In January of last year, AG was almost 18 months, baby fever started to kicked in and talk about baby number two began. I thought about what life would look like with two. I knew without a doubt, AG would make a wonderful big sister. I knew another baby would complete our family. Before I knew it that thought became a reality. God had expedited our plans and after everything we went through before becoming pregnant with AG, it was the perfect way for it to happen.
On February 1st, 2014 we found out that we were adding another little one to our family. A few months later we found out it was a BOY. Everything from there on was a complete whirlwind.
Not only were we pregnant without trying. We were having a boy, which I never in a million years thought would happen. After the shock and excitement wore off the fear and nervousness kicked in.
How would I be able to give AG the attention she needed with a new baby?
How would she adjust?
Would I be able to nurse again? What would AG do while I spent most days and nights nursing?
Would I be able to continue working?
How hard would it be to get them on the same nap schedule?
Are we ready for all the baby stuff again?
I was scared. I was worried. I prayed. I planned.
On October 1st, 2014 L came into the world. And one by one all of those worries went away. He fit perfectly into our family and our lives.
I look back now and laugh at all I did to “get ready for baby #2.” I went crazy making busy bags in hopes of AG using them while nursing. In hindsight it was a great idea. In reality, the last thing I had time to do was go into the closet, take out the bags and set her up with a screaming baby in my arms who just wanted to EAT NOW! The iPad was our lifesaver for nursing and the TV. I have absolutely no guilt about either during those times. You learn to do what works. I prepped meals. Lots of freezer meals. Again, this was great. I used them the first few weeks and we actually ate. Honestly though, for the newborn months getting dinner on the table wasn’t an issue. That became harder as L became mobile. I would say from 10 months to now has been the most challenging with cooking and dinner. Hence my IG post yesterday. It’s a work in progress. I also went all out with gifts for AG from her little brother. A survival kit and more. Did she need all of that? Nope. Did I do a lot of it out of guilt? Yep. One wrapped gift would have been enough.
Now that L is 18 months old, I want to share some things I’ve learned from going from one to two. I also asked some of my favorite mama blog friends to share some things they were surprised about as well. Here it goes….
It was easier than I expected. Honestly. I had planned, prepared, worried and all for nothing. While there were little kinks to work out here and there, L just fit into our family dynamic. For the most part, I was able to put him on a schedule that worked with our what we already had going on. Besides his sleeping issues, he adjusted to everything. He was a champ nursing after the first week, slept anywhere and was a good baby. There were moments of acting out from AG from not getting all of the attention but they were just moments. Nothing big in that department. We just made it work, did the best we could and honestly, didn’t feel like our lives were flipped upside down.
I didn’t realize how CRAZY life would become. Getting two kids up, dressed, out the door. Feeding two kids who want to eat at the same time. Best yet, potty training big sister with a two month old….pure chaos! It’s entertaining most of the time and easy to laugh about but I feel like I’m in a constant circus state. I’ve never been so late in my life than I have been this past year. Most times we’d be all dressed and ready and there would be a blow out or the other would need to use the bathroom. Then the challenge of two carseats and entertainment and snacks…the list goes on and on. Now, I have one running one way trying to climb on the couch while I’m arguing with the other about putting shoes on or using the bathroom before leaving the house. I’m lucky if I don’t break a sweat trying to leave the house. It’s a process.
What works for your first child may not work for your second. AG started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks. Hubs and I patted ourselves on the back for that one. We had sleep trained, read the books, followed Moms on Call and WE WON. Sleeping was never an issue with AG. We had it figured out, we knew what to do and this time we’d do the same with L. HA. HA. HA. There isn’t one thing we tried with L that worked. Not one. It took 13 months before L started sleeping through the night. 13 months of waking up EVERY 3 hours to nurse or soothe or cry along with him. It was tough. We tried it all. We read books. Nothing worked until one day it clicked. Stay tuned for a post all about the year of no sleep and how we survived.
They may both be yours but they couldn’t be me more different! L is WILD. Oh so wild compared to AG. He climbs on anything and everything. I cannot turn my back for a second without him getting into something he shouldn’t. We call him wrecking ralph. I never knew a tiny little human could demolish things as fast as this child can. Completely not the case with AG. On the other hand, L is the worlds best snuggler. AG would never sit and snuggle, she was always on the go. Even to this day. L will climb on your lap, lay down and just chill. One of my favorite things about him. He also LOVES to play with toys. He can play trains or cars for a half hour, entertaining himself. AG was never really interested in toys for more than a few minutes until recently. AG has the sweetest personality and is very sensitive. It will be interesting to see how L’s personality develops over the next year. I can tell which child is taking after which parent, can you?
