Seriously, I’m going to sound like a complete asshole but I just have to be honest right now. One day shy of two weeks into parenting two children and I have the following to report: so far, it’s been… easy.
A friend recently sent me a link to a blog post that was all about adjusting to life with two kids. It was very well written and inspiring, and had gorgeous photos, but in regards to the adjustment… yeah, there really hasn’t been one for me. With the exception of that one overwhelming moment while we were still in the hospital, so far, nothing monumental has happened. In fact, things are better than they were before because, A) I have a sweet new little human to shower with love and kisses and, B) I get to spend a lot more time with my other small human and get to know her even more. Plus, I don’t have to work for 9 weeks and I’m still getting paid. It’s pretty awesome.
Basically, if you are trying to talk yourself or someone you know into a having a second child, give me a call. I’m also available for calming fears about getting your wisdom teeth out (I had a really painless, easy experience with that too).
I was a little nervous about Eric going back to work because that first week, we had naturally split up kid responsibilities – so if he was tending to Molly, I was tending to Liam, and vice versa. But then Monday morning he was gone and I was home alone with both of them and it was still fine.
For one thing, I am exceptionally blessed when it comes to Molly. She is so well-behaved, and so good at entertaining herself when needed. She loves playing with other kids and socializing, but when we are home alone she’s perfectly content to play in her room with her toys, or play with colanders in the kitchen while I’m cooking, or even just stand in the middle of the room and spin around in circles to entertain herself. When I say “no,” she (usually) stops what she’s doing. She’s still not jealous of the baby. She’s seriously the sweetest, most good-natured, mature, self-sufficient, and lovely 17 month old I’ve ever met.
That’s not to say she’s perfect all the time – she does overreact when she doesn’t get her way sometimes, or if something (a toy, her iPhone, etc) doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. But usually when that happens it’s just an indicator that it’s naptime or bedtime.
As for Liam, he’s your typical 2 week old. He sleeps, eats, poops, and sleeps some more. He’s starting to be awake for longer stretches but for the most part, it’s just a lot of sleeping. One thing that’s different between him and Molly at this age is that he eats more in one sitting and eats less frequently. It’s actually quite convenient because I don’t spend as much time nursing.
One reason I think it’s easier this time around despite the fact that it’s technically more work is that now I have confidence in how to be a mom (momfidence?). Right or not, I feel well-equipped to handle a newborn. I also know exactly what Molly wants and needs.
I’m hosting a holiday cookie exchange this Sunday and all week I’ve been busy preparing for it. More than one friend called me crazy when I scheduled the party, knowing that I’d have these two kids plus all the stress and time that goes into planning a party. I guess I was crazy since I didn’t know what to expect – things could be going the exact opposite of how they are going. But they’re not.
On Monday I completely cleaned out my dining room, which we had been using as a storage area for years but is the only logical place to set up 84 dozen cookies. I hauled crap to the attic and basement, vacuumed, dusted, and reorganized everything, and then followed up by cleaning out and reorganizing the front hall closet and doing the same for underneath the kitchen sink. And that was just by 2pm. I’ve been able to clean every day, and I’ll admit I was a little proud when Eric’s mom said, “I’ve never seen your house so clean” when she stopped by today. I’ve got shit UNDER CONTROL.
On Wednesday I met my sister-in-law and her friends for a coffee date at a cute little place in town I’ve never been to. After that I took Molly to story hour at the library, which I’ve also never been to (because it’s at 11:15 on a Wednesday probably). It was adorable. Life is adorable. I’m sorry. Don’t hate me.
As is probably evident from all the heavy lifting I’ve been doing (literally), my physical recovery has been great this time. I was taking Percocet the first couple days but have since stepped it down to just popping a few ibuprofen occasionally. The area around my incision sometimes hurts when I’m going to bed (which I assume is because I push it too hard during the day, running around like a moron hauling dining room chairs to the attic).
