By heather | March 27, 2009
When I went from having one kid to two kids, all of a sudden only having one kid seemed like a breeze. What was I thinking when I thought one baby was hard?
When I was pregnant, Alex spent a lot of energy pushing me, and as huge and tired as I was I didn’t have it in me to push back and discipline the way I knew I needed to. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my ability to parent when Emily Kate was born. I was more than moderately freaked out, wondering who the hell certified me as a qualifed parent.
Mostly, I focused on keeping the baby quiet and keeping Alex from breaking things and/or himself. People asked me if I had to make a special effort to spend time with my older child, but for me it was just the opposite – I had to go out of my way to have quiet, focused time with Emily Kate. I think back, and so much of it is and was a blur.
Brett and I always assumed we’d have kids, but we never really talked about when, or where, or what kind of situation we wanted to raise them in and how we’d parent. When I turned 30, I still didn’t feel “ready” to have kids, and looking back now I think it’s because we hadn’t had any of those conversations.
To this day, there are so many things that I always assumed I would do that I’m not – we don’t go to church and haven’t baptized them, because we never got around to finding a church we liked. We don’t sit down to a home-cooked meal together every night like I always did as a kid. It never occured to me before becoming a mom to question if working full-time was the right choice for us. We bought a house that turns out to be in a crappy school district.
For someone who calls herself a planner, I seem to be able to micro-manage to-do lists but drop the ball every time on the big stuff.
I am totally amazed at how different both kids are today than they were a few months ago. In September, I thought Emily Kate would never sleep through the night. Today she goes down at 7:30 and sleeps until 6. In October, Alex was evaluated for Early Intervention. Today he’s speaks in complete sentences.
They’ve grown together too – they are so close that I sometimes feel left out. I can’t imagine one without the other.
Tonight I was giving Alex a bath and spent most of the time watching her watch him, with big, eager eyes and an adoring smile on her face. No one makes her laugh like he does. He is so happy when he knows he made her giggle, that he laughs, and she laughs more.
Even at 2, he is protective, upset when she’s upset, and delights in everything she does. He plays with her, shows her how to crawl, and puts himself between her and the other kids at daycare that he knows are rough players.
I thought of a few weekends from now when Brett is taking Alex on a fishing trip and it will be me and EK for a girl’s weekend. I pictured that tub with just her in it and it seemed quiet and empty, even as I look forward to having that time with her.
Watching the uncomplicated joy they bring each other reassures me that despite my poor planning I’m doing something right. I just worry that I’m going to regret missing so much.