The Two Under Two Club.
I never really thought much about the Two Under Two Club until I started mentioning to friends that I was pregnant and I started getting surprised looks and interesting comments like these:
“Wow, you’ll be busy.”
“You’ll have two in diapers.”
“When will you sleep?”
I’ll admit, to say it was crazy at the beginning is an understatement. My firstborn son and I were (and still are) very close. I’ll never forget the look on his face when my husband brought him to the hospital for a visit. I was sitting on the bed holding my newborn when he came into the room to meet his brother. He looked at me with a quizzical look on his face. If he could speak well (at 22 months) I think he would have said:
Who is this interloper and when are you sending him back?
I shrugged it off. After a c-section and two nights of sleeping in a really uncomfortable hospital bed, I was ready to go home and so was our son. I missed my home, my routine, my family and especially my happy toddler. So on day 3 we were discharged, and I was ready to go home to begin my blissful life as a family of 4.
Was I ever in for a surprise.
My toddler didn’t take well to someone else having my affections. And the fact that I was breastfeeding my newborn didn’t help any. Trying to chase around a toddler while breastfeeding a newborn is no easy feat. I’m not one of those Moms who figured out how to walk around and breastfeed at the same time. Frankly, I didn’t want to. With Cakes, breastfeeding was a very relaxing, bonding experience. That was our quiet time together when I would go up with him to his room and settle into the glider for a feeding.
That wasn’t always possible with my little guy. I was on maternity leave from work for 14 weeks and we kept the big guy in school during that time, so we did have our days to ourselves, except when my big guy got sick…and when there was that ice storm that closed down the city…and those days that my husband had to work on the weekends. Goodbye bliss, hello chaos.
What do I remember about those first few months?
Truthfully it’s all really a blur now but there are a few things that I can remember. Cakes was so beside himself that I really thought I broke him. I remember being at the doctor’s office for my little guy’s one-week check-in and crying to the doctor that I felt like I ruined my son. He would cry every day when he came home from school and saw his brother was still there. The doctor tried to comfort me by telling me that my older son would get used to it and he would forgive me at some point…probably by the time he turned 21 years old.
I really missed my son.
He definitely bonded more with his Dad during those early months, which was great for my husband but not so much for me. I missed being the one he came to when he was tired or hurt or upset. I missed spending time with him playing and making memories.
My husband took over bedtime responsibilities with him for the first few months and when I tried to get back into the swing of it, my son wanted nothing to do with it. He would cry and scream and beg for his Daddy. At first, I wanted to give in but then I thought, “Wait a minute…who’s the parent here? He doesn’t get to dictate who puts him to bed at night.” So I stuck to my guns and after a week or two, things were back to normal.
I enjoyed my second maternity leave so much more than my first.
It’s stressful being a first-time Mom. Everything is new and there are a million questions. Why is he crying? How do I give him a bath? Is he nursing enough? How do I take care of his umbilical cord stump? And the circumcision!!! What if he cries when I take him out? I can’t go anywhere by myself…what if I need help?
The second time around, I called my son my co-pilot. He and I were out and about every day. We had a nice pattern going. We would get up with my husband and older son and have breakfast together before they went to school and work. Then we would nap together, have lunch and head out for an afternoon of errands, during which he would usually take a really good nap in the car and stroller. And you know what? He very rarely cried. If he did, I just finished what I was doing and headed home for a nursing session which cured pretty much everything.
I took things more in stride.
I just didn’t have the energy to get really uptight about things all of the time. Here are some examples:
One-month-old check-up at the doctor:
- Firstborn: I needed my Mom to come with me, a fully stocked diaper bag, and 45 minutes lead time to go 10 blocks in the car.
- Secondborn: I had my 22 month-old with me and my newborn, a fresh diaper in my back pocket and 15 minutes to get there just in time for our appointment.
Feeding on a schedule:
- Firstborn: I was told by the doctor to make sure I woke him up every 3 hours to feed him (he was 6 lbs 15 oz at birth). I set my alarm clock to be sure I complied.
- Secondborn: ummmm…no. (He was a linebacker at 8 lbs 4 ozs).
Sleeping when my baby slept:
- Firstborn: “I can’t sleep when he naps. I have too much to do around the house.”
- Secondborn: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Laundry? Dishes? Whatever.
- Firstborn: breastfeed in public? NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.
- Secondborn: Well, honestly, I was never completely comfortable breastfeeding in public. To you breastfeeding mommas who feed in public – more power to ya! I support you ladies, I just couldn’t get used to the idea. But I DID feed my son all the time at the hospital with nurses and orderlies coming and going, at his daycare when he got there and was hungry, and in the doctor’s office at appointments where he got fussy. And (thankfully) everyone was totally fine with it. Now if we could just get the rest of the world on board.
So what did I learn from the Two Under Two Club?
I learned to relax more. All these pictures of the two little boys in the matching blue sweaters? That’s my big guy and little guy when they were 2 1/2 and 9 months old. I was stressing the day before because our photo session was at 9 in the
morning…right around the time my little guy would be getting ready to take his nap. What if he got tired and cried the whole time and we didn’t get any pictures???
But you know what? He didn’t. You know why? He doesn’t know how to tell time. He and my big guy just thought it was the coolest thing ever to be taking a hike through the woods on a brisk day picking up leaves and twigs. Even if he was tired, he didn’t care, because he was on an adventure with his best friend – his big brother.
And it doesn’t get any better than that.