Saturday, October 11, 2014

Life with Two Kids

I recently joined the "two kids" club, my oldest being two-years and and my youngest five-weeks now.  Nothing prepares you for parenthood, and having the second kid is no different.  I have heard that after two kids, adding a third or fourth gets easier, but that going from one to two is the hardest of all the transitions.  I can't vouch for this, but I can tell you that this has been an adjustment to say the least.  People ask me often: "What's it like having two kids now?"

Two kids means it takes an hour to leave the house just to go for a walk because the toddler threw four consecutive tantrums, and when she was actually ready to leave, the infant who had been sleeping that whole time woke up and needed a feeding, during which the toddler took off all her clothes and unpacked most of her toy cabinet.

Two kids means a diaper bag that is so full that I can't even find a place for a small journal to take notes in at church.  Two kids means never being on time for church, or anything.

Two kids means taking three showers in one day because one has pooped and barfed on me (separate occasions), and the other peed through her panties, all over the kitchen chair and herself, and cannot bathe alone yet. Also, two kids means some days I don't even take one shower, and I don't care.

Two kids means when one person in the house has boogers, everybody else gets boogers too, and there is no way to keep a new baby away from a toddler's germs.

Two kids means two dogs have truly made it to the bottom of the totem pole and get minimal attention and no exercise.  Two kids means one more tiny human best friend for the dogs to love, these sweet sweet loyal dogs.

Today I did five loads of laundry: two-beds-worth of sheets and mattress covers due to projectile spit up and a leaky pull-up; all the kid laundry; and one load for myself.  Two kids means wearing the same favorite yoga pants and nightgowns over and over.   Two kids means the laundry actually never ends, more so than when you had just one kid and used to say the same thing.

Two kids means taking an embarrassingly long time to get Thank You notes written and sent out for all the generous gifts and meals people have been blessing us with.  Sorry guys, my thank-you-etiquette stinks right now.

Two kids means playing a little game with myself to finagle the schedule for the longest possible stretch of time when both are sleeping simultaneously.  Two kids means relishing my limited "me" time more than ever before, and being very selective about what I do with it. Sometimes I sleep.  Sometimes I edit photos (which I love doing, so it qualifies).  A lot of times I do things besides respond to texts and emails -- sorry guys, my friend-etiquette stinks.  A lot of times I do things besides clean the house, but what else is new.

The love I had to give my children grew exponentially when I had my second baby, so there's plenty of that to go around.  But I don't have plenty of hands, there is still only one me.  Two kids means that if they both need something at the same time, one of them gets the short end of the stick.  This, to me, is the hardest part.  Whether it's food, a diaper change, discipline, cuddles, a kiss on an owie, tummy time, eye contact, or a longer bedtime routine after a tough evening; kids need constantly.  If they're both awake at the same time, they both need something.  It kills me that I don't hold Josephine as much because I have to put her down to take Penny potty, or fix a peanut butter sandwich, or facilitate a time-out effectively.  It kills me to see Penelope's disappointment when I tell her I can't play because I'm nursing, or to have to cut a book short before her nap because Josie just started screaming in the other room.  Two kids means figuring out balance and reminding myself that they are going to turn out ok even though they don't both have mommy's attention every second of every day.

Two kids means "sleep when the baby sleeps" is laughable.

Two kids means sometimes missing out on the opportunity to go number two and being real real bummed out about it because hemorrhoids from birth don't relent just because your toddler took forever to get out of the car.  

Two kids means thank God for whoever invented video monitors and pacifiers and baby-wearing.

Two kids means crying about something almost every day.  Sometimes feeling like I'm no good at this; that this phase is never going to go away.  Feeling shame in accepting help and frustration that I can't do it all myself.  Two kids means asking for help even when I don't want to.

Two kids means being overwhelmed by the joy of it all.  A heart so full of emotion and attachment and fulfillment and purpose that it could burst.  I think that's where the tears come from too.  Getting to mommy this?  I wouldn't trade my life for anything right now.

Two kids means more matching outfits in our future; which I swore I would never...

Two kids means all the writing I do starts as a note on my phone, in bits and pieces, dictated or typed with one thumb as I'm nursing.   ...And still feeling grateful that I have this outlet to share a story in the universal motherhood community.  Thanks for reading.

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