Posted by: Ingrid | November 11, 2011

Vive la difference

Having two kids is way different than having only one.

How is that for profound?

It’s not like I hadn’t been warned.  I went through the early days with one kid, doing things like taking that initial trip to Meijer after which Isaac and I both cried all the way home, with the knowledge that this was only going to get harder with the addition of more children.  I never knew how easy I had it with X number of children!  My friends would exclaim.  So you really can’t say I didn’t have a fair warning.  Nonetheless, I cannot get over how different this world we have been a part of for a mere 18 days is from the last 27 months of “normal” life.

First, a few things that have remained the same from Isaac’s early days.

-Sleep deprivation: I had forgotten how horrible the feeling of not enough hours of sleep in a row can be.  The mind-crippling sleepiness and the feeling that a large anvil is hitting that spot over your eyes all day, no matter how much Tylenol you take is horrible.

-It’s all a surprise: It was surprising getting used to one baby and it has been just as surprising (often in new areas) getting used to the second.  Maybe this is just a parenthood thing – prepare for constant surprise!  All the time!

-Have boys, will pee:  It took me several diaper changes and many clothing changes to accept the fact that little boys must be covered up if you want to cut down on daily laundry.  Oddly enough, I am re-learning that this time around.  Maybe because I am not male and don’t deal with the same equipment, but I guess I keep thinking things will work out differently next diaper change.

-The amount of laundry to do is inversely proportionate to the size of the newest person in the family.  Or something like that: I have no idea how adding a baby causes entire loads of dirty laundry to appear, but it does.  Maybe it would be easier in the summer when you could just let baby be naked all the time?

Then there are differences, some big, some small, that make this transition utterly different than anything we’ve ever done before.  For example…

-The Toddler: Last time around I was afraid all sorts of bad things might happen to Isaac but not because he had an older brother who wanted to hit, pinch, and sit on him.  Toddlers change everything about the equation that is having a new baby.  I swear Jonathan has a look of fear in his eyes now as he lays on a blanket, immobile, and Isaac barrels towards him.

-I forgot/didn’t realize how nice babies are: Maybe because of all the crazy last time around, or because he was our first baby, but I don’t think I fully appreciated how nice babies are and how much I like them.  Scratch that.  I love babies.  I love their soft little heads and itty-bitty fingers and tiny little cries.  Spending time holding Jonathan, looking at him, and nibbling his fat little baby cheeks makes me almost think I could deal with pregnancy two more times just to have more cuddly little people around.

-The sleep thing: Isaac slept beside me in my hospital bed the first two nights and I was terrified I would squish him.  Then he was swaddled and put in a basket and on a sleep schedule fairly quickly.  Jonathan spent the first 16 nights mostly sleeping beside me or on my chest as I reclined on pillows and pretty much slept when he wanted to.  It is the best feeling ever to have a soft little baby head under your chin, but as our sleep gradually went downhill we finally swaddled him and laid him in his little bassinet next to my side of the bed last night.  And I slept so much better.  I guess I am just not a good family bed woman.  When my sleep suffers so does everything else.

-Infants are cuddly AND easy:  Last time around having an infant was scary and overwhelming.  This time… well I can’t believe all of the things I could potentially do if I only had an infant.  Seriously, my toddler who does not sleep 18 hours a day is the one who is messing with my plans for world domination.

-Higher tolerance for crying:  I felt like letting Isaac cry for 2-3 minutes was going to kill me.  This time around I have realized that with two small children someone is bound to be unhappy once in a while.  Sometimes it will be Isaac and sometimes Jonathan.  And both will be okay if they cry a bit.  And honestly, sometimes my getting a shower in while one child plays and the other cries is totally worth it.

-What can’t you do while you nurse?  Long ago I remember carefully laying a Boppy pillow across my lap, adjusting my pillows just so, and then holding perfectly still so that I could nurse my infant.  These days I have begun compiling a list of things I can do while nursing.  So far it includes:

-prepare a cup of coffee, including getting the mug, pouring coffee, and adding sweetener and creamer

-eat breakfast

-chase a toddler who has just stuffed gum, wrapper and all, into his mouth, tackle him, and do a finger sweep

-answer the door

-journal, read, and write thank you cards

-clean up the kitchen

-get my toddler out of his crib

Now if I could add exercising and doing the dishes to that list I would be set!




  1. I love it! I totally agree with all of those! I have great memories of holding a nursing Sean to my chest with his legs flopping as I chase after Caitlyn for doing x,y, and z!

  2. my boobs were too big to nurse on the move…I would have suffocated my child…it was always a stationary job…but I got the whole series of Left Behind books read in Travis’ first few weeks:)

  3. love your insights. I’m a little nervous about the addition of two..but then again, I think I am much wiser and more prepared to deal with a newborn than I was the first time around. Things that I thought were so hard with an infant seem so simple now. Hope you are getting some rest and enjoying this time with your little one!

  4. So funny to read this while I’m feeling overwhelmed with just one 🙂 Hindsight is a marvellous thing.

    I have the same issue with the family bed. Little F has been sleeping in our bed for the last month, but I just cannot sleep well with him there. I wake up constantly to make sure I haven’t accidentally hurt him in some way. But he doesn’t believe in bassinets…or in any location that does not involve close bodily contact with me!

    “Constant surprise all the time” sounds like a great motto for parenthood, and for whatever reason (probably sleep deprivation, ugh…) it reminds me of the Monty Python Spanish Inquisition sketch…

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