Simultaneous naps sounds great but don’t count on it. This is what I banked on. This is what I looked forward to. This is when I thought I would relax and maybe get a little work done. About two weeks after L was born, AG STOPPED NAPPING! This was probably the toughest transition for me. Nothing having to do with having another baby. With the loss of this one nap went the little bit of alone time I had throughout the day and maybe a bit of my sanity as well. I had friends tell me to put her in her room with a quiet activity. Didn’t work. She’d scream and cry which resulted in waking the baby, so that was that. Eventually this became easier as we found a routine and some things for her to do that allowed both of us quiet time while L napped.
Get a good baby wrap. This is so important. I made sure to keep AG’s schedule as normal as possible when L was born. This meant library time, trips to the zoo, playdates and Gymboree. The ONLY way I was able to do this was wearing L. I had the solly baby wrap and it was perfect. I wore him for many hours a day, through most of his naps when he was younger.
I knew it was just a season. With it being the second time around, I knew how fast the time went. I knew that the sleepless nights would eventually stop. I knew the days of nursing tucked in the corner of the nursery would one day be long gone. I knew solid foods were on the horizon and one day in the future I’d make my last puree. In the last year, I nursed for the last time, pumped my last bottle and survived a year of little sleep. It was just a season.
I enjoyed it more. With AG I was able to experience all of my firsts. With L I experienced all of my lasts. Knowing how quickly babies grow and change made me savor everything more the second time around. I wasn’t in the fog that being a first time mom brought. I soaked it up, the newborn baby smell, his little wrinkled feet and smirks that turned into smiles. I made sure I took the time to savor in little things and moments. I wasn’t rushing around worrying about cleaning every bit of anything or checking things off the “can my baby do this at this stage list.” I already knew that in time your baby will be able to roll over, sit up, take a few steps. With AG all of that happened early, with L it was a bit later. But I knew it didn’t matter as long as they were healthy and growing.
The mom guilt is still there. You’d think with all I said above, I would learn to let go of the mom guilt. I wish that were the case but I’d be lying if I said yes. I still worried about AG not getting as much attention or feel guilt that I haven’t done as much “mommy school” with L that I did for AG. I also had a lot of guilt about not remembering that AG is just three years old. I would count on her for diapers, wipes, to play peek a boo so I could take a shower and more. I had to and still have to remind myself she’s just a kid and should still be treated like one.
Your older child will adjust in his or her own time. It’s not something you can force, it’s something that will happen. For some kids, sooner than others. I remember bringing L home for the first time and envisioning the moment the AG would see her little brother for the first time. When it actually happened, she was afraid of him. Didn’t want any part of him, we had to bribe her just to get a family picture. For the first few days she didn’t want much to do with him, in time she came around.
The sibling relationship is amazing to witness. Watching these two kids grow together is the best. Their love for each other has really started to show more over the last 6 months. L gives AG hugs and kisses, lays next to her to snuggle and lights up when she enters the room. AG wants to be the first into Luke’s room every morning, loves teaching him new things and talks about him all the time to friends and family. She’s as proud as I am when he accomplishes something new and the first to console him when he’s upset. My heart couldn’t be more full.
Don’t try to do it all. Take the help. Let your friends and family cook you meals. If kids in the neighborhood want to play with big sister, let them. The biggest adjustment for me going from one to two was and still is how little time I had left to actually get things done. Cleaning, cooking, laundry, taking a shower, etc. The time flies with two kids to take care of. Do what you can each day. Let go of the expectation of what you think you should be doing or accomplishing and just survive. My motto is do the best you can with what you have.
Find your tribe. Join a moms group, have friends to call on during those rough times that just get it. Plan playdates where you can share stories and maybe a glass of wine or two. Having people by your side whether near or far is important. Adult conversation is also very important. Being able to vent or share the highlights or send crazy pictures too that you’d never post on social media. Find your tribe, love them hard and let them love on your during this transition.
