It is currently 5:20. My son – E, age 21 months – just woke from his nap and is lying with my wife, J, who is watching HG TV. My other son – L, age 3 days – is happily asleep in his side sleeper next to them. And me? I’m in the midst of working on 3-4 loads of laundry and writing a blog.

This is the Penbrell’s “New Normal – 2 kids, 2 parents, 2 pets and too little free time. But the less free time you have, the more you appreciate it, and maybe it’ll help me to maximize it more than I have in the past. At least that’s the goal.

Right now, I’m thankful that we’re home. During E’s birth, he struggled to breathe and ended up in the NICU for 10 days, with J and I driving back and forth, one hour each way, every day ’til he came home. It was scary; even knowing E would make a full recovery and come home, there were babies there that cried all the time, and parents of those babies who had been there longer than us, and would remain there even after we departed. I pray for those families even today, because situations like that occur every day.

I’m also thankful that L seems to be sleeping pretty good right now (fingers crossed it continues!) One of my larger anxieties was the lack of sleep J & I would incur, but so far, the transition has been smooth. But L has only been home for one night. So it’s impossible for me to say what our new routine will be.

I think E will be a great older brother, once he adjusts to the fact that he’s not the sole attention-getter anymore. He’s sweet, and kind, and loves to share….as long as he’s in a good mood.

The animals will adjust well too. Allie, our 3-yr-old Golden Retriever, just wants to love everyone. Her heart is bigger than her brain, but I love that about her. Noah, our five-yr-old cat, has been through so much already – new house, another pet, and now 2 kids. He’s the picture of flexibility…you know, as long as we keep feeding him on time.

J will adjust well. She’s already a great mother, so there are no worries there. And now that she’s no longer pregnant, she seems a lot happier already (you know, since she can walk and move and sleep better now that she’s a whole human being lighter). While her confidence was shaken because of her sudden (and though it can’t be proven, probably illegal, and certainly morally reprehensible) loss of job, she’ll be able to bounce back, and be better than ever.

As for me? I’ll be fine. I’m good at recovering too. My biggest fear is always going to be about being a great provider and dad. I had a great example growing up, so I worry I will never live up to the wonderful father I had. L is so incredibly small, I worry constantly about breaking him. You know Lenny in “Of Mice and Men” and how he didn’t know his own strength? That’s how I feel. E was 11 days old before we brought him home. L was only 2. That’s a noticeable difference in a newborn.

And of course, I need to find the time to do this – writing – even if it’s only a little bit each day. I can’t keep putting it off.

For now, it’s about adjusting. Finding the “New Normal.” 2 kids, 2 parents, 2 pets, and too little free time.

But also a lot of love to go around.

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