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So Maybe I Could Handle Two (And Maybe I Want To?)

Taylor Newman

We had two little boys running around in our house today. I picked up Kaspar’s best buddy at 4:50 this morning; his new little sister was well on her way to being born, and, well, his adults needed some backup. Shortly after arriving back at our place, he fell asleep while having a bottle in my lap, and I put him in our bed. Aaron was in Kaspar’s bed— one of us pretty much always is by that time—and I’d had coffee, so was up, but I enjoyed the quiet mom-only time with my pile of unread magazines, occasionally peeking into the bedroom full of sleeping boys. I felt a warm, fuzzy, full-house kind of feeling, but reminded myself that, soon enough, all of these boys would wake up, and those warm fuzzies might disperse just as quickly as they came.

But, when the boys woke up (well past 8!), they were completely psyched to see each other. Kaspar brought one book after another to his friend, climbed on to the bed, said “Hi-hi-hi-hi-hi.” They ate breakfast sitting across from each other, quietly staring and chewing (cute and weird at the same time), and then settled onto the floor, still in their pajamas, with blocks, which they shared, without adult facilitation. More warm fuzzies. (Hmmmm). Read more, and enter a special holiday weekend giveaway, after the jump!

They played like that all day. Sure, they got pretty crazy (as the image above clearly shows), they got loud, they got tired (Aaron and I split them up to get them down for naps), and then they got crazy again. But they completely surprised me. I had been bracing myself for double the trouble with two toddlers on the loose, but, as it turned out, it was almost easier supervising two. The reason for this was that Aaron and I (usually one of us at a time), under normal circumstances, not only fill the supervisor role, but are also expected, by Kaspar, to provide the entertainment. Given a sixteen-month-old’s limited attention span—excluding, of course, the dedicated pursuit of hacking my Droid and other expensive household electronics— coming up with exciting/interesting/safe/age-appropriate fun for hours on end is a big, exhausting job. Rewarding, no doubt, but exhausting nonetheless. Today, however, Aaron and I were only on alternating supervisor-watch; the boys served as each others’ entertainment from dawn to nearly-dusk (at which point our little pal departed with his mama to meet the new family member).

So, about those warm fuzzies. Maybe this is my friend’s iPhone-shot new-baby photos talking, but… I experienced a little change of perspective today, in having two kids in the house. Our first year was so tough, what with Kaspar’s allergy and eczema struggle —and our newborn-esque sleep deprivation so drawn out-- that Aaron and I couldn’t even entertain the idea of bringing a baby #2 into the mix, even in non-committal conversation, until recently (we won the allergy and eczema fight, somewhat miraculously, and are once again sleeping normally). We’ve talked about adopting another child-- which is I think how we’ll end up doing it when the time comes-- but really only in the context of two or three years from now, thinking we’d wait until Kaspar’s a bit more independent, and in some kind of preschool situation for part of the day before adding more (abundant, wonderful, love-filled) chaos into our household mix. After today, though, I kind of feel like we could handle two, like two kids in a household context actually changes the overall household dynamics in more subtle ways than simply doubling all parenting doings. And some of those dynamic shifts are really cool and positive, where the kiddos are concerned.

I’m not saying that we’re jumping into growing our family any further just yet. I’m saying that I think I’m feeling more open to that, and more excited about what that might be like for our whole family, when the time comes (for what it’s worth, and in brief, I did not have a great relationship with my sibling while growing up, so I think that also contributed to some hesitation, on my part, heretofore). As I said, we’ll probably adopt, and the chances are that we’ll adopt a baby who’s no longer a newborn (cuz adoption processes take a while). And all of this exciting new-baby hubbub has me kind of wondering if that baby’s out there yet, or where and how his/her beginnings are taking place already. It’s an interesting thought.

Do you have more than one child, or are you planning to have multiple children? When did you know the time was right to grow your brood (or was it accidental)? How do your kids get along with each other? Does having two or more kids feel harder, easier, or just plain different than just having one? In what ways? Have any of you adopted an older-baby or toddler? I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts and experiences!

Happy 4th of July weekend, by the way! As a special treat, I’m hosting a rocking GIVEAWAY on my site, Alt-Mama! Come on over and enter to win!