Rollercoaster

I feel like I’ve been involved in a lot of conversations recently about choosing – or not choosing – to have a second child. On the one hand, first babies are a big deal and nothing changes your life more than having one. Going from childless to being parent may be the biggest adjustment a person can make. I mean, it’s not like you get to try dating a bunch of babies to find the right one or do a trial run by living together first before you decide to make it permanent. Even if you stole rented borrowed a baby from someone else it’s totally different when you know they’re yours to keep. You gotta make sure you don’t screw those suckers up because you’re the one who’s going to be dealing with the aftermath for the next 60+ years.

So in the grand scheme of things, adding another baby shouldn’t be such a big deal. You’ve already got the stuff. You’ve got a little hands-on experience. You’ve figured out what works for you and what doesn’t. And yet somehow adding 1 new baby to 1 toddler-sized baby = 5x as much laundry. 5x as much crying. 5x as many sleepless nights. 5x as many bad days. It takes 5x as much time to leave the house or take a shower or make dinner. Things you really enjoyed with one baby – like grocery shopping – are suddenly impossible. With a toddler in the seat, where does the baby go?! Do you take them out of the bucket and wear them? Even if they’re sleeping at it’s 4 degrees outside and it means standing next to the car shoving them into the Moby while the toddler screeches? Do you put the bucket in the cart and only buy as many groceries as you can fit around them and then face the wrath of the bagger at checkout? (So far, my solution is to only shop when I can take one kid – or no kids – but that’s not going to last forever.)

Of course, you also get 5x as much love, which totally makes up for that other stuff. Most days.

You get to see how big and smart and grown up your older baby is and you can’t believe it. All those milestones that you breezed by months ago are suddenly seem new again – the walking, the talking, the feeding himself. The presence of a brand new baby lump makes everything a toddler does so much MORE. More fun, more amazing, more exciting, more louder (I know it’s not a word, but it is MORE LOUDER).  He’s not a baby anymore and yet he is YOUR baby and you want him to stay small and grow up all at the same time because the growing is so much fun to watch and experience but how can you stand the thought that one day he won’t need you at all??

Then there’s the baby, the teeny tiny fresh baked baby to nurse and change and rock and nurse and change and rock again. There are no socks on the planet tiny and stretchy enough to stay on her feet. She doesn’t smile at you or laugh at you yet but she sleeps best tucked into your armpit and the warmth of her body is practically the same as hearing her say “I love you mama”. You get to look forward to all the milestones again and you can’t wait for them to get here but you also want her to stay a tiny lump forever because all the growing is just too much for your heart to handle and maybe too much for your body to handle too. What happens when they can BOTH run away?

Because now she’s crying from the bedroom and you have shampoo in your hair and the toddler just pulled off his diaper and the washing machine is buzzing and you forgot to buy milk and oh no does that mean you HAVE to take them both to the grocery store? Hurry hurry better get going no time to slow down grab some breakfast throw some peanut butter at the toddler and oh crap the baby needs to be fed.

So you sit down and relax and snuggle the little baby and start to enjoy the moment. Then the bigger baby wiggles up next to you and lays his head on your shoulder and sighs and your heart EXPLODES into a million zillion pieces you stop wondering how you’re going to handle two babies and wonder instead how you ever lived without them.

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52 Responses to “Rollercoaster”

  1. Joanna says:

    I LOVE THIS. gave me goosebumps.

  2. Jess says:

    Gorgeous. Must go and kiss my babies now. And talk my husband into having another one.

  3. Anne says:

    Thank you for this. Thank you so much. I will be there in a couple of months. I’m scared and excited. Mostly excited, because I won’t be pregnant anymore. I hate being pregnant. But I know there will be a whole new fun set of problems.

    I was hangin’ out with my toddler in the bathtub last night and I thought “Oh boy once this guy is no longer a toddler, I’ll have ANOTHER toddler! Yay!” Then he decided to spit out his milk all over the bed. Yay.

  4. Audrey says:

    I’m pretty sure that, for me at least, 2 babies has been waaaaaaay harder than when it was just 1. Oh my lord is it harder. I get less sleep, less relaxation time, less silence, and I can’t get anything done because if she’s sleeping I have to run around after him to keep him quiet (which means not standing next to her shrieking because he can). When Ev was a baby I painted his nursery in 1 day. I can’t even get the laundry done in 1 day now. And we’re still talking about having a third… o.O

  5. Mom D says:

    AS for getting groceries – put toddler in seat, baby in cart bottom in carrier and pull second cart behind you for the groceries. It makes you very coordinated:)

    After 4 – oldest pushed second in stroller (with schoelace through beltloop and other end in my hand), third in seat, fourth in basket in carrier – second cart pulled behind. It is amazing what you can do when it is necessary.

    I miss those days, even though they were hard at the time.

