the next thing

my little snuggle buddy after a 5 a.m. feeding
Today marks exactly 2 weeks since Theodore's birthday. 2 weeks of recovering from surgery, late night feedings, one million diaper changes, and an active toddler to boot. 2 weeks of joy, laundry, and exhaustion.

Teddy is actually a really great sleeper so far. If I feed him at 10, he wakes up again around 2 and 5 to eat - sometimes the stretches between feedings is even a little bit longer. It doesn't worry me, though, because he's already almost a pound over his birth weight. By newborn standards, we are getting plenty of sleep - no complaints here! But I will say, I forgot how tough it is to wake your body up out of a dead sleep twice a night, every night, and make it do things, and function enough to do something as simple as change a diaper. Parents of babies and toddlers - you feel me.

The transition from one to two kids has been mostly great so far, too! For most of the two weeks we had extra helping hands around the house. Justin hasn't gone back to work full time yet (yay for being married to a teacher!), and newborns sleep...a lot. But that doesn't mean there haven't been moments where Pippa is throwing a fit, and Teddy is screaming to be fed, and one or both of us parents are losing our cool .

Then there are obstacles like recovering from surgery. There is the frustration of not fitting into any clothes. And the clothes I do fit into being in a constant cycle of laundry, wear for 5 minutes, spit up (or other bodily fluids), laundry. There are the to-dos looming over my head - preparing for the school year, scheduling doctor appointments, slowly dipping my toe back into working from home, thank-you notes, and all the grown-up things that come along with moving to a different state.

(Hopefully this doesn't come off as complaining - we are extremely grateful for this overflow of blessings in our life. This is just shedding light on how overwhelming big life transitions can be at times!)

There are moments of emotional weakness when everything feels like too much. There are moments of exhaustion in the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morning when I feel like I just. can't. do it.

In those moments, a small voice in the back of my mind whispers, "All you have to do is the very next thing." It's so simple, but so elegant.

For example, when I hear Teddy stirring, and I peak with sleep-blurred eyes at the clock that reads 2:23 a.m., and all I want to do is roll over, pull up the covers, and ignore my parental responsibility, that small voice says, "All you have to do is pull Teddy into bed and feed him - then you can sleep!" And then when that one teeny, tiny task is done, and I feel like I'm too tired to even reach over and put Teddy back into the bassinet, that voices urges, "All you have to do now is change a diaper - then you get 3 more hours of sleep!" And when there's a fresh diaper on that cute little bottom, the whisper continues, "Now just one cozy swaddle and you're back in bed." 

This strategy has worked for chores and to-dos, too! When 30 thank-you notes seems daunting, that voice whispers, "Hey! Don't worry! Just write one quick note. It will only take 5 minutes, and you'll feel so great when it's done! Then you can snuggle with your baby on your chest." And it keeps urging me to do it until the work is done. "All you gotta do is fold a few cute little onesies and blankets - you can even listen to a podcast or watch a show while you do it!"

For some reason, this mindset of breaking down what seems like an insurmountable task into small, manageable steps has been propelling forward these past two weeks. Maybe it's really silly, but it has been working for me! I think I can even apply it to working out when I'm cleared to do that again - "All you have to do is 5 push-ups!" or "Just run to the stop sign and back - that's it!" I can apply it to grading papers, learning to manage a baby and toddler on my own, paying bills, and any other small or large matter that I don't feel like doing. (Reminds me of the mini goals I used for the New Year - which I actually stuck with until the craziness of moving and baby hit).

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