I remember someone telling me during my wife’s second pregnancy, “going from one to two kids is absolute mayhem” and although I thought I understood what they meant at the time, I really didn’t.
“Isn’t it just double the work?” I remember thinking. Wrong. It’s more like quadruple. Math doesn’t work the same way when multiple kids are involved — one plus one does not equal two; it equals five, most days. Someone always needs something, your patience is constantly being tested and I’ve never been more tired in my entire life.
I thought the new baby was going to be the difficult part (don’t get me wrong, of course babies can be hard!) but for the most part, they just want to sleep and drink milk all day. What I underestimated was the child who could already eat, drink, walk and talk (who was coincidentally on summer break from his four-day-a-week preschool program with no other supplemental program lined up to take its place).
Initially, our biggest concern bringing our secondborn home was how our firstborn would react/assimilate to not having 100% of our attention, 100% of the time. The thought of him feeling replaced or something like that absolutely terrified us.
So, the wife and I have been “dividing and conquering” — as she says — to make sure both kids get equal attention (although the corny dad in me insists on referring to this as a “man-to-man defense”).
Every morning, our toddler wakes up demanding a new activity or destination like he’s checking them off some list in his head. And every evening, my batteries are drained of every last drop.
But what makes it all worth it and more?
Somewhere during the second pregnancy, instead of focusing on the possibility of our little guy feeling second fiddle to his new baby sister, we started using a little “parenting Jedi mind trick” by constantly reminding him, “did you know you’re going to be THE BEST big brother ever?”
Well, we’re not sure if it was the trick or what, but ever since we brought her home, my son has been obsessed with his baby sister. His face beams in the morning when she first opens her eyes, and watching him hold her fills me with a pride and warmth that I can’t put into words. In these moments, the difficult times become a distant memory.
So yes, I’ll admit that going from one child to two has been a challenging transition. Yes, it’s much more than double the work, but it’s also much more than double the love and opportunities to watch your little people learn and grow together. It might be mayhem, but it’s nothing short of magical.