Today is not just the first day of Spring in our house (can I get a HALLELUJAH?!), it's also a very special girl's birthday. Our Reagan turns 4 today, and last night, while doing dishes (anyone else daydream while doing dishes? I feel like I have so many things going on in my head while I wash and load!), I was reminiscing a bit on this night 4 years ago. I was induced with her, so I knew the night before that I would be going to the hospital bright and early to deliver our second baby girl. SO many emotions were running through my system - and I couldn't help but think how enormously things would change with our family. Going from 3 to 4 - would it be easier this time? Or harder? Would Reese (our oldest) be jealous? Or love her to pieces? Would I be able to juggle an 18 month old and a newborn by myself? I'm pretty sure I slept oh, about 15 minutes that night;). I have quite a few friends who are expecting their second, or just had one, so I thought it might be fun to share some of the things I've learned since this day in 2008.
1. Guess what? I'm NOT perfect. *GASP!* Now, of course I knew I wasn't a perfect mom, but I have to say, I'd toot my own horn from time to time (in my head of course, not out loud;) about our first born. She was one of those freakishly good toddlers - never a meltdown, like EVER - I'd take her anywhere, she'd play with something, and I'd say, ok, time to go, put it down. And she did. Smiling. If she had a toy someone wanted, she'd offer it to them in a heartbeat, even if it was her favorite. I didn't even need to babyproof this house, it's like she just knew and wouldn't dare break a rule. And veggies? The girl will gobble up ANYTHING you put in front of her, and asks for tilapia, wild rice, and edamame for her birthday dinner. It's bizarre. And when this is all you have to compare to, you kinda tend to think it's because WE'RE such good parents, obviously! Ummmm...turns out, it was sheer luck and our baby girl number 2 taught us that real quick. Meltdowns are now an hourly occurrence, and that kid won't touch a veg with a 10 foot pole. Don't even try to puree it and stick in the spaghetti sauce either. Sister is ON to those kinds of games. So Kid #1 had nothing to do with our stellar parenting skills, and everything to do with God just blessing us with a well behaved, veggie eating, rule-following child. Ah well, nobody's perfect, right? ;)
2. Having a second baby can sometimes be easier than one. Those days (although brief), of being a mom of one were great. Pack one kid up, strap one kid in a seat, more room for groceries - all good things. BUT: when baby #2 is old enough to interact with the first born, WOOHOO! I'm no longer the sole playmate (which wasn't a bad thing of course, but all day every day, it can tend to get a little old;). Now I'm second fiddle to her sibling, and they play and play and play. TOGETHER. And it's delightful. (Until they fight, but you get the point;).
I was always told going from 1 to 2 kids was the hardest, but I'd say 2 to 3 was more of a shock. Course, that probably has a lot to do with the ages of my kids, and the fact that the oldest of the trio was still only 2 when #3 arrived. They all still pretty much needed us for everything, and man to man was a lot easier than playing zone. Baby's crying? I'm on it - while Paul tended to Reese or vice versa. Throw another baby in the mix and it got a little more chaotic! But 2? Totally doable, and you'll pick up so quickly, the time when you only had one will feel like a lifetime ago!
3. Each kid is different. What worked for your first, might not for your second, and what never EVER worked for your first might work like a charm for #2. Our oldest was such a rock-to-sleep baby. Reagan, we'd put her in her crib and she'd fall asleep on her own. The girl loves her sleep, and took awesome naps. While Reese was queen of the power nap and would stay up all night long if I let her. Reese is our quiet, super smart, artsy girl, and Reagan is our hilarious, class clown, take-nothing-from-nobody firecracker. It's amazing how the same two parents can raise children and how incredibly different they turn out to be!
4. Love multiplies, it doesn't divide. While I was pregnant with Reagan, I knew I'd fall in love with her just as I did her sister, but you wonder, how is it possible to have THAT much love? I mean, Reese was my world. I had never known love like that before and it's something that until you have a child, you just can't fully wrap your brain around. It's like you'd literally do anything for this person - anything. Would I be able to love another that much? Trust me. The answer is a resounding Y-E-S. The second they laid her in my arms, I couldn't believe that feeling was here again, and how much I adored this little person already.
5. You are not traumatizing your first born; it's quite the opposite. I went through a period of guilt when I got pregnant with our second. Our first was 9 months old, and a part of me felt like I was somehow robbing her of being an only child. All of a sudden, she wouldn't be the only star in Mommy and Daddy's life, and she'd have to share the limelight with a younger sibling. I felt like she needed more time to be our only. I could not have been more wrong.
So here's to my sweet, sweet Springtime Girl, Reagan ~ you have brought such color to our world, with your constant funny faces and jokes, your spunk and your style, and the way your hugs can make everything all ok. You are the most awesome, unique 4 year old and I can't tell you how proud and happy I am to be your mommy! I love you to the moon and back.
**Want to join in the Naptime fun on Facebook? Click here to visit my page!**