When You Have A Baby AND A Toddler
My husband and I wanted to have our second child fairly close to our first so that they could grow up together and play and be friends. Might be an ambitious goal as I know siblings fight, but that was the idea behind our thinking. So when my daughter was 19 months old, I got pregnant with my son. Great, we thought. We’ll still be in the whole diapers and baby toys stage (kinda?) and this will be great. And it IS great. I wouldn’t change either of them or their age gap for the entire world. But WOW is it hard!
Once our son was born, that 2 year and 3 month age gap seemed HUGE. With newborns you have to support their head, they nurse all the time, sleep during the day and want to party at night. It’s exhausting. Meanwhile toddlers are going through an independent phase while simultaneously having tantrums or try climbing anything in sight. Now we’re at the point where the dust has settled and I can honestly say that my kids adore each other. Even as I write this I’m knocking on wood because I know that won’t last. But for now, my baby just stares and coos at his sister and smiles his big gummy smile at her; and my toddler always wants to hold her brother, calls him her baby and kisses him whenever he is near.
So let’s talk about how it is on the parents. It’s beautiful and super hard. It’s sweet and exhausting. It’s more than we could have ever imagined and sometimes a gigantic stressful juggling act. Because right now we’re living in both worlds. We’re still in the toddler world AND the baby world. When my toddler was younger, I dreamed of the day that she would sleep through the whole night. I thought to myself “once that happens, life will be sooooo good!” And life is good, it’s so very good. But now my baby is the one keeping me up. (Though his sleep has gotten MUCH better, thank God!) She started sleeping through the night right around when our son turned 1 month old. So funny how life works that way.
The same goes for our baby, it’s so refreshing to see his sweet smile all day, even when he’s tired, and it makes us so happy. And then our toddler will have a melt down and it’s all hands on deck. So we’re not just in the “my kid can play by herself, eat a meal by herself (with us watching), crack us up with hilarious stories and be fine being out most of the day except for her one nap” stage. And we’re also not just in the “my baby will sleep almost anywhere so he’s the perfect travel companion, he doesn’t have tantrums yet, and really just wants to sleep, be fed, talked to and be held” stage. We’re in both. At the same time. I’m still trying to figure out play dates and what not.
So those are some of the hard parts about having two little children. But there are also so many beautiful things that happen and it just makes me so happy. I absolutely love seeing the two of them interact. This morning my toddler woke up and immediately asked to see her brother. As soon as she saw him, she launched into telling him how bright the sun is today, about how a dragon climbed on the roof and the birds got mad etc. Very sweet stuff. And the entire time, our baby could not take his eyes off of her, it really made me smile. Bottom line, I truly believe wholeheartedly that God knows what He is doing. And sometimes the days are hard and stressful and test my patience, but they are also filled with such love and sweetness and joy. I think life is such a balancing act, and full of hills and valleys. We just have to learn how to navigate them with a baby and toddler on each hip.