My Take On Two

Here’s something interesting, and as usual, let’s all take “interesting” with a grain of salt.

I always figured I would use this blog and the various and sundry baby books and the one million baby pictures as a substitute for memories, because I thought the days would fly by so fast that I’d have no hope of remembering what five pounds of baby looks like or what Eli wore home from the hospital or any of those first fleeting moments.

But even now four years later I remember those firsts as though they happened yesterday. I can see the tiny yellow fuzzy outfit coming home coveralls and the way they hung off of him, and I remember sitting on our old blue couch nursing all the time and I remember the way every time we’d take him anywhere, out to breakfast in his little bucket car seat, everyone would stop and peer in at him and say “Oh! SO tiny!’ and we’d beam with pride at our minuscule, perfect boy.

But I am glad I have these records because while I remember the beginning of Eli with a clarity I hope I will always possess, the time from 6 months to 3 years might as well have not existed, that’s how little I have retained from that time.  I look back and I wonder if it was the fog of depression or if I was just too tired or too busy and I am not sure I will ever know the reason especially because self awareness has never been my strong suit, but the fact is, I have nothing of those times.  I know only that it was hard.  It was really really hard.

I do know that I looked down at a six month old and I wasn’t at all sure what to do with such a creature, and I do remember thinking a great deal of the time that it would be really wonderful if he would just take a fricking nap already so I could do something I wanted to do, something like read blogs or take a shower.  I know that I fretted that I was supposed to be teaching him baby games or playing him music or STIMULATING! HIS! BRAIN! or god knows what, and at no point did it feel like any kind of natural mothering instinct was at work and the thought that our days would not always consist of me staring nervously at a six month old did not occur to me.

This is just a long winded way of saying that lord, I had no idea how on earth I was going to hack it with two of these mysterious creatures, and as with all great things I have ever done, I took a leap of faith and I trusted in something and I trusted in my husband the baby whispererer, and while it is also true that I have a baby who should come with a warning label because she is SO AMAZING and EASY and WONDERFUL, the reality is that for me, two is easier. Two is way way easier than one was, for me.

The best way I can think of to explain it is that it’s the difference between one of those jobs where you don’t have enough to do, and your day seems very very long, and between one of those jobs where you are very very busy, and your day goes by very quickly.  Please notice I am not saying that two is less work.  It is a lot of work, it is more work, but I do not have silences to fill.  And I find three almost four year olds very entertaining, as compared to six month old babies, and on those days when I am ready to sell the three year old to the gypsies, then I have my little garbonzo bean baby to smoosh and I smell her neck folds and then it’s time to make dinner and another day comes to an end.

At times I am tired, and at most times I desperately wish I had someone to clean my house.  I don’t love loading two children in and out of the back of a Volkswagon Jetta.  But most of all I am astonished at how good I have it, how right I was to leap, how empty things seem now, looking back.  And more than anything else, really,  I just simply can’t imagine my life, this life, without my two.

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12 Responses

  1. I can’t tell you how reassuring it is to read this as I’m 4 months away from delivering #2 and am slightly petrified at how I will do all of this. So, Thank You!!

  2. I work with new parents all the time, and I OFTEN feel like the 2nd baby really makes them the parents they were meant to be. Like, with the first baby, the spotlight is just TOO INTENSE and that poor first child is OVERLY scrutinized, and then the second baby comes and forces mom to relax a little. She can no longer physically keep up that kind of intensity that she did with her first, so she takes a deep breath, stops trying to be perfect, and… really blossoms.

    Totally cheesy, I know, but it seems like a story I see played out, over and over.

  3. I love this so much. This is something I think about a lot. Thanks for this post.

  4. Hey! Thanks for that. We keep going back and forth, trying to decide whether or not to try for a second child. This addresses and quells my hesitation to have #2. For reals. That was really something I’d been waiting to hear and they way you put it makes a lot of sense to me.

  5. oh, this is awesome. I’m so glad.

    my theory on this is that with the second child, you have to let yourself off the hook a bit. There’s just no way you can do everything, or be all that all the time. someone’s always getting shortchanged. But you don’t have to feel as guilty about it as you do with the first.

  6. Glad you are enjoying life with two right now. 🙂 Can’t wait til I make that similar leap of faith.

  7. I can relate. I only have my two-year-old right now, but I know what you mean about those looooong, quiet days when they’re little and you’re tired and you’re not quite sure what to do with him. There were a few months of groundhog days for me, you know?

  8. You know, I was seriously just about to write and save for later posting (when the thirty day thing is over) about how I have found adjusting to three even EASIER than adjusting to two. Two for me was the hard number, because Addy had been an insanely easy baby (a Katherine, I suppose) and then Eli was an insanely difficult baby, so the adjustment was…. intense. I was finally getting my groove back, so to speak, after Eli turned two, and I was admittedly a little nervous about adding a newborn again. Like, nervous even in the delivery room. But once over the newborn hump, Jameson has been so sweet, so easy.
    AND it continues to astonish me that my older two are actually old ENOUGH to handle alone many processes to which I previously thought I was indispensible, such as getting dressed, getting shoes on, cleaning up their toys, taking dishes to the sink, etc. Shocking! They grow UP and can HELP! And since I was so busy with baby at first, they just… did. I couldn’t always help, so they figured stuff out on their own, and now they don’t need me to be so hands-on. It’s been kind of a revelation for me, though it takes some getting used to.

  9. I love this, and I totally agree. I was so scared and nervous with my first that I just wished the days away. Now my fist is almost 4 and my second is 16 months. So much better! I have to relax and let some things slide. I also have physical proof that they won’t be babies forever! With my first, it’s like I didn’t realize that.

  10. Aww, this is the best, especially for me, someone who looks at impending motherhood like, “What the eff am I supposed to DOOOOOO?”

  11. Oh my gosh, I love this. I needed to read this. (And I love Marie Green’s comment up there, too).

    I have adored every minute (well, almost every minute) with our daughter, but I also have those times that you articulated so perfectly, where you have the baby down for a nap but you don’t know quite what to DO with yourself other than a guerrilla straightening up of the house and a dash through your email. There are still some weird stretches of time to fill.

    And I also agree with what others have said, that the focus on a first baby is SO INTENSE, and while I love that, and I worry about whether diffusing it would make me somehow less of a good mother to our first child, I think that in the end it will be freeing. Because poor Felicity might just wilt under the hothouse of my crazy-mom gaze if she were the only child.

    So…bring on number two, I guess?! (Sometime. Perhaps not now. Gulp.)

  12. Go for three! It is fun and they become like a litter of puppies – self entertaining! We are on day 4 of snowdays and mine are still delightedly playing with each other and “sleeping over” in one room to conserve heat.

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