Just after my daughter Anna turned 3, we found out we were expecting. I was very nervous at first because 3 was a difficult age (difficult meaning TANTRUMS!), and I had no idea how I would handle a newborn added into the mix. Thankfully, we had a few months to adjust to the idea. Anna named her brother-to-be Llama Face and we eagerly prepared for his arrival.
When Llama Face (actual name Henry) was born, Anna was one of the first visitors to the hospital. I’ll never forget her excited, wide-eyed face when she walked into the birthing suite and tiptoed straight for the basinette. Love at first sight absolutely exists. I saw it that day.
In some ways the second time around is so much easier. I know what I'm doing now. I know that the hard parts are not permanent, nor are they really that hard compared to some of the other parenting trials I've now tucked under my rapidly expanding belt (ever tried to explain to a rather inquisitive 4 year old why her brother's "bottom" is all bumpy - why isn't hers bumpy like that? Or calm not one, but two tantrums in 1 day over the fact that said 4 year old can’t marry her brother?).
What I find myself struggling with is the fact that there is only one of me. It seems like someone is always having to wait around here these days. And that waiting is frequently accompanied by crying. I try to meet the needs of both kids as quickly (and reasonably) as possible, but sometimes I just really need to use the bathroom! It's especially hard when Anna makes comments about me never having time to play with her any more (that's partly true, I don't have AS MUCH time to play as I used to). But she tells me every day she loves her brother more than me, though she won't clarify as to whether that means she loves him more than I love him or she loves him more than she loves me.
Watching the two of them together has made every second of morning sickness (mostly) worth it. Anna pokes Henry’s cheeks and makes up crazy songs and he soaks it all in, smiles and coos at her. And you can just see in his face, a look of "Just wait until I’m mobile, sister. Your hair, your clothes, your everything will be mine. MINE! Bahahaha!”
I'm working on balancing fulfilling their needs and still managing to fulfill mine. I can't tell you how many times I've run the garbage out or gone to grab something from my car and realized (usually too late) that I’m still half undressed from the last feeding because I forgot to put myself back together. Sorry, neighbors!
In an effort to take care of myself, I've taken up running. I had considered forming an "I Love Ice Cream Club," but running is healthier, albeit, a lot less tasty. Usually I have to go after the kids are in bed which is not until 8:30, but it's still an hour to myself. An hour when I'm just me and I don't have to answer to anyone. I can crank my music as loud as I want it, and just go.
So, no, I haven't taken up late-night prize fighting. I just have some really rockin' dark circles under my eyes. I'm not inventing a new perfume called Eau de Baby Vomit. Henry just requires that anyone who burps him wear a HAZMAT suit. Unluckily for me, I don't own one. There is an awful lot of bribery, begging and prayer involved in my daily shower. And if I get breakfast before noon, then it must be Saturday. But I wouldn’t trade the adventure of adding a second child to our family for anything in the world. Not even for 8 consecutive hours of sleep.
Kerry lives in Milwaukee with her husband, Andy and their two kids, Anna (4) and Henry (5 months).