From one to two
I could never understand these people running around with 8 kids...yeah, running, probably sprinting. Like woah, woah, woah...your body not only carried and birthed 8 of these little rascals, but you have to keep them alive. You have to attempt to make them good people. You.are.out.of.your.mind. Then I had Halle. No, it did not make me want to birth 8 children, but damn, that feeling when they put them on your chest for the first time; I’d do that a million times over.
There is this crazy thing that happens when these kiddos pop out...it’s earth shattering, indescribable, life changing love. And they grow and gain personality and character. They remind you what life is about, they make you appreciate moments and cherish every memory. I mean you celebrate their damn poop. They change you; for the better. I would like to say that these girls make me a better person, but I think what they call it is a parent. This title, it’s more than ma, mom, mommy, momma, over and over again a million times a day; it’s, well there isn’t a word for it. Happiness, fear, love, anxiety, honor, obsession, frustration, pride, calm, joy, bliss, learning, teaching, failing, succeeding, change and dreams all wrapped up in a not so neat little bow. They literally cannot survive without you. You are their reason for survival for the first years and they are yours for the rest. It’s a mutual dependency.
There is this societal pressure to be the perfect parent and raise perfect children. Well, define perfect...my eldest daughter thinks perfect is crushing peanut butter and jam toast watching her favorite cartoon with mommy, daddy and baby sister. She thinks perfect is eating dirty snow and getting cozy in a blanket fort with all of her toys. My definition of perfect has changed exponentially throughout my journey through motherhood. In the beginning it was following guidelines, having a rigid routine, making sure my child met every milestone at the exact moment they should, and comparing to every super mom and child on the internet. You know what they say, under extreme pressure is how diamonds are formed- cheesy I know, but honestly I took this pressure and formed a stance. I learned to take what I needed and leave what I didn’t. I began to define my own form of perfection.
So this is where I answer your question...How is the adjustment to two?
Honestly, perfect. Perfect as in loud, crazy, defeating, rewarding, exhausting, frustrating, bliss.
Our girls are 2.5 years apart, so when it was time for Lainey’s arrival, I had totally forgotten what having a newborn was like. I was like saddle up boys, here we go...and then she slept, ate, and pooped. Halle was excited about having a baby sister, tried and still tries to smother her with love daily but it wasn’t like I was running off my feet all of a sudden. I still had a busy toddler that required a lot of attention, but the baby was a lot easier the second time around. She definitely was not a happy baby for the first 3 months with her reflux and gut issues, but it didn’t effect me the same way the second time around. The anxiety and stress weren’t there, and I felt like it was easier to just roll with the punches because I knew it would pass. I didn’t feel the pressure to constantly compare, impress or research what the baby should be doing...I had a toddler to ground me, consume that down time and just keep me present. I guess I learned that the most important thing was to just be present and show them love. Don’t get me wrong, the return to lack of sleep was ROUGH. For the first 3 months, Lainey was pretty much up every 2 hours overnight and then Halle was up between 6-7 for the day and was and is still on a napping strike. Most days, if I thought back to the night prior, I couldn’t tell you what occurred, but I kept the baby alive. God bless Brent for all of his help and most mornings tackling breakfast with the toddler (often still our routine). Honestly, you single moms or dads out there deserve a friken medal or you know a lot more help; you are the real MVPs. I drank more coffee than I care to admit and dabbled in a few nightly beverages with the hubs to keep me going; and I wonder why my baby’s guts were always upset...survival mode. This time around, I appreciate that time goes too fast and I don’t try to rush to the next milestone. I actually usually cry about it because I just want to absorb every passing moment that seems to be going by even quicker this time around. I don’t catch myself thinking, I just want this phase to end, because I know it will and I know I will want it back. I let Lainey sleep on my chest longer, I stare at her and absorb her growing features instead of rushing to do the laundry ( a lot of friken laundry), and I take way too many photos and videos to remember every bit I can. I hug and kiss on Halle more, I stare at her while her dad reads her bedtime stories just taking in her every feature saving it in my memory bank, and we celebrate every small milestone because I know long term it will make up a big memory. I think whether you have one child, or 6, it’s going to be hard. I’m not currently in a hard phase with Lainey, so the transitioning to 2 part hasn’t been the difficulty. It’s the threenager that likes to cause the uproar, and that is normal. We are learning together as we go, making mistakes and becoming better together. Whether I had Lainey right now or not, it would still feel hard. Right now, I meet Lainey’s basic needs and she is happy as a clam...I attempt to meet my toddlers needs and she lets me know that I am doing it incorrectly. In the moment, it can feel overwhelming and like I am failing them when things get difficult but then the day ends, they’re asleep in their beds and I crave their presence. They are the only people in this world as dependent on and obsessed with me as I am with them...other than my dog maybe. The tantrums come and go, but at the end of the day we hold each other close and say “I Iove you”. I know, I’m supposed to be writing about all of the adjustments to my life with two kiddos now and I just keep going back to how much I adore them; I clearly am laying in bed right now not being told off by my toddler. Anyways, I’ll make a more clear list of life adjustments here:
Meal times: Mornings are always the busiest between trying to get the toddler ready for the day, get her breakfast going and getting the baby fed, burped and content. As we go, the routine has gotten more fluid and doesn’t seem so daunting...day by day. Often Halle will have her milk while I feed the babe, and then I’ll work on her breakfast as well as my coffee (high priority). We’re just starting solids with Lainey now, so that adds a bit of a different element. Halle takes about ten years to eat a meal, so while she’s eating I can get Lainey’s rice cereal going and get a few teaspoons into her before Halle is even done. Lunch is usually pretty uncomplicated as Lainey takes a pretty good afternoon nap and I can just focus on Halle, myself and Brent. I always have plenty of snacks on hand for the day because if I’m tied up with feeding the baby or putting her for a nap, Halle knows where to grab them and can bring them to me to open for her. Dinner hasn’t changed too drastically other than the fact that Brent cooks more than I do. We usually tag team it, one cooks while the other entertains the kiddos. I make baby food for Lainey and have it prepped so I can just heat it up and Halle eats what we eat. (Well I should say we offer her what we eat haha).
