I like to think that by blogging, I’m able to impart a little motherly wisdom, provide a little entertainment, and encourage some weary women out there with a little good news. I think this post does all three of those things pretty well… So here’s a post about pregnancies – and how they’re all different.
When you’re pregnant with your first baby, no matter how you feel, you probably have the opportunity to rest a lot. With your first, you can lounge around in your free time, sleep a lot, rest, and exploit your spouse to please cook the thing you’re craving and take out the trash because your pregnant nose is in overdrive and you can’t stand the smell. You always know what week you’re on (16 weeks, 2 days, 3 hours and 15 minutes) and you have the due date marked in all your friends’ and family members’ calendars. You have a perfect nursery, complete with outfits for every type of weather and every size up to 3T. You’ve looked at day cares and preschools, read parenting books and blogs, and chosen the perfect name for a successful human. You are way ahead of the game, due purely to excitement.
When you’re pregnant with your second baby, there is no resting unless your kid is resting (so basically none). There is no requesting special meals, because the meals revolve around the current kid, not you. If he takes out the trash, you’re probably doing the dishes or changing a diaper, anyway. You try to eat as healthily as possible (fruit, non-sugary cereal, etc) since you’re trying to feed your kid pretty healthy, too. You keep on doing your thing as much as possible, sneaking naps if you can, and going to bed a little earlier, if your spouse is helping with laundry.
With your third, all bets are pretty much off. You’re going and bopping and feeding and playing and cleaning and laundering and driving to and from and yonder. You’re eating a lot of mac and cheese, because that’s what’s easy to satisfy everyone’s palates. You’re already swimming in diapers and wipes, so no need to buy a bunch of those in preparation. You’ve got every type of hand-me-downs, so the kid is set on clothes. You feel like you want to buy the third kid something new, but you just don’t need anything and you don’t have extra cash really to throw at unnecessary baby items. You also better have your maternity clothes unpacked at 8 weeks, because you’ll need them.
But you know what will be the same every time? You’ll still smile when you feel the baby move in your womb. You will be excited to pick the name, however far along you are. You will know love that you didn’t know you had room for in your heart. You will begin praying for that little being and the rest of his or her life.
So, I don’t know what actually, truly constitutes a “toddler”, by definition anyway, but there is no one that “toddles” as much as my little one year old guy, so I’m guessing that qualifies him as a toddler. So, in effect, I have two toddlers.
That’s a scary sentence. Let’s say it again, for effect:
I. Have. Two. Toddlers. Yikes.
This means that life can be crazy. As a quick story, this morning, Hubby was in the shower, I was getting J dressed, and EK had been playing with toys in the living room. The next thing I know, I don’t see or hear her, so I dare to peek out the front door. She’s on the sidewalk, with a nice lady who has pulled over to ask the little girl where her mommy is. It could not have been more than 120 seconds that she was outside, but still. I know, awful things could have happened. I’m thankful they didn’t. We have a chain on the top of the door that’s usually locked, and when we took the trash out after breakfast, we forgot to lock it back. Parenting 101, epically failed.
She is the experienced toddler, who knows all about crying when she doesn’t get what she wants. She knows all about working the room. She knows all about needing to potty right after she’s gone to bed, and about sneaking around the house really quietly in the morning in search of candy before Mommy manages to drag her exhausted self out of bed. Right now, our biggest fights are over nightgowns. She has two frilly little nightgowns she loves to wear, and if I let her, she’d wear them all day. Every once in a while, I break down and let her put it on for a nap, because as she reminds me, nightgowns are something you wear while you sleep. (Cue face palm because I should have said “sleeping AT NIGHT”.) If they are both in the laundry, then all bets for going to bed are off, because regular pajamas WILL NOT BE PUT ON HER BODY. So there.
I also have one brand new toddler who, in addition to being extremely clumsy, is also very brave. Scaling furniture is less of a problem for him than simply walking from the car to the front door. Climbing the shelves in the kitchen is much easier than getting into his toddler-sized chair. He’s a little like the Tazmanian Devil, what with the messes that tend to follow him everywhere. He HATES the word “no” right now. If I have to tell him to stop doing something (smashing my laptop, carrying Daddy’s coffee around the room, etc) he immediately dissolves into wails. I think he just hears the word so often that he’s grown to hate it. I’m trying to figure out something else to say instead, but there’s just nothing as good as plain ol’ “no”.
