The Difference with Two: On Parenting

It’s been over 6 months since I went from a mom of one to a mom of two, so I’m ready to share what the experience has been like for me!  Let me start by saying I had no idea how easy I had it with one.  Hindsight is always 20/20.

Despite the constant state of busyness we find ourselves in, we are thoroughly enjoying our two kids, and have absolutely no regrets (ask me again when I have two toddlers…)!

On Sleep:
1st child: I knew exactly when her naps were and how long they’d last. I woke her up at set times to preserve her night sleep. Her sleep was predictable and like clockwork.  I knew her schedule like the back of my hand by 6 months.
2nd child: At 6 months, I still don’t know if he’s going to take 2 or 3 naps each day. It all depends on when he wakes up, which isn’t predictable either… It’s a crapshoot and I’m just going with it.  Heck, some days he doesn’t even get a nap because we drag him along to whatever his sister wants to do.

On Eating:
1st child: She’s 5.5 months, ahh that’s almost 6 months! Let’s start solids now!! How exciting! Take a picture! Let’s get it on video too!  (I also went to the Farmer’s Market and bought everything under the sun).
2nd child: At 6.5 months — OH SHOOT, we forgot to feed him dinner again. Crap.  (For the record – his first food was a banana, and it was completely unplanned.  We had been picnicking with some friends and I didn’t want to breastfeed right then and there so I gave him a banana to gnaw on to hold him over!).

On Middle of the Night Wakeups:
1st child: Let her fuss for 10-15 minutes just like that one book told me to.
2nd child: Stumble as fast as I can out of bed and bum rush his room for fear that his crying will wake up his sister the next room over. The last thing I want is TWO crying kids in the middle of the night. Good lord.

On Health:
1st child: Didn’t get her first cold until she started daycare/preschool at 20 months.
2nd child: He’s gotten a cold at least every other month since he’s been born. His sister brings home all sorts of fun germs for him to try. She gets over it in a day. It takes the poor lil’ guy 2 weeks to recover from the same cold. Yay us.

On Crying:
1st child: Pick up, hold, cuddle.  Poor baby, don’t cry!
2nd child: It goes a little like this – Jaren starts crying, but I’m already tending to Noelle who is throwing a major fit.  I’ll get to you when I get to you – sorry J!

On Toys:
1st child:  Everything is brand new and disinfected after each use (all carefully researched of course).
2nd child:  Anything we bought specifically for him (not much), has been taken away and claimed by his sister long ago.  Everything he plays with, ends up in a battle with his sister who insists on playing with it too (this is only after she sees him with it).

On Clothes:
1st child: I don’t even want to recount the number of cute clothes we bought up front that have never been worn (or were worn only once) because she grew so fast.  Sigh.
2nd child: He’s been living in hand-me-down onesies his whole life, and the closest we’ve gotten to dressing him up, is putting matching socks and a cute bib on him.

On Free Time:
1st child: We LOVED having a 2 nap schedule because that meant we got some downtime too! We mourned the transition from 2 naps to 1.
2nd child: I can’t WAIT for him to drop his morning nap so we can all do more together as a family instead of being tied down by his morning nap.

On Milestones:
1st child: She rolled over from front to back on xx/xx/xx… and rolled both ways on so and so date.  Both events captured on film, and video.
2nd child: What the… when did J learn how to roll over?

On Preserving Memories:
1st child: Camera phone?  Check!  Point & Shoot?  Check!  Flip video-cam?  Check!  DSLR?  Check!
2nd child: Where did I put my iPhone again?  Dangit.  Oh well.

I was that first time mom who logged every diaper change, every nap, every feeding.  In my state of serious sleep deprivation, I still managed to read over 10 parenting books.  Don’t ask me how I did it, I don’t even know.  Now that I’m a mom of two, life is crazier, but I also worry less and have more fun!

If you were to ask me what one thing I’m learning as a mom of two, I’d say that I’m learning the art of compromise, and that there is beauty in the budge.  With one child, I felt so much more in control of how I wanted to parent.  There were no other variables besides ourselves in terms of how we wanted our child to sleep, eat, and play.  Throw in a second, and it changes the game.  You can’t have razor sharp focus with the second when you have a toddler to manage too.  Sometimes that means the baby is crying awhile longer than I’d like because I’m dealing with my toddler’s frustrations, other times it means my toddler has to give up a favorite toy because the baby is fussy and I need something to calm him down.  We’re all learning to give, take, and budge a little – even little Toddler Heels.

Did your parenting style change when you went from 1 to 2?


One thought on “The Difference with Two: On Parenting

  1. Haha, oh man, reading this makes me feel like Brian is my 2nd in many ways! I was so lax, I’d “disinfect” his pacifier by putting it in my mouth. I wonder how much more laid back I’ll be when I have another!

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