They say going from one to two kids is easy, and going from two to three kids is basically a cake walk. I say,
Who the hell is “they” and how quickly did they forget the hard parts?
It’s like giving birth. Most mothers say you forget how hard the pregnancy and labor is when you see your child for the first time. While that sounds dreamy, it was not the case for me. Was I in bliss? Absolutely! Am I still? Absolutely! But let me tell you, I remember every wave crashing, every debilitating back ache, and every 3, 4, 5, and 6 centimeter contraction. And I had very easy and quick labors!! And I am pretty confident that I will remember this ebb and flow of navigating a 2 year old and a newborn.
We aptly tried to prepare our toddler for the onset of a new baby in the house. I received all kinds of advice from other moms: “Get her a doll and teach her how to care for the doll like it’s her sister.” “Give her a gift when the baby arrives to remind her it’s a celebration, not a loss.” Etc,etc. Tyler is head over heels in love with her little sister, but the hard part is that she is still just a two year old. With or without a baby sister we’d be going through her “terrific two’s”. Having a baby sister around just adds to my joy (and pain) more than anyone else’s.
It’s true whoever “they” are, when they said things just change when your kid turns two.
Our sweet little baby girl is now a full fledged, ornery, toddler with her mind already made up. Her new favorite word is “Nope”. Not even just a simple “No”, but the definitive, matter of fact, solid, absolutely positively version of no…..”Nope”. I am pretty sure I saw the switch flip on her second birthday when she had a room full of friends and family sing “Happy Birthday”. She watches the video of that day on a loop just to remind herself of the Queen she is destined to become. Whilst I am thrilled to be raising a Queen with a confidence all her own, I am not thrilled to be ignored, to be told “Nope”, to have her ask for oatmeal 5 minutes after bedtime, or to throw herself on the floor when life doesn’t go exactly her way in that moment. Now add a newborn baby who needs a consistent eye, and tic tock ‘round the clock TLC and you’ve got one tired mother.
For now, Jonah needs to be woken up every three house to eat and be changed. Thank GOD she is a good, quiet baby. She isn’t a huge fan of having her diaper changed, but once she’s dry, she’s back to being content again. She eats like a champ, she is a “Livingston” after all. Tyler is a very loving big sister. But boy, her love is rough. She doesn’t know her own strength so when she goes in for the kisses and cuddles we have to be very diligent about talking her through it and reminding her of the first rule- BE VERY VERY GENTLE. If nothing else it’s a reminder to myself and my husband that we are both the bull in the China shop. I have honed a little more grace since having babies, but we still rough house with Tyler. We are all learning how to cope with the transition of adding fourth member to our band. I am confident that with time, practice, and patience, we will all make beautiful music together.
There is a bright side to all of this. My family is expanding. My daughters now have each other for life which gives me a comfort only another mother can fully comprehend. And I have the sweet effervescent toxicity that is “new baby smell” to keep me high on this new beginning. (Seriously, why haven’t they bottled this yet?)
They say “It takes a village”. THEY WERE RIGHT!
I have been blessed beyond measure with an amazing tribe who come to my aid when I need them most. My mother and my siblings. They’d throw themselves over the fire for me and my children and I’d do the same for them in return. My mother and sisters came to help me with the first week of transition and to meet their new niece of course. It was all hands on deck. My little sister Gia was keeping me fed and keeping me entertained with dance moves that have yet to be brought out in public, while my older sister showered Tyler with love and affection “Auntie Manda” style. Her cousins came to play with her and my mother, well my mother did what she does best. She held us all together with her one-of-a-kind love that got us all to this point in our lives. And now she’s showering our children with the same unconditional love she showers us with. Grandmas literally have the best jobs ever. Spoil the babies!!
I still don’t know who “They” are, or why we listen to what “They” say, but sometimes “They” get it right.
Having two kids under 3 years old is no cake walk, but having these two little girls as the center of my world sure does make my life sweeter than ever before. They are the cherry on top of the love I have for my husband and I am going to keep riding the waves of motherhood with all it’s joy and sleeplessness. After all, the best part of motherhood is that no matter how hard it gets, no matter what they throw at you (literally and figuratively), we just keep going. We never stop. No breaks, no shortcuts, just Mommin’ it the best we can, forever. We are the most resilient humans created, so they say.
I’d love to hear some of the things THEY said to you…Please feel free to share in the comments section below!
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