I could never quite figure out when was the right time to plan a baby. But when me and my husband finally went for our first child, it felt like the right time. Though our lives changed drastically with the inclusion of a baby who has now grown into a hyperactive, ever-jumpy toddler, it took a while to get used to a life driven around a child. For the most part, it’s been fun but is also challenging to raise a child. Okay, yes, it’s not fun explaining a miniature version of yourself to brush their teeth, or take a shower or why it’s not a good idea to yell and throw stuff and stomp around the house like a roaring animal? You get the idea here!!
So, when the idea of another baby popped into my head, I was more confused than ever. You might think it’s just easier the second time because you’ve already been through it the first time. I don’t agree with it because it’s different even the second time, although you know what to expect for the most part. Knowing from the first time can either scare you or make you stronger. Let’s just say, I hovered between being scared and being brave. But I was very confused about a number of things. Was a two-year gap better? Or was a five-year gap better? Or was a second baby even necessary? Or was I prepared for the mess up my routine after being through the madness for a second time?
I spoke with a lot of people who already had kids and those who decided not to have anymore because one was a handful. But like you know, having kids is a personal choice and it just matters what you really want. The vision of my son playing with another child, where he could fight, play or love with no boundaries was enticing. So, I decided, it’s worth giving it a shot. Besides, the whole idea about having a sibling is a life-long experience that goes a long way.
But nothing could have prepared me for the way my toddler handled the arrival of my second child. It’s been only three weeks and there are days that terrify me, as I ask myself – what have I gotten myself into?
After I delivered our little girl, we decided to bring in our four -year-old son at the hospital to do the introductions. Yes, it was heart-warming and beautiful when my son first held his sister but not without all of us, holding our hearts in our mouths. My husband, especially, was extremely nervous when my son tried to explore the baby’s eyes, mouth and nose which to him appeared something that he could explore in a toy.
When it was time for feeding, I naturally gave in to the baby’s demands to feed her. Now, this was something my son hadn’t seen me doing so he jumped on the bed beside me and said, “Can I have milk too?” I raised my eyebrows and said, it’s for the baby. And then, he lifted his t-shirt and said, “I want to feed her too.” And I said, only mommy can feed her.
He wasn’t very thrilled by my answers but eventually lost interest in the baby and demanded my attention. After I arrived home, more than cooing over the newborn, I have spent a lot of time keeping her in a closed room, fearing that my son will rush inside to lift her or kiss her or try something adventurous with her. But when he does come around, it’s usually a scene of him trying to nudge closer with the baby with me repeating -gentle, gentle, gentle. I hope he does get the idea soon.
He’s kind of getting used to her, though he just asked me the other day if we could return this baby and get another baby or why did we even have to bring her home? I simply smiled and told him that this baby is here to stay and we can’t get an exchange. Though he has been co-operative for about fifty percent of the time which is quite rare, he makes it clear he needs mommy when it’s feeding time for the baby. He insists that mommy put him to sleep or mommy feed him or mommy play with him. I sometimes feel like an overworked exhausted machine that is still expected to function far and beyond. I still have no idea how most mommies keep it together.
It’s already terrifying at times, me being torn between both the kids. But having a wonderful spouse who is as confused as me but trying hard to stay sane for our sake and a mother who doesn’t mind staying up all night to help me deal with a fussy baby has helped me immensely.
One night, after I had spent long hours with baby K to soothe her to sleep, I crept in the bed beside my toddler to put him to sleep. When he finally closed his eyes, I found myself crying because of the new changes thumped upon all of us. It’s one thing to welcome another human being into your life but it’s is another thing to make space and acceptance for another human being into your life. But I tell myself, that it will all fall into place because it eventually does. That’s what I chose to believe and it has worked so far.
I tell myself to take it one day at a time like eating a bite from bittersweet chocolate every day that makes you cry and laugh at the same time. Perhaps parenting can be survived only in short, measured periods of time.
What was your experience when you first brought your baby home? How did your older child deal with it? I am thrilled to hear your story!