Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Other One

Lately as I ponder the possibility of two children, I've definitely been worried about changing dynamics. I've been worried about being spread too thin. But mostly I worry that despite my best intentions - creating a lifetime friend for B to enjoy and lean on - that adding another person to this relationship will break more things than it will fix.

I hate it when I see little kid siblings fight, which they seem to do ALL the TIME. How will I handle that? I have this horrible memory of the time I lived with my aunt and uncle and two similar aged boy cousins, and the three of us fought like cats and dogs, until finally one day my aunt sat at the kitchen table, put her head down, and sobbed. We drove her to that! Will that be me in a few years?

I'd like to think you can curtail this sort of thing by simply checking fighting early on in the lives of your kids - adamantly discouraging fighting and encouraging cooperation, etc. But I know that's a little idealistic. Kids fight, it's what they do. Especially when there are two kids and one mommy. There's just not enough of me to go around.

My mother was convinced her parents didn't want her and instead favored her older sister - the taller, prettier, more popular one, the one who got the silver baby cup and spoon, the one who always had boyfriends. My aunt was married for over forty years; my mother married four times and is currently single. Did those early cues about my mother's self esteem contribute to her hodge-podge of a life?

I often think about this potential new baby, boy or girl, and how different our dynamic would be, for better or worse. I for sure would be more practiced and competent (except for the exasperating reality that all babies are different!). But I would also have less time and attention to devote to the new one. I doubt he or she would be as publicly celebrated, either - no big baby shower, no big 1st birthday party. Because I just wouldn't have the energy or wherewithal. Is it better for kids to not be so celebrated and fawned over, to learn to share? The optimist in me says yes.

One of the more disturbing things everyone's always told me is if your first kid is easy and good that the second will be a nightmare. I hate to say it but I think this is true in most two kid families I know. It would be naive of me to assume the other baby would be as chill and easy as Bumpus. I definitely sidestepped a lot of the issues many mothers have to deal with in the first year - reflux, allergies, ear infections, fevers, not gaining weight, breast feeding supply issues, colic, delays. How much harder would this have been if I'd had to deal with any, or all of that?

Still. I don't think anyone enters into having two babies, especially as a single woman, thinking "this will be a snap!" I know it's going to be frickin' hard, way harder, no doubt, than I can even picture. Is that reason enough to not do it? No, not the way I feel right now. But it sure is scary.

Last night I was doing my usual planning and plotting, and was as always dismayed by my lack of decent times during the year to actually have a baby, based on running this event. I know better than to put myself in my third trimester during my event because of the intense stress; now I know to not have a newborn during the event, either. Which cuts out six months of the year. Then there's the crippling nausea I experience the first three months - I already survived one event with that level of sickness and I would never intentionally do that to myself again. So now we're down to three months to conceive. And guess what? Those three months started last month. So if I don't get my cycles back by June at the very latest I pretty much have to wait a whole YEAR to try again (except for one Hail Mary try in September).

So I looked up some information about naturally inducing ovulation and getting your periods back on track, and one name that kept coming up again and again was Vitex, an herbal supplement also known as chasteberry used for "female trouble". I am considering taking it to get things moving along. If anyone has information about this, I'd like to hear it.

In other news, B went down to sleep with the sitter at around nine Sun night, had one wake up at around five, then up for good at 8. Yesterday since we weren't leaving the house all day I had the unpleasant task of trying to get him to nap in his crib, but I did it! And he slept a solid 1 1/2 hours. Encouraged by this I tried to get him to bed before me, at 8:45 pm; screamed hysterically for maybe a minute and then conked out. Awesome. He's still doing this super early wake up thing, though, waking anywhere between 4 and 6, and it's hard to get him back to sleep at that point; sometimes I just bring him into bed to feed him. I have ordered black out blinds for the windows in an effort to make the room darker to maybe keep him sleeping (the room is very bright once the sun starts to come up). I'd like to say I'm getting more rest, but it's not true - I'm plagued by horrible, racing nightmares every night that leave me exhausted. I know this is just part of hormones/changes in sleep patterns, so hopefully this will even out. Still I'm thrilled by the new sleep patterns. Couldn't be more delighted, really.


