My baby was 14 months old when I found out I was pregnant with baby number two. He had just learned how to walk, still requiring me to walk behind him holding both of his hands above his head so he wouldn’t topple over. In other words, my baby was still very much a baby, and I couldn’t believe I’d be adding another baby to the mix.
Excited, but mostly terrified, I researched and read more articles than I can count on what it’s like to be a parent of two under two. These articles more often than not use words in their title such as “survival” or “coping.” You are much more likely to find an article titled “How to Survive Having Two Under Two” than you are to find one titled “Having Two Under Two Was The Best Decision I Ever Made.” Well, I’m here to tell you that having two under two was the best decision I ever made.
I quickly fell in love with my second child. I remember being concerned about whether it was possible for me to love my second child as much as I love my first, but that fear quickly subsided once I met my baby. Whereas with my first child, I spent my hospital stay wired on adrenaline, waking up every hour throughout the night to check to make sure he was still breathing, I was much more relaxed with my second child.
I knew what I was doing the second time around and things were, honestly, easier. I knew how to breastfeed a baby, how to swaddle a baby, and how to burp a baby. I felt confident and calm. I found myself enjoying all the little moments that I was too anxious to enjoy the first time around.
While I expected to fall in love with my newborn, what I really didn’t expect was that having a second baby would lead me to fall more in love with my toddler. When my oldest came to the hospital to meet his baby brother, I remember thinking he looked like he had aged six months, overnight. I gave him a hug and I remember thinking that his head felt 10 pounds heavier snuggled on my shoulder that night. Suddenly, I became acutely aware of how quickly time passes.
And boy does time pass. While you hear about things like toddler sibling regression (mine took his brother’s pacifier from him, put it in his mouth, then climbed into his car seat looking for the same attention), what you don’t hear about is all the sweet moments that come with having two kids both being so little at the same time.
Nobody told me my toddler would come home from daycare every day to yell “Bubby!” with a grin wide enough to see half-chewed Goldfish crackers in the side of his mouth as he ran over to give his baby brother the slobberiest kiss on the cheek.
Nobody told me my toddler would surprise me with his empathy at just shy of two years old, often bringing his little brother a pacifier when he cries without ever being asked.
Nobody told me how much my newborn would make my family feel complete and how I wish I could freeze time at night when I have my newborn snuggled up on my chest and my toddler snuggled up on the other side next to me while I read them both a bedtime story.
Like the rest of motherhood, having two small children is messy, complicated, and beautiful all at once. I just wish someone had given me the advice of being more present instead of telling me I’d be counting down the days until they are both out of diapers. I’ve heard it gets easier, but I want to enjoy this phase a little longer first.