When our Monster was born, I could also feel the changes that a new baby brought into our lives. Gone were the spontaneous outings, the sleeping in weekends, the going out till morning hours.At the end of the day, besides all the things we gave up, I felt like I had a good handle on this whole parenting thing.
Bring in baby number two. See, here my panic set in. Even though I had already gone through the newborn stage, and Monster was almost three years old when Gremlin was born, I felt my panic sink in. It was like all the past three years of parenting
struggles experience has been completely wiped from my memory and I was feeling like a first time mom.
Besides having a little bundle in our home again, I had to realise that (and tell myself repeatedly) that there were changes coming; some tiny and some large. I wanted to share some of the changes I experienced when we welcomed Gremlin into our world, and I don’t want to say it got easier or harder, but it definitely became more interesting.
I don’t mean the part where you need to schedule your day in such a way that everyone’s needs are met through excellence. I mean the priorities revolving around what you should be doing. Painting your nails? Doing your hair? Nope, having not one, but two kids that both want your undivided attention (and they want it RIGHT NOW) so your priority is to give them your time.
Falling sort of under priorities but wanting to elaborate on it a little more. You become a creative genius, plotting and planning on how to take a proper shower. Proper in the sense of actually remembering to rinse the shampoo out of your hair as you jump out to the calling cries of your kids outside the bathroom door. Baths? Ha. That’s a far away daydream still.
“Free time” is rare
What is free time you ask? I remember days where I could sit for hours, reading a book in peace – only to put it down to go to the bathroom or eat something. Now it takes me about an hour to read four pages because I’m constantly being asked for snacks, cool drinks, checking what mischief the boys are getting up to in the backyard or breaking up one of the 50 fights that occur every day. When people ask me why I go to bed late, this is why. The only time I really have proper peace. I want to say the bags under my eyes are worth a good book!
Waking up early
Bringing me to down to earth and making staying up late a bad idea. Since Gremlin’s birth, I haven’t had a chance to sleep past 04:00. Only the times that both boys stayed over at their grans, did I manage to sleep until 07:00 at least. Those three hours came a huge difference. Believe me.
I know there are moms out there who manage to have an amazing work out schedule while balancing four kids under the age of 10 with no hassles, but I struggle to stay in routine with just two. I would like to blame it on being tired and occupied with other things, but I think it’s more to do with procrastination at this point in time.
Everywhere becomes a nappy changing station
We’ve never owned a nappy changing station, as we stuck to the old tradition of using our bed for that. There was always a changing mat laid down and careful care applied to keeping any poop off our blankets. No, that doesn’t mean that because we now have two kids, I don’t worry about where poop might land. I just don’t really worry about where I change nappies anymore. On the couch. On the bed. I even changed Gremlin’s nappy once in the backyard. On the grass. With no changing mat. Living life on the wild side.
The attention giving guilt
So first you had to only give all your attention to one child. Easy. Now you have two, and both want your attention. All to themselves – all the time. I’ve sometimes wondered how I could pull off having two of me, one for each kiddo. Supplying into the demand. How easy our lives would be, right? Of course, this isn’t a possibility, and you have to live with the jealousy, screaming, crying and the guilt of not being able to give your kids the same amount of attention, at the same time. All the time.
Diaper bag doubles
With Monster, I decided it would be easier to pack all my essentials into his diaper bag so I would have one less thing to carry around. Enter a newborn and all the supplies you need to carry with for their needs and you’re looking at two separate bags for each kid. I had to choose weight over quantity, so I opted for a bigger diaper bag, and ended packing all the boys’ things in it as well as my own stuff. Did I sometimes struggle with some back pains? Yep, I did. Battle scars.
Getting to places takes longer
Oh how I miss being only responsible for dressing myself. Now we have the double trouble of dressing two energy-filled boys, boys that hate getting dressed and run away when they see clothes being taken out of the cupboard. So four people in our home, to get ready
in peace and quiet is like being on a battlefield. We’ve learned to get up a little earlier or start getting ourselves ready first and then taking on the task of getting the boys ready. Oh yes, and don’t forget making sure juices are packed in their bags, as well as diapers, extra cloths, cars, marbles and leaves. We’re hardly ever late, but it does take a lot longer reaching our destinations.
There’s always laundry
I mean I know there was laundry before; Monster playing in mud or water and having a husband that coaches rugby (then add a small pile for myself) but I forgot about newborn laundry. Poop explosions that creep up on their bags or escape down their legs. Milk stains. Reflux. All the small things in the world that make you realise you’re definitely a mom and this is all part of it.
Germs? What germs?
I was extremely conscious about sterilising everything that came near Monster’s hands and mouth. If his pacifier fell, I would snatch it up, run to the nearest tap, vigorously wash it and then contemplate giving it back to him.Funny how this obsessive behavior fell away when Gremlin stepped into the picture. If his pacifier fell on the ground, I would brush it off against my shirt and pop it right back in his mouth. To think I drove myself crazy for almost a year, how much sanity I could have saved myself if I had tried to relax a little.
There are plenty of things that change when you have two kids. Some days are tough, and I wonder how I got here, but almost all days, I replay all the moments we share with them and realise how truly lucky we are to be the parents of the best two boys in the world.
So yes, having two kids can be challenging but it still makes life so much more interesting.
What are some of the changes you experienced when one kid became two?