“Happiness comes from… some curious adjustment to life.”
A little over two months ago we added a gorgeous little man to our family. Zeke arrived in this world two days before Thanksgiving as the sweetest little cherry on top of a crazy year. We spent the holidays snuggling and soaking up every ounce of love around us that we could. We saw family, had visitors, went to holiday parties – it was a fun little blur of togetherness I’ll never forget.
Amidst all the goodness, reality quickly set in for Scott and I. We have two kids now. Two! What were we thinking? We started saying “the kids are sleeping” or “we have to get the kids ready.” Kids. With a ‘S’. Because we have more than one kid, we have two kids. It was kind of unbelievable because I was sure I was going to be pregnant forever (I’ll explore that idea in another post), but we really had two kids.
The most incredible part was seeing how much Gigi absolutely loved him. From the moment he came home he was just part of our family. She wakes up and asks where Zeke is. When I feed Zeke she sits next to me on the couch and puts one of her stuffed animals to her belly button and says, “Imma feed ’em”. When I change Zeke’s diaper she changes one of her stuffed animal’s diapers. When I give Zeke a bath in the sink she pulls up her little tower* and, you guessed it, gives one of her stuffed animals a bath in a little bowl. I don’t think we could have gotten any luckier with how much she adores her baby brother.
She wants to hold him, carry him around, hug him, kiss him and squeeze him, which all sound cute but can be pretty terrifying actually. They bonked skulls one time and I almost had a heart attack. She drooled on his face when trying to kiss him and I was convinced he would get sick immediately. He didn’t, he survived 😉 Today she actually wrapped her arms around him and said, “Oh my baaaby”, how stinking cute is that?
I thought it might be nice to but together a little list of the biggest adjustments I’ve noticed in going from one to two. Keep in mind Zeke is only 2 months old. I’m sure once they are both mobile I will have an entire new list of adjustments that will really just read, “Help.”
- The Chill Factor
I’ve had this conversation with everyone who asks about Zeke, he is literally the chillest baby. Feed him, change his diaper, let him sleep and he is happy.
I still remember all the things we would have to do to get Gigi to stop crying in the early days. Walk and bounce around the apartment, stand by a running faucet, you name it we probably tried it. She wasn’t colicky, she was just a newborn and newborns cry. So for any new moms out there reading this killing themselves to get their baby to stop crying, just breathe. Babies cry, they will not cry forever. I promise
From the first week Zeke has inherently understood that we’re awake during the day and we sleep at night. He just gets it. Gigi on the other hand, I remember spending many a night and early morning watching Everybody Loves Raymond and 30 Rock reruns on WGN that first month.
Zeke lets anybody hold him, as long as they hold him the right way. He is a Sagittarius, he likes to face out and see the world. Gigi? Not a chance. Only mommy and daddy.
I’m sure partly this just has to do with their individual personalities, or perhaps it is a boy versus girl thing. Or maybe I’m just a ‘better’ mom this time around because I’ve done it all before. I really, truly believe my energy is contributing to his demeanor as well. I am more chill the second time around. It sounds harsh as I type this out, but if Zeke starts crying while I’m in the shower, guess what? I finish my shower. The second time around you just know the baby will cry, and their cry isn’t as earth shattering to you as it was the first time. You know it’s going to be okay if you take 2 more minutes to put on mascara, or finish your sandwich.
I’ve also made a point to pump more than I did with Gigi and I actually *gasp* leave the house without the baby. It took me months to leave the house by myself after I had Gigi. Not because of anxiety or anything. I was so consumed with all the changes going on I could not wrap my mind on anything else. Nowadays I make (with a lot of help from Scott) a point to do things for myself whenever I can. If I know Scott has the day off, I’ll get ready early and go get my nails done, do a target run or go to a yoga class. This time around I understand how extremely essential it is for me to have life outside of baby world.
