My cherub cheeked baby attempts with all his might to crawl up a stair, falling backwards with a loud thump (cue siren cry).
“Oh No!” Addy exclaims, “Baby Henry hungry!” Well yep that IS usually the case for this little chucky monkey, but this particular dually noted complaint was him experiencing the oh so very frustrating mobility blues. At 7.5 months, and scoot crawling, all he wants is to be like his sister and walking. He is already trying to pull up and climb on everything. I’m like, “Tiny dude, you don’t even know how to really crawl yet, let’s save climbing for later? OK. Thaaaanks”
A familiar trace of thought sails by, “Poor little guy. I cannot wait until he can walk. He will be so much happier when he can move more. It will be SO MUCH EASIER when I don’t have to carry him everywhere!”
Then just as fleeting as this thought appears, it is instantaneously stomped out by another revelation, “Oh but I remember… the next step is even harder.” And an accompanying vision dances through my head, fluttering out all hope that “immobility” is the hard part. Because I recall what mobility ACTUALLY looks like. It looks like Addy running away from me into the street. It looks like Addy running INTO the waitress at Hop Doddy’s, initiating splattering broken glass drenched in beer sequence (still too embarrassed to return). It looks like Addy running away from me mid diaper change merrily decking the halls with crap (literally). You get the gist.
So now that I have two kids, I have learned some things from my first go at it, and I pretty much know everything (cue heavy dose of sarcastic tone).
FINE. I know nothing. Absolutely nothing. Buuuuuut.
This much seems true so far, for me. “They” always say, “It will get easier…”
Well friends, “They” LIED!
You see, once upon a time I got married and very quickly became pregnant with my first child. Throughout pregnancy everyone seemed especially attentive to my body, and what I was going through both physically and emotionally. I counted down the days until I would meet my daughter and THANKFULLY no longer be pregnant. However, when our special day arrived, I quickly learned that carrying a baby in one’s belly is way easier than carrying a baby around in one’s arms all day (especially when you account for the additional weight of the cumbersome overstuffed diaper bag first time moms are notorious for).
And however challenging I thought that lugging around that first baby was paled in comparison to my impulsive decision to double that ratio. What was worse was people seem to be under a false presumption that I KNOW what I am doing since I have supposedly “done this before.” You know because everything in parenthood “gets easier with time.” Well, I don’t remember ANYTHING (seriously it’s weird), and now I am facing every public outing with trepidation… TIMES TWO.
Now, I look back on those early days when Addy was an only child and see how adorable we were. We would just stare at our daughter like we were watching a pot of water begin to simmer, and with excitement doused in impatience, awaited each new milestone.
But then something would inevitably happen. As quickly as we rejoiced in our daughter’s new development, we found ourselves reminiscing the “easy” days. For as it turned out, each new step brought uncharted challenges.
How did this happen? It was hilarious really. Our daughter at eight months old was SO darn cute, we decided to do this whole thing over again. We LITERALLY said (out loud), “since she is such an easy baby I think we should go ahead and try for number two.” NO ONE told us that 6-9 months is notorious for being the “happy baby stage.” And as quickly as that pregnancy test churned out a PLUS, I learned in timely fashion “LOL,” it turns out I do NOT actually have an “EASY” baby.
“Hot damn. What have I done?!”
So there I am. Now pregnant with a very spicy baby/tot (yikes!), and utterly exhausted from head to toe. Why was this harder the second time? I have done this before. Well maybe it was my body’s muscle memory, or maybe it was the tot, but by 18 weeks all I know is I was feeling like I was already 40 weeks along.
But everyone was oh so very encouraging that I would feel soooo much better soon enough. After all, “Nothing is more exhausting than being pregnant with a toddler!”
Yes. Yes, there IS something more exhausting than being pregnant with a toddler. HAVING A BABY AND A TODDLER (or the ever so feared two under two) IS ACTUALLY more exhausting than pregnancy with a toddler.
Therefore, these days when I find myself tempted to close my eyes and envision this beautiful harmonious future where each of my toddlers will no doubt love and play together as they walk calmly hand in hand (good bye obtrusive double stroller that never fits through doorways)… I KNOW better.
(Moms everywhere with young siblings go ahead and laugh so hard you cry at my deluded naïve vision).
Instead, I see the chaotic potential. The fighting over toys. The running away from me—at the same time! The meltdowns—of course they will go arm flailing exorcist style on me simultaneously in public. (Duh). And double the nagging, whining, and yelling. (It sounds about as appealing as a radio jingle stuck on repeat in your head). Well, the picture appears slightly scary at first glimpse.
So maybe the near future is not necessarily looking easier.
But on second thought… maybe there is a different type of hope.
Because I hated being pregnant, but I loved being pregnant. Feeling my daughter inside of me wiggle for the first time made up for all the crotch jabs. A true miracle.
And carrying that baby around outside of my body? It WAS harder than carrying that baby inside of me. But meeting my first baby face to face… There are no words.
And when Addy learned to walk, and then run… and then run away from me (always when my hands are full). That wasn’t so fun. But watching her run to me as I hold out my arms and scoop her up… Wow.
And then being pregnant AGAIN, this time with a toddler in tote? It was so freaking hard. But feeling baby boy swivel and kick inside my warm belly while my daughter’s heart thumped life into my aching body as she lay on my swelling bump… Took my breath away.
And hearing my daughter start to really talk as a toddler. The whining. The yelling. The demands. I could just pull my hair out sometimes. But hearing my daughter say “I love you Mama” as she does her infamous “loving” death squeeze around my neck… Tears stream down my face in awe.
And constantly (already) refereeing toys and unwanted “touching” between my toddler and her baby brother IS irritating, and even anger provoking as I race to prevent my tot from pushing her baby brother off “her” play chair causing him to roll to the ground with a thunk. But watching her give baby brother one of those aforementioned death squeeze hugs, hearing her squeal with delight each morning when he wakes, witnessing her dance with her brother as he jumps in his jumper, and giggling as she does her best to elicit baby belly laughs from Henry… Heart melts all over the dang place.
So as I watch my scooting baby try so hard to learn to stand and pull up, only to find frustrating defeat. My brain knows better than to think this next milestone will make life “easier.”
No. No. It absolutely will not be easier. But as my heart recalls, it will be beyond worth it.