However, there are some pretty hilarious perks.
J says “thank you” to and for everything. He hands me something, and says it. He takes something from me, and says it. Picks something up off the floor, and says it. Puts a toy away, and says it. I guess I say it a lot? He also is doing this funny thing where he will eat almost anything, but only about 5 bites of it. His plate is very eclectic, because I know that bites 6-10 are wasted, so it’s got to be 5 bites of 5 different things. The things we do to ensure that our kids are eating enough…
EK is extremely good at communicating now, but every once in a while she gets stuck on something. She can’t quite get herself unbuckled from her car seat (I’m pretty sure I’m glad about it) but she can get one buckle undone, and then yells, “Somebody! HELP ME!” like I’m kidnapping her. I think it’s hilarious, but the passersby may think otherwise. She also loves the song from The Sound of Music “Do-Re-Mi” and whenever she sings it, she starts like this: “Do a deer, I call myself. Fa, a long long way to run. So, I need to pull a thread. La, I need to follow so. Ti, blah-blah-blah-blah bread! Sing sing back to do!” It’s basically the best. Whenever she starts singing it, Hubby and I just look at each other and try not to laugh until she’s finished. Her other key phrase is “Oh my gosh!” No explanation needed.
What are some crazy antics of your toddlers? Anything they say that’s hilarious every time? Any silly habits or funny things they do?8
Yes, it’s true! The Hsu Crew is adding another bouncing, baby boy to our ranks. And we couldn’t be more excited! We obviously would have been thrilled with a baby girl (especially to reuse some of the adorable clothes EK has grown out of) but we were ecstatic to hear we’ve got another boy to wrangle! That was a little bit of a perk that came along with the genetics test we had to take – it always tells the gender! So here are my reasons I’m excited for another little boy:
1. I’ll have a second chance on bowties. J’s neck got too big for baby bowties almost immediately, and I feel like I lost the whole “newborns-don’t-care-what-they-wear” phase to a fat neck and thighs so big half his pants wouldn’t fit (that’s still happening). I digress.
2. Boys playing – and fighting – together. I’ve basically heard that boys play together really well, and that girls have a lot of drama, and boys just duke it out and it’s over quickly. I’m kinda looking forward to most of the conflicts being resolved quickly.
3. Planes, trains and automobiles. We love cars and trucks and construction vehicles, Legos and blocks, and tool sets. EK does too, so that’s an extra plus. But it’s nice to know that those toys we’ve started to accumulate are going to get a lot more use. (And, my brother was a big Thomas the Tank Engine fan, so we have access to a TON of trains and tracks. Win.)
4. EK can still be the resident princess. My daughter’s diva status will go unchallenged. Right now, we’re trying to look at this like a plus. We are certainly aware that it could turn into a negative thing. We will cross that bridge if we must.
5. Boys love their mamas. Sometimes this can be detrimental (as in, big time mommy attachment, and huge adjustment for my elder son) but usually it’s just plain sweet how much little boys love their mamas.
Do you have a little boy? More than one? Do you agree with my excitement for having two?! Or have anything to add?
People tell you things about your second child. He will go with the flow, they said. He will have to, they said. Your second is always more easy-going, right?
Wrong. In my case, dead wrong.
Our oldest child is very go-with-the-flow. She loves running errands, having play dates, and being out of the house. She loves going out to dinner, meeting new people, taking a nap whenever, staying up late, and generally having a full schedule. I mean, she does really well entertaining herself at home, but she’s also great at all-around keeping herself occupied wherever we are.
Our second child is the opposite. He’s a homebody. He likes nothing better than to be at home, with his toys, nap on his own (different-every-day) schedule, eat at our own dining room table, and go to bed over an hour earlier than EK. This, as you might imagine, can cramp our style. Specifically, it cramps my playdates-and-meals-at-restaurants style. He often naps through the lunch hour. My lunch dates will have to wait. Playing in the playplace at Chick-Fil-A? No way. Morning playdates while EK is in preschool? You must be joking. And put him in the nursery at church with babies he knows and parent volunteers he knows? ALL BETS ARE OFF.
