I can’t believe it but Frick and Frack are going to be two in less than a month (so we will never, ever, ever be able to take family trips because who can afford airfare for 5 or even 6 if we take along someone to help us so nobody accidentally dies). To celebrate, I’ve been looking at pictures of right before and right after they were born, and BOY did that bring back a lot of memories and emotions! Because so many people in my life right now are having, or have just had, their second child, I wanted to share some of what I went through, in the hopes it might be encouragement, or at least make you glad you’re not me, which is kind of spreading joy, in a way.
There’s a whirlwind of emotion involved in adding to the family. In our case, Bisky is about thirty years younger than her older brother and sister and so is for all intents and purposes an only child. Because me and Dreamy are older than most parents we thought it would be good for Bisky to have a sibling. Or, as I put it, ‘we’re so old we could die before she even graduates high school and will be all alone in the world so let’s make sure there’s someone to be in the orphan boat with her’. I’m not sure if that’s everyone’s motivation for having a second (actually, I’m reasonable certain it’s not) but in my case at least, the desire for a sibling kind of outweighed the desire to add a newborn back into our lives.
As much as I thought I was doing this for Bisky, and as much as yes, I did want another baby, there was an immediate sense of loss and guilt when the stick turned pink and I knew little Hannah Joy would be arriving. Because as much as I knew it wasn’t good for her to be the center of our universe, and as much as we had vowed not to make her the center of our universe, the fact is, the kid was the center of our universe. I was projecting like a mofo, and mourning her usurping by Hannah Joy from Bisky’s perspective when we got the cataclysmic news that there was not one crouton crisping in the oven but TWO. TWO BOYS!!
‘Twins’, I wailed to Dreamy…’She’ll never feel loved again!!’. It’s funny to look back on now, but at the time I was absolutely terrified that we’d ruined her life. In looking at the
pictures, one actually could make a pretty good case that the new babies actually did rock her world and elicit some pretty dramatic behavioral changes – but since they coincided directly with her turning two, I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure.
If you’re expecting your second baby (or babies) or just had one (or two), I think it’s pretty normal to feel this way. Or conversely, to feel like the baby is the missing puzzle piece and once it clicks in everything will be perfect and to feel like sleep-deprived crap when it’s not.
So here are some things to keep in mind:
It’s okay if everything feels weird and not always good. Don’t be afraid to be sad. You have lost your three-person family forever and it’s okay to be a bit nostalgic, but try to remember that this will one day be your normal and you’ll love it too.
- Be aware that you will probably instantly romanticize life before the second baby, and that baby 1’s newborn months weren’t always sunshine and roses either.
Try not to compare. I can definitely help you with this one; because we had two newborns at the same time and they hit their milestones completely differently, and it’s okay.
Your first probably seemed way more advanced because they got all the time and attention and you still had sanity when they were born. It doesn’t mean you’ll be supporting kid 2 until you die, but even if it does, it’ll work out.
- Try to set your bar really, really low in terms of first couple months in every area. As hard as it is adjusting to a newborn, it really is harder with a toddler around. It’s not impossible and that’s what you need to remember. My mother-in-law had EIGHT kids, so you can do two or three!
- Your toddler may regress and even not like the baby and that’s okay. I mean really,we psych kids up for the new baby brother or sister and when it finally
arrives it’s pretty disappointing. This is not a being they can play with or relate to and even if they like babies (mine didn’t) a new kid on the block getting all of Mommy’s attention gets old. They’ll have weird toilet issues, sleeping issues, eating issue and all that and it probably doesn’t mean their life is ruined (although to be honest it doesn’t mean it’s not…still collecting data here) but what are you gonna do now?
- IT GETS BETTER. That’s the most important thing to know. It gets easier, it gets more fun, your kids will learn from each other and play together…eventually. They will even snuggle and giggle together and that is really, really freaking awesome.
At the end of the day families, like life, are messy, unpredictable and impossible to get perfect. If you remember that, you are free to laugh at the absurdities and stay in the moment, where things are usually okay (albeit a little less so the first month, sorry, someone has to tell it like it is).