My older daughter is now 27 months and my younger daughter is two months. When I was pregnant with the second one, I wondered what it would be like. I worried that I wouldn’t love the second one as much as the first (because it was hard to fathom loving someone else like I loved my first born), I worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle having a newborn and a two year old, especially if she was going through her terrible twos phase. I worried that I would give one more attention than the other. Now that I’ve had two for a couple months, I can confidently say that I absolutely love my second daughter as much as my first. Admittedly, the magic of having a newborn isn’t quite as sparkly as it was the first time but my heart still skips a beat when Super S smiles at me. And the world kind of slows when she looks at me with her beautiful eyes while I nurse her. And she, like her older sister, is able to strip away all complications in life and remind me about being a basic human.
I still worry about not being able to handle it all and giving more attention to the other. The funny thing is that I feel guilty about not giving the older one enough attention then turn around and feel guilty about not giving the younger one enough attention. So maybe they’re equal after all?
Here’s what it’s like to have more than one child:
- No peace in the bathroom. If my older daughter isn’t in there – talking to me, trying to hand me tissue paper, trying to touch EVERYTHING if we’re in a public bathroom – then my younger one is either crying hysterically from her crib OR she’s hanging out on my shoulder. Ok, realistically, it’s usually both of them going nuts at the same time.
- When one baby cries, the other does too. You just have to pick one, calm them and then take care of the other.
- When the younger one is hungry and we’re out (say at a park, grocery store or my favorite – parking lot), the older one will inevitably throw a tantrum that requires me to pick her up. So I’m awkwardly carrying both, praying I don’t drop either.
- When I’m feeding the younger one while out and about, the older will want to wander off. Then I have to awkwardly walk while nursing, trying desperately not to let too much skin show while panicking on the inside because I can’t see the older one.
- When one is sleeping, the other will suddenly be the loudest person on the planet.
- Every time I think Maybe, just maybe they’ll both be asleep at the same time, as one drifts off, the other will start to fuss.
- Sometimes you pump breast milk while having an infant resting on your thighs and then the toddler comes over and gets all up in your business and follows up with jumping on your legs saying “I wanna ride!”
Did I mention that all of these things actually happen? Did I mention that they all happened this week? Did I mention that it’s only Tuesday????
Several people have said that having two isn’t just double of having one. It’s more than that – tripled, cubed, whatever. And it’s true. Mommy burn-out came WAAAAY earlier this time than last. Maybe it’s because it’s relentless. Maybe because the intensity of the frustration is so much greater. Maybe because it’s a hell of a lot of work. In a nutshell, having more than one is chaotic. And exhausting.
But then amazing things happen. Like my older daughter, despite being only two years old, gets a new placemat and asks if I got one for her sister. And the little one, while falling asleep, smiles when she hears her sister’s voice. And my older daughter frantically climbs on me while i’m holding the little one because “I wanna see Sia’s face.” And while nursing my little one, my older one will climb on my leg and just sit on my foot and and smile at me. And then she’ll walk over to the side of my rocking chair and lay her head in my hand and say “Maaama” and I have this wonderful feeling that I’m able to give them both the comfort and the love that they need at the same time. And they’ll look at each other while lying on the play gym. I swear they’re communicating and making plans for the future (which might include how they’re going torture me). And knowing (not thinking but KNOWING) we did the right thing having more than one baby because they are just so so SO perfect together and love each other already. That melts your heart. Have even a glimpse of those moments and suddenly having more than one is pretty awesome.