From One Baby to Two

Having a baby is the hardest thing in the world. It really is. Until: There are two babies. Suddenly, you will look back at the days when there was only one baby and you will invariably ask yourself: “What did I do all the time? How did I think that was hard?” It was! It was hard! You weren’t wrong. But add another baby and suddenly one baby becomes the equivalent of an island vacation in the now-kodaked version of your motherhood memories.

Nearly three months in, it still blows my mind that we have brought two little humans into the world. It is a continual wonder to me. I can now say: “I am a Mother of Boys.” Sometimes I find myself saying this the way that I used to say other things with a similar pleasure like, “My fiancé”  when I first got engaged, or “We’re newly-weds” afterwards. Mother of boys. Plural! Anyway, my new job title comes with a new uniform as well:

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Article A:  Victoria Secret Yoga Pants bought by my husband after coming home to find me in his giant Navy PT sweats one too many times.
Article B: Loose, easy (milk) access shirt.
Article C: Just enough make-up to keep my husband from thinking I’m an extra on the Walking Dead.
Article D: Hair that will get washed twice this week (maybe) (if I’m lucky) #dryshampoo
Article E: A wrist guard to minimize the painful havoc being wrecked by carrying around a massive toddler and oversize newborn.
Article F: Bare feet (last pedicure unknown).
Article G: A charm necklace with the names of my boys to remind me in the chaotic moments how much I treasure them.

Here is the uniform in action (Please note the look of terror/suspicion on Rafe’s sweet baby face):

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That classic Rafe-look is evidence of the difficulty we have had getting Kai resigned to the permanence of the new situation here. At times he seems thrilled to have “Rafey” around, and will shout the “Da man man! Baby! Brother!” when we bring him into the room, and will proudly kiss the top of his head. Unfortunately, he will often follow up this darling display with a valiant attempt at a slap afterward. His irrational little brain is a clearly conflicted one.

We’re working on it. It’s so important to us that they become buddies and each other’s greatest defenders. Right now, however, we have had to employ a few safety strategies to keep Thing Two safe. He spends a lot of time in his throne on the kitchen table:

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Or (before his recent rolling adventures) on high beds:

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Having two boys in 2.5 years is no joke. Many days are more maddening than magical, and some feel positively apocalyptic in their chaos. When I was pregnant, I asked another momma what it was like with her newborn and close-to-two-year-old boy and she honestly admitted, “Some days I just have to choose which one I’m going to let cry.” I found that depressing and hoped she was exaggerating. She wasn’t. This is an oh-so-true fact of having two or more.

For instance, because Kai is determined to wrestle with the baby when I try to nurse him, I am often forced to confine him to his room (something he always enjoyed before because of all the toys and books in there) while I nurse the baby in the other. This leads to loudest shrieks of protest humanely possible. When (mid-nursing session) I go to attend to the demon-shrieks, I have to put the baby in his swing, which then produces the saddest little sobs from the tiny one who is convinced I’m leaving forever. Sometimes after few rounds of this, I’m ready to cry myself. Oi vey!

DSCN1662I used to be really, really strict about TV time with Kai. Now: I am indebted to Winnie-the-Pooh for saving the day more than I like to admit.

Needless to say, now that we are full-fledged family circus, we don’t get out for as many things as we used to, but we do our best. LTJG Husband knows I start to act like a cooped-up puppy if I go too long without fresh air. “Just walking the wife,” he’ll inevitably joke when I thank him for getting me out. This was my Saturday view:

DSCN1681The Carlsbad Seawall // Bebe Au Lait Nursing Cover 

I know by now you are thinking this doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. Next to no sleep. Date nights a laughable thing of the past. Only wearing clothes I can nurse in (not an adorable variety, I assure you). Moments of quiet virtually extinct. Vacations impossible. Beach walks suddenly the most exciting outing of our week. Hot showers lasting longer than three minutes considered a luxury. Jake’s ship gone for weeks at a time leaving exhaustion in its wake.

All those things are true. But then, there’s this guy:

DSCN1721Watching bubbles float away

That sweet frame calls me ‘Momma.’ This wild-joy bringer who feels everything with such abandon, who can’t help but dance when he sees people he likes, who loves to run and climb and laugh so loud you hear it all through house…he calls me Momma. And I get to kiss him anytime I want to.

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And there is BabyMy Sensitive Snuggler, King of the Thigh-Rolls, Gentle Giant baby who never fails to light up with smiles just because he sees me, who laughed his first laugh today, who thinks blowing spit bubbles is marvelous fun and that home is the best place on earth. And I get to kiss him anytime I want to.

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I get the best of it all right now. In this moment! I have it all. When Kai was a baby I used to nudge him ahead in my mind, wishing we were at milestone x,y,z. Now I get to dance around with my wild child and then turn around and cuddle baby. Sit and read a book with Big Brother, then play Peek-a-boo with Little. I get all the stages at once so that I never want to hurry any of them, or wish the past ones back again. It’s all here now.

Speaking of now, little Thing Two is fussing, ready for his nap, while upstairs Thing One is just stirring awake from his, so I’ll end this love-rant with a short confession: I had a rare moment the other day, alone in the house, and both boys were sleeping at the same time. I quickly did the dishes and curled up in the corner of the couch for a quick rest, to soak up this rare moment of peace. A few minutes later, I found myself laughing out loud. Somewhere in the last minute, during my ‘moment of peace’, I had mindlessly reached out for my phone and started scrolling through pictures of the boys. It was an automatic, unconscious action. I missed them. In my one little moment of peace, I missed having them in my arms and so my tired unconscious mind reached out for the next closest thing. In that moment, I realized I must love being a momma even more than quiet moments, or hot showers, or time to myself, because when I could have chosen to do anything, I still unconsciously chose them.

So, if you’ll please excuse me…I have to go hug some boys now :)

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10 thoughts on “From One Baby to Two

  1. Omg, I can’t even imagine taking care of one (still childless here but hoping for some)… My brother and my cousin just each had their first and I am tired from hearing about their lack of sleep! But your boys are so perfect!!

  2. I’m so proud of you Mckenna. You are a wonderful momma and it’s my honor to watch and learn from you. Thank you for sharing. Keep writing… your heart is a beauty!

  3. You’re amazing Mck!! It is so awesome to see your love for writing come out through your love for your family! What an exciting time in life! So very happy for you!

    1. Thanks, girl! You’ve always got an open welcome to crash in our guest room in Carlsbad if you’re ever in Southern California :) I miss you!! Also your photography is amazing! I would love to see you capture my boys

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