Before I had children, I knew I wanted at least two of them. I come from a family of three so three was a possibility, but definitely at least two. Then I had Graham. If you are a parent, you know that transition from childless couple to parents of an infant is a difficult one. Throw into the mix an emergency c-section, a jaundiced baby, and problems with nursing and I can tell you it’s probably a blessing that I don’t really remember the first few months.
After the shock wore off and he started to sleep, I fell more in love with Graham every day. By the time he was six months old, I could not imagine ever having another child. It was partly that I felt like I just could not go back to newborn land again. It was also partly that I could not imagine having enough love in my heart for two children. My love for Graham was so overwhelming that I couldn’t picture him with a sibling.
When Graham was around a year, we had lunch one day at a kid-friendly spot. Sitting next to us was a family of four. Mom, dad, and two boys – ages five and three. The boys were cute and watching them interact, a light bulb went on for me. I pictured Graham at age five and of course I wanted there to be a three year old sibling sitting next to him. And so, within six months, I got pregnant and at 20 weeks, found out that Graham was going to have a brother.
Once Spencer was born, I had another interaction with a family with two boys. Spencer was a colicky baby and one of the only places he didn’t fuss was in the Bjorn. I remember one day, on our way to the park, I was pushing Graham in the stroller and trying to simultaneously bounce and walk Spencer. A mom and two boys came walking toward us, they were carrying shovels and all three of them were laughing. As we made room for each other on the sidewalk, she gave me a sympathetic smile.
“How old are your boys?”, she asked me.
“2 and a half and 12 weeks. How about yours?”
“Five and three. Hang in there, it gets easier.”
“I’ve heard that.”
After they passed, I burst into tears. At that point, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it another day, let alone a few years.
But I have made it and here are my boys ages five and three. It is bittersweet. Life is easier and yet more complicated. Aside from a few nightmares and bloody noses, they sleep through the night without a peep. They feed themselves, Graham even dresses himself and can put on his own shoes. They play pretty nicely together with a major battle breaking out over a toy only every 15 minutes or so. Their needs can mostly be communictaed through words. But the simplicity and the snuggliness of babyhood is gone. The quiet of a content baby is long gone. (I am a quiet person and I think I got two of the noisiest boys on the planet.)
(This bloody nose was the result of the battle over a toy. Apparently it was an accident that said toy got thrown at Spencer’s head.)
When Graham was a newborn, someone told us that the days pass slowly but the months go quickly. Those months have become years. It’s not like I have been waiting impatiently for my boys to be five and three – I savored every second of that 12 to 18 month phase. But I’d like a little of that passed time back please.