Melissa Fumero and her husband David Fumero took their time before expanding their family.
The Brooklyn Nine-Nine actress, 38, shares two young sons — Enzo, 4, and Axel, 8 months — with her L.A.'s Finest spouse, 47, but she tells Parents Latina magazine that entering parenthood was something the couple actively delayed in their marriage. Their babies then came in the form of happy surprises.
"David and I were really undecided about having kids," says Melissa. "We had been together for 10 years and were happy. Nothing was missing. Every year, we'd have 'the Baby Discussion' and always decided to put it off."
"But the universe was, like, 'Ha, ha, ha!' " she jokes. "After Enzo was born, I thought, 'That's it. We're done.' Then along came Axel! I'm so grateful they were surprises, or we may never have gotten here."
Once she and David did become Mom and Dad, Melissa says their parenting styles turned out to be different than she expected.
"I thought my husband and I would be really strict parents — super-regimented, very scheduled, no screens. But Enzo did a big F-you to all of those plans," she explains. "He was such a difficult baby. He never slept and had the longest, most extreme tantrums during which all three of us would be sobbing. Even my dad cried once!"
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"What I learned is that there are just so many parenting techniques out there. Some work, some don't," continues Melissa. "Enzo didn't really care about me 'describing and honoring his feelings' during a meltdown; he still threw things in my face."
The actress says she had to "read every book and try a million experiments to find a solution," adding that parents "have to do what works for your kid — every family is different."
Melissa also opens up about adding a new addition to her family during the pandemic, a stark contrast to welcoming her first child back in 2016.
"With my first son, everyone came to visit. My mom stayed with us for three weeks, my mother-in-law for two. Our friends were over all the time, bringing us food. We had so much support," she says. "But this time, David and I were completely on our own. We've had to adjust to being a family of four in such an intense way. It's been both exhausting and overwhelming."
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"There's so much that's out of our control, but centering myself in gratitude is something I can control, and that's helped keep me and my family happy, safe, and calm. When you have kids, that's everything," she adds of staying positive during 2020.
Raving over her husband's knack for fatherhood, Melissa describes David as a "baby whisperer."
"We've been married for a while, and it's not always rainbows and sunshine, but we really are best friends. He has endless energy and patience," she says. "I marvel at how long he can play with our 4-year-old. And he's a baby whisperer too. Axel will be crying, and David will swoop in, and the baby immediately starts laughing."
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