We had some major changes in our family in 2013. In the beginning of 2013, we added a second child. And my son, who'd been the center of my attention for two and a half years, became my oldest child, not my only. And now that I'm past my daughter's infanthood, (she turns one soon!) I look at how I did in transitioning from a mother of one to a mother of two, and I know I could've done better. Everyone told me the things I should do to make my son comfortable with the change, but with the c-section recovery and the post partum hormones, I didn't follow much of that advice.
Before my daughter was born, my son was my entire world. I remember how he would come into our room in the middle of the night, and I would pick him up, (even at nine months pregnant) and cuddle with him until he fell asleep. My husband and I knew that this was a habit we had to stop before the baby came, so often, we'd let him cuddle for a few minutes, and then my husband would bring him back to his room. He protested, but then got used to it, over time.
But even with all our preparations, when she came, everything changed, and I wish I'd had the opportunity to give my son a gentler transition. I think I expected too much from him; too much understanding, too much patience, too much big kid behavior. He was only two and a half.
I wish I remembered this when he was constantly trying to get in my lap when I was nursing my daughter.
I wish I remembered this when he was constantly vying for my attention, but didn't know how to vocalize his needs.
One morning, when my daughter was about three months old, I had an appointment. It was pouring rain. I waited until the rain stopped before taking my kids out of the car, but a huge downpour came right as we started walking inside. My daughter was covered in her stroller, so she was dry. I picked up my son, and we ran the twenty or so feet to the door. When we got inside, I put him down. He was soaking wet. He didn't cry. He didn't even seem sad. But he looked at me with those large, brown, trusting eyes, and I almost burst into tears. This was a defining moment for me as a mother of two.
He was still a baby. He needed me too, and in my post hormonal state, I hadn't been given him what he needed. Yes, I was exhausted, yes I was trying to adjust to two, but I wasn't giving him enough of me. I pulled the baby's blanket out from my diaper bag and toweled him off. He was laughing. He said we went swimming.
It took time to find the new normal. It took months. And now that my son is a little older and we found a schedule that works for us, some days I think I'm doing better. I try to remind myself on a daily basis that my son wants and needs those cuddles and those silly games and songs just as much as my daughter. They're both still babies.
It was a transition, but we made it. And the second half of the year, I watched my two children start to enjoy each other. And now, I love watching my daughter clap her hands when my son comes into her room. I love when he makes her laugh.
My life changed this year, but everything just got better.
Sarahlynne loves writing for Shine as a Parenting Guru. Her book, "Making Kid Time Count: 0-3: The Attentive Parent Advantage" discusses recent parenting research, and gives parents easy activities to maximize their time with their young child.