With each new child, I can honestly say our house shifted. Each time it was a shift I never expected. My first born was a welcomed change in our lives. Yes, we were slapped with a few realities of parenting that no one can fully understand until you’ve experienced it, but all of our attention was on one little dude. Our third child was a super shock because I had never had the ultrasound technician tell me there was a girl coming. But I think the hardest transition for our family was definitely making the jump from one to two children.
With my first born, we were besties. Picture this: sunshine and 70 degrees. Will Smith’s Just the Two of Us playing as our soundtrack, mixed in with some birds chirping. We were a duet. We were mobile. We were easy to please. In addition, every single thing he did was caught on video or camera. He received accolades for doing the smallest things, like trying to fake mow the lawn with one of his toys. Bouncing up and down on the dog food bag, or putting his cute blonde head over the air register to feel the air coming out made my husband and I stop and applaud. I have all of it on camera. Every breath. It’s a little embarrassing actually. Unfortunately for my next two kids, I’m outnumbered, and when one of them makes a bunch of noise on the dog food bag or puts their faces in a fan, I now turn my head and say in a monotone voice, “Be careful.” or “Don’t put your finger in the grate.” or “How about you take out that bag to the trash for mommy?” and continue about my business.
Although every child presented challenges, my biggest transition was going from one kiddo to two. I thought I was so ready. When my middle son was in utero, I tried to prepare my oldest for a baby brother. I bought him books, tried to explain why my tummy was growing, and had him involved with decorating the nursery. My middle guy’s delivery was picture perfect. He came into the world quietly. The first feeling I had to fight through (while handling some insane postpartum) was how to explain to my oldest that we have a new buddy, not an impostor. This was difficult because newborns are tough, but also because I didn’t want to totally screw up my oldest. I wanted us all to be buddies. I dealt with that less than well, and I worried that I wasn’t giving my oldest what he needed because my second child was an infant and needed his mommy quite a bit. I watched everything my oldest did with a microscope. If he frowned, cried, acted out, sneezed, or coughed I blamed it on myself and the fact that I was giving most of my attention to my newborn. My oldest was only two and a half. Now that I look back, I think I was making up issues that weren’t there. While he may have been a little frustrated with sharing mommy, what I didn’t realize at the time was that he was really just doing what two-year-olds are known for best.
Two weeks after the birth of my second, things got crazy. I felt a pain in my left calf while I was taking my oldest to a movie. It felt like I needed to stretch it out, but the pain would not relent. By the next day, when it didn’t go away, my husband and I checked WebMD. (I never usually do this, because in my experience It’s always less severe than the site would suggest, but I’m glad I did it on this day.) I was admitted to the ER with a blood clot. They caught it soon enough, but I had to stay in the hospital overnight (as a new mommy without my newborn) and was released with blood thinners, a compression sock, and a whole new bag of knowledge regarding blood clots. Because of my postpartum status, they brought in a home health nurse to check on me at home for a week after my release. My husband had to pull some major weight, and my dad came and saved the day for awhile. The whole experience made life a mess. I have a feeling this is a major reason my second was my hardest transition, but my sweet little second born kept being the cutie he is.
After the seriousness of that event became normalcy, having two kiddos was normally difficult. My oldest took two ridiculously long naps when he was a new baby, while my middle guy, well, let’s say he had too much life to live to ever comply with nap requests. I remember the last peaceful nap he ever took. It was at six months old. Moment of silence for that day, please.
While the one child to two kid transition was the most difficult for me, I did have a realization that continued when my daughter came around, and here it is: When I found out I was pregnant with #2, I wondered how I would ever love anything as much as I loved #1. When #2 showed up, I realized that it made me love #1 more AND I had a whole separate compartment in my heart for #2; #3 also followed suit.
When I see my children playing together, when I hear them laughing out loud, and when one comforts the other, my heart grows exponentially. These moments may be rare, but they are enough mom fuel to keep me going. Thank goodness for kids (and the occasional WebMD mouse click).