Tuesday, February 25, 2014
The transition to two has been...interesting. It's a lot easier than I thought it would be overall. But I need to justify that remark: Emmeline is a very easy baby (how much wood can I knock on here? all of it. I knock on all of it)*. She rarely cries unless she's hungry or hurt ("Carys! Please do not try to bounce the baby's head!"), she's generally easily soothed when she is crying, and she goes to sleep very easily.** She's happy to be put in her swing with her paci and watch the mobile. So she's an incredibly easy baby thus far and I'm incredibly, incredibly lucky, especially since Carys was also easy. I'm totally due a difficult baby now so I probably shouldn't chance a third kid.***
*Please don't hate me. Maybe it's just karma giving me a pass since our first pregnancy was so hard? Or the baby stork knew I needed an easy baby since I'm alone with both of them 9am to 10pm during the week and eight hours each weekend day (I completely know that's nothing compared to military wives and single moms)? Maybe it's just luck? Maybe it will all change tomorrow. Who knows what will happen with these tiny unpredictable beings? A sleep regression might hit and it'll be all WHOA KID HERE HAVE SOME NYQUILL and I'll be hiding in a closet.
** Carys went to sleep easily for the first few months, then totally disintegrated and needed to be rocked/nursed to sleep for ages and ages, so I don't expect this to to continue.
***I say "I" because Chris has said I'm welcome to a third kid but he won't be the one providing the other half of the DNA. We'll talk again in a year or so. ;)
With Emmeline being so easy, I can absolutely say that Carys has been the more difficult kid of the two. But if I'm trying to make you hate me even more, I'll be honest and say our "difficult" toddler is really not that difficult. She's a pretty easy toddler and a good kid (where'd that wood go?). Lucky as heck again. However, Carys is not yet three, and I hear from virtually everyone that it shouldn't be the terrible twos but rather the super-horrible-awful-where's-the-wine terrible threes. I am not looking forward to that. I am hoping that her cuteness picks up just enough to offset any wretchedness that occurs (although let's be real - have you SEEN her lately? I don't think she can get any cuter). This all means that this "easiness" could come crashing down at any moment, and you'll find me crying in a corner.
So overall I've been lucky, and have had only a couple times thus far where both kids were crying or needed me, and have been able to keep myself fairly sane. Or at least not any more insane than usual. Two kids has been easy since Emmy lets me put her in the swing to take care of Carys, and it's been easy because they generally nap and go to bed at the same time, which allows me to nap (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) or catch up on housework. HA. I wrote that but it never actually happens. It allows me to nap. Or jump on Facebook. Or edit pictures. But rarely do I use it to catch up on housework, which explains a lot [looks around at messy house]. It's been easy because Carys (usually) loves her little sister and because Carys is old enough to do many, many things on her own - get her own water, go potty, clean up, get her preferred toys out. It's been easy because Carys is also old enough to help out with the baby. She's not babysitting or changing diapers, but she can grab me a burp cloth or a diaper when needed. I give the girls baths at the same time and they go down for the night around the same time and they usually nap at the same time as well. Also, she potty trained before the baby arrived, so I only have to deal with one in diapers during the day (though Carys is still in diapers overnight). Carys plays really well independently, so when I need to nurse Emmeline, she's happy to play with her playdough or do stickers or stamps. And, as I said earlier, Emmeline is an easy baby who doesn't demand my complete attention. This is all pure luck, not some parenting coup. I'm not that great of a parent, but I do have great kids. Makes my job easier. Thanks, girls!
However. It's not ALL a piece of cake. Some things are hard.
What is hard is finding space for all the shit that accompanies two kids with completely different sets of gear. So. much. shit. SO MUCH. The swing. The bouncer. The bathtub. The Boppy. It all takes up so. much. room. I cannot walk a foot without tripping on some sort of kid paraphernalia.
What is hard is trying to find time to take a shower because you have to do it when they're both sleeping (because who knows when the big one will decide to try to pick up the baby and give her a bath or something) and when they're both sleeping all you want to do is sleep.
What's hard is getting up the motivation to do quick errands, because it takes longer to get both kids packed up and in and out of the car than it does to run the errand. Truthfully, the IDEA of going out with both of them is much more daunting than the actual going out. Usually, once I'm out, I think it's easy. But the idea of doing it? HARD.
What is hard is keeping up with the insane amounts of laundry that another tiny person adds to the mix (it's enough that I was tempted to not cloth diaper, but our neighbors gifted us a pack of size one diapers and after using them here and there, mostly out and about, it reminded me of why I hate them and love cloth). But seriously. Emmeline is like 10 pounds. How did she quadruple the amount of laundry I have to do?
What is hard is finding a baby-sitter you trust with two kids, one of them being a super active crazy toddler and one of them being a delicate baby. It can be hard enough parenting them on your own, and you do it 24/7 - how can you trust someone else to do it? Also, who is crazy enough to want to do it? How do people with four or six kids ever find a sitter?
What is hard is feeling like you're constantly ignoring one kid for the other - feeling like you're constantly putting the baby down to focus on the big kid (since the big kid will remember all those times you say no, so you want to say yes as often as possible) but at the same time feeling like you're constantly rejecting the big kid to focus on the baby (since the big kid can do so much for herself and the baby is helpless). It's hard feeling like you're not completely present for either of them. And having to say "not now" to a child who is looking at you with big eyes and asking you to "pwease!" put the baby in the swing so you can play playdough with them - the first time that happens, you just might cry.
What's also hard is feeling guilty that you don't have the one-on-one time with the baby that you were able to give the big kid - that the baby will never be the only one and never know what it's like to have all the attention for two years in a row. What's hard is at the same time feeling guilty that you don't have the one-on-one time with the big kid that she was used to for the first few years of her life.
What is hard is rarely having yourself to, well, yourself. I'm lucky, like I said, and I actually get some time during the day and evening to myself when they are sleeping concurrently...usually. However, on days when Carys rejects her nap and is awake all day, I usually get to a point where I. want. to HIDE. Five minutes to shower, PLEASE. I'll even take two minutes to go pee by myself without someone needing me. On the days when they both don't nap, it's 12+ hours of constantly. being. needed. And touched. And serving two little dictators with no regard to yourself. With no break. Really, it's hard enough to go all day like that WITH a nap and an hour to yourself. On days without that hour break, it's just really, really hard.
What's hard is trying to balance the number of pictures on Instagram. If you post one of the baby, you'd better post one of the big kid lest someone think that you don't love the big kid just as much. Same goes with trying to keep equal kisses and hugs and cuddles and eventually, I assume, toys and timeouts. This one was mostly a joke. Except have you ever tried taking a picture of a two-year-old who doesn't want her picture taken? So it actually IS hard. In fact, I was so worried about making sure I was posting pictures of the hard kid to photograph (Carys) that I realized I hadn't posted any pictures of the easy kid (Emmy) in like a week. Overcompensate, much?
What's hard is trying to convince the big kid is that a baby actually IS delicate, and while you know she wants to carry the baby across the tile floor herself, it just isn't a good idea, and that you'll do it, but thanks for the offer.
What's hard is getting the fingernail polish out of the carpet that spilled when you were giving the baby her second bath of the day and the big kid was supposed to be napping but woke up and silently got into your bathroom cabinets and painted her own nails. Well, painted her own nails with whatever was left after she spilled the majority of it on the carpet.
The answer to that last one?
Also, thank god for naps. Please don't stop napping til kindergarten, Carys.