PB fish sandwiches and other keys to survival

We've made it through three weeks of life as a family of four. The weird part? We're already falling into a new routine, one that is coincidentally better than it was during the last few months of my pregnancy (when I was huge and guilt-ridden and let my toddler run around like a maniac).

Sure, we get up a lot earlier than I'd choose to, but I plan to get back on the 5:45 a.m. spinning bike again sometime soon, so I might as well get used to it now, right?

 Despite things drastically improving over the last week, most people still approach me with the carefulness a delicate, cracked piece of fancy china. When they ask how I'm doing and I respond with "We're slowly getting there, things are on the up," they don't seem to believe me.

 Trust me, we still have our rough patches. Braeburn turns into somewhat of a butthole every night between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. (it's like clockwork, for real). Pearyn is testing her limits with us now that our attention is distracted and has colored multiple smiley faces on our walls (an issue we've NEVER had) and thrown more items into the toilet than we'd like, but somehow, these things just aren't as problematic as they seemed before.

OK, so maybe our daughter lives on peanut butter, fish-shaped sandwiches, so what? She's going through her "I dislike anything not cut with a cookie cutter and covered in peanut butter" phase. Oh, but she'll also tear some edamame and corn up like it's her job.

It might take us four hours to watch a 90-minute movie, but we do it, damnit. And my meal plans have consisted of dishes which almost always provide leftovers (which then serve as the next night's dinner), but we're only three weeks out as a family of four and somehow we're slipping back into our (improved) routine.

Some of my expecting mom friends have asked me how we're surviving with the newborn, how Pearyn has adjusted, what our secret has been (apparently they didn't read the five blogs before this about my meltdowns, or, perhaps they did and they're going to do everything the opposite of how we did it).

The truth is, Pearyn is an AWESOME kiddo. She has handled becoming the big sister far better than we ever imagined she could. Part of this I credit to my husband (he always, always tries to put her first when he comes home from work), part of it I credit to her school. Our daughter goes to school three half days a week and despite the bad rep daycare and all those programs can get, it's been absolutely life-saving for her AND us.

When Braeburn came into the picture, we had to focus our efforts on him, a lot of times before her needs were met. It's not that we favor him, it's simply that he's a newborn and requires the most emergency attention. (That and he cries way, way louder). Pearyn's school was the one place she could go that had and has nothing to do with her brother. She has her own friends, her teachers are worried about HER needs (as opposed to her baby brother) and she gets to be the queen bee (even if there are four other queen bees in her class).

She adores it.

She loves packing her lunches with me the night before, where she picks out if she wants peanut butter sushi, green beanies (edamame) or a star-shaped hummus sandwich. She gets excited to see if she'll have grapes or strawberries and she knows that her (ridiculously expensive) almond milk boxes are reserved especially for school time.

School has been a saving grace. She's excited to talk about what songs they learned, what crafts they completed and who had to stand in the corner. It's 10 hours a week that she gets to be just Pearyn (not the daughter of Chubby Vegan Mom and Dad, not Braeburn's big sister, not the older sibling), JUST Pearyn.

And it wouldn't be possible to do any of this without our family. From my parents that live barely a mile away to my cousins, aunts and friends (that have become family), we have had so much support in the last three weeks that I'm not sure we would have survived without it.

Whether they dropped off food, came to visit (and relieve me of baby duty), helped do dishes, took our daughter to school (when I was unable to drive) or simply listened to me cry on the phone about what a terrible mother I was (and reassured me I wasn't), we're so utterly blessed to have the people in our lives that are. (And that includes all you internet strangers out there that have shared your own horror stories, words of kindness or any other pearls of wisdom that made us feel not so alone).

It's been hectic, but we're getting there. And we're going to keep getting there, with the help of PB fish-shaped sandwiches, school, family, friends and internet strangers.

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  1. Our son lived off of nutcheese and crackers for a good six months, its what they do. And for as much solace as we internet strangers provide you we take comfort in your honesty, keep it up!

  2. SO happy your feeling better. Its only going to keep getting better from here!

  3. Glad to hear things are looking up! love the cookie cutter sammiches. PB is a parental life saver. My stepson is pretty picky but at least I know I can slap some pb on whole grain bread and he'll eat it up (sans crust)! It boggles my mind how kids can eat the same thing so often and be perfectly happy to do so!