Life lately has been a little challenging. I go through moments of feeling like it’s Groundhog Day, and like Bill Murray’s character, I start the day off trying to improve from the previous, but it’s a challenge. I’m constantly multitasking, trying to stay one step ahead. While juggling two kids, my attention is constantly divided.
I have good days, followed by parenting moments I’d rather forget. I worry that I’m not giving Eva enough attention. I worry that by the time I’ve fed Owen, put him down for a nap (often in the Moby Wrap), the time I’m spending with Eva isn’t quality. And on top of that, organising meal times, tidying and doing never ending loads of laundry, I have no energy to sit down and really engage with Eva for any length of time.
Overall Eva has adjusted well to our new family of four and is understanding, helpful and loving towards her brother. But there have been some moments where she is pushing the boundaries and is seeking attention — often negative. And for the first time, I’m at a loss for the best way to address this. How do I reason with a three year old?
I know I’m probably being a little hard on myself, but until I find the right balance, I’ll remind myself that it’s ok to have a few off days. I think Ashley from The Stork and the Beanstalk put it best when she wrote this:
It’s okay to have bad days. It’s okay to let your child watch TV all day so you can have a break. Greasy food won’t kill them once in a while. It’s okay to call your kid an asshole behind their back and mean it. None of this makes us bad parents; it makes us real parents. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, instead of scrutinising one another we ought to throw one another a bone.
4th of July
As an Australian, it strikes me as odd to celebrate American Independence Day, but I often have to remind myself that my kids also American citizens. So while we didn’t have a big family “cook out” or celebrate with fireworks, rather we marked the day with a simple vanilla cupcake and a few stars and stripes. And as Eva said, “Happy Birthbay ‘merica!”
Owen Henry — 6 Weeks Old
Already 6 weeks old and you are all smiles. You love it when we speak to you in a sing-song voice and mirror our smiles. You are still trying to work out how to move your mouth and let out little coos and random squeaks. You’re a noisy, snuffly sleeper, but you sleep soundly. You love floating in the bath and sigh while you have face washed. Your thighs are getting a little chubbier and your hair a little longer. You hate riding in the car but relax when your sister sings Incy-wincy Spider and tells you that it will be OK and we will be home soon.
Owen is almost 6 weeks old (!), and as every week goes by, I’ve gained a little more confidence and settled a little more into a routine with two kids.
And as daunting as it may seem, over the past week I have forced myself to take the kids out of the house by myself. There is definitely the overwhelming feeling of being out numbered and I’m still a little anxious about juggling two kids by myself.
It takes a lot of planning and preparation. Between breastfeeding, nap times, snack times and getting two kids into carseats, it takes me around an hour to actually leave the house! But as exhausting as it has been, I’m glad I have forced myself to get out and about.
Along with the recent outings, we have been making the rounds at the three-year-old birthday parties, which has served as a reminder of how quickly children grow! Already Owen seems so big. His thighs are getting a little chubbier and he has started flashing big gummy smiles!
Recently I had a bunch of Instagram pictures printed through Origrami. I love how they are made to look like polaroids and I’m super happy with how they turned out. Although the card stock is not as thick as I thought it would be, 36 prints for $19.95 + free shipping is a great deal.
I also used the app A Beautiful Mess to create Owen’s birth announcement and thought it would be a cute idea to send a little “Polaroid”/”Origrami” to friends and family.
*This review is my own opinion and I have not been compensated in any way (I wish!).
You are 1 month old and your daddy says we are still trying to figure out if it’s personality or just gas.
But I know better. I see the little differences between you and your sister at the same age. How you make little cooing noises when you are warm and happy. How you love to be held close to our chests. And you already give us little gummy smiles when you wake from naps.
Despite your big sister interrupting your naps, smothering you with hugs and kisses and making a ruckus, you seem to handle it well with little fuss. You are a content little man and we can’t wait to see how your personality grows.
Eva Lilly — 3 Years Old
Eva is overflowing with personality. Cheeky, determined, independent, opinionated, strong-willed, loving, giggly and imaginative. Daily, I am texting to Johnny at work the little things that Eva says because I can’t stop giggling about them.
Eva: I’m going on a big adventure. I’m going over to my spaceship (the lamp).
Me: Eva, don’t put the cord around you’re neck. It’s dangerous.
Eva: I’m sorry, Mummy, I can’t hear you! I’m all the way in America.
Eva: Mummy, this is my rocket. It’s not a toy. It’s made of plastic. You have to be really really careful. It’s a special toy. You not break my rocket — it’s expensive. The astronauts go in there and there is a clock.
Eva: It’s (watercolours) just for kids, Mummy, not for grown ups. You’re a grown up and I’m a kid.
Eva: “I’m making a big enormous tower in the whole wide world!
Parenting 101: the compromise (FAIL)
Johnny: Eva, please tidy this up.
Eva: No, I don’t want to.
Johnny: Do want me to help you?
Eva: No, you do all of it.
Eva: Daddy! There is a monster in my playroom!
Johnny: Oh no! What does it look like?
Eva: It has one, two, three eyes and a grumpy face!
Eva: Mummy, there is a spider outside! Come see! You no touch it with our hands. It might bite you. You just look your eyes.
There are so many other little things that make me realise that she has grown up so much. At her most recent dentist visit, she followed his every instruction and even asked him a question. She was so impressed by the dentist that we have been able to appeal to his authority ever sense to brush her teeth easily. (Although, I think she might be a little confused since the other day she said we have to wear our seat belts because the dentist said so).
But more than anything, how Eva has handled herself with Owen has impressed both Johnny and me. From the very beginning she has been mature, understanding, and caring. The perfect big sister.
She loves role plays. Playing doctor and triaging her stuffed toys. Playing mechanic and fixing all the broken things in the house. And playing he many different roles from her dress ups box. And almost everyday, we have to re-eneact a birthday party.
We are often left amazed by her imagination. Whether it be making up games, talking with her stuffed animals namely her favourite possession, “Hop”, or roleplaying and talking with unusual objects such as her pencils or blocks.
She has such quirky likes. She loves scary things—ghosts, monsters, spiders. (We crafted a spider with a peg and pipe cleaners, which she named “Mr Skinny Legs”). Her favourite holiday is Halloween. She loves Peppa Pig and Charlie and Lola and has a recent obsession with Mister Maker.
Eva can complete 24 piece jigsaw puzzles independently, can name and identify both the upper and lower case alphabet, loves typing on the computer and has memorised how to spell a handful of words — mainly names — “Mummy, Daddy, Eva, Poppy, Ruby” and a few random ones like “Stop”.
We are so proud of her.
All images & content are © 2010-2013 Happiness is Eva. Please do not take personal images without written permission.
Apartment Therapy -- Best Kids Parties: Pretty in Pink
Apartment Therapy -- Eva's Playroom
Little Sooti -- Pretty in Pink Party
Spearmint Baby -- Pretty in Pink 1st Birthday Party
Dear Baby Magazine -- Letters to Eva (pp 68-71)