  6. ryan says:

    Be still my broken heart…

  7. Mama Fisch says:

    I needed to hear this… that is all!

  8. Kim says:

    I am totally crying :) damn hormones and snuggly babies!

  9. molly says:

    Um, yep. Some days are hard. Really really hard. But oh, the love. The love from two babies. Double the hopes and dreams and hugs and kisses. The good days are worth the hard days.

  10. andrea says:

    Having a baby for the very first time and having a second baby are both extremely difficult in different ways. Before you have kids, you don’t think having one is such a big deal… I mean, moms who say they don’t have time ti shower are clearly just being dramatic. And then BOOM!! You have one and you realize that figuring out when to shower is tough. And then you think that having another one can’t be that bad. I mean, you have one already, you KNOW what to expect. But you don’t. Thanks for shaking me a bit. Love your posts as always :)

  11. Barbra says:

    Just beautiful.

  12. Awww, that was my favorite post ever! :)

  13. Shari says:

    Best. Post. EVER.

    :)

  14. Meg says:

    Aww, I got tears in my eyes reading this! And I’m not even a parent, unless you count two cats. Lovely post, Suzanne, one of your best ever.

  15. cakeburnette says:

    I read (or heard) somewhere that going from no babies to a household with one baby is actually easier than going from one baby to two. Additionally, the addition of subsequent babies is SIGNIFICANTLY easier than either of the other scenarios. I don’t have any concrete evidence/statistics to back that up, but I will say that it was true in our case. However, we stopped at 2, so I have no idea if the 2nd thing is true or not.

    And I second the person who said get a babysitter once a week for shopping. I so did that if my husband was TDY or deployed until they were old enough for them to go to preschool a couple of days a week. (My two are 15 months apart so I totally know what you are going through.)

    • Meaghann says:

      I would not say that going from 2-3 is any less challenging. It poses just and many if not more logical challenges. My first two are almost 19 months apart, and my third is 15 months apart from the middle one. Life can be super crazy, some days I look back at life with two and think how easy it was and easier than that life with one.

  16. Susan says:

    And later in life (like at my age) you have one getting married and the youngest off at college and you can’t remember anything but the good times (ok, you can remember some things that aren’t so fun, but you tend to laugh when you think of them). Now I’d give anything to have time alone with them.

  17. Krista says:

    Well done, you scared me and excited me all in one post. Not an easy accomplishment.

  18. Robyn says:

    maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones, but you totally made me cry at work. loved this post <3

  19. Jenn Smith says:

    Suzanne, You have done it again, you have me crying and missing the time when my guys were little. My oldest is 18 and ready to graduate & get married (Sept 14, 2013), and I really miss the days when he was my little man and “helping” me with his younger brothers. You really know how to capture the true feeling of how it is to be a mom. Oh and by the way, I can remember going to the grocery store with 4 under 6. Now that is fun in a chaotic way.LOL

    • Jenn Smith says:

      I have often pulled 2 carts through the grocery store, when they were little one cart was full of kids and the other was full of groceries. Now I am still pulling 2 carts through the grocery, only with 4 teenage boys they are both filled with groceries. Though now I can take either the hubby or a kid with me to push the other cart. LOL

  20. LCW says:

    I have been dreaming and imaging life with two babies, and I needed this post. I needed every word of it. thank you

  21. Nicole says:

    Older kid in the race car, baby in the bucket up front. Those things are hell to steer, but there’s space. The only problem is that you usually can’t take them to the parking lot. When I was a kid, the bagger would walk you out to your car and put the groceries in the back while your long-suffering mother buckled the younglings into the seats. All four of them. Those were days. I’m still grateful for stores with baggers. Hmph.

  22. Carrie says:

    At first you totally scared me about having a second child… but then you made my uterus ache and I want another one NOW.

  23. Amanda says:

    Oh I hope I can handle this as wonderfully as you are. I can’t wait to be able to snuggle up with my two loves together!

  24. Laura says:

    So beautifully written. Makes me look forward to baby #2 coming some day :)

  25. I waited six years, so my scenario was much different, but the emotions are still the same. It’s hard, there is no arguing that, but it gets easier. I promise, you’ll be an old pro soon…XOXO

  26. Natalie says:

    I always say that Olivia made me a mom, but Sophia made me a BETTER mom. Her birth gave me confidence and a calmness that I never knew possible in myself.

    Ahhh, groceries. You’re read my theory, but I used to put Soph in the sling and Liv in the cart, or I waited until Bill was home and we all went together & pushed two carts or I went by myself. These days, I wait until Olivia is at preschool and it is something Sophia and I do together. When that doesn’t work, Olivia pushes the cart and Sophia sits. You’ll figure out what works for you.

    I’ve never tried two carts by myself. I’m just not that damn coordinated.

