Goodness! There are so many joys about having two kiddos. My favorite is watching them as they start to interact more and more. HD & RL pretty much just have to make eye contact these days and one or the other or both start laughing. This is both wonderful and a bit terrifying. What they will conspire when she starts walking and talking, I can only imagine!
But, Goodness! There are some major challenges to having two kiddos as well. Except, it it’s not even the challenges that I’m thinking about. It’s the fact that there were some things that I was just sooooo much better at as a mom when I just had one tiny tot in my care.
For one, I was better about keeping a schedule for the babe. By the age Raegan is now, Harrison was on a regular nap schedule, even if he was never a great napper in the sense that he never slept as long as I would have liked (or as long as other kids). This schedule continued and was upheld as Law until, well, Baby No. 2 arrived! Now it seems that I can hardly keep either child on a regular schedule. I mean, we still eat meals at regular, normal times, but that is about it. Naps are hit and miss and the rest of most days comes at us at will. I’ve gone from one extreme to the other, I guess!
Another thing I was WAY better at before was reading to my children. I can’t believe this has happened because books are such a huge priority in my life, but dang, if it isn’t hard to squeeze that in. Between meals and feedings and nap attempts and diaper changes and play time, it seems that our many books are collecting a bit of dust on the shelves. I still try to read the fun, energetic books to the kids throughout the day when I can, but really, reading anything to Raegan is a handful. I mean that literally. She is so stinkin’ grabby that trying to hold her and a book while keeping her from attacking the book requires more arms than I have. (Side note: more arms. That is what every mother really needs!) She wants to hold it. She wants to eat it. She wants to toss it. She doesn’t so much want to listen to it!
Now I haven’t completely failed my children in terms of literary exposure; Harrison, of course, still gets his handful of books read to him before bed. But you see, that was part of his routine…before every nap and before bed each night, we read to him. So Miss Raegan is behind on books because, up until recently there has been no routine. I’ve just been nursing her to sleep, so there was never time for a book before lights out, or at least I never tried to read a book to her while nursing. (Again – more arms, please!)
Which leads me to the third thing that I rocked last time and am sort of sucking at this time, except, maybe it is item 2.5 because it seems to be a combination of the two points from above: establishing a nap routine. Early on we set up our diaper, books, lights out, song, go in the crib, go to sleep routine for Harrison. We followed it during the day and at night. Religiously. I honestly think that part of the problem in recent months (as baby came, and his bed changed, and the move happened, and track started) has been that his routine got a bit of a shake up as well. We haven’t gone back to a tried and true always the same every time sort of thing and I think he (we) is (are) feeling the effects of that. But yeah, with Raegan and the whole nursing to sleep debacle, there has been nothing beyond the boob to cue her that it is time to sleep. PROBLEM! While I have enjoyed the extra snuggle time in the rocking chair with her, it became apparent a few weeks ago that this had to change.
So, ever so slowly, we have started establishing a pre-sleep routine for Little Girl. Wowzers, it has not been easy and she doesn’t seem to care for it, but I keep telling myself that we will get there and eventually this will work. At this point, it feels like she might take another six months to figure it out, but so be it. In six months, I’ll be doing a happy dance because I no longer have to rock/walk/wiggle/sing her to sleep!
Now, let’s not crawl in the cave too much here…of course there are things that I am way better at now that I have two kids. Carrying a diaper bag (or two), my bottle of water, the loaded car seat, HD’s sippy cup, and the van keys, all while holding a toddler’s hand? I’ve got that DOWN. Allowing my children to occupy themselves instead of hovering over every single second of the day? Yep, I’m mastering that as well. Loving both children to the moon and back (even on the days when I’d like to send them to moon)? No problem!