Oops, We Did It AgainMay 25, 2021 |
I always thought that if I found out I was pregnant for a second time I would create some Pinterest worthy, heart-melting surprise to tell my husband. He would find a message at the bottom of his coffee cup or read it in a fortune cookie and be joyously overwhelmed by the miracle of life... blah, blah, blah. Time for another case of Instagram vs. Reality.
I still remember the day my husband turned to me, deeply exhausted from our early days as newborn parents, and wondered how anyone might choose to have more than one kid. I couldn’t blame him. Our son didn’t eat... then didn’t sleep... so no one was sleeping. You know the drill. I’ll always remember that moment – where we were, how we felt, and that unbeknownst to us, we would be starting over again in just a few weeks.
I want to be upfront: There are no Pinterest moments in this story.
After four months of grappling our new reality, Life’s Miracle struck again and the opportunity to use my “free time” to delight my husband with a cute pregnancy reveal had arrived! Then very quickly dismissed when I tossed my positive pregnancy test on our bed (we were comfortable with a little urine at this point) and confirmed this was not a joke.
They say you aren’t handed more than you can handle, but becoming a mother of two was much more difficult than I had expected. My memory seemingly blacked out a lot of those early days, especially when our second baby sabotaged any sort of fragile consistency we had managed with our one-year-old. My husband worked nights, so special one-on-one bedtime routines became a competition of who cried the most between my children and me.
Let me paint you a picture… My newborn is hungry and due for bedtime, so I am trying to buy myself a few quiet minutes by distracting my oldest with Elmo. It’s not working. He wouldn’t accept any redirection, pleading or flat-out bribery I offered in exchange for the space I need to put his brother to bed. Baby would just begin to sleep and Big Brother would scream him awake. Now Baby is crying, Big Brother is frustrated from having to share Mom, and I feel completely outnumbered.
My husband is at work, but I suddenly remember my grandfather will be driving past the house to drop something at my doorstep. If I can catch him, he can sit with Big Brother while I get Baby to sleep! Just then, headlights flash across the windows signaling his arrival... and then suddenly flash again as he leaves just as quickly as he had come. Cut to the scene of me, still securing my nursing top and leaving two crying babies in my wake, running into the dark street to flag down his car. He stops and turns around. Phew! Help had arrived!
Nope, just kidding.
It turns out that having six kids 50 years ago doesn’t equate to “quality child care.” Just as I was settling into my nursing chair, seeing the light at the end of this tunnel I faced each night, Big Brother comes storming in the nursery crying.
Hello, Square One, we meet again.
I stand up to shoo him back to his great grandfather while simultaneously rocking and nursing my infant. Big Brother resists and is clawing up my leg just as great grandfather enters with a flashlight (!!!) to assess the situation. Now he has a beam of light pointing directly at half-dressed me and nursing Baby’s sleepy eyes, and states he is unsure how he can help with Big Brother.
Surrender... deep breaths... surrender... deep breaths…
I let my grandfather know he could leave, walked him to the door, and somehow made bedtime work with just the three of us that night and every following night for the better part of three years.
Transitioning from one to two kids is hard and through this process you will be immensely humbled. You’ll realize that milestones occur at the pace of each child, not the speed of Library Mom gossip. You’ll realize that every time you locked judgmental eyes with your husband about another child’s pacifier obsession, you were 1000% wrong and owe every single parent an apology. You’ll even realize that your first child might have been a birth-order rule follower rather than a direct result of your professional parenting skills, given your second child’s reckless abandon for rules and authority.
Yes, it is difficult. It is humbling. And it is also amazing. The story I didn’t tell you was about the ease of my second birth compared to the harrows of my first. I didn’t mention the beautiful confidence I had when my second son was handed to me for the first time and I could whisper to him that I knew how scared he must be, but that everything was okay.
This parenting journey has been full of unexpected twists, tears, and so, so, so much love. My now five and four year old sons passionately love and battle each other all at once, forging life-long bonds I hadn’t previously experienced or understood as an only child. I know this love that is both overflowing and overwhelming, was meant to be. I actually don’t believe in “oopsies,” but we made sure to cover our bases this time anyway. Baby #3 would sprout from divine intervention, but we could handle things if it did… right?