Isn’t it weird how we’re always in some specific phase of life that we don’t exactly acknowledge until it’s passed? That sentence felt complicated. What I mean, though, is kind of complicated. Okay, so right now, I have two kids, right? Yes. Yes, I do. I am aware of that, but because I am going through this right now, it’s hard to appreciate it. There are the little moments when Jack is sweetly talking to Juliet that I can stop and step outside of myself and see that I am so lucky. These are moments I’m sure I’ll have to remind myself of when they both get a little older and start liking each other a little less.
I expected two to be AWFUL. I know that sounds negative, but I really am always prepared for the worst. It’s never in a “OH MY GOD IT WILL BE MISERABLE” sort of way, but more of a “if my expectations are lowered, it’ll probably be easier than I think” way. And usually, it totally works. That was definitely the case with a second child.
With Jack, I was home full time. We spent entire days and nights together 24/7. When I moved back into my room, I had a video monitor on him at all times. Nap time was spent watching him sleep every few minutes while doing things around the house. I knew which teeth were going to pop up where weeks before they broke the skin. I wrote down every measurement at every appointment and went to Facebook for teething advice every other day. I googled developmental averages and obsessed over each stage wondering if my baby was normal. I am pretty sure every day of his first year was documented electronically somewhere.
Y’all. If I could go back and tell that first time mama in her first time mama phase to chill the heck out, I totally would. I can’t decide if I feel sorry for Juliet or grateful that she will learn independence a little earlier. Do you know that she pushed out TWO TEETH before I even noticed? And even then, I DIDN’T notice! My three-year-old informed me of these teeth and my husband confirmed, “Yes, she does. Bottom front.” As I ninja-gripped her sweet chunky cheeks and popped them open like a Snap Dragon, I thought, “How could I not have noticed my baby has TEETH?!”
I was too busy doing other things. Cooking. Cleaning. Working. Napping. Writing. Watching. Raising my boy. Juliet gets a LOT of attention, but unlike Jack, she has to roll around on the floor BY HERSELF. She has to play with toys ALONE. She holds her bottles while I make Jack a meal. She will sometimes be known to *gasp!*watch an episode of Baby Einstein while I sit down for some ziti. Sometimes, she has to cry for a few minutes because I need to finally put that load of laundry up. She sleeps in her room WITHOUT A MONITOR. I go to bed at night and have no idea which position she’s sleeping in or what her respirations are at that exact moment. She wakes up and has up to 20 minutes of entertaining herself before Mommy gets her exhausted self up to go get her. She falls asleep with a lovey and a paci and a “night night” instead of being rocked to sleep for 45 minutes positioned at a 55 degree angle while singing “Hush Little Baby” until deep breathing patterns have been consistent for at least five minutes.
These things give me such mixed feelings. I do feel a little bad that Jack was a million times more spoiled as a baby, but I’m also proud of my baby girl. She is so happy-go-lucky and I wonder if part of it is her mother actually giving her space to develop. It could just be her natural demeanor or maybe it’s both. Either way, at 7 months old, she is already making me proud.
Life with two is certainly different, but it really isn’t that difficult. I get the same things done just with another little to buckle in to the carseat. It will be fascinating to see how the drastic differences in their first year of life will (or won’t) affect their personalities and their relationships. I hope I haven’t screwed them up too badly. I guess that is the ultimate parenting goal. Just don’t screw them up too badly…