  27. GREAT! Now I feel as though I need baby number two right this very second. I’m really scared to have a second child for some reason but, reading this eased my mind a little bit.
    xooxo

  28. Helen says:

    srsly…I am completely teared up right now

  29. Londonmum says:

    wowsers, i started to read this post and very nearly changed my mind. Wasn’t sure with baby number 2 already on the way that I wanted to read how hard it is. (i think my imagination is handling that job quite well). However, you totally turned it round and made me more glad than ever that we are going to have 2. So lucky to have all that love. thank you x

  30. You just made my heart so calm as I’m watching my sleeping 9mo on her monitor and watching my growing belly with a teeny little babe in it. Wow. I’m so lucky to be a part of these little lives.

  31. Jennie says:

    Beautifully put. Not glamorized, played down, or exaggerated- just the TRUTH! I can tell you from experience, that none to one, was an adjustment; but mostly I was just tired from no sleep. One to two (even with my ridiculously easy Isabelle- I am paying for that one now) was enough to make me swear off sex FOREVER! Two to three, I barely blinked. I think there were two or three rough days where I thought “OMG what I am thinking- someone, please, GET-ME-OUT-OF-HERE!!!!” And now, I can’t imagine life without a single one of them, even on the worst of days.

    As for grocery shopping. For now, park the car seat sideways on the cart. (I know, sounds scary but it works in MOST carts. As long as the basket doesn’t sit on a decline, she should snap in. At least my seat did.) Then you can pile essentials (about 2 days) worth of food under and around the car seat. I did it like this until Isabelle was about 5 months and old enough to sit in the seat with blankets holding her up on either side. Then we transitioned to Isaiah sitting with the groceries, and Isabelle in the seat. I also would wear Isabelle and Isaiah rode- but right now at 11* outside, wearing isn’t practical.

    Hugs!

  32. Kendra says:

    This is BEAUTIFUL… just beautiful. Thank you for writing it.

  33. Kali says:

    So so so so sooo true. I have told all of my friends that going from 0 to 1 was wayyyy easier than 1 to 2 for me. I just blogged about 2 sick kids, which basically says what you do. My little one is now 5 months and I STILL feel like I am going to go insane many days.. ahhh!

  34. I love, love, love this. So beautiful. So true. You are amazing. Thank you for making me feel not at all alone on this first day of my SAHM of 2 “job.” I read this at Chick Fil A as Kendall played in the play area and Leyna napped in her infant seat next to me. I had one hell of a time getting them both there, but for a brief moment, I got to enjoy both of them, in all their big and littleness, and then I pull this up on my phone and I cried.

  35. Laura says:

    That is awesome. I’m reposting thankyouverymuch.

  36. JJ Keith says:

    When I first looked at your twitter bio I thought, “Wow, that lady had kids really close together” and then I realized that your kids are EXACTLY as far apart as my own, so that, um, should clue you into the number having “two under two” (GAWD I’m tired of that phrase) has done on my brain power.

    And yes, because I’m also the first of my mom friends to go in for a second round I’ve had a lot of conversations about choosing or not choosing to have a second child. In fact, my local MOMS Club chapter asked me to write in the newsletter about it. It was a couple of weeks ago and I pulled something decent together, but now I’m wishing I could just plagiarize your blog instead. I apologize for word lusting in my heart (that’s my attempt at making a Jimmy Carter reference, see above about my brain power), but this is much better than what I wrote. All of it is so true, so eloquent, so warm. I melt when my beastly little toddler snuggles up to her little brother and gives him big wet kisses all over his leetle behbeh face. It almost makes up for my total inability to think.

  37. Nanette says:

    Beautiful. Congrats on your family, mama.

  38. Such a nice post :) We are currently TTC #2 (we have a 2 1/2yo son) and we’ve been going back and forth and back and forth about the good and the bad things about having two. Ultimately, we decided we want our son to have a sibling, and a year or so of feeling really off-kilter with two kids instead of one is totally worth being able to give him that.

  39. michgal18 says:

    44 comments?!? Good one…I loved this post. :-)

  40. Bryce says:

    It is like you took the words right out of my head on this one! I couldn’t agree more :)

  41. Meaghann says:

    well said, but then try anding a third one and all that you struggled with 2 seems like cake but what do you do with three I have three under three) Life is crazy. Enjoyed the reading your post.

  42. Jen says:

    New reader here :) And this is EXACTLY it. I had my second in September (and my oldest is turning four in March) so… YEAH. You are so right on. Especially the grocery shopping thing. I’m attempting it today, in the snow, with both of them for the first time. I’m skeeeered. heh

    Great post, I’ll be coming back :)

  43. Jenni says:

    This was beautiful! I have a two year old and I am so terrified and also so wanting a second baby. This scares me and fills me with warm fuzzies all over.

  44. Jacqie says:

    Well said, mama! <3

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