  1. I've been thinking about this a lot too, since I'm trying to set a timeline for adopting #2.

    One of my favorite scenes from the Simpsons is where the family is looking at Bart and Lisa's baby books. Bart's contains pages upon pages of glorious detail, while Lisa's contains one sentence: "Lisa was born and is now in the second grade."

    I think it's natural that there will be less fanfare surrounding a second baby, but I don't think you should go into it expecting yourself to be too tired to celebrate. Money and time will be tighter, for sure, but that doesn't mean it won't happen at all.

    I also hear the second baby warning as well, especially since Felix is so easy. But I figure as long as I have one easy kid, I can do it. And once our boys are old enough to talk about having a sibling and get excited with us, I think it'll be more encouraging. We won't feel like we're betraying our precious babies by bringing another one into the family.

  2. I read a study once & I wish I could remember the source but the jist was that parents unconsciously favour their 1st born child but I'm sure you can find studies that claim parents favour their youngest child. The fact that you're thinking about these things tells me that you're going to make a conscious effort to be fair.

    Regarding the 1st birthday party, IMO, you should make a big deal. Sure they don't get a baby shower & you're more easy going since you have experience but stuff like that, I think it's important to make a big deal so the child doesn't feel like their less deserving. & big deal doesn't have to be expensive...this coming from a 2nd child who grew up in her brother's shadow ;)

  3. I think part of the issue is that the second child is seen through the lens of knowing the first child (by parent/s, family members, teachers, etc.). I firmly believe that it isn't that the child is expected to be like the first, but is automatically compared to the first as a mostly cognitive function.

    I also think that you are not destined to have a high demand second baby if your first is not (I wonder if part of that is that the demands of the second seem like more because you also have to meet the demands of the first??). While a lot of that is temperament, a lot of it is also parenting interaction. But I do think it is realistic to remember how different children are (my two could not be a better illustration of that, lol). But some of your expectations and parenting practices will work and you will have the confidence of knowing that you can keep a baby alive and well. :)

    I am not looking forward to the sibling rivalry. My brother and I fought like crazy. I could never figure out why it bothered my parents so much - it had nothing to do with them. Then once I was around fighting children as an adult, I finally got it. I am not sure there is much that can be done about this, except creating opportunities and space for them to be apart and modeling less confrontational ways to deal with conflict.

    Hope the early waking and nightmares go away soon (I miss sleep so much...). And I love that pic of B.

  4. I think some of these depend on you and not just that you have a second child. You can't choose a child's temperament and even if everyone's children fight, you just won't know what your's will do till you're in it. Those are up in the air and could truly go either way but it is up to you if you will make less or more of a fuss over another baby's birthday and won't celebrate as full as the first or even fuller. Dividing your attention, time and resources will change things but so can you.

  5. I enjoyed reading your post a lot. It's true; there is never a really good time to have a baby! I'm dealing with the same things; when will my career allow it, when will I be able to handle it, etc. I think the answer is that it will never happen. I just have to leave it up to fate to sort out in some respects.

    There are a couple of supplements that I can recommend. One is called Fertility Blend. It contains Vitex. The other, which I take, is called PMS Forte. It has the extra B-vitamins, as well as Vitex and other herbs to promote a healthy menstrual cycle. I used to take it for PMS and AF only, but now I take it all month. During my first IUI cycle, I will probably switch, because it's contraindicated in pregnancy. It can't hurt for now though.

  6. I worry about the fighting also. My brother and I fought horribly. I hated it. I think a lot of it had to do with unhealthy family dynamics and feeling like there wasn't enough love to go around. My parents did not have a good relationship. So my HOPE is that without that unhealthy dynamic, things will be better between my current child and my future, hoped for child.