Friday, August 26, 2011

on having two

Before Jbug was born, I had a handful of people give me advice on how things were going to go. That of course I would love Jbug as much as Bubba. That my heart would surely make room to hold another little guy. That I would love them equally but differently.

To be honest, I wasn't ever worried about how to love them. All of those things were true. I do love them so much it hurts. And I do love them in completely different ways. My fears about having two were more practical in nature. Like, what happens if I need to take them both to the grocery store. Or, let's back up, what happens when I have to watch them both by myself, in our house?

Bubba loves to love, complete with Big Hugs and wet kisses. When his little brother entered the scene, he was instantly enamoured with Jbug. Like omg! mommy! he's little! and lovable! and I love him! a lot! a lot! - and to show all that giddy excitement, he would hug Jbug's head. He didn't have a "gentle" level, it was always at the "I'm going to squeeze him SO HARD so he can FEEL MY LOVE" level". And when he wasn't hugging him, he was within 1.5 centimeters from Jbug. Which meant we spent the first month of Jbug's life saying "Bubba, gentle!" "ok, that's good, he knows you love him" "please get away from his head" "do not put your fingers in his ears" "or his nose" "Jbug doesn't need your car" "you're squishing him!". To complete the awesomeness, B was waking up 2-3 times a night to come to our room to check on j. Sweet, but, KID, go to BED. Keeping both of them happy (and separated) was stress.ful.

And then there was the part where we had to continue to parent B while making sure Jbug was fed, changed, and sleeping on a somewhat-normal schedule. Throw in some milk-soy protein intolerance for j, and a tantruming two year old, a hormonal mom, and a dad trying to keep us all happy and that first month was basically F-U-N. (or not. it was not fun.)

B continued to go to school (daycare, but we call it school, because it is) (we also call j's daycare "school", which is kind of comical because it's infant-only, but she calls it school so we do too) (but I digress) while I was on maternity leave. We would have had to pay them weekly to keep his spot open, and he asks to go every day anyway. This was a Huge Blessing because oh how I was overwhelmed those first few weeks.

Saturday mornings Joey goes to the gym. Those first few weeks it had worked out that B was at grandma's or for whatever reason I either had one kid or neither of them on Saturday mornings. But around the time j turned 1 month old, Joey woke up on a Saturday morning and was getting ready to leave. I felt like I was about to have a nervous breakdown. The thought of keeping both of them, by myself, for three whole hours was more than I could manage, and he hadn't even left the house yet. Thankfully I have the most understanding husband and he took care of all of us (again) and convinced me that I was not a bad mom and that I'd feel better if I just slept a little. So I did, and he was right.

Around the six week mark, we turned a corner. It was kind of like we all went to bed one night and woke up with a whole new outlook. B was fun again! and happy! and listening to us! Jbug's tummy was markedly better and he started smiling and cooing around then! I started to feel like I could handle this mom thing again! And I think Joey took a long deep breath and thought "finally".

A few weeks ago, Bubba's school had an inservice, so he was home with Jbug and I all day. It was fun! I was able to be the mom that both of them needed that day. It was a far cry from that first time I about had a panic attack over having them by myself. Earlier this week I took them both to the grocery store, and it was a piece of cake.

All of this long story to say that having two kids is nothing like I expected it to be. Of course, the love is unending and they fill my heart with so much happiness. But from a practical standpoint, life is so much busier. Our laundry doubled even though our family only increased by one member. We almost need a calendar to schedule things like daycare drop-off and pick-up, and gym workouts, and grocery shopping. Something simple like making a meal takes an act of Congress to make sure one kid is fed, burped, and happy in his swing while the other has fruit snacks, a drink, and something to keep him occupied for 20 minutes. I used to get home from work (pre-kids) and sort of coast through the evening... cleaning the house if I felt up to it, or eh, maybe I'll just save it for the weekend. Now, if I don't do at least something to keep the house clean during the week, it'll take me all weekend to get it back to normal.

But.

It is oh so very worth it. When Joey is holding one of them, and I have the other, and we can have a family hug, that is what fills my cup up. And trust me, a full cup (of Something) is a mom requirement.

If you ask me for advice on having two, I won't tell you about the love part, that's a given. I will tell you there will be peaks and valleys. And when you're in a valley, you'll still have a baby that smells divine to make you smile. That it will be hard, but it will get easier. That you'll have to leave all expectations aside and go with the flow. That you will need to ask for help. And when things settle in and you find your new normal, it will be oh so sweet.

6 comments:

  1. thanks for posting ...from someone about to have 3. Although I feel like the first 2 don't count ..because they were 13 years apart, and somehow, an entirely different ball game/set of stressors. Having a 2 year old and a newborn in a couple of months ....is terrifying. I'm glad things settled down!

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  2. When I had my second, I was terrified to do just about everything. I didn't leave my house with the two of them to go anywhere but to church or the grandparents house - until I just before I returned to work...so 11 whole weeks were were mostly home-bound. Did I mention that my second was born in December? And that he was up 2-8 times per night (for the first 9 mos of his life, but who's counting? I digress...). Yes. STIRCRAZY, extremely sleep deprived, post-partum Mama in the middle of winter with two baby boys. It's a miracle we all survived ;)

    The transition from 1-2 kids is mind-boggling. You've got it right: it has it's ups and downs, but it's awesome and so worth it. also? #3 (and 4) are simply a breeze. Just sayin' ;)

    Keep enjoying those sweet boys!

    PS. I love that B is so great at LOVING Jude -- I find myself saying many similar things with our big boys to the baby: "great job hugging the baby, now could you please let go of his head?" or "aw, you're so sweet while holding your brother, but he doesn't need his eyes/ears/nose/lips poked/prodded/opened/smooshed/etc." Love it!

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  3. So happy things are grooving now. I love how much B loves his brother. Sometimes I stick my fingers in George's nose to prove my love to him too.

    Both boys are adorable! :-)

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  4. Thanks for sharing this story. I said this is very motivated. We have three and we are happy.

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  5. When I first watched them both by myself, O was just a few weeks old and Colt got sick and had to stay home from school. I cried, and cried and cried...and survived. Other than that, it was 6 months before I had a weekend or scheduled time alone with the two of them! I'm not ashamed to admit I was terrified.

    I still can count on two hands the number of times I've taken them to a store by myself. Ha! But being alone with them...it's a breeze. They now play WITH each other and it's so fun and makes cleaning or cooking or pinterest-ing so much easier.

    I would NEVER have chosen to have both so close in age. And of course now I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Good news is, every single day gets easier in this aspect. Just wait until J is 1...you'll think you've got it so easy!

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Thanks for leaving some love!