No matter how well you’ve prepared for certain big things in life, you can never be fully prepared. Whether you’re surrounded by well-wishers offering advice or totally alone on an island, there will be things you just didn’t predict until the big event happens.
I had some idea of what welcoming baby #2 into our lives would be like. The majority of my mommy friends have more than one kiddo, and I picked their brains (to the point of annoyance, I’m sure!) over the last months of my latest pregnancy.
Yet there were some things no one told me about adding a second kid to the mix. For those of you on this journey yourself, I’m telling you now.
5. The love more than doubles
I was so, so, SO afraid I wouldn’t be able to love another child like I love our first. That insatiable, mama-bear, all-encompassing love they talk about? Yeah. I had it. Bad. I didn’t have it immediately when he was born, but in the weeks and months that followed, I was surprised by the growing depth of my attachment to this tiny person I barely knew. I loved him.
How could I ever love a second child that much?
Then Wilson was born and bam. Not just double the love, but exponentially more love. Why? Because not only do my husband and I love him, but his brother loves him, too! And he loves his brother! There are more love-bonds to go around now, with another human in the house.
“I think I want eight,” I told my husband the other night, snuggled up with both boys. His eyes filled with terror.
“I’m kidding,” I quickly corrected. “Mostly.”
4. The kids will sometimes entertain each other
I get a shower most mornings because our three-year-old and our almost-two-month-old are entertaining each other. The tiny one is in his chair or his swing while the bigger one makes silly faces, sings songs, or even “reads” books (Then the Cat in the Hat said, ‘What do you want for breakfast? Goldfish and toast?’) to him. It feels like a miracle every time.
We’re probably ten years away from our bigger boy babysitting our smaller one, but if I can take a shower with the door open and everyone’s still alive four minutes later? WIN.
3. The work more than doubles
I have never needed a third arm or a sister-wife so badly. When our preschooler wants to be held but our newborn needs to nurse. When I’m trying to lug a recalcitrant three-year-old, a bucket car seat, a diaper bag, a preschool snack bag, my purse, and my sanity to the car and we’re running late. When there are now sippy cups and bottles to wash. When one kiddo uses over a dozen diapers a day and the other is still in night diapers.
I feel like I don’t stop moving from the time I wake up until the time I fall into bed for a few hours of sleep and house is still a wreck.
When one kid sleeps, the other is almost always awake. During the first six weeks of our youngest’s life, this applied during the midnight hours as well.
2. The work is halved
Can it truly be doubled and halved? Stick with me here. Some of it doubles, but there are things that you do for one kid that are no more trouble to do for a second, too.
We’re already headed to the pediatrician for one kiddo, so let’s tack on a checkup for the other. They both need fresh air, so we got a double stroller. Once both car seats are locked and loaded, the trip is no more effort at all.
And then there’s that delightful entertainment factor (see #4).
1. You’ll envision a whole new future
I used to think about what life would be like with our firstborn in ten or twenty years. Where would he be? What would he be like?
Now I get to picture that future with both boys and imagine not only the relationships that my husband and I will have with each of them but the one they’ll have with each other.
I have two sisters and since growing up (two and a half decades ago my maternal grandparents affectionately christened us “The Bicker Sisters” because of our constant arguing) we have been super close. I call them for advice, to vent, to chat, to be encouraged. I visit them across the country whenever I can and they visit me.
What a gift siblings have in each other! My heart feels like it will explode when I think of our two littles thirty years from now calling each other on the phone and saying, “What on earth are we going to do about mom? Do you know she just bought a pony?”
What a treasure to have a brother who grew up in the same house, knew the same eccentric parents, can reminisce about childhood and brainstorm the way to adulthood.
If I knew having a second baby would be so sweet, I would have done it much sooner. No, that’s a lie. Most days I’m so tired I can’t form a sentence by 8pm… But as our youngest finds his sleep rhythms, I’m finding the joy. And it is deep.