Workouts: I have a whole separate blog post on this, but the name of the game is distraction, preparation, snacks and pray for naps haha.
Leaving the house: This is probably the most stressful change because it always entails quite a bit of preparation. We always pack snacks, even if we’re leaving for 15 minutes, and the diaper bag has to be checked for extra outfits, diapers, wipes, spit up blankets, mittens, hats, snowsuits and a water bottle. It’s usually quick to get Lainey ready and into her car seat (unless she poops as I’m putting her in), but it seems like getting the toddler ready takes an eternity; I’m usually searching for her socks that she took off, trying to get her to go potty, constantly reminding her she can play with her toys later, getting her boots on, trying to get her to walk to the vehicle faster than a snail’s pace and usually having to grab her from playing in the snow. It always feels like we’re rushing, but it’s so worth it to get out and get some fresh air.
Naps and Bedtime routine: The big change with naps for us was that once Lainey came home, Halle started dropping her nap. She will occasionally fall asleep watching a show or in the car, but it is few and far between. Lainey has always been easy to get down for naps and at almost 6 months still naps 2 hours after her last wake time for 45 minutes to an hour and a half; this usually averages 3-4 naps per day. During Lainey’s late afternoon nap, we make Halle have a bit of quiet, independent play time. This doesn’t always last long, but it’s a bit of a break for me. Bedtime can be a bit busier, but generally we divide and conquer if they are going to be at the same time. Generally, Lainey goes down at 7 and Halle between 7:30-8, so it doesn’t cause any issues. We do baths every second night, and just bathe the girls together and do their routines together.
Daily Activities: Because Brent is working from home, I like to take the girls and the dog for a late morning or early afternoon walk to get them out of the house. I find that after our morning routine, my workout and usually a bit of screen time for Halle, we are craving some fresh air. After lunch, we generally fill our afternoons with play room time, the jolly jumper and play mat for Lainey and if we run out of things to occupy our time, Halle will be allowed some screen time in the early evening. While the weather has been nice, we have also been going skating or sledding in the early evenings which is a great way to get through the napless afternoon. I think with two, it has now motivated me to get outside more because we just all benefit from it so much.
Their bond: I really didn’t know what to expect as far as what their relationship would look like early on. It has been so special to watch. Halle smothers her with love constantly, so we cannot take our eyes off of her. She means well, but is often a little too aggressive with her hugs and kisses. From the beginning, Halle has been pretty interested in Lainey and hasn’t shown too much jealousy. The jealousy is just starting up now that Lainey is more interactive and actually plays with toys and us. When she takes toys from Lainey or tries to pull us away from her, we try and shift it so that we all play together. We try to spend one on one time with each of them throughout the day to balance it. Now that Lainey is a bit older and more interactive, she just loves to be around her big sister. She smiles every time she looks her way and Halle loves making her smile and giggle. I love watching their friendship develop more and more every day.
All in all, the transition so far has not been quite as crazy as I had anticipated. I am by no means saying it is easy, but we take it day by day, and just keep rolling with the punches. Every day is so different, some being more difficult than others. Some days we stay in our pjs and watch too much tv, and others we go for 3 walks. Some days are filled with tantrums and tears from all of us, and some days we have dance parties and laugh and play all day. I’ve learned not to set expectations or try to stick to a strict schedule because it just creates more anxiety and stress. So yes, adding a member to our crew has changed things and made some things tougher, but man is it worth the wild ride.
All My love,