The first thing I need to tell anyone who is thinking about having a second child is that the transition from 1 kid to 2 is so much harder (and more complicated) than the transition from baby-free to 1 kid. It is still wonderful and rewarding (and a lot of other things too) but I was not prepared for the insane degree of difficulty that would be involved when trying to navigate a newborn/infant/baby and a young child all at the same time.
When Luke was brand new, he was what some people might call a “Velcro baby.” He had to be attached to me at all times. The moment I set him down, even for a second, he lost his freakin’ mind. He was the happiest baby imaginable as long as I was holding him. Add that on to the fact that Luke is hungry constantly, nurses to soothe himself, and nurses for his snacks between breastfeeding, and I didn’t get a lot done. And, it made it especially difficult to be even a halfway decent parent to our older son, Noah.
To deal with this, Matt and I just went with the “divide and conquer” method of parenting. Noah became his kid. Luke became mine.
Now that Luke is older, he likes to be put down some times so he can play and he doesn’t eat quite as much as he used to (sort of), so Matt and I are able to alternate kids a little more regularly. But it is still overwhelming.
I feel like I can only be a great parent to one kid at a time or a sorta-okay parent to both kids. And I miss my one-on-one time with Noah.
Matt is the one now that knows the kindergarten routine inside and out. He knows which shorts Noah likes to wear to bed and what his favorite TV shows are these days. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I don’t have to watch Odd Squad every night but I do miss the snuggles that come along with late night TV.
And while I am the main parent for Luke, that means Matt gets to swoop in when he’s being all cute and adorable and I get the late night feedings and the tearful daycare drop offs (my tears, not Luke’s).
But, Matt can’t parent Noah by himself. It makes it extra difficult because Noah is a high energy kid. And not in a “oh my kid likes to run around a lot” kind of way. Noah has to run around a lot ALL THE TIME. He only has 2 speeds- 90 mph and asleep. There is no middle, no range of energy levels. When we go to trampoline parks or bounce houses, he doesn’t fall asleep on the way home. These kinds of activities just add fuel to his already high-intensity fire.
But, like all things parenting, we are learning as we go. Matt and I have never strived for perfection. Our mantra has always been “do what works” and so far, what we are doing is working. I am sure we will continue to struggle. And we may have a few successes here and there.
In the meantime, we will continue to try to manage on 5 hours of sleep and minimal conversation.
I know that this year is going to be amazing for Noah. And I know that you are going to be an amazing teacher. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not scared to death of all the changes coming our way.
So this year I have a few special requests of you.
Please foster his empathetic nature. He is so kind and sensitive to other people’s emotions. This can be seen as being too emotional or struggling to pay attention if you don’t take a minute to acknowledge the sensitivity. Please take that extra minute.
Please hold him accountable for his actions and his decisions. Like most 5 year olds, he can be impulsive and self absorbed. Call him out on it. Don’t let him get away with not following the rules. He will test every boundary so consistency is key. Please be consistent.
Please keep an eye out for peer pressure. He wants to be liked so badly. He thrives on friendship and attention. This is a dangerous combination if he chooses the wrong friends. Please help him choose kids that like him for him.
Please be patient with me. While I will try my very best to not be a helicopter mom (as my husband makes hovering, helicopter noises behind me), he’s my first baby in school and this is really hard. I’m going to ask a lot of questions. I’m also going to do my best to let my son use his own voice. Please listen to his voice so that I can do a better job at not hovering. And just know that I’m going to cry. Probably a lot.
Noah is sweet and silly. He goofs off and gets frustrated. He gets really excited when he does well and throws a mean tantrum when he fails. Please guide him in the right direction. You’re in charge of setting the stage for the rest of his academic career. Please help him and me to get off to the right start. I’m scared and excited. I can only assume you are too.