Two. 2. Deux. Dos. No matter how I put it, I still can’t believe I have two kids. I am completely blessed because I have the 2 most amazing little boys in the world. (No bias at all. Just speaking facts.) When I was pregnant with Ryan, everyone used to tell me “The jump from 1 child to 2 is the hardest jump you’ll have to make.” People who had 4, 5, and 6 kids were telling me this! I would look at them and think that there is no way having 2 can be harder than what you’re going through! Once Ryan arrived, I saw just what they meant. Russell and Ryan are joy and love and hope and answered prayers and so much more in 2 little bodies and I am so grateful for them. But parenting does not come without challenges and lessons and let me tell you, I have LEARNED and changed and grown from child to child. Some things have gotten easier while some things have gotten harder!
You know those cute bags that you wear that perfectly match the outfit you put on? Yeah, I don’t either. Just kidding. Kinda. Anytime, I leave the house and am spending more than 30 minutes out, it’s a production! Gone are the days when I could throw a couple things in a bag and dash out. They have been replaced with 2 sets of diapers (my boys are 18 months apart), 2 sets of snacks and 2 sets of changing clothes. Just when I think I’m past this stage, one of my boys has an accident and I get caught looking like a FOOL. Like yesterday, at church, when my husband thought the diaper bag was in the car. It wasn’t. And I had no backups in my purse. Most Sundays, while at church, neither one of my boys needs anything from the bag. Until yesterday, of course. Ryan decided he had to poop and it could not wait. I ended up going to the nursery and asking if they have extra diapers. I’ve definitely learned to consolidate and use just 1 bag for the 3 of us instead of a purse and a diaper bag but that usually means I end up with several single socks and crushed crackers in the bottom of my purse so you know…pick your battles.
The last movie I saw in theaters was Hidden Figures. It’s the story of black, female engineers and mathematicians who worked at NASA during the “Space Race” between the United States and Russia. It’s a brilliant movie. Anyways, there are a couple scenes in the movie when the star, Taraji P. Henson, is working furiously at a chalkboard, trying to figure out a problem. There are a lot of deep , furrowed brows, and reasoning and calculating involved and you can decipher that this is no easy task. Now picture me doing this in the morning when I’m trying to think of a way for my boys to nap at the same time. It’s rocket science, really and truly. If I want to get ANY writing done and/or sanity for the day, they have to sleep at the same time for at least an hour. Praise God that right now, they are both sleeping, but that involved me keeping the baby up for an extra thirty minutes while his brother finished up his lunch. Have you ever deprived a baby of sleep? There are tears and loud screams involved. (Not from me…this time.) With 1 kid, I would let him drop whenever he felt like it. (Within our carefully mapped out SCHEDULE of course!) *read with sarcasm* With two, it’s a complicated, time-sensitive mission and 1 wrong move could cost you. Earlier this week, Russell (the 2 yr. old) was refusing naps. There were again tears and loud screams involved and I’m not saying from who. Coordinating schedules and simultaneous naps are life and life abundantly.
Even with all the noise, and sticky high chairs, and toys EVERYWHERE, one of the best parts about having 2 kids is more confidence. Whenever Ryan does or doesn’t do something, I don’t run to Google or my Mom to find out whether or not it’s normal like I did for Russell. With your first child, everything is a big deal — good or bad! With my second child, I tend to celebrate the good while not dwelling on the bad. I remember vigilantly reading the weekly newsletters to check on Russell’s progress and make sure he was hitting all of his milestones. If he missed one by even a day, I would be so disappointed and think that I was not doing my job as a Mother. With Ryan, I realize that every kid has their OWN schedule as to when they do things and I encourage them both while still facilitating an environment for optimum growth and learning. Both my kids get the benefit of a Mom who is more confident and easy going than high strung and worried. Now do I ever completely not worry about my boys? Of course not! I’m still human. But I can definitely say I do not play out the worst case scenarios every time 1 of them gets a bump on their head. Also, I’ve taken a break from watching Grey’s Anatomy and that might help calm my fears of going to the ER and having to amputate a toe when 1 of them coughs. Either way, I’m better.
I’ve learned these lessons and so much more like:
I’ve learned that it’s OK to let 1 kid cry sometimes to tend to the other.
I’ve learned that the iPad is a gift from sweet Jesus himself and I am not ashamed that Russell uses it so Mommy can cook or shower or eat or take care of Ryan.
I’ve learned that rubber bands make effective child proofing tools for cabinets.
I’ve learned that you can in fact do your hair, makeup, and get dressed with 1 hand while holding a baby and watching another.
I’ve learned that a clean playroom only happens when no one is in it.
I’ve learned the art of singing at the top of my lungs to distract cranky kids while preparing a meal.
I’ve learned that my life is more hectic but so much beautiful with
T W O.
P.S. Here are some pics of the most handsome Russell and the most handsome Ryan on this planet. No debate here, people. Don’t @ me.