|"HAHA! Yeah right Mom! Tantrums, poor listening skills and whining forever and always."|
Mal and Mike are just a few days shy of 18 months apart in age. Is this a significant age gap? No, but it certainly isn't the most rapid fire kid spacing I know of either. Kyle and I always knew we wanted to have our be children close in age. We figured for their sake, they would always have a "peer." Someone to fight/play with and to share in the various life stages and experiences. As parents we figured, "What the hell, we don't sleep right now anyway! Might as well add another kid into the mix sooner rather than later and just knock the bulk of the sleeplessness out at once!" And so we did...
We learned I was pregnant with baby number 2 when Mallory was just shy of 10 months old.
So, whats the skinny on all of this two under two business? We think it's pretty damn amazing!
Of course, there are moments that have Kyle and I looking at each other expressing one of the following sentiments:
- What. The. F&*^ is she doing?! Kids are so freaking weird/gross/strange/etc.
- This is a joke right?
- Can I punch my time card? You know, just for a hot second to harness my chi and determine who's urine is on my pants.
- Yep. That's it. I quit.
or my most frequently used
- Shit showwww!
For the most part though, our hearts are just too full and our days too busy to see much more than the good in all the chaos.
What did the transition look like for me when we added baby number two? Well, here's what I know...
+ First and foremost, YES, yes I can love another baby just as much as I love my first born. My heart just seems to grow.
+ Kyle and I have vastly different definitions of "easy." About a month into the two kid gig, Kyle was telling me how much easier Mallory is to take care of than Mike. He appreciated that she could tell him what she wants/needs. My vote is that Mike is easier. Hands down. For example, If I have Mike at the grocery store and he gets upset, just give him the boob, maybe change his diaper, give him a little bounce rock sway action and we are back in business. But Mal?! If Mal gets upset at the grocery store, now that's a show stopper. Baby stage for the win!
+ My toddler is learning soooooo much from me right now and it's amazing! Every time I see her nursing her baby doll or hear her yell "uh oh! Mikey's sad. Fix it Mommy." I'm reminded that she is watching and studying my every move. She is watching me care for the baby. She's watching me show empathy, compassion and love. She is watching how I negotiate stressful situations. She is WATCHING! It behooves me to keep my shit together. These are the behaviors she is going to emulate. I find that reminding myself that Mallory is learning from me helps me to keep my emotions in check during those tough moments. How would I hope my daughter would handle a situation like this?
+ I should have gone into medicine because I can triage like an ER doctor! Kidding, I suck at math, but I can problem solve. The reality is, I can't be two places at once. I can't always do everything. So when shit hits the fan here in crazy town, I decide which issue is most pressing and start there. Both kids upset at the same time? The oldest is pissed because the dog stole her cheese stick and the baby is screaming because he's hungry. Feed baby, then replenish toddler's snack supply. (If I'm feeling super motivated I can replenish snacks whilst breastfeeding!)
+ Baby wearing is a the key to daytime success, productivity and multitasking.
+ I can sleep when I'm dead, because it sure ain't happenin' much now! Ha! I'm kind of kidding. If Mallory didn't have a major sleep regression around the time we brought Mike home, I really don't think we would have been nearly as tired. Mallory decided to drop any and all naps AND start waking up throughout the night at the same time we added a newborn to the mix. Coooooooool...
(She's sleeping great at night again now. THANK GOODNESS!)
+ "Diaper bags" are for the birds. Car bags are what's up. If you know Mallory you know that girl can trash an outfit in record breaking time. My kids are just gross. They gravitate towards the messiest activities possible/prefer to blowout of their diaper in public places. Rather than lugging around a suitcase full of diapers, wipes, changes of clothes x4, toys, teethers and the kitchen sink, I keep it alll in a massive plastic lined bag in the car. We are never far from the car and if we are I will toss a diaper or two in my purse for good measure. Mostly I prefer to be hands free and ready to wrangle!
+ Guilt sucks. Without a second thought, the most challenging aspect of having a second baby for me is the constant guilt. I feel guilty for not being able to give either child my full and undivided attention as often as I'd like. Mallory doesn't fully understand "Wait a couple of minutes while I finish doing xyz for your brother." Every time I can't give her what she needs/wants immediately my heart breaks a little because I know she can't yet understand why. I feel guilty that Mike spends less time sleeping in someone's arms as Mallory did as a baby. When Mike naps I try to put him down in order to give Mallory some one on one time. The list could literally go on and on--just so much guilt! But the truth is, one of the parenting goals that is extremely important to me and Kyle is that we raise children who don't feel entitled and who recognize that the world does not infact revolve around them. Apparently those lessons start now.
+ Always, ALWAYS aim to leave earlier than you need to. I kid you not I can not get these short people out the door on time if my life depended on it! In the moment that it's time to pile in the car, someone always needs to eat, someone always has a blowout, someone always spits up all over themselves, someone always takes their clothes off, someone always forgets their wallet... I pretty much have to budget at least 20 extra minutes to accomplish anything on time. But loose timelines = less stress and less stress = fewer tantrums (from both the kids and the parents.)
+ My heart can be taken to the point of near explosion daily and still survive. Watching Mallory become a big sister and seeing that sibling relationship develop is just incredible! I would venture to estimate that 98% of my postpartum tears came from watching Mallory and Michael interact with one another. Puddle on the freaking floor!
Phew that got a little wordy huh? Sorry about that...
The bottom line is, if given the choice to do it again, have two kids under the age of two, I'd do it in a heartbeat. (I'd just maybe buy stock in Budweiser first. ;))