Powerful Lessons About Adjusting To Life With Two Kids
Updated: Mar 28, 2019
Our kids are 2 and 4 years old now and people still ask me how the adjustment from one to two kids was. Well, my answer is that we are still adjusting. I don’t know about the rest of you but the transition of adding another bundle of joy into our lives was not an easy one.
When Lucas and I decided to have another baby Juliette was a little over one year old and she was such a delight and LOVED any baby she came across. We automatically assumed that she would make an amazing big sister and while she is currently a super big sister, getting there wasn't simple.
While I was pregnant with Fletcher I talked to Juliette a lot about what was in my tummy in hopes of preparing her. I remember feeling a bit anxious, thank you pregnancy hormones, thinking about what kind of relationship the kids would have when they were older. Would they be best friends as teens, looking out for each other? Would they start a sibling band? Would they fight like cats and dogs and be total opposites?? Clearly I still don't have these answers and wonder still what they will be like as they grow up. A fun and exciting thought now. The point is, I was worrying about what they would be like as teens and less about how they would get along as toddlers.
Before deciding to have another baby I had heard plenty of stories about when the second child was born the older sibling was overcome with joy and loved that new baby right away. I had also heard that the a two year age gap is ideal. I thought it all sounded really great...automatic playmate, best friend for life kind of stuff. People and even books don't always share that sometimes the first months with two kids were less than ideal. They don't seem to mention the hard stuff like sibling jealousy, a less than peaceful family dynamic, or what (if any) negative implications for the first born. Is it shame? I don't know. I try to be honest with my friends and anyone who asks me about my experience so far. Why give out crazy high expectations and only share the good stories about parenthood when that is just not always the case? Parents already have a billion expectations placed on them to be perfect and whether we like it or not sometimes things don't always match our expectations or what others say we should expect. Such is life, right?
As we sat in the hospital with our new baby boy all I wanted to do was get home to Juliette and have her meet her "baby bro", to be together as a new family. We only spent the night in the hospital and went home first chance in the morning. The first meeting between them went well. While Juliette was curious and wanted to hold newborn baby Fletcher, she was only 2 years and 3 week old herself. Along with her curiosity and thinking this was some new doll to cuddle, she was also confused and sad that the way of life as a family had shifted. I cannot begin to describe the amount of guilt I felt after bringing Fletcher home and then watching my beloved first born become frustrated and sad.
There have been a lot of meltdowns and sad feelings between then and now. Day-to-day life was never unmanageable but there certainly was a trend. To be honest, we have had a lot of wonderful days but on the flip side we also had some real garbage days too. It's been a mix and I imagine that it is that way for a lot of families with one or more kids. Something I don't get is why a lot of parents decide to sugar coat the bad days. That sends a silent message to other parents that It is abnormal to have low times.
For our family, things started to run smoother around the one and a half to two year mark as a family of four. When Fletcher was between one and a half to two years old he was able to communicate well for his age and this enabled the kids to REALLY start playing together. We have always encouraged them to play together but when their interests were so different, Fletcher being so young, that was tricky. Here we are today with two kids half way through year 2 and 4 of life. They still fight, they still get jealous of one another, there are still meltdowns for something or other, yet we have gotten to see Fletcher and Juliette really bond and develop a friendship. They love to poke at each other, make each other laugh, pretend together, and wrestle. It's a beautiful sight.
Guys, we are far from perfect and our transition from a family of three to four has been full of ups and downs. In fact, I would call it a work in progress. We are going to keep moving forward and hopefully chugging on like a well oiled machine.
Take away- Let's try not to let other people's perfect expectations bring us down. The reality is that we all have struggles and we are all flawed, even if it's hard to admit. Just remember that our journeys as individual families are our own and completely unique to any other.
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