My trepidation over adding to our family has given way to all-out glee, anticipation and excitement. With only nine days before my due date, I am so looking forward to our little family of four. Two little faces looking back at me from the car. Two baby monitors. Day trips to the zoo and museum in our new DOUBLE stroller. Family vacations. Even the initial introduction of Monkey to Bean. I can’t wait to see her reaction to the baby. I’m expecting her to be thrilled that she’ll have “a real live baby all of her own.” Obviously I’m expecting jealousy too, but I really think she’s going to be excited.
I’m not going to lie, though, back in November and December when we were in the throes of transitioning Monkey to her big-girl bed, I had some SERIOUS doubts about our ability to handle another child. One night I looked over at my husband and said, “What the hell were we thinking!?” I mean, the prospect of feeding two kids every mealtime, wrangling out two nap schedules, getting two kids dressed in the morning and ready for bed at night. EVERY DAY! This year at Thanksgiving a lot of my aunts were asking about how I was feeling and if I was excited. I think my reply was something like, “Um, feeling a little nervous. Maybe even a little insane to think having kids just over 21 months apart was a good idea.” And they all scoffed and said it would be great. And the more people I talked to, the more I heard about how their kids were 15 months apart or 19 months apart. Miraculously, they survived! Still, I wasn’t completely convinced. And it’s no coincidence that I asked for patience for Christmas.
But aside from Christmas Day, which was an absolute nightmare and totally our fault for not sticking with Monkey’s normal routine, things have calmed down. Bedtime is no longer a complete fiasco. In fact, there was even a two-week period where bedtime was total bliss! We would read the stories, I would sing the songs, we would turn out the light, and not a peep. She was sick though, and I knew it wouldn’t last forever, but I appreciated it just the same!! She still has some nights that are better than others, but for the most part, better. We introduced a sticker chart at the beginning of December and she totally gets it! She understands that if she throws all the socks out of her drawer, terrorizes her closet and tosses her stuffed animals over the gate she’s not getting a sticker. And I’m fine with her talking to herself and quietly playing for 40 minutes before she falls asleep. It continues to be a work in progress.
Her tantrums are at a minimum too, and we’ve reduced her propensity to hurl food, cups and silverware during mealtimes. I’m still not sure my grandma has recovered from Thanksgiving Day when Monkey whipped her milk cup behind her head so hard that it landed two tables away squarely in my grandma’s plate of food. Incidentally, we’re also utilizing the sticker chart for mealtime behavior. But honestly, she does what she’s asked 95% of the time, can verbalize almost anything she wants, and is playing independently for longer periods of time. I mean, the kid even likes helping us unload the dishwasher and putting her clothes in her hamper!
I think the fact that she’s finally getting enough sleep at night, and that her language is increasing dramatically every day, has helped cut down on the tantrums. She’s even putting together three-word sentences! “Sing. Cake. Song.” she asked me the other night, indicating she wanted me to sing the lullaby about having cake when you wake. Amazing! And the funniest thing is how hard she tries now to make us laugh. “Monkey. Funny.” she says all the time. And have I mentioned how absolutely cuddly she’s been lately? I am LOVING it. She’s always asking for hugs.
Monkey has been an absolute joy; and while I know full well that her life will be completely disrupted by a new baby, likely resulting in undesirable behavior, I’m thanking God for the window he has given me. In fact, I think God has been listening to my desperate pleas and sent this sense of joyfulness just at the right time as an answer to my prayers. Instead of feeling like I’m going to vomit every time I think about parenting TWO KIDS, now I’m just flat-out excited. I know it’s going to be a struggle to give my attention to two kids, and get two kids in the car every morning, and manage two bedtimes, but those things will eventually become routine. And in the end, these early struggles are such a small price for the reward kids give us. Monkey has shown me that.
What was the hardest thing about adding another child to your family? Please don’t scare me too much! 😉