and around Zak’s erratic feeding times is proving tricky. This also means that Mummy’s routine has gone to shit. On top of a strict pantang schedule to follow, this leaves little time for me to catch up on some much needed sleeeeeppppp zzzzzzzzzzzz…. Oops sorry, there I go again.

Yes, well. Zak still wakes up about 4 times a night, with no real pattern emerging, unlike Zara who fell into a 12am-2am-5am-8am pattern pretty early. The result is that most nights I’m left guessing what is to come – will it be a good night, Mr Zak? Or will Mummy stumble out of bed half dead again in the morning? It doesn’t help that the hubby’s workload has increased significantly (rezeki anak, they say), which is both a good and bad thing. It’s good because now we can start paying off our huge new housing loan that will leave us in debt for the rest of our lives. It’s bad because it means he’s hardly ever around these days and I have to manage both kids without him.

Is having 2 kids difficult? Well, it’s still too early to say. My guess is it will likely depend on Zak’s personality and how well I can coax him into a routine. With Zara, the first 6 months were tough. I had set some very rigid rules for myself with her that I intended to follow (exclusive breastfeeding, no bottle, no pacifier, the Gina Ford method, etc) which proved futile and a largely miserable experience. From that, I learnt my biggest parenting lesson – pragmatism. As parents, it’s fine to use ‘methods’ to help us get through tough parenting milestones, but at the end of the day, we must also learn to trust our instincts and balance them with the varied experiences of others. We have to always remember that no two children are the same and so our ‘methods’ must be flexible enough to work with their personalities. Right, so coming back to Zak. Im learning that he and Zara will probably be complete opposites, a little like my brother and I when we were growing up. I was the more headstrong, vocal, rebellious and feisty of the two; he the quiet follower.

Zak seems to be an unobtrusive little fellow; he can lie there quietly, observing the world go by, before softly falling asleep on his own. He doesn’t cry much, only when he’s hungry or his tummy doesn’t feel right (and when that happens, boy does he get red and angry!). He also shits a lot, almost as bad as his kakak, although she will forever hold the record of shooting the most people (4, including me) with her projectile shit (about 3 feet). I swear, sometimes when Zak shits, I worry he will take off like a jet! What’s happening in his diaper usually sounds so explosive you’d think there was a war going on in there. Then you open the diaper and get all disappointed with the tiny yellow splatter he seems fit to have presented you with. He also seems to enjoy shitting in nice fresh diapers. So you remove the diaper with the tiny yellow splatter, thinking he’s done, and right before you seal the new one, another explosion occurs. If you’re not fast enough, you’ll have the good fortune of being shat upon. My mother in law says if we were not Muslim, we could’ve ‘beli nombor’ and struck it big already. Apparently it’s very lucky to be shat on by a newborn. I cant seem to agree with that logic coz it certainly isn’t fun having shit down your front. Especially when you’ve just bathed the offending newborn.

Anyway, I digress. Zak’s so far unobtrusive personality seems to be jiving well with his kakak. From the first time she met him in the hospital, she has been nothing but a loving and very caring big sister. She knows Zak is her ‘adik’ and loves to caress his hair or kiss him on the forehead whenever she gets the chance. She has also taken to jumping up everytime he cries, covering her mouth and saying “Oh no! Baby cry!”. She will then rush over to pat him gently and say “Alolololo shayangggg…” The tricky part now is how to get kakak and adik to sleep at similar or overlapping times so Mummy can steal some sleep!

Zara and Zak with their Uncle Yean

Perhaps when this pantang thingie is over, everything might magically fall into place. I can only hope. But if my experience with Zara has taught me anything, it’s this  - you will operate like a zombie for some time and complain about it, but before you realize it, your kid is a toddler and you wonder where on earth the time went. Funnily enough, you will even wish the time didn’t pass by so fast, sleepless or not. So although I haven’t slept more than 2 hours straight for a month, I will try to appreciate and savour every sleepless moment I have with Zak, before he too grows up, too fast.