When I began telling friends that I was pregnant with my second child, it quickly became clear to me that there were two schools of thought on parenting two.
One group cautioned that two children were so much harder than one. These parents talked about how their hands were constantly occupied with one or the other, how it was impossible to get two children to nap at the same time, and how the kids seemed always to tag team. It was a rare moment when both kids were happy. For these people, the bottom line was this: two kids are more than twice as hard.
The other camp offered a different take. They noted that the major life shifts that happen when you go from being child-free to becoming a parent have already happened. You're used to not having a life, or at least the life you once had -- by which I mean the life that involved more adult beverages and fewer discussions of poop. You already know most of the rules, so the anxiety of caring for a child is lower. There's even a chance that the two will play nicely together, at least some of the time, at which point it could even be easier.
This may be a bit premature, given that my second child is only two months old, but right now I'd put myself squarely in the second camp. My first baby rocked my world. I went from working during the day and spending my evenings in leisure to round-the-clock care of a little person who depended on me for everything. It was maddening to find myself suddenly governed by a tiny dictator whose demands were constant and mildly irrational.
When my second child joined us, I'd gotten over all of that. My life isn't glamorous, and I don't lament it. Some days, it's enough to keep everyone fed and dry and reasonably happy. Sure, Claire may have to wait while I nurse Gage, or Gage may cry for a minute while I help his sister get dressed, but we all manage. I never seem to get enough sleep, but that isn't really any different than the three years before. I have to juggle two kids with only two hands, but I have some practice juggling. While I have a general sense that the demands are more constant, and the breaks are less frequent, I also appreciate that the joy is greater too.
I can't quite put my finger on why it's working. There's simply this overriding sense that, in many ways, it seems like my son has always been here.
What's your take on going from one to two?
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