I’ve been pretty open about the fact that the first six months of life with two kids were pretty challenging. If you’re in the trenches right now – or are about to be – there are a few things I want you not to freak out about. Ready? Here we go.
1. Your older child has turned into the spawn of Satan.
Before I had Koa, everyone kept telling me that Adlai might be jealous at first. When Koa was born, Adlai LOVED him. I mean serious, intense, bone-crushing love. I was like, “No way this kid is jealous.”
As sweet as he was to Koa, he was meeeeannn to me. We were best friends before Koa was born, and I felt like I’d lost my best friend. It was honestly heartbreaking. I just kept thinking, “What has happened to my sweet boy?”
After a few weeks, Adlai returned to his normal sweet self. And a year and a half later, he’s had a few little blips, but he’s TOTALLY my sweet boy again. (And yours will be too.)
2. You’re not head-over-heels in love with your new baby.
I remember sitting in our living room chair when Koa was three days old while he laid swaddled on the ottoman. Simon was sitting on the couch and I was crying.
“I mean, I love him, I just…I don’t know if I love him.”
I wish someone had told me this was normal. I felt incredibly guilty and hopeless. But really, it makes sense. I’d had two years and four months to fall in love with Adlai, and here was this new squishy baby that was supposed to make me go all warm and gooey inside…except I couldn’t imagine how I could ever feel about him the way I felt about his brother.
But I do. Now, I look at them each several times a day, individually, and think my heart is going to explode out of my chest. It was a slow, gradual thing with Koa. And sometimes – like in the middle of his four-hour-long colic-induced screaming fits in the first few months – I was convinced it was never going to happen.
But it did. I totally love him.
3. You’re pretty sure you’re never going to work, or write, or sew, or cook, or clean the bathroom again.
Golly Pete. I get this one.
Here’s some advice someone gave me, that I’m giving you: Give yourself one goal every day.
And don’t go crazy. Maybe it’s “Make dinner.” or “Get dressed.” or “Wash the dishes” (whoa! take it easy there, High Achiever!). And if you get that one thing done, reward yourself with a massive brownie or a glass of wine. Seriously. These first few weeks and months can be ridiculous, and the learning curve of life with one kid to life with two is a steep one. So give yourself so much grace, and listen to me:
IT WILL GET BETTER. I promise you. And not even that far from now (even though I know it feels like it).
4. You never get out of the house before lunchtime.
Who cares? Get out when you can. But do try to get out every once in a while, even if it’s just to walk around the block. It does wonders for your sanity.
5. Your big kid suddenly watches several hours of tv a day.
A few days before Koa was born, one of my friends sent me a message that said, “Adlai will watch a LOT of CBeebies (the BBC’s kids’ channel, for you Americans) in the first few weeks. Don’t worry. He will be okay.”
Up until then, Adlai had been allowed about an hour of tv a day. Yeah…that went out the window pretty fast as I had to figure out how to keep him occupied while I paced around the house trying to get Koa to sleep, breastfed him every two hours, took a freaking shower.
My friend was right. He watched a lot of CBeebies (thank you, CBeebies! I love you so much and you saved my life!). And he is still incredibly intelligent and funny and sociable and well-adjusted.
Finally, if you take nothing else away from this post, please take this:
IT GETS BETTER.
People told me this in those first few days. “Wait till he’s six months!” they said, and I literally thought, “I DON’T KNOW IF I’M GOING TO MAKE IT TO SIX MONTHS.”
But it did get a little easier at six months. And then it got a LOT easier at a year. And now, at almost 18 months later, it is so, so much easier. Fun, even. So hang in there. Don’t freak out.
It gets better.