Children are like trips through the buffet line…should have stopped at one. Welcome to ParentalGrit, where today we explore a handful of negatives surrounding the decision to multiply your herd with another baby. Here in the PG castle, we’re currently immersed in the first 8 months with daughter #2 while there is a distinct possibility of future miniature tyrants further down the road. Everly, our second daughter, is an incredible addition to our family that I love and obsess over daily; however, the transition from one child to two was…challenging. It’s almost like raising more little humans is actually harder than raising less little humans. Who could have guessed?
I promise, we’re not that naïve, but I will fully admit that my wife and I were not quite prepared for the additional burden (ummm…and joy?) a second child would bring. I never thought it would be easy, but I somehow pictured in my mind a little smoother easement into the evening of the odds, so to speak. As parents, when you have your first child, you crash into all these new beginnings with the adrenaline and fervor only first time parenthood can bring. Everything is a first; videos and pictures abound while a subtle sniffle from the little one brings 6 hours of research on WebMD before an emergency doctor visit to test for a disease that was probably cured two decades prior. You overreact. You make mistakes. You’re overzealous. But you learn. And I, being the idiot that I am, assumed that by traveling this path, the ‘wheels had been greased’, if that makes sense. The hard part was over; we knew what to expect, we knew how to handle most problems, we knew what was and what wasn’t a big deal…really, a second child would be a piece of cake, no?
No. No. Emphatically no. Yes, many of the uncertainties and challenges that our first daughter Eliza brought were much easier the second time around, but I guess we never stopped to consider the new challenges awaiting us. We know that with infants comes long periods of sleep deprivation; what we didn’t know, was that a teething toddler would magically and ingeniously time all of her late night ruckuses for only when her sister was sleeping. Infant up at 11:00. Toddler up at 12:00. Infant back up at 2:00. Toddler up at 3:00. Infant up at 4:00. We give up, the day has started! The sirens ring steady in our house.
Having a second girl will be so easy! We already have the crib, the clothes, the accessories…another child will be a miniscule blip on our financial radar. When my wife got pregnant with #2, our oldest was 18 months…plenty of time to get her potty-trained and clear of diapers before the next bundle of joy arrived. Well, here we are 18 months later and We. Still. Are. In. Diapers. There aren’t many fun things about two kids in diapers; the cost is exorbitant, the time drain is immense, and the smells are crippling. We have to use a forklift to load our purchases on the days we buy baby wipes.
I remember the days when I’d leave for the gym, to hang out with a friend, or golf or whatever the heck I used to do and my lovely wife would say “Have fun” and secretly be excited for some one-on-one time with our only child. Likewise, I never minded when she needed out of the house for a stretch, as daddy-daughter time was always welcome. Things changed. It’s not quite as easy to do the whole ‘single parenting’ thing anymore; on the rare occasion I leave my wife alone with the two girls, I almost feel guilty as just feeding them and diapering them is a full-time job. It was so much easier to manage before that second girl arrived.
I can’t speak from experience, but I’ve been told that you don’t even notice a new child once you pass three children. Speaking from experience, you absolutely notice the difference between one and two. Perhaps the contrast will dilute as the children age, but for now we’re swimming in the same depths we found ourselves in as first-time parents. More children equals more headaches…but it might not be all bad. Join us next week when we discuss the incredible upside of having multiple children. Cheers.