Nola is approaching her first birthday and I cannot believe how fast this time went. Nola didn’t really spend a lot of time in the “baby” phase, but to think that Dominique and I have been navigating life with two kids for a year is pretty crazy. I felt like we picked up on the whole Baby #1 thing relatively fast, but nearly 12 months later of being a parent to two kids, 17ish months apart, I think we are still trying to catch our breath and find a balance. Going to a family of four was also accompanied by so many other changes for us – moving back to Philly, leaving our life in Nashville, me transitioning to staying at home and Dominique transitioning from head high school coach who made the schedule to assistant collegiate coach who follows the schedule to name a few. That being said there are a few things I’d like to share about adding Baby #2. Don’t say no one warned ya 🙂
1. You are not a parenting expert. By now, you are probably the parenting expert on your first kid. Sadly, that will not transfer to this second bundle of joy. You got the swaddle down pat for Baby #1. Sorry Baby #2 hates swaddles. And that easy napper you had the first time around, has now been joined by a child who sits around with toothpicks in her eyes all day. Accept it now. It will make your life easier.
2. You and your husband will become two ships passing in the night. Sorry it’s true. For how long…that depends, but don’t say no one warned you. Maybe you will say a quick hello as you two separate to give one kid a bath and feed the other. If you’re lucky maybe you will share a few words* while you stand bouncing crying Baby #2 and the hubs is trying to convince Baby #1 to eat some dinner. *Those words may at times be profanity laced rant about Babes #1 peeing in the A/C vent, but words none the less*
3. About food… This baby will most likely not eat like Baby #1. Baby 1 tolerated bottles. Baby 2 will hate them. Baby 1 would breastfeed discreetly. Baby 2 will pull your shirt up whenever your husband’s friends or a strange male are around. Things went well feeding the first kid…may not have the same luck the second time. Homemade purees were your jam. Baby #2 will hate spoons. On the positive note, if Baby #1 was a really awful eater who hates vegetables, perhaps Baby #2 will be the little vegetarian you always hoped me.
4. More about food. Your perfect eater kid number one will now use food as a way to let you know that the baby is hogging all your attention. Food wars may happen. Thankfully, in the world of toddler food wars no one really starves. Stares yes. Starves no.
5. Your first kid isn’t going to think this is all that great…most of the time. Sure, the first kid will love the baby and kiss the new babes. They will be so excited. They also will throw a shoe a little too close to where the baby is a few too many times to call it an accident. Don’t worry Baby #1 is not a monster or future Ted Bundy. They will eventually accept Baby #2 isn’t leaving and even better at some point will truly enjoy the new babe.
6. Your husband isn’t you. Repeat your husband isn’t you. Some of the jobs that you managed before will now become your husbands. Maybe now he will do the bath/bedtime alone for the first time. Or maybe he will be holding new babes while you try to spend 30 seconds with the original babes. Either way, he isn’t you and it won’t be done the way you do it. Accept it. You can’t do it all and are going to have to accept some help and let the hubs put your first kid to bed in pajamas from two seasons ago.
7. I hope you love the game of Whac-a-mole because that will become your new life. In the beginning, new babes will sleep a lot and anywhere. In the car, in the carrier, in the bed, on the floor. However, as time goes on Baby #1 will start sleeping in some sort of nap pattern and they probably will happen right before and right after Baby #2. I’m sure a much more dedicated parent could get the kids all synced up, but if I am going with the kiddos cycles I have often have one kid sleeping from 9-5. Sounds great, but for this former “I cannot be in the house” mother the nap trap house arrest really is quite annoying. Like really annoying. Like I read a lot of kid books to babe #1 OVER and OVER annoying.
8. As cliche as it sounds, giving Babes #1 a sibling is the best gift you can ever give them. At some point (like when your kids are done high school, but don’t yet have kids of their own), you and your husband will enjoy a nice conversation together that doesn’t center around your child’s bowel/eating/tantrum habits. At some point, Babes #1 will stop throwing shoes to get your attention and will just throw shoes because Babes #2 stole their game/clothes/friends. At some point, you’ll stop begging your kids to go to sleep and you’ll beg them to wake the heck up. So go ahead and join the club because despite the long nights, and even longer days, watching your kiddos become each others best friends is a pretty amazing experience.