When 1 + 1 = Way More Than I Expected
Parenting two small children has made me realize what a wuss I am at this gig!
I knew when I got pregnant with my second child that there would be a huge adjustment to parenting. I was grateful that we’d have four years between our girls, making our oldest more able to do things for herself, but I also understood some parenting lifestyle tweaks were bound to happen. Now, as my youngest is 6 weeks old and the oldest is 4 years and 2 months, I’ve realized what a wuss I’ve become at parenting two small children.
Having a baby in December meant that my husband would get to be at home most of the month from paternity leave plus holidays. With Olive being born nine days late on December 11th, he only had to work one day between that time and the New Year. And on that day, I invited my mom to come over. How was I going to have time for my oldest when my newborn was super into cluster feeding, pooping and preferring to sleep on me? See, wuss status!
After the New Year when my husband finally had to go back to work, I stayed home a lot with the two girls. I felt bad for my oldest and did my best to occupy her, but I was super scared about going out in public with two kids. This was especially stressful since a newborn eats at will and since I’m breastfeeding her exclusively. I couldn’t imagine having to sit down while out and about for 30-45 minutes to feed Baby AND entertain or keep an eye on Big Sister.
So… I’d invite my mom over. A lot. And when I began venturing out into public with the two girls, I’d also invite her to tag along. I felt better that big sis Abby was getting some much-needed attention and I could relax about caring for the needs of two girls.
Having to take both girls out by myself can get pretty bad, but what makes it more complicated is the fact that Olive hates the car seat. Car rides have been hard, as I’ve almost been in tears hearing her blood curdling cries. But we’ve gotten a handle on dealing with the situation, even though it’s still not perfect. Once I even decided to take them both out for a couple hours to Costco. Good thing I also asked my mom to join us.
At first, Olive did great as I wore her in the Baby K’Tan. She slept soundly. But when it was time to get some lunch (a slice of pizza for Abby that she was looking forward to so much), Olive got fussy and needed to eat, even though I thought we had another hour before I’d need to feed her. I didn’t have my nursing cover and it was super busy, so I decided to take her to the car and nurse her there. If my mom weren’t there, I would have had to take Abby with me and keep her from getting her prized giant pizza slice.
The situation reminded me of someone I know through social media who has a newborn daughter as well, along with two older boys. She once posted a picture on Instagram, talking about how she took all three of them to Costco and had to stop shopping to breastfeed her daughter. She got through it, and with one more kid than me. This is when I fully realized my parenting-of-two-kids wuss status and knew I needed to buck up.
Since then, I’d taken both girls out by myself. And it was hard. On our quick trip to the grocery store to pick up some milk, Olive (of course) didn’t want to stay in the car seat and began crying. I forgot my baby wearing apparatus at home. So there I was pushing a cart with one hand, cradling a newborn in the other, and trying to get Big Sister to please, pretty please, don’t let go of the cart! Another time we ventured to Target. The first 10 minutes went very well, until Olive was crying (Even wearing her didn’t quell her tears). I tried my best to not look into the eyes of all those people staring at me as I quickly checked out. They were eyes of sympathy, not horror at my screaming newborn, yet I knew if I acknowledged them, I might start crying.
My saving grace for these two occurrences was that Abby was a dream. She listened well and didn’t freak out that the moment I got her out of the house, we quickly had to get back in the car and go home. She’s really amazing, especially as I know it’s still an adjustment period for our family and sometimes it’s extra hard on her.
I know the sentiment of, “This too shall pass,” needs to be solidified in my head. I can’t be afraid of parenting two kids forever. And I know once Olive is out of the newborn stage, it will get easier. So for right now, I’m doing my best, and I’m trying to stop being such a wuss. In fact, yesterday and today I took both girls out for a walk. Yesterday was awesome, but today when Olive wasn’t crying, Abby was (She fell and scraped her knee). I just went with it, though. We did our best. Successes will happen and struggles too in this parenting-more-than-one-kid gig. Let’s see how Friday goes as I’m planning on solo-tripping to the library for story time. Fingers crossed!
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