Now that I’ve been a mom of two for almost two years, I feel like I’ve learned a lot. But there are still things that I wish people had told me about parenting two kids. So here they are, in no particular order, things I wish I knew about having two kids:
1. Your heart will grow.
I know a lot of second-time parents worry about this. How can you love your second as much as your first. I remember being pregnant with Charlotte and saying that I will always have a special place in my heart for Riley, my first-born, because he’s the one who made me a mom. But the second one is just as special. There’s NO way to play favorites. Riley made me a mom, but I made him a big brother and seeing how grateful he is for that, there’s no contest on my love for these two. Which leads me to:
2. The love of siblings.
I knew there would be arguments. But I am so pleasantly surprised at how few and far between they are. As in, I could probably count them on one hand. Riley has adored his little sister since she was 12 hours old and he met her in the hospital. I’ll never forget the moment that I said, “Riley, this is your little sister!” to which he replied, “thank you!” As if we had her just for him.
I know in the future they’ll probably fight more, but these two are best buds. Plain and simple. Last night, while they were trying to drift off to sleep, we could hear them talking to each other from their own bedrooms. “Love you, googs!” Riley would call. “Ra Ra!” Charlotte would reply. The cutest.
3. Baby #2 will get hurt and/or sick. A lot.
This is a big one for me. I remember the pediatrician warning us at many visits to make sure Riley’s toys with small pieces were nowhere near Charlotte as she got mobile. We’ve always been good with that, but it’s the little accidents for the second child that I really didn’t plan on. I’ve written before about her coffee-spill burn, one of the most traumatic moments of my life. But there have been others. Just last week, the two kids were running to wave out the window to me as I left for work, they collided and Charlotte flew into the wood door frame, creating the largest goose egg on earth. Seriously, it looked like a baseball was protruding out of her forehead. Second children have to be much tougher because they have older siblings that just don’t understand how to be gentle, no matter how much you really try.
4. There will come a time when they WILL entertain each other.
And for us, it’s just started happening recently. Sometimes, after dinner, Derek and I can sit and have a real, albeit brief, conversation together. While the kids are awake. And in the same room. Inconceivable! Now, it doesn’t happen every day, but it’s started happening. Charlotte just wants to be around Riley and he loves her company too. And while we have oodles upon oodles of toys, they usually just like chasing each other in circles around the house, or crawling into empty kitchen cabinets together (yes, the kitchen remodel is underway, btw). This, too, won’t last forever, but for now, we’re savoring every moment of our 5 year-old and 22-month old being together.
5. Parents become more united.
Parenting can be rough on a marriage. Really rough. But at the end of the day, it’s that us-against-the-world feeling that brings husband and wife closer. It’s the time that we sit on the couch after they’re tucked in bed and laugh at the new knock knock jokes Riley messed up, or the sneaky way Charlotte tries to steal my phone because she wants to look at pictures on it. Those are things only the two of you will fully understand. These little humans you two created, while they can push you to the point of insanity (been there, done that), no one can relate to you as a parent better than your spouse. So appreciate them. Even when they forget to use the 20% off coupon at Kohls – the horror!