Since our second child arrived in mid-April, life certainly has changed.
My husband, Brent, and I are back to the newborn routine that consists of maybe three consecutive hours of slumber followed by many hours of diapering, shushing and feeding. And that’s just for our new little bundle, Gabriella.
Miss Amelia is an ENTIRELY different story.
Brent and I have tried to be in-tune with how our first-born is feeling. The fear of how she would react to her big-sister status was paralyzing. Most second- (or more) time parents have said they harbored the same anxiety.
Don’t get me wrong. Having a newborn has changed the routine for everyone in the family, even Lucy the beagle. Her daily walks are either much shorter (if we’re running late for work and day care) or much s-l-o-w-e-r (if Mia is holding the leash).
I’d love to say that things are peaceful and balanced at home. But that would be a tiny white lie.
The funny part about having No. 2 is how the questions from concerned family and friends are phrased. With Amelia, it was “How is that sweet baby? How are you doing?”
Answer: “She’s just wonderful, and we’re hanging in there. How are you?”
Now, it’s “How is that sweet baby? And what has Amelia done now?”
Answer: … “What? Oh, we are — Amelia, stop biting the tips off the crayons — doing OK. Yep, I’m just nursing — Mia, please climb off the chair — Gabriella right now. How are you?”
Then, before the well-meaning person can answer, there isscreaming/crying/yellingand I have to say “I’m sorry. I have to go.”
It might seem as though I’m complaining about the new level of craziness. But (and don’t tell Brent) I love our family and all of the insanity that comes along with “two under 2.”
It’s rewarding to see Amelia give kisses to Ella and say “Baby night-night. Shhh,” placing her pointer finger on her lips.
Lucy keeps a close eye over the baby when Amelia is gearing up for what we call her Tornado Stage.
And the sleep deprivation doesn’t seem as shocking as it was the first time around. We’re a little more relaxed with Gabriella and have adopted a more go-with-the-flow attitude.
Maybe that’s because I’ve had to tighten the reins on Mia and her lovely outbursts. I feel guilty because all I say lately is “no,” “stop” and “I’m going to count to three ….” She chucks food from her plate and then screams when Lucy indulges in the free meal.
She pushes Ella from my lap saying “off” when I nurse and then pokes her in the eye when I tell her just two more minutes.
Heck, just the other day, my darling first-born ate the tip off a dry-erase marker. It was red. Try explaining that to the neighbor when we later went for a walk.
No, that’s not blood. It’s just the top of a marker she bit off and then spit at the dog.
All in all, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks. And, honestly, I can’t say I blame Amelia for wigging out now and then. Sometimes, I wish I could do the same thing.
When the chorus of screams reaches a fever pitch while I’m making dinner, wouldn’t it be fun to throw a plate? Or maybe chew a sponge? Or how about join the meltdown adding my own vocal talents to the symphony?
I love my new life. And I love my growing family.
Even if it is a bit crazier these days.
Laura Burkey is a full-time working mom to 21-month-old Amelia, 1-month-old Gabriella and 7-year-old Lucy the beagle, and wife of four years to Brent.
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