But which kid is right? Which one has the “better” idea of what’s going on? Neither. They’re both great. I love taking EK with me when I go to Target and Costco and the grocery store, because she loves being out and about. Talk about a girl making my busybody, stir-crazy-at-home-all-day heart happy! Equally, I love my at-home cuddles with J, watching a movie or snacking on fruit at the kitchen table, instead of going out to lunch with friends. I even (usually, anyway) think it’s amusing to go behind him and right all the upturned objects he’s hit with the Swiffer he nabbed, and pick up the food crumbs he’s dropped off his pants as he walked away from the table.
Both my kids are awesome. God has given them totally different personalities, and it’s my joy (and yes, occasional frustration) as their mom to get to know them, even as they change every single day. I can already enjoy special moments with each of them separately, doing things that they enjoy. I love knowing them, and knowing that they’re different.
Sometimes, my kids argue. They may argue without words, but they argue. Over toys, over who gets to sit in Mom’s lap, over eating each other’s food, and being in each other’s space. There are some thoughts that I’m sure are going through their heads:
That toy is mine, so you can’t play with it. That toy is yours, so you can play with it, and so can I when I want to.
If he gets to eat spaghetti for lunch, then I don’t want the PBJ I asked for.
I woke up my brother so we could play together, but after five minutes I’m tired of him.
Why does she get to take things from me, but she yells “NO!” if I take something from her?
But sometimes, they’ll have fun together. EK crawls around chasing J to pretend like she’s a baby, too. J laughs whenever EK laughs. J does something silly, and EK automatically copies him. They sit across from each other at the table at breakfast and sing songs. I can’t even describe how much it warms my heart to hear giggles and squealing throughout the house as they play together.
The other night after dinner was one of those times. We’ve got a sofa in our kitchen (something we saw when we visited when looking to buy the house, and then wrote into the contract because we loved it) and it’s a place of hang time before or after dinner most nights. On this particular night, we postponed the usual clean up to watch the kids squeal and throw pillows. Here’s a glimpse:
These are the times that give me hope in their friendship throughout life, and the times that I’m glad their ages are close, even though sometimes I’m swamped in their messes and laundry and tears. I remember why they’re my favorite people to be with and how much I adore them.
There are so many directions I could go when I talk about siblings, but I’ll start here: I’m already worried my kids won’t get along.
Actually, let’s not say worried so much as it’s already on my mind. What’s the key to your kids getting along? I know from experience it doesn’t just happen. Here’s the short version of my relationship with my brother: We’re almost 7 years apart, so I remember being an only child. He was cute as a baby, but started bugging me about the time he learned to walk (he followed me around because I was his favorite), and then didn’t stop it for… a long time. We were never in the same stage of life until he was in high school or so. Now that we are both adults, we get along much better, but still argue over stupid stuff sometimes – you know, like who knows more Harry Potter trivia and why it think it’s ridiculous that he would want a CAT of all things. I talk to him on the phone every few days, see him every couple of months, and truly enjoy his company. But did our parents somehow pull us out of the stage in which we just annoyed each other and magically thrust us into mutual appreciation of the other?
On the other hand, Hubby and his brothers have always been close. He says they fought about stuff, but it was only for a few minutes and they would be back to playing and snuggling again (thoughts on those Hsu boys acting like puppies here).
As for my kids, it seems that right now is the stage of J annoying EK ALL OF THE TIME. All he wants to do is be near her, play alongside her, or just watch her. Too bad all of those things make her unnecessarily frustrated. She gets to the point that if he crawls in her direction, she just screams. What is that about?! It just hurts my ears and makes J laugh all the more.
I hope that soon, J will catch up a little and be able to play with EK rather than just grab what she’s holding. I hope she will learn to think he’s cute and fun instead of just being jealous and annoyed when he’s in the same room. I hope the moments of giggles about weird sounds they make and laughing about messes during dinner never stop. I hope they are close when they get in school, and share friends, and help each other out. I hope they have that undeniable bond of love and support, even when they disagree with each other. I hope they can encourage each other to be better people. I hope they are friends.