I've had quite a few people ask me how my transition from one, to two kids has been. Today is probably the worst day for me to write this post because my throat hurts from screaming super hard into a pillow, since I'm trying this new thing where I don't yell at my children while frustrated. So there's that. But to be honest the transition hasn't been nearly as terrible as I thought it was going to be, and most days are actually rather pleasant.
We had a unique situation in that I didn't anticipate bringing Em home from the hospital anytime soon, and so while pregnant, when I normally would have read countless articles on this topic, I just didn't. So I was completely unprepared for how to deal with this situation when we brought Em home... the day after she was born.
When she first came home, Jay thought that she was the greatest thing in the world for a solid hour, and then when he realized that a significant portion of our attention was being divided between him and Em, he had a problem. He was pretty much personally insulted that we brought home another child, and pretty much wanted me to hold Em 24/7 and had to have Derek all to himself for about a week. If Derek held Em in front of Jay , there was just a complete meltdown. At one point we went to go on a family walk, and Jay shoved me out of the way, walked out the door and slammed it behind him. He went from two, to thirteen in about six seconds. Luckily him hating me only lasted about a week, and our relationship has been restored, but it was a pretty rough and heartbreaking week on my end to say the least.
Since then Jay has been really great with Em. He likes finding her toes, and ears, and fingers. He likes reading books with her in his crib... but 98% of the time he really just doesn't acknowledge that she is there.
One thing that I thought for sure would be a problem was Em's crying. Jay is a pretty sensitive guy, and I thought that constant Em crying was going to cause him distress and drive him nuts, but it really doesn't phase him. Most of the time he just ignores it and just keeps playing with his toys or doing whatever it is he's doing.
For me, I think I'm handling the transition a lot better than I thought I would. Since I've already been through it once before, I didn't have any of those anxieties that I had as a first time parent. Sleep has never really been much of an issue because I pretty much force my children to sleep, and they do. Which I realize sounds crazy and psychotic but we have never once had an "up all night" kind of thing with Em. To be fair though, I do formula feed my babies. I'm told that's pretty much the key ingredient right there. And yes, I know breast is best, but I think my mental health is important too, so there's that. However, Em does still wake up about twice a night now to eat, but she does go right back to bed and I get about 7 hours a night, so it's not too bad.
To be honest, I really don't leave the house anymore. Mainly because by the time I get both kids up in the morning, fed, washed, and dressed to go somewhere, it's nap time already. All errands are pretty much permanently reserved to night time when Derek is home to hold down the fort for me. That being said, I don't feel like I'm going stir crazy inside either. With just Jay life was so calm that I felt like I had to get out of the house and do something, because there wasn't anything to do at home. But now I'm constantly busy making sure Jay has what he needs, and tending to all the needs of a 5 month old, that the time just really flies by.
I would mainly just say that the hardest part of the entire thing for me was the first couple weeks after Derek went back to work. Jay was still unsure of being home with just me and Em. Some days he would just sit by the door and cry for Derek to come home. I felt like I had a lot greater of a tolerance for Em's crying than for Jay's. I expected that he being an entire two years old would be able to handle himself to not cry, but it's just not true. He is still such a small person, with important needs, and desires, and I think I personally just expected him to turn four overnight, which didn't happen. So once I figured out how to meet Jay's and Em's needs at the same time, things got easier!
I usually read books to Jay while feeding Em. While Em is doing her PT I'm usually off to the side playing trains with Jay. Also, when your two year old doesn't understand why the baby is using something that used to be their's, don't tell them, "It's Em's now..." Just say, "it's for the baby" But saying that said item is now Em's just about caused a mental breakdown... so don't do that.
I still have days when Em is screaming, and Jay is super needy and it's all I can do to not threaten Derek with the idea of me getting full time employment. But for the most part, the days are going by way too fast, and I know one day I'm going to look back at this time and miss how chaotic this all seemed. The best part is that my chaos is caused by two little people who depend on me for everything, and that right there, is the best.