Two days ago, I got a call from one of my midwives. There were some births underfoot and she was pinched for childcare. So I did what any uncomfortably pregnant woman with an energetic 2 year old would do – offered to help out and take on her 14-month old for the day. I’m gonna have two of my own come February, so I figured I may as well take a test drive and see what this is like. An hour later, I was home alone with the two kiddos, ready to see what the day would bring.
I’ll save you the suspense and cut right to the good part – I survived! And, even better than that, we had fun together and I avoided major meltdowns of any sort. I know this probably sounds ridiculous to a lot of folks, considering plenty of moms handle multiple children every single day (and I’ll soon be joining that club), but I’m still chalking it up as a WIN.
To be fair, I started the day with luck on my side. I’d accidentally passed out at 9 o’clock the night before trying to listen to my Hypnobabies tracks, so I’d had more than a full night’s sleep. And Poppy and I had started the day on our own, which meant we had our usual Tuesday morning pancakes together, I’d had a long, hot shower, and there was fresh coffee waiting in the kitchen before our little friend arrived.
I was a little nervous about my daughter’s reaction to her buddy. They’re familiar with each other as they spent several days hanging out with a sitter together in August, but P is right in the middle of that delightful toddler stage of everything-is-MINE-MINE-MINE and here I was inviting someone onto her turf to play with all of her toys for the entire day. But she surprised me in really big ways throughout the day as not only was she happy to share with her friend (most of the time), but also seemed really empathetic whenever the other little one got upset (“Baby cry, mommy! Baby sad!”).
I know we’re still three months away from Boo’s arrival, but those hours alone really did a lot to ease my anxiety of how she’ll handle it all. I know we’ll have good days and bad, and unlike her friends, Boo will be up in her business 24/7, but my baby has clearly become a little girl and I think she’s going to be a really cool big sister.
At the end of the day, we’d managed naps, a healthy lunch, some art projects, and even a short-lived trip to the local playground (in the past year, however, I’ve apparently taken for granted how independent Poppy is vs. just how mobile new toddlers are while they still lack in common sense or any sense of looming danger – oy!). Our friend went home worn out and, I hope, feeling loved and secure; Poppy went to bed tired and happy; and I crashed and burned on the couch, feeling totally triumphant.
I’m not delusional enough to think my time home solo with Boo and Poppy will be anything like this on a regular basis – after all, I’ll be working on a newborn sleep schedule (or total lack thereof), among other things – but if the good days are half as good as this one was, I’m pretty sure we’ll all survive. And that’s about as high as I’m willing to set my expectations for now.
What do you find the most challenging and the most rewarding about having multiple youngsters in the house? What are your best tips and tricks for making it all work, especially in the early months?