Friday, March 28, 2008

Perspective

The boys and I went on a playdate to the home of the lovely Kgirl. And a wonderful hostess she is too - deftly doling out caffeine before I got the withdrawal shakes, and keeping a steady stream of snacks for my hoover-Boy, all with a baby on the hip.

In between sips of spider-free coffee and mouthfuls of delicious banana cake, Kittenpie and I got to talking about how we're not terribly keen on the whole newborn phase. The cuddles and coos are adorable, but they don't always compensate for the sleep deprivation or the screaming, be it mine or the baby's. I tend to view these early days, wrong or no, as banking hours against a future pay-off. With each passing day, I'm enjoying the Boy's quirks and foibles more and more. and I can see the little man he is becoming.

When I was pregnant with the Little Guy, I had many moments of omigodwhathaveIdonethings arefinallygoodandwhyhaveIjustgoneandruineditall? I was scared. I didn't want to go back to sleepless nights, and hours of breastfeeding and unsuccessful pumping. I didn't want to feel constantly inadequate because I didn't know why the baby was crying. I remembered the dark, dark days and was loathe to go back to them.

To my delight and surprise, it's just...easier...the second time around. I don't in any way mean that there aren't incredibly difficult moments, difficults days, difficult weeks. I don't mean that I don't want to pull my hair out sometimes, because I do (I don't need to though, because I lose clumps of it every time I shower. How glamourous is motherhood?). I certainly don't think things are all sunshine and puppy dogs.

BUT...I don't feel as lost. I don't feel as incompetent. I'm not shattered every time the baby cries, because sometimes babies just cry and it's not my fault. I don't second guess every little thing because I've come to accept that sometimes there just is no good answer, and I do what I have to do to get through the day. Eventhough I can't always see it, I know that there is a light at the end the tunnel.

I would have never (NEVER!) thought this before, but when it's just me and the baby - or just me and the Boy - it seems like a bit of holiday to only have to look out for one kid, and worry about one schedule. Turns out having a second child was the best thing I could do in terms of blurring the tears of the past. And I have a whole new appreciation for the sweetness and simplicity of the newborn phase.

Now, if I could only figure out how to manage the boys when I'm outnumbered two to one, I'd be all set...

19 comments:

something blue said...

I completely agree that there is a whole lot of acceptance that comes with number two. Plus time does speed by even quicker.

The only part where we differ is I think I feel more inadequate as my children get older. At least my shortcomings are way more noticeable then when they were babies. Still I know I'm doing better now then their future teen years. My husband already is planning on living in the garage and that's when I'll probably need some magic happy pills.

Her Bad Mother said...

I am COUNTING on it being easier. With all fingers. And toes. Because, yes, it's the feeling of incompetence that kills you the first time around. I am BANKING on being all *meh* about EVERYTHING with this next one.

Bea said...

Exactly. So, so true. I've caught myself sometimes thinking how incredibly easy my life would be if I had only one (because of that break-like feeling you described) - bu then I pull myself up short, because in many ways having one is harder: you're the only source of entertainment, with no pint-size sidekick to while away the hours.

kittenpie said...

God, I hope you're right, because I not infrequently wonder, especially when I'm impatient wtih the one I've got, what the hell I'm thinking?! but I do know now that by about 8 or 10 months last time, it was getting better. So at least I know that even if it is hard again, I have that to look to. Plus, there is hindsight. I feel like I know a bit more about why some things might have turned out as they did, that I know some new things to try, so maybe it will be easier. it's going to be hard to walk for the next while, though, with all my fingers and toes crossed.

Mac and Cheese said...

Thanks for the pep talk! I'll bury my fears for another day.

metro mama said...

I can't imagine two right now. I'm waiting until Jane's in school during the day, and she's old enough to help me with the new one!

kgirl said...

two is good, isn't it? i was seriously glowing with love and joy yesterday at the fact that three of us were managing our toddlers and infants with such grace and enjoyment, while our expectant fourth looked on.

or maybe i was just having the breast-feeding sweats ;)

Beck said...

Yes, DEFINITELY. Managing two is just a learned skill, really - I'm not a fantastic manager and yet I can take my little herd for a walk easily.
(and no KIDDING about the newborn phase! It's kind of AWFUL, regardless of how crazy I was about my babies.)

BlocksofStone said...

I've always admired you as a mother. You are doing fantastic.

jen said...

i can't imagine two and yet i completely see why yes, it might be easier. and you hung w/ Kgirl..sigh.

Bon said...

ah, reassurance. glad to know. i've been hoping.

painted maypole said...

i've heard that it's easier the second time around. not that I'd know...

Mimi said...

Huh. Verrrry interesting.

Kyla said...

That is completely true. And well, my second is KayTar and it STILL seems easier. The motherhood learning curve is steep that first time around.

Once they start entertaining each other (which happens earlier than you'd think), it is all just gravy.

NotSoSage said...

This gives me hope for the future...the much distant future, but the future nonetheless.

And, from my personal point of view, you've got it down even when you're outnumbered.

Christine said...

sounds like a fun play date--i heard kgirl was serving spiders! ;-)

and i am very, very glad i am done with newborn babies--i love my kids but those days are WAY over and i am glad of it.

MaryP said...

For me, the first changed everything. With the second, the only major adjustment was the sibling thing: I felt such GUILT at shoving this scene-stealing attention-hogging baby upon my oldest. But when the baby was 9 months old, they were playing together, and getting stuff from each other they couldn't get from me, and the guilt? Vanished.

And with the third? I'd made the huge adjustment; I'd survived the sibling adjustment. Third was eaaasy.

petite gourmand said...

you make it sound so doable.
maybe even for me again.
hmmmm...who knows?

Lisa b said...

I swear I was just wrestling my little one composing a post in my head with the thesis: babies are a means to get kids.
Kyla totally stole my line, I maintain that the second is easier NO MATTER WHAT.