Wednesday, November 22, 2017

2 under 2 : When practice doesn't make perfect

Baby number 2 came into this world in Spring time of 2017. My eldest was 20 months old at that time. So yeah, we have 2 under 2.

I can no longer count how many articles I have read about introducing the new baby to the older sibling. Or how to prepare the older sibling. What I forget to read on is how to prepare "me". Just when I thought I'm a pro because this is my second, I realize I'm not.

"Very" not.

What I have here is a brand new person, brand new  personality, different gender (didn't know I still can get peed at by a baby girl during diaper time, I thought only baby boys do that!). A whole new phenomenon. It's like being a whole new parent all over again.  I might be a second time parent, but I'm a first time parent of 2. Practice doesn't make perfect in this situation.

the challenges.

1 + 1 = 3.
I have read articles on how to manage an infant and a toddler when they cry at the same time. I know what to do (see tip below). But when it happened for the first time (hubby was on an errand and I was left alone with both kids), I panicked.  It's different when you were just imagining and rehearsing in your head how you're going to deal with the situation versus when it's happening in real life. So what happened? The two crying humans became 3.

Tip: According to what I have read, when both the newborn and toddler cries at the same time you need to attend to the toddler first. Why? Because a toddler can process his surroundings already. A toddler can already process patterns. If my son realizes that mommy runs to the baby first every time both of them cries, he might start resenting his baby sister. The infant, on the other hand, doesn't know what's going on. If anything, the newborn will learn patience early in life :P.
Disclaimer: But ofcourse this is a case to case basis. Like, if it's a life threatening situation, attend to the baby first.

When I was still pregnant with my second, it could be hormones, but I was always feeling  a little extra weepy about my first. I felt sad that it won't just be the two of us anymore. That I won't get to spend time with him like I used to. That my time will be divided.

During the first couple of months when my daughter was born, there's always a feeling of guilt whenever I see my son playing on his own while I feed his baby sister. Or whenever my son would bring me a book he wants me to read but I can't because both my hands are occupied. My son is pretty independent and he is not a stranger to playing alone (he does that every morning while waiting for us to come to his room) but yet it still bothers me so much.

Don't get me wrong, I love my daughter. I love them both. It's just that the guilt is unbearable sometimes. So I try to spend some alone time with my son as much as I could (go to malls, go grocery shopping, go to playground, we even went to Sesame Place on his birthday and left the baby girl with the nanny at home).

24 hours in a day is not enough
While your love multiplies with having another child, unfortunately,  your time divides. 24 hours in a day seems not enough. My time disappears so fast.

When it was just my son, I can still count on some downtime during the day while he was napping, or quietly playing. Those stolen moments become harder to snag with two kids specially if their nap times aren't in sync yet.  For those first few months, it feels close to impossible to complete any chore or carve out personal time because it seems that someone always needs something.

In the morning I have to scramble to prepare myself to work, attend to my infant & prepare my toddler for school/daycare. During weekends there are just too many chores to do around the house and it feels like there's endless load of laundry (I do laundry every other day because seeing an overflowing hamper of dirty clothes would drive me bonkers, lol) or endless trash to take out (my toddler still wears diapers). Mind you, my husband helps, but I still feel overwhelmed.

Less and less "me" time
When I was pregnant with my first, I have the time to take care of myself and do other stuff, because- yep-he's still in my belly!  With my second, I have a toddler to run after. I remember being sooooo exhausted during my first trimester with my second pregnancy. I realized how my 1st pregnancy was a bliss compared to my second because I don't have a toddler who gets into all sorts of mischief.

Hubby and I used to take turns doing "me time". Now, we can't do that anymore (or atleast not easily). Both of us have to be at home to hold the fort. Because you know,  my toddler's timing is impeccable. He thinks the best time to be on a suicide mission to jump over that couch, head first, is while mommy's busy feeding baby sister. And my youngest? She would scream bloody murder just when I am in the middle of changing her kuya's poopy diaper.

the good side.

There's a light at the end of the tunnel
Good news is, it gets better. You learn to cope with it. Once you fall in a rhythm you won't feel as overwhelmed anymore. It’s a practice  in patience for everyone. And patience is a worthwhile lesson for me, tatay, baby #1, and baby #2, too.

You learn to chill 
I learned to be much more laid back with my second child. I don't google each and every rashes or each and every weird noise coming from my second baby.

I appreciate my second child's babyhood more. With my first, I chased after the next milestones so feverishly. I get anxious easily when the book says my son should be doing x-y-z at months 1-2-3 and he hasn't. I can't wait for him to roll over. As soon as he rolled over, I can't wait for him to crawl. As soon as he starts crawling I want him to start walking. I can't wait until he hits major milestones. I can't wait for him to do something new.

With my second, I’m far more interested in enjoying the present, because I know how quickly
time flies and how quickly "today" will turn into "the past". Now I know how quickly time passes and I now savor the stage my youngest baby is in rather than anticipate the next big thing.

Over all, we're still all learning. Slowly, but we're getting there.