Even taking the kids out grocery shopping wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated it would be. It did take twice as long, mostly because getting into and out of the car was quite a production. I put Molly in the cart like usual and put Liam in the Moby wrap, which worked out really well. Actually, it was my first time using the wrap with him (which did make me feel that familiar second child guilt because he looooved sleeping in it). He is definitely a cuddly little boy and loves being held and kept warm and snuggly. Anyway, it made me feel bad that the kid is almost 2 weeks old and I’ve yet to start with babywearing. I think once this party is over and done I’ll be less obsessive about cleaning and can maybe just relax and snuggle like he wants to. It’s been very mild here in PA this past week, so being out and about has been quite pleasant, but if January is bitter cold I won’t be dragging the little ones out everywhere.
Also, Eric and I have been getting along really well – again, better than normal. The kids and I got home really late from the grocery store the other night because as I mentioned above, shopping definitely does take longer. I walked in the door and of course that was the exact moment Liam needed to eat and it was 6:00 and I hadn’t even started dinner – an elaborate Pinterest meal that had sounded brilliant in the early afternoon but not so much when everyone was hungry and cranky. Without complaint he took up the spatula and cooked the whole meal, which may not sound like a big deal, but he is not normally one for cooking and especially not after working all day. So yeah, marriage is good, kids are good, all is good. I really do feel like something bad is destined to happen because everything is going way too well.
You want to know the most stressful thing in my life right now? Well, two things. And not the two kids.
First – these dogs. These damn dogs. I used to be all judgy towards people who got rid of their dogs after having kids but now I’m starting to get it, especially since I have the neediest dog known to man (that’s Ryder). He has some sort of skin issue that’s been going on for months now and I’m at my wits end. He gets very itchy, sensitive skin whenever the seasons change and this year it’s worse than ever. The itchiness causes him to bite at himself, which leaves his skin raw, bloody, and disgusting. We put a cone on him and he’s literally been wearing it for a month now because he won’t. stop. biting. himself. Every time we think maybe he’s better, we’ll leave the cone off for a few minutes and he’ll rip open all his scabs and do it all over again. Couple that with a few nasty bouts of diarrhea all over the place and some peeing in the kitchen just because he didn’t feel like waiting, and you have one hell of a fun time! (I’ve tried everything for the skin issues – Benadryl, sprays, creams, coconut oil, everything. We haven’t changed his food in years and we don’t allow him to eat human food. So I’m at a total loss for what to do.)
Bird doesn’t have nearly so many issues but he has started peeing on the living room rug daily for no particular reason. Except to ruin my perfect reverie of existence, obviously. We aren’t going to get rid of them because they are part of the family, but they are seriously driving me nuts.
The second point of stress has nothing to do with being unhappy and everything to do with being happy.
I keep reading all these posts urging mothers of young children to cherish every moment, because we will miss them once the kids are grown. Well, I already know that, and my time spent with these kids is so brief that I find myself stressing out over being too happy. For every cute thing Molly does or says, for every moment I catch myself feeling totally content and blissful, I also feel wistful knowing that the moment is fleeting and that they’ll be grown in no time. It’s like I know these are the best days of my life, and I want to hold onto them for as long as I can. I have something known as “nostalgia for the present.” I can’t even enjoy myself half the time because I’m so happy that it makes me sad. Is that totally insane? I already feel crazy enough that I think going from one kid to two is easy because I’ve never come across that reaction before. Sleep deprived, yes. Overwhelmed, yes. But I’ve yet to hear from anyone else having a strangely effortless experience like mine. I can’t be the only one…
I also realize that this two kids thing is bound to get harder. Once they grow up and start bickering, once we throw a third kid into the mix and are outnumbered… it’s not like I think this dreamy happy world can last forever. I mean, it’s going to change a whole lot when I have to go back to work in February. But for now, I’m completely joyful.
It’s pretty great. And I’m 100% grateful.