Two weeks. Two weeks since my family went from three to four. Two weeks since my 2-year-old daughter met my newborn son.
A lot has happened in those two weeks. Some ups. Lots of downs. My wife and I always knew the transition from three to four would be tumultuous, but predicting our new life and living it are two different things.
Still, knowing what to anticipate when you have a second child is your best course of action should you find yourself expecting once again. So with that in mind, here is what you can expect to have happen to you upon greeting your second child:
Your First Will Revert. Badly.
My wife and I thought we were smart. We thought we had it all figured out. We said to ourselves, “Hey! Selves! Since we’re going to have a second child, and our first is two years old, let’s teach her to use the potty before he’s born so that we don’t have to buy diapers for both of them!” Nice thinking, selves! Good work on that. Too bad it didn’t work.
Not from lack of trying though. Audrey was very good on the potty this summer. Very good! She had her good days and bad days, sure, but she was on the road to success. She was soon to graduate. We were awesome parents.
And then baby Zachary came around. And now she’s back in diapers. Full time.
Apparently this isn’t an uncommon phenomenon either. Upon mentioning our potty-time failure to other parents, they tend to nod knowingly. They’ve been through it before. Kids revert when babies arrive. Not just with diapers either.
Cribs vs Beds
The first day Zachary was home Audrey crawled into her old crib and sat in it in protest. She had graduated to her Big Girl Bed this summer without much incident, but now that the little man is around, she’s suddenly back in love with her crib. Thankfully she hasn’t spent an entire night in her old crib, but each night it takes me almost twice as long to get her to go lie down in her Big Girl Bed. She always says she doesn’t want to, and it takes lots of coaxing.
Her need for attention has also exploded in recent weeks. Look at me as I throw my stuffed Mario down the stairs and retrieve him! Look at me as I put on my froofy tutu and strut around to Elvis Presley’s number one hit ‘All Shook Up’! Look at me, but better yet, listen to me as I reach decibel levels heretofore unheard of! The fact that we’ve had a parade of family and friends through the house hasn’t helped either. Each one of them presents a new opportunity for her to show off. And she’s taken full advantage.
Binkys Binkys Binkys
Some people call them “pacies”. Others “soothies”. I, however, have been raised in the “binky” camp. But whatever you call them, if you have children, you likely have them strewn all about the house. You also realize that there are two basic types: the bouncy newborn kind and the plastic Nuk-brand kind for toddlers. Well, as you may imagine, Audrey uses the Nuk-brand ones (only while sleeping though) and Zachary uses the newborn kind.
Having shown no interest whatsoever with the newborn binkies in years, Audrey has suddenly started putting Zachary’s in her mouth, hiding them around the house, and bouncing them off the floor and the walls.
It’s fun for her. Not so much for us. Thankfully this behavior has started to tail off, but for those first few days she was swiping them left and right. We could have locked them behind a laser net and she would have gotten to them. So, word to the wise:
Going Places is Terrible
Aside from Audrey’s new behavior, the addition of a second child has also increased the time spent getting ready to leave the house by a factor of twelve. Maybe thirteen.
You’d think it wouldn’t be that drastic considering the fact that the little man doesn’t move, or do anything for that matter, but trust me. It is. This is due to the fact that our schedule is his schedule. Got the car packed up? Relieved your bladder? Hair looking snappy? Great! You’re ready to go. Except…
The baby’s hungry. Sorry! Gotta wait now.
Of course, during this so-called down time, your older child is restless and manic. And likely tearing up your house into tiny, bite-sized, confetti-like bits, or refusing to wear clothes, but still demanding to leave the house all the same. This, in turn, leaves you–good, kind-hearted parent that you are–rocking back and forth in the dark, wishing your life had turned out differently.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Then, by the time the baby is fed, you’ve got clothes on your older one, and everyone is strapped into their car seats, the baby poops. And it smells like bad Indian food. And the only party happy about it is the baby. Weeks later, when you finally reach your destination and you’re ready to have some actual fun, the baby is hungry again. And then comes the waiting, the restlessness, and the broken-down rocking in the dark again.
Going places is terrible.
Cats and Babies. Babies and Cats
Think our daughter would be the only one to protest the arrival of a newborn? Think again, friend! If you have cats, they will find new and exciting ways to voice their displeasure at being pushed down the totem pole of household hierarchy.
- Fleeing the house: Our buddy Monty–generally considered the “Good One”–has escaped the house once a day on average since Zachary arrived on campus. Once a day! He’s already eclipsed his six-year total in two weeks. Why is this? There are lots of visitors to see Zachary–which means lots of open doors, Audrey is able to open doors now too–and she’s too small and absentminded to stop him, and he’s highly motivated. He didn’t much care for Audrey’s arrival, after all. With two of them here, he’s doing what he can to get the hell out of Dodge.
- Vomiting! Our other cat, Ike, chooses to let us know how he feels about Zachary’s arrival by vomiting. At first we thought he just did this because he’s still a dirty street cat at heart. But he’s strategic about them, you see. He vomits in entryways, stairways, food dishes, and even at us while we were eating breakfast. It’s horrifying and no way to live. But it’s a colorful basket of lollipops compared to his other baby-arrival trick:
- Pooping on the floor: I’ll spare you the details, but it’s happening about once a day since the baby came home. Makes you want to set fire to life.
So there you have it. That’s what it’s like here after two weeks of two children. It’s nuts, and manic, and head-spinning. If you’re about to enter the exciting realm of the four person family like me, then take my advice friend: