You’re thinking you are just getting the motherhood thing down; you’ve started showering again and doing your makeup and hair on a somewhat regular basis. You’re feeling less cow and more woman. Your toddler is napping such nice long chunks of time in the afternoon that you start scheduling at-home coffee dates with friends around rest time. You know when to make meals, clean the house, and take off for your little outings. In fact, you’re getting good at taking your toddler to fun places, and you’re thinking this at-home-mom-thing has its pleasant moments. And then…
Baby #2 arrives
All your motherhood momentum comes to a screeching halt and spirals backwards, sideways and any direction but forwards. While recently having had a newborn gives you a nice edge on caring for your latest addition, all that is lost on juggling a suddenly monstrous and evil toddler who seems to have endless ideas for how to maim your new fragile infant, including, but not limited to, poking its eyes out, sitting on its head, and suffocating it with stuffed animals.
You discover you weren’t prepared to breastfeed while trying to create a “safe-zone” around your infant, give up sleeping for 3 months at minimum, cave in to the chaos of a messy house, and to stay cloistered in that messy house because your kids’ awake times don’t overlap.
Somehow while getting ready for baby #2 you forgot to say sayonara to those evenings when you and your hubby would huddle around your toddler and gush at the cuteness oozing from your little one and a half year old or to say goodbye to those dinners where daddy would take over to give you a break from keeping diced food and a drink on your toddler’s tray.
Now you learn to tag team with your husband, handing off babies, diaper changes, bath times, bed times, playtimes and the all too infrequent quiet times. You learn to wave from across the mega-block strewn room to symbolize that you still like the person you’re married to, at least as far as you can remember you like them.
You weren’t prepared for this. Maybe you didn’t sign up for this. But there were other things you weren’t prepared for either…
You didn’t know your toddler would stare with awe into his sibling’s face for the first time and spontaneously kiss the baby’s pink, scrunched up forehead. You didn’t know that your toddler’s first “I love you” would be bestowed upon a cooing baby instead of yourself – or that you would be thrilled that it wasn’t you who received it. You weren’t ready for your little person to start looking for the baby in the morning as soon as you went to get him out of bed. You didn’t know that your toddler would put his arm around “his” new baby’s shoulders as they watch their cartoon snuggled in the big easy chair. You missed out on envisioning how your toddler would pull out a book and start babbling the story to his sibling in his high pitched toddler voice.
You also didn’t expect to again be completely floored by God’s design as you look into a little face that has hints of you and your husband and yet is so distinct from the first child…And seeing those two little faces side by side makes you feel the Creator’s pride in thinking, this is good.
And while the unexpected events that arrive with baby #2 cause a permanent upheaval of the previous norm that existed, somehow, over time, naps start forming a pattern, double-duty-diapering becomes routine, and playtime no longer requires constant refereeing and intervention. You get a new hairstyle that requires less time and compromise with yourself by considering it success to get on some foundation and mascara. You get naps to sync and scour for time to clean, and find it. You give up on grocery shopping during the week for a while and opt for going on Saturdays when daddy is home and considering it “making time for yourself.” You praise yourself for getting out with the kids by going on little walks down the street to the neighborhood park or taking the kids out in the backyard. And sweet date-nights with your husband take place in your living room over some healthy peanut butter oatmeal balls and an episode of Monk from the library after the tornado of dinner, dishes, baths and 7:30 bedtimes is complete.
Life with two babies is good and somewhat under control again. At least until…
Baby #3 arrives