In anticipating this baby’s birth, and especially since a friend just gave birth to her second baby, I’ve been thinking a lot about being a mommy to two. At first, I was really, really looking forward to having a newborn again, and I still am. But even more….I’m looking forward to having a newborn and Vivi.
Newborns are so much fun…with their tiny fingers and toes, their adorable bums, their downy heads, their soft skin, and their sweet baby scent. I can’t wait to have a baby I can wear all day long again. I’m looking forward to sharing the breastfeeding relationship with a helpless newborn again. I’m looking forward to wearing this baby while I do everything in my day-to-day agenda.
But, Vivi’s at an adorable stage, and while 5 months will change her, I know she’ll still be at a super fun stage- one I wouldn’t want to trade for anything. She’ll probably be climbing on chairs and “helping” me with everything. She’ll most likely have a huge repertoire of signs under her belt, and probably be talking a lot more by then, too. She’s such a gabber, I know she has a lot to tell about, so as soon as she can put it all in words and signs, there’ll probably be no lack of conversation between the two of us! And though she’ll be more active and independent, she’ll probably still need to be worn, for the sake of mommy snuggles. It’s just the way she’s wired- and I love it. Nursing Vivi is so much fun, too- just not very modest.
If you put the two together, I think you’ve just created heaven on earth. Getting to snuggle the baby into the sling or wrap while Vivi stands next to me helping to knead dough or wash dishes. Nursing both at once. Or nursing the baby while reading to or playing with Vivi. Or nursing Vivi and spending some one-on-one time with her while the baby naps. Snuggling the baby on my front and Vivi on my back to go for walks. Watching their relationship unfold. Teaching Viviana how to be gentle, and watching as they discover each other. As the baby grows, playing on the floor with both of them…helping Vivi learn to share. When warm weather hits, spending time outside, all three of us together. Waking up in the morning with my three treasures- Ben, Vivi and baby- all lying next to me. Watching both my angels sleep. Seeing how they’re similar, and how they’re drastically different…watching each one’s strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies shine through. Yes, my friends….heaven on earth.
And I’m really looking forward to the babymoon. Vivi and I will be working hard this fall to get ready for it, so we can enjoy a nice, long, relaxed season of just being together. Newborns grow so quickly, and Vivi will probably need plenty of extra snuggles as she adjusts to the new phase of life…both of which make good excuses for preparing ahead and enjoying a leisurely month or so. It should be a ball!
I know…it won’t all be dream-like. There’ll be rough days….there’ll be nights when both babies need me all night…there’ll be spots when both are cranky and desperately need individual attention. Times when I can’t get either to sleep when they need to. Times when I’m too tired to lug around 35-40+lbs of baby.
Yes, I do know it won’t be fairy land. I understand that there will be difficult days- that’s why I’m fully stocking the freezer and pantry beforehand, and will continue to do things ahead on our good days- if I was going in blindly, I wouldn’t do things like that. So that firstly we can be lazy and hang out for a good while after the baby’s born as we soak in our new life, and secondly so that on the rough days my babies will be all the responsibility I have. And I know…that even there, I’ll get overwhelmed sometimes- because as it happens, I’m not super woman. I know sometimes I won’t be content to not get everything done. I know I won’t like letting the house slide to messiness some days because I decided my focus needed to be my babies. But that’s okay. Those facts can help me to prepare better for the challenges at hand, but there’s no reason for them to steal my dreams.
I’m sure plenty of you are laughing my ideals down to the ground by about now. You think I’m crazy, because after all, I have no idea. And in a sense, you’re right- all I have to go on are the dreams God’s given me and my experience as a mommy to one. But on the other hand, I can’t help but feel that you’re wrong. Because although life will change drastically, how it plays out still depends almost entirely on my attitude. On how I handle it. God didn’t design life with two littles to be miserable, of that I’m certain. He intended for children to grow up in loving, happy, nourishing homes, so they can flourish and fly. There just isn’t room for misery in that picture.
And because- people assured me that marriage would be so difficult, in a negative sense. They were wrong. They assured me pregnancy would be miserable and difficult…but they were wrong. They assured me that I had no idea about giving birth, and it was a terrible experience worthy of horror stories….and they were so wrong. People assured me that life with one baby would be very difficult and time consuming- that it wouldn’t all be like you think it is and there’s crazy ideas you just can’t hold on to (you know, certain plastic contraptions are just vital to survival)…and they were wrong. Oh, sure, there were challenges with each…but they weren’t at all the way people tried desperately to get me to see them. I think I’m starting to see a trend, here- I don’t understand it exactly, because I can’t understand why someone would want to make my life- and my children and husband’s lives- miserable. I just know I’m not tied in any way to replicating those lives. I wouldn’t have any business being pregnant if I did play out my mothering that way.
God planted dreams in my heart, just like He did with Vivi. And I don’t think He planted them there just for me to let them be crushed with negativity and stress. No- He planted those dreams to give me new ideals…something to strive for. To show me His ideals for our life. To show me how I can best invest in my children’s lives. And- He planted them to give me something to strive for on the hard days. To be able to remember when I let my ideals down…to be able to go back and try again. To cling to when I want to give up…when I don’t feel like carrying on my ideals. Because all that will happen…I’m not perfect, and if so much depends on my attitude, I have great control over what our life looks like…but also, great potential for failing sometimes.
So…those ideals might sound absolutely crazy- and until they can be played out, sharing them might make me look like a fool. But I can’t afford to drown in the negativity people would have me thrown in…and so I swim above, at risk of looking like a fool. And though I’ll do my best to be graceful with you if you try to drag me under, I won’t, anymore, just listen and act like you’re right. It isn’t kind, loving or just to my babies. My babies need me to hold fast to my ideals, for their sakes. Vivi doesn’t need to live with a mother who coats herself in fear for the next 5 months. And neither baby needs to live with a mother who steps into the next level of life already at a huge disadvantage, just because of my negative, fearful attitude.
If, on the other hand, you want to share with me what was hard, and how you conquered it, I’m very interested in hearing. I’ll listen with open ears, and consider what you have to say. If you offer advice that goes against what we believe, and what our ideals hold, the advice might not linger, but I will listen. If a certain aspect of tandem nursing was more difficult than you anticipated, I’d enjoy being prepared. If you found things that worked well for you, I’d love to hear. Like I’ve said, I’m all about preparing ahead. I’m all for considering what my challenges might be and preparing for them. I’m a planner, and I like to think through challenges and how best to conquer them. So, I do want to hear about the difficulties- I want to prepare, and I know when I’m there I’ll want to know I’m not the only mom who has long days. I just don’t want them to be drenched in negativity, with the seeming intent of dragging me down.
I’m an idealist, and so I cling to the very highest I can find, the deepest dreams God gives. Not so I can be the perfect mom, and not because I’ll be able to live the ideals out perfectly, everyday. But so I always have something higher to strive for…so I can keep reaching upward….so I have a fast reminder when my focus or attitude is slipping…so I can read God’s dreams for me, and hold them tightly when life isn’t all roses…so I can be the very best I can be- even if that isn’t ever perfection.