When our daughter turned 2 1/2 years old, we finally settled into a healthy routine of sleep, meals, activities and downtime. Both of us had established a supportive network of friends: my friends mostly being the Mommies of her friends whom we met at playgroups, activities and through mutual friends.
Ironically, I was the one who wanted children sooner than Daddy but he was the one who inquired about #2. You can imagine how this was met having just settled into the closest routine resembling normalcy since #1’s birth. I definitely couldn’t imagine another one at that moment or for a while but since it took us longer than anticipated with #1, we decided to try for #2. And, as well all know when #1 is met with challenges to conceive, #2 is not so we were well on our way to expanding our family of 3 to 4 members just one month after this conversation.
I experienced severe nausea with #2 and, though it wasn’t as debilitating as with #1, it left me bed-ridden most mornings and lasted for almost 5 or so months versus the 3-4 months with #1. I enrolled our daughter in a part-time day care program with her friend where she was successfully potty trained with home support and encouragement.
Flash forward to the birth of #2, fortunately Daddy was able to take paternity leave and assume the responsibilities of Mr Mom dropping-off and picking-up our daughter, transporting her to/from activities and keeping her entertained while I settled into a routine of sleep, nursing and changing diapers with #2.
Unlike with #1, #2 spent most of his time in a car seat or swing while we dropped-off/picked-up #1 from school and while I went about errands and such. As a result, during his 4th or 5th month check-up, the Dr inquired about his tummy time to which I answered, “he loves the swing”: translate, he doesn’t get enough tummy time which is why the back of his head was flat and square. He was a borderline candidate for the helmut which is used to round-out a flat head. To my horror, he would be required to wear this helmut at all times during the heat of summer with the exception of removing it for a shower. Daddy and I decided since he was borderline, a boy and convinced ourselves his hair would mask the shape, we decided he didn’t need a helmut. He is fine today except because of the shape, he is often a few sizes larger than his friends in a helmut or cap.
On top of this, he ended-up with a cast on his arm for a few weeks. Almost every where we went, we were met with “it happens all the time” to which I wondered “why is it then that he is the only 2 1/2 year old I see wearing a cast?!”. A freak accident of bracing a fall from a dining chair (imagine someone leaning and slowly tipping over) is all that was required to fracture a toddler’s fragile bone.
During one week, I recall calling 911 twice for separate reasons: cold-induced asthma and another freak accident that resulted in #2 hitting his chin very hard on a table that left his eyes rolling up and back. I panicked, called and said, he needs attention immediately. All I could think of was keeping him awake and as alert as possible. You know you call too much when the dispatcher recognizes your voice, name and address.
My advice again is to connect connect connect with other Moms’ for support, resources and the social component for both you and your child because every step of the way, you will most inevitably be experiencing something for the first time and there is no experience that can prepare you for parenthood.
Having the 2nd is a lot easier than the 1st but the challenges are accommodating two schedules and trying to provide as much attention with #2 as you did with #1 which is quite impossible so you do your best and #1 helps.