I posted a question on Facebook somewhere around the third week of having two children:
“Know what was easy? One kid.”
With just two short sentences, the condolences, encouragement, and praise started flowing towards me. I didn’t even say having two kids was hard/awful/I’m dying, but maybe everyone just knew that from their own experiences?
The night before we had Sarala, we knew it was going to be our last night as a family of three. We wanted it to be special, so we took Judah out for frozen yogurt before bedtime. I had wanted that whole day to be special, actually. I had plans of taking him to the zoo, one last time, as just the two of us. Or baking cookies together, because one of my sweet friends did that with her first. But the thing is, I didn’t have time for any of that. It was a Thursday, so first I went to MOPS and left Judah to play with his little friends. When it was time to leave, he had found a toy police car to ride around in and didn’t want to leave. I hated that I had to drag him away, but I did. He needed a nap, I needed to pack a hospital bag. By the time David was coming home from work, any attempted specialness was zapped from the day. Frozen yogurt was a last ditch effort.
And you know what? It wasn’t necessarily special to Judah, who was needing correction and redirection the entire time as he ran around other people’s tables and tried to steal their yogurt cups. But for me, it was everything. I was seeing my firstborn as a baby for the last time. That night, when we tucked him in, we weren’t going to be there to get him out of his crib in the morning. Someone wonderful had volunteered to do that so he could sleep while we woke at 5am for our hospital appointment. The next time I saw Judah, I had a tiny baby on my lap.
At first, he was enthralled. He was so gentle and sweet to the baby, and he even chose her name (it was multiple choice, but he still made the decision!). It seemed, at first, like maybe it was going to be ok. But about two days into our week as 4, Judah didn’t want to eat. He also wouldn’t sleep. It was day two or three at about 1am when our 1-year-old was (still) crying in his bed that David and I looked at each other and knew we were losing our minds. Both of us had been into his room, praying and holding him, putting him back down. It didn’t make any difference. What we had on our hands was a toddler in depression, or transition, or both.
It did get easier! Just not right away. When David had to go back to work after a week, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make it through the day. Judah loved to sit on his sister, feed her choking things, push her swing until she was hanging from the seat belt. I couldn’t leave the two of them even for 30 seconds. Somehow, I made it through a month like that. His crazy no-eating-no-sleeping went away in a few days, and a love for his sister also started to grow. I began to see glimpses of what my David has always told me: the best gift we could give him was a sibling.
But still, everything changed when I went from doting mother of one adorable toddler to splitting everything I have between two babies. One lap, two kids, zero personal space. But really, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Six months in, it is bliss. Does he still occasionally hit his sister with his trains? Maybe. But you should’ve heard them laughing at each other, over nothing at all, the other day. Actually, here you go. Enjoy.