Hang in there.

January 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm Leave a comment

I know several families with new or new-ish babies.  For a few of these families, this is baby #2, joining a big brother or big sister whose average age computes out to around 2.5.  The family is no longer Parents + 1; it is now Parents + Toddler + Infant.

In many cases, there are two in diapers.  (Or diapers and pull-ups.)  There are two children who need everything done for them: clothing and shoes put on, bottoms and noses wiped, hair and teeth brushed.  Two parents who once double-teamed Child #1 now must play man-to-man defense.

I’ve seen many a look of terror from these parents.  I know that look of terror.  I have lived it.  And let me tell you: I thank the Lord every day that I am no longer you.

Oh, I loved my babies.  Still do, thank you very much.  But I know that when you’re running on 2 hours of sleep (as many of you are) for a week straight (as many of you are) and trying to juggle two writhing, wiggling, pooping balls of high-maintenance need (as many of you are), you begin to wonder if a) you will ever rediscover any sense of normalcy and b) if you will ever have a moment to yourself ever, ever, ever again.

I’m here to tell you that it gets better.  Which is ironic, really, because I frequently seek the same reassurance from my sister-in-law, Janelle, whose children are now all grade-schooled age.  “It gets easier, doesn’t it?” I ask her.  And she assures me it does, that as they get older and more independent some parts of parenting get oh, so much easier.

But it occurred to me the other day that now *I’m* in the position of reassuring some of you.  My kids are 4 and 2.  I’ve walked through the valley of the shadow of Toddler + Infant and I’m walking out the other side.  There are still challenging days and exhausting days and downright bad days.

But let me tell you, IT GETS SO MUCH EASIER.

Someday, you will wake up to find any or all of the following:

1) Your child gets dressed.  No, you did not dress him or her.  Instead, said child marched to the closet, picked out an outfit, and put it on.  Granted, she may be wearing a tutu with a down parka.  It doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that YOU WEREN’T THE ONE TO HAVE TO DO IT.

2)  Your child gets undressed.  This is also a big deal.  We now walk into the KidsZone at the Y, where I say, “Coats off.  Shoes off.”  And they hang the coat on a hook and put the shoes in a cubby.  Which leads me to…

3)  Your child puts things away.  Okay, granted, this one is still a challenge in my house.  But instead of saying, “Where does that go?” 45+ times a day, I’m down to about 25.  Alissa knows where her backpack goes after school and the kids know where the dishes go after dinner.  It’s the little things, people.

4)  You have slept through the night.  No one has called out your name.  You haven’t had to warm up a bottle or pull out a boob at 2 am.  All binkies and loveys and blankies have remained where they belonged.  You’ve had a straight 6 hours of sleep.  And you feel like you can conquer the world.

5)  Your children play together.  This is one nice advantage to having children close together, if you can hang in there long enough for it to happen.  By the time your youngest turns 2, your oldest should have forgiven you for bringing this creature into the family and accepted it as a permanent playmate.  Okay, so some of those playtimes turn into meltdowns and end in timeouts.  But many of those playtimes will turn into 30 minutes where no one is saying “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy” and you are left alone to watch the last 30 minutes of Chopped.

6)  Your kid went to the potty alone.  Did their business efficiently and effectively, got in, got out, and got on with it.  You didn’t have to do a potty dance or a potty song or bribe with M&M’s.

And finally…

7) Both your children surprise you with a picture they drew, with hearts and flowers.  Just because they “Lub you, Mommy.”  And you realize it may get easier, but it can never, ever get better than this.


Entry filed under: Life in general.

The Weekly Weigh-In: January 21 Remembering a friend.

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