Thursday, April 23, 2015
10 Things I Learned After Having a Second Baby
When I found out I was pregnant with Jr, I was concerned that I wasn't going to be able to adjust to my new life as a double mommy. Zoë had just turned one and I still felt like I was getting to understand this new life as a mommy. Thinking about having another baby felt overwhelming, and honestly, scary! I mean, I was still getting used to the idea of catching baby vomit in my hands and wiping poop butts, and now I will have to do double time?
Jr is now 9-months-old and I finally feel like we have adjusted as a family. These last 9 months have sure been a learning experience though! Here are a few things that I have learned:
1. Putting my kids on a schedule has been the only way to manage chaos.
A few months ago I felt like a chicken with its head cut off. Both kids were on their own schedule which meant different nap times, different feeding times, and different bed and bath times. What ended up happening is that I was doing double the work all day long. Instead of making lunch once and cleaning up at once, I was making lunch twice and cleaning up after each time. My husband and I decided a schedule needs to happen, and it has made an incredible difference in our lives.
The biggest problem for us is that Jr wanted to take a bath during Zoe's dinner time. So we started to push back his mealtime and pushed Zoe's earlier so they would eat at the same time and want to bathe at the same time. Success. Now that the kids are on the same schedule I even get a 30 minute mid-afternoon break to clean and take care of things around the house. The kids also seem to be less cranky because they are having their needs met at the same time. It's a win-win for everyone.
2. Every child is different, and they will never be able to fit in the same "box".
I know people hear this constantly, "every child is different". However, you don't really know how different until you are actually raising two children of your own (unless of course you are a teacher, nurse, or work in a profession where you interact with children all day long).
I used to be that mom that would stare at other moms in disbelief when they would tell me their child still doesn't sleep through the night. I actually used to think that it was a problem that the parents created because my child slept like an angel at 3 months. Boy, did karma really kick me in the butt when Jr was born. The child STILL doesn't sleep through the night. I parented both kids the same and yet, one of them sleeps like a rock and the other sleeps like a feather.
I have noticed a lot of differences between both children already. Jr loves food and can,and will, practically eat anything. In fact, he eats three "meals" a day and sometimes a snack here and there. At 9-months Zoë would eat two scoops of oatmeal for the day and that was fine with her. Zoë was slow to hit all of her milestones, and Anthony Jr is flying through them. As they get older, I am sure I will be able to add to the list of differences, but even now I can clearly see that they are incredibily different even though they are raised the same.
3. Some things actually become easier.
Zoë has always been a little clingy, and having another baby has given her an option to annoy someone else. I used to place her in her room to play so I could do something and she would come right out. Now I can place both kids in a room and they will entertain each other for at least 15 minutes.
I have also taken advantage of the crazy game of "who can do ____ better?". Kids love competition, and any time you can give them a meaningful challenge they will go above and beyond. "Who can clean up the most toys the fastest?" has been a lifesaver.
4. Costco, Sams Club, and other "big box" stores are a wonderful and dangerous thing.
Do I actually NEED 50 packets of oatmeal and 25 containers of yogurt? Yes. Yes I do.
5. The most valuable and entertaining toy in your house is the toy in which the other child is playing with.
I mean, it makes sense right? An object doesn't become valuable to someone until it's valuable to someone else. This is especially true between children and siblings. I even bought a book to read to the kids about sharing (Mineosaur) and guess what happened to that book? It was quickly destroyed by my two-year-old. Not now, not ever book.
6. All of a sudden, taking one child anywhere is relatively easy and not as difficult as it was a year ago.
I used to avoid going places because taking along a baby was always difficult to do by myself. It was such a hassle to put her in the car and pack the diaper bag. Now I practically beg to "only" take one child because taking two is a lot of work. What's even harder is when you get to the grocery store with two kids and there are no double carts available. Then, you have to decide what the best method is going to be to get through the trip.
Am I going to trust my toddler in the large part of the cart? Probably not, unless I want 10 packages to be open before we reach the checkout. Should I trust my toddler to walk alongside the cart? Sure, if you don't mind looking for them at least twice during your shopping trip. I should probably just wear the baby. That is, until he is screaming uncontrollably because he is "stuck". These are problems that never happened with just one child.
7. You will learn how to nurse standing up, while cooking, while helping your toddler wash their hands, literally anywhere at any moment.
With my first child I was practically glued to the nursing chair. I loved that chair, and nursing was so easy and relaxing because I would read a book, or check my emails, and it was quiet and peaceful. That nursing chair is used for my second only at bedtime. The rest of the day Jr is nursed wherever his sister is at the moment.
8. You don't over react as easily.
A bloody nose used to warrant a phone call to my daughter's pediatrician. Is this normal? Should I bring her in? Now a bloody nose has turned into, do I have enough laundry to throw this sheet in real quick?
Oh you bumped your head? Well your sister just spilled milk on the floor that I am wiping up right now, so you are going to have to wait a second. Oh you're fine now? That's good.
9. If both kids are in school or daycare your chances of getting sick are tenfold.
Double the chance of catching something from another child. Every time I drop my children off and I see another child with snot running down their nose I secretly cringe because I know that in a week that will be my child. Then, once the sickness has taken hold of my child I will catch it. Because that's how that works. With both kids in different rooms, there is an even greater chance of getting sick.
10. The amount of love you are capable of is even greater than you ever imagined.
One of my biggest fears when I became pregnant with Jr is that I wouldn't love him as much as I love Zoë. I didn't realize that I was capable of feeling so much love. Some of the best moments so far have been "group hugs" from both of the kids. I find myself kissing and hugging both of my children equally, and I feel the same amount of heart-bursting love for each child.
Of course some things in my life have been harder, like finding time to take a shower, and messes have become greater, but I wouldn't change a single thing!