The things no tells you about making the transition to a four person family.
Hi. My name is Zayaan and I am a mom of two who has just barely survived the experience of going from one kid to two.
They tell you it’s hard. It’s not like when you’re pregnant with the first kid and no one tells you all the secret ways it’s hard (who said breastfeeding was an easy thing to do?).
When you’re expecting your second kid, you get the “Ag shame, ja, it’s so hard on the first one” and “Be prepared for him to regress a bit” and “Yoh, two kids are tough!” Now that you’re part of the Parent’s Club, they’re only too happy to tell you how difficult it’s going to be (sometimes with glee).
On the one hand, thanks for the heads up, guys. On the other hand, thanks for making me fear my toddler! Because I spent 9 months in a flat panic about how this kid was going to make our already busy and tired lives worse.
But, they were not wrong. It is so difficult to go from one kid to two for everyone involved. Except the baby who is Priority #1 and is enjoying that life of luxury.
“But they’ll keep each other entertained,” they said. Stop with the lies please, I spend half the day making sure the toddler doesn’t murder the baby by accident.
How’s it having two kids?
People often ask me how life is now that we have two kids and my answer is always the same, “It’s not the baby that’s a handful, it’s the toddler!” My son was a busy boy to begin with, now it’s just multiplied ten-fold because my attention has been taken away from him and he is struggling with that.
Shouting, screaming, wailing, wanting to pick up the baby, wanting to be picked up by me, wanting to kiss the baby while she’s breastfeeding, wanting to lie on top of me while the baby is breastfeeding… they are all cries for attention, I know. But I only have two arms and I can only pay attention to one child at a time without losing my sanity.
So I try to spend as much time as I can with the older kid when I can hand over the baby to some one else. I try to do special things that involve just the two of us. But somehow I still feel guilty...
That Mom Guilt
Which leads me to the next thing: the ever present Mom Guilt. If you thought that having a second child meant that your Mom Guilt would double, you would be wrong. It will multiply exponentially because inevitably your older child is going to be watching a lot more TV. You’ll loose your cool with him a lot quicker because now you have two kids keeping you up at night, so you’re exhausted and low on patience.
It gets easier
Now that we’ve reached the 3-month mark, we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Also, the baby is getting more robust and can handle more of brother's manhandling. What you have to remember is no matter how hard it is on your body, sanity and patience, it’s even harder on your older kid.
He was used to getting all of your attention and now he has to learn to share his most precious possessions – your time, love and attention. Being a toddler means that he has some pretty big emotions in a tiny body. And while he’s navigating this challenge, he’s been thrown for a loop with this new baby who is suddenly encroaching on his territory.
Double the love
One of the things I was worried about was how on Earth I could love this baby when my whole heart already belonged to my son? But you know how people tell you that your heart grows to make space for a new kid rather than splitting what love there is in half.
And my son is just so in love with his baby sister. She is his baby and make no mistake about it. He is constantly showering her with love, hugs and kisses. And she loves laughing at his antics. Her whole face lights up when she sees him. So while he is not outright jealous and is very in love with his sister, he does still miss his mommy and acts out because of it.
So yes, going from one to two is hard in the beginning. And I think it’s going to be hard for a long time still, but hopefully soon I will see that day other parents talk about: the day when they can entertain each other.
How did your older kid handle the arrival of a new sibling? Did you do anything to help the transition? Send your comments to email@example.com and we could publish your responses. Should you wish to remain anonymous, please let us know.