- The Snuggle-less Factor
Unfortunately for Zeke, he is getting way less snuggles than Gigi did. Which means, I’m getting way less snuggles too. Of course I hold him a lot while we run around after Gigi, and I wear him when I’m making dinner so I can have two hands free, but there aren’t any gooey sleepy mid afternoon snuggle sessions like there were the first time around.
There is one magical hour of the day where Gigi is taking a nap and Zeke is awake and I can devote all my attention to Zeke. I try not to do anything else besides focus on my little man, and he loves it. He smiles and talks to me, I swear he is starting to giggle. But other than that hour, it’s basically the Gigi show. I know this will change as he becomes more mobile, and more interactive. And I know he’ll be fine because he doesn’t know life any other way. I just honestly do have a little guilt that he doesn’t get as much one on one time as Gigi did.
- The Daddy Factor
With two kids I depend on Scott way more than I did with one. During Scott’s week-long “paternity leave” it became obvious things weren’t going to be as easy as they once were when he left. He was basically on Gigi duty non-stop and I became overwhelmed thinking how I was going to manage when he went back to work. We talked about it and came up with a few ideas to make things easier.
The biggest help is in the mornings. Scott gets up with Gigi every morning, makes her breakfast, gives her a bath and gets her ready for the day. This is huge. Before Zeke I was doing the whole bath – books – bedtime routine for Gigi, but I knew with a newborn there was no way I could devote one hour of my undivided attention to her anymore. As soon as Zeke can sit up I’ll be able to bathe them together at night, but right now this is how we make it work. The daddy and Gigi morning time also grants me the opportunity to get myself together before Scott leaves for work (without having to wake up at 5AM). Feeling like a normal, showered, semi put together person everyday will really do wonders for your state of mind, especially in the first few weeks.
To be honest when we first came home from the hospital I got a little weepy and nostalgic thinking of how things “used” to be. I did everything for her. We were the centers of each other’s worlds. It was hard for me to relinquish control and let other people take care of her, but I had no choice. Now I see Gigi’s relationships with not just her daddy, but other family and friends as well, blossom and grow stronger. I’m so grateful for this, seeing how much Gigi loves on other people is absolutely incredible. Of course seeing how much she loves her Daddy means more to me than I’ll ever be able to express.
- The Poop Factor
Sorry to go from something sentimental, to something gross. But that is basically what being a parent is all about, so deal with it 😉
When I only had one kid I would read blogs about how stay at home parents just deal with poop all day. People would talk about how annoying diaper changing was, and how there is basically just poop everywhere. I read these blogs thinking they were insanely exaggerated. Sure I had to change Gigi’s diaper throughout the day but it wasn’t that bad. She was a little kid, its normal. Why was everyone making such a big deal about it?
Then I had a second kid.
Two months in and I have officially resigned to the fact that 70% of my day is spent dealing with and cleaning up the bodily functions of someone else beside myself. I know these bodily functions are wonderful because they show my kids are healthy and growing and blah blah blah…. But honestly? Sometimes after bedtime I reflect back on the day and think, “Sweet, Gigi didn’t poop today.”
Gigi seems to never poop on Scott’s day off and I remember telling him how that isn’t fair. Somewhere in my brain I believe that Scott deserves a poop-y diaper on his day off because I deal with them all the time. That is an awful, not nice thing to think towards your husband. But whatever, I thought it.
I’m extremely happy my kids are close together in age, that is how Scott and I wanted it, but I get why people wait till one kid is potty trained before they have another one. I get it. I know there is a light at the end of this tunnel; I just can’t see it, because of all the poop.
And there you have it. A longer than I anticipated look at some of the differences between having one and two kids. There are so many more to come I’m sure. As crazy as it all may look to an outsider, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love our little tribe we’ve created, diapers and all.
*If you are the parent of a toddler, or soon to be toddler, you NEED this tower. Buy it, or ask someone to buy it for you, immediately. It will make your day 100x easier – thanks Granny!