A Facebook post a couple of weeks ago sparked a great response when I asked if people felt having 1 or 2 kids was more of an adjustment. The response was overwhelmingly two kids, as was mine. (To be exact: “My answer here is indubitably, unequivocally, irrefutable, hands-down, having 2.”)
I don’t usually like to write posts about milestones until I’ve reached them, passed them, and gained perspective, but after reading everyones comments I thought I might take a stab at it. So here are,
Some of the challenges….
- I remember bringing The D Man home from the hospital and looking at him next to Miss P. She looked abnormally huge compared to this new baby. My little girl I know everything about all of a sudden felt foreign to me. Her hands were gigantic next to his. She looked too long for the changing table. When did she get so big? What happened to my little baby? I hated this feeling, but it passed.
- I learned quickly that you have to get the older child out of the car last, otherwise they are free to walk in the street while you get the baby out. Miss P. hates this and I hate that she hates it. All she really asks when it comes to her brother is for me to “get her first!” She is used to being the priority, I get it. It’s an adjustment, telling them no to something as simple as this. It’s an adjustment that they won’t understand and you just have to be the mean one about it when it comes to safety. This can be frustrating.
- I never knew exhaustion like I do with two kids. There are some nights when you are up every hour – not knowing which room to enter first. It’s impossible to find time to recover from being up all night during the day when you are running after an active toddler. (If you have figured out how to do this you are my hero…or my nemesis?)
- With one kid you stick them in the carseat and head to dinner with your husband. They sleep and you talk. If they wake up, one person manages them while the other eats, drinks, or goes pee. Switch. Repeat. Trying to take two kids out to dinner is like a monkey fucking a football. You take 25 minutes to get them in the double stroller. You get glared at by the wait staff. Both kids want to eat at the same time so your $25 dinner is freezing by the time you get to it. You get home and realize that this was the first time ever you’ve left a whole glass of wine untouched at the table. Your left wondering why you even tried.
- Sometimes I stop dead in my tracks when I’m alone with the two of them. I’m literally struck with fear that I am outnumbered. (It’s a fleeting, albeit scary feeling.)
- Potty training is a huge challenge in general. Add a crying newborn in your arms and it’s nearly impossible.
- Pumping is typically an all hands on deck experience. Add a crying newborn and a potty training toddler and it’s nearly impossible.
- With one kid a night-time routine is pretty simple. (You don’t realize this until you have two.) They are in bed and you have the night to yourself. Another kid sometimes means tacking on another hour. By the time you are done you are ready for bed yourself. This leaves no time to unwind.
- The baby sleeps in the morning and in the afternoon. I found it unfair to keep Miss P. homebound with me while this happened. So I added a preschool morning to her schedule. She needed to be outside playing and interacting with kids not doing puzzles with me while we waited for him to wake. This was painfully hard for me. I loved our days together doing whatever we wanted. I knew in my heart it was the right thing for both of us…but it didn’t make it easier.
- There was and still is always a small part of me that feels like I’m cheating on my first when I’m alone with my second. I’m wondering if this will go away. I can honestly say I put in the same amount of effort to both kids I just can’t shake that cheating feeling (yet.) And lastly…
- There is never a time when our laundry machine or dishwasher is NOT running.
And the good stuff…..
- We walked on egg shells for weeks around Miss P. after we got home. We never wanted her to feel less loved. We totally overcompensated. In reality this was not necessary. Babies don’t do much but eat and sleep for the first couple of weeks. It’s not like they are dipping into their older siblings toy stash as soon as they get home or screaming “Mommy!” to fight for attention. You may fear competitiveness right away but really there isn’t any comparison between a walking, talking human toddler and a tiny (beautiful) blob that takes in and expels liquid all day with the occasional nap and cry.
- Watching Miss P. interact with him is like watching my own personal musical. It’s candy for my eyes and ears. Seeing what you’ve created – the similarities, the differences, and then seeing them interact…it’s hard to explain but it’s incredible and I feel privileged every time I get to witness it.
- When The D Man smiles and laughs at Miss P. my heart literally melts into a puddle on the floor. It’s so fun watching him watch her. He thinks the world of her. Every time we pick her up from school he gets so excited to see her his face lights up and he huffs and puffs. It’s pretty awesome.
- When I see them together I think of their future and reflect on my childhood with two sisters. My siblings were everything to me (and still are.) I love thinking about my kids in this way; being close throughout life and having each other to talk to and lean on as adults. I like thinking I’ve given them the gift of being a sibling because I feel like it’s truly a gift to have one.
- I wondered if I would love them equally the same as soon as I saw them next to each other. But in reality there is no comparison here. Again, I had a walking, talking, functioning human that loved me. I had experiences and a bond that had been formed over years. And then I had a 7lb. baby-miracle I had just met. This feeling changed. Now, I do not love one child more than the other. It’s like this: My whole heart belongs to Miss P., and when The D Man came I grew another heart, and now that whole heart belongs to him.
A family can be made up of any number of people. It’s not the number that makes the family, it’s the love that exists between the members. I’m loving hard. I’m playing hard. I’m learning every day. I’m celebrating small victories. I’m exhausted. I question everything. I find therapy in writing it down. I try to remind myself that every stage and every kid is different. I try to remind myself that childhood in it of itself is magical and parents are here to guide it, not create it…to teach them how to be good people, to be happy and most importantly how to love, hard…so that the cycle can repeat itself.
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This is a sponsored post. The opinions are my own.