Overall, there is nothing that can compare to having two kids. Just like there was nothing that can compare to one and I’m sure for those of you with more, the same goes. The love grows, the joy grows and life becomes that much sweeter. I can’t imagine life without my L. Being a mama to my two is the greatest blessing.
One thing I’m grateful for is the amazing moms I’ve met through blogging. Many have been friends since before AG was born. The other night I asked them what the biggest transition was or what they were most surprised about going from one to two. I wish I could share the entire thread with you guys because there were so many comments off of these initial ones that made me smile. Through all of the comments and conversation it was just so obvious that while we all live different lives and our children are different, we’re going through the same things, can relate to each other and are there to encourage for the tough times. Love them all!
Jess- The guilt of little sister needing me and not being able to spend time with big brother because of it. I feel like big brother was constantly pushed off to family members or the iPad in the beginning. Another thing that surprised me was how resilient big brother was. I thought it would be horrible but he instantly wanted to help and be involved. So it was harder and easier than I thought!
Sarah – I know a lot of moms worry about loving a second child as much as a first. I remember reading shortly after my second was born that with multiple children your love is not divided, but multiplied. That has always stuck with me and couldn’t be closer to the truth!
Natasha- how much less time to tackle to-do lists, chores, laundry, etc that i would have… you can’t give the baby over to dad and have some “me time”… it’s one on one coverage!!! and let’s not talk about the fact i would pay money to use the bathroom by myself;)
Laura– Nobody slap me, but… How easy it was! I think we often hear about all the challenges and assume it will difficult. Sure there were minor challenges (so hard getting two kids down for a nap!), but for me the surprise was the ease in which I adjusted.
Laureen– We were blessed with a very smooth transition also, but there were moments of ‘acting out’ from big brother, which was totally out of character for him, so that was hard on me (feeling the guilt, etc., etc.). Everyone said give him 4-6 weeks, it really seemed to clear up right around that time.
Sara– I think I’ve been most surprised by how different two kids from the same people can be! My kids are night and day different and have been since conception, which blows my mind sometimes. While there’s familiarity with mothering the second time around, everything is also very different! What worked for one didn’t necessarily work for the other and I sometimes struggled with teaching myself to doing things differently the second time around.
Vanessa– The first 2 months were the toughest for me because big sister had such a tough transition. I missed my one-on-one time with her and I felt SO guilty about it. But things got waaaay better at the 2 month mark and now they love each other (for the moment anyway ;)) And like others have said, less time for myself. I used to be able to count on a 2.5-3 hour nap from big sister…it’s not so easy to get two on the same perfect schedule.
Desiree- 0-1 was more challenging than 1-2. However, the most difficult part for me is remembering my 4 year-old is just that. Four. Often I think I place too many older expectations on him. Keeping that in mind is sometimes easier said that done for me.
Whitney- This is totally cliche but true, being amazed at how much more love your heart can hold. It reminds me of How the Grinch Stole Christmas where his heart quadruples in size!
Ashley- Agreed with all of these!!! No downtime ever, which is hard, but it has been a shock to how easy it’s been. Most days! 0-1 was by far way more of a change for us.
Tawyna– Definitely the lack of down time/ alone time. I too have found the transition to be not as difficult as I anticipated it to be, I found the newborn stage easier because I knew what to expect.
Jessica– It’s amazing how different my kids are from each other even if you do everything the same. I was amazed at how different breastfeeding was the second time around. My first was so difficult. We saw lactation for 7 weeks and even when he was doing well by their standards I was ready to give up so many times in the next few months. Little sister on the other hand latched on within minutes of being born and didn’t look back. She never took a bottle like her brother did, which was difficult, but until I weaned her in the end of January she was a breastfeeding rockstar.
Julie– I agree with all of these! Especially the “no alone time”. Also….this is silly, but now when I grocery shop with two kids, there’s zero room in my cart for actual groceries! Unless we are at Costco or use the mega cart at Target that’s hard to steer, kids basically take up the entire cart!
Natalie- I totally agree with this! Even with two boys, it’s crazy how different they are. Big brother is so much more sensitive, thoughtful, and quiet than his little brother. He’s more like a tasmanian devil (I mean that in the nicest way possible) at all times. I’m slowly learning that what works for a wild loud crazy child doesn’t always work for a more sensitive quiet child.
Thank you ladies for sharing!!!