(Warning, if you are pregnant with #2, you might want to come back tomorrow.)
The other day, me and the Fam made our weekly trek to The Target. ADD Daddy and I had just got done commenting about how we were finally in an easier phase of parenthood. Both of the kids are somewhat independent and awesomesauce right now, giving us a little break from the constant need that baby/toddlerdom present. Most of the time. Believe me, there are still days that those chubby little cherubs make me want to hit myself in the face with a hammer. Repeatedly.
As we were walking into The Target, we saw another couple who seemed to be around our age. They had what appeared to be a 2-year-old toddler and a 7-month-old baby bump. They were blissful. You could see on their faces that they were at that point in their life where they were invincible. The place where everything is puppy dogs and rainbows and the future holds nothing but endless possibilities. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
I remember that time. Kind of. That sense that life with two kids will just be twice as hard as life with one. Good Lord Baby Jesus, I wish. Because life with two kids, especially the first year, is Mother. Fucking. Hard. H to the A-R-D. Hard.
Here are some of the things that make going from one to two particularly hard:
No matter what, there is going to be jealousy about baby #2 on Baby #1's part. The level will vary, depending on the age of your firstborn when your second born arrives. My daughter hated the sight of my face the first few weeks after my son came home. It was like she actually thought I brought him into our house to ruin her tiny little life. One day, when it was just her and I at The Target, on a trip designed for us to have some alone time, she even went so far as to tell me that she wanted her "mommy". I said, "I'm right here, honey. What do you want?" She replied, "No. I want my other mommy." I said "Which mommy, honey. Mommy is right here." She then told me that she wanted to go be with her school teacher "mommy" because she didn't like me anymore. Needless to stay, we left immediately with me in hysterics. That shit hurt. Deep.
|What do you mean Santa isn't taking him back?|
You Can't be Two Places at Once
Try as you might, it is hard be there for both of your kids at once when one is an infant and one is a toddler. Sure, you can lay the baby down for tummy time while you play trains with your toddler, but once that baby starts squawking for food, things change. If only we were more like the goddess Durga. That mama is not only the mother of the universe, but the girl's got EIGHT arms and three eyes. I mean, I could get some serious momming done with that kind of equipment. Can you imagine? You could change your baby's diaper, while playing Chutes and Ladders with your toddler, make dinner for the family AND fold the laundry! Swoon.
Guilt for the Second Kid
I felt like The Cool Cucumber kind of got the shaft, parenting-wise. I mean, we rocked him, bathed him, loved him, etc. But not nearly to the degree we did so with The Quiet Contemplator. With her, she was our entire world. With him, he was a part of our world, but not the whole thing. He couldn't be. People tend to frown on you completely abandoning your first born to take care of your second. The Cucumber didn't get as many books read to him, get as much one-on-one time, or get as much of anything as The Contemplator did. And that sucks. But it is just the way things are when you have two.
|There is no way this could end badly...|
Guilt for the First Kid
And man, does having to divide up your time up when you have a second kid really hit home for your first. The Quiet Contemplator went from being our one-and-only, to having to share. And that shit is hard to understand when you are two. Every time she would want something and I would have to tell her to wait or that I couldn't because her brother needed to eat, or had just exploded out of his diaper, or needed to be rocked constantly to calm his colic, my heart broke a little. I remember crying for her when we dropped her off at school to head to the hospital to be induced with The Cool Cucumber. Because I knew that things would never be the same. And they weren't.
|They may act out...|
The Have Different Needs/Wants
Once kids get older and can interact more with each other, things are smooth sailing (kind of), but during the baby phase, you can't really do any parental multitasking. After about a week, the novelty of the baby will have worn off and your toddler will be bored with them. The hard part of that is, there is not a lot of things that will interest them both. So you have to basically raise two completely different animals at once: one that needs constant physical attention, and one that needs constant intellectual interaction. It is exhausting.
Oh, and That Sleep You Got Used to With Your Toddler?
Gone. So you get to deal with all of the above on zero sleep. Because the likelihood is, that the new baby will be up all night, you know, because they are a baby. And your toddler will be up all night because the presence of the new baby will screw up all that your toddler has learned about sleep. Yay!
But without all that, you wouldn't get this...
So, what about you? Have you made the transition from one to two seamlessly? Trying to raise two or more kids without losing your shit at the moment? Awaiting the birth of number two and are now frozen with intense fear and want to stab me in the gizzard (why didn't you listen when I said not to read this. :)? Reading this and swearing you will never have one child, let alone two?