Motherhood

Preparing for Your Second Child

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Why you should stop worrying about adding baby #2 to the family.

Looking back at my second pregnancy, I remember feeling so incredibly anxious, even more than I had been with my first baby. Now, this is not much of stretch for me because I get anxious and worry a lot, but I was really nervous about how I was going to handle two kids.

How will I get them both in and out of the car at daycare without my son running away? How will I get them both ready in the morning when the baby needs to eat and my son is running around like a maniac? I felt like I could barely focus on my pregnancy or enjoy planning for the new baby because my son took up all my time and energy. I wasn’t looking up nursery designs, I was worried about potty training, or transitioning a toddler into a big kid bed, or weaning off the pacifier.

 I felt like my son, who was 2 at the time, was really quite a handful.  I didn’t know how I was going to add a new baby to the mix. I told myself that moms are amazing and they do it all the time. Two kids, three kids, six kids, ten kids! How could I be so worried about how I was going to manage two?

Well, I’m here to tell you that my daughter is now almost 7 months old, and everything has worked out fine. I feel silly now for worrying the way that I did. She has brought our family so much joy and brought even more love into lives.

 Are you expecting your second child and having any worries or fears? Read on to see why you should stop worrying.

1. Seeing my children play together and love each other is the BEST thing ever. Watching my son and daughter interact with one another honestly just melts my heart. You can tell that they truly love each other (most of the time).  It is great because when my son was a baby, I felt like I never knew how to entertain him. We would sing and read and play peek-a-boo and then it was like, okay now what? With two kids though, they entertain each other better than I ever can. My son  makes my daughter laugh like he’s the funniest person on earth. She loves to watch him and he loves to play with her, too.

2. My children are learning about patience and taking turns. It is so interesting to think about how life has changed for my son since my daughter was born. He is not longer the center of the world, and that is probably a good thing. My son has had to learn how to share, not only his toys, but also my attention. He has learned that if I’m feeding his sister and he needs my help with something, he will have to wait. In the same way, there are times when I am helping my son with something like using the potty, and then my daughter has to wait. As a result, my daughter does not get every cry answered immediately the way my son did when he was a baby. Yet, she has been a much easier and more content baby than my son was. She entertains herself well and even sleeps through the night much better than he did. I’m not sure if it’s all a coincidence, or if she is more easygoing because she has learned to soothe herself more than my son had to when he was a baby. Obviously, while she sometimes has to wait for me, she is never left crying for more than a few minutes.

 3. My son is learning how to be kind and gentle (this is an ongoing lesson). Of course, never leave your children to play together unattended. Toddlers and young children can be rough and unpredictable. So always with proper supervision, he is learning to play nicely with his sister. We are working on what “gentle” means. If he takes a toy from her or does something that is unkind, he has to apologize and make it right. There are so many valuable life skills children can gain from having a sibling. It is truly amazing to help children foster these skills.

4. My older child is gaining independence. For example, in the mornings when I needed to get myself ready for work, get my daughter ready, and get my son ready, things were sometimes pretty crazy(but in the best way). We learned the tasks that my son was able to do independently and he needed to do those tasks while I took care of his sister. It is great because toddlers love independence and my son wants to do everything by himself. So, it was just a matter of figuring out what he could do without me and what he actually needed me to do. He could put on sweat pants by himself, but needed some help with his shirt, he could put on his socks and shoes, but needed me to tell him if his shoes were on the right feet. It took a little time, but we found a system and a routine that worked for us.

5. Having a second child helped my son (and me) as he transitioned into new “big kid” phases. I’m not the most decisive person out there. I was having trouble deciding whether or not to transition my son out of his crib into a “big boy bed” or buy another crib for the baby and keep him in his crib a little longer. He is kind of a wild child, so I was worried that he wouldn’t stay in the bed all night, or fall out, or worry that the baby was taking his crib and feel resentment. Ultimately, it was the thought of having to buy another crib that helped me make the decision to transition him out of the crib. It is funny now that I look back on how much I worried about this decision.  I searched the internet for ideas and looked up the recommended age for this transition. Even though he was a bit younger than I would have otherwise wanted to move him out of the crib, he made the transition without any difficulty at all. He has been doing great in his bed ever since that first night. Another thing I worried about that turned out fine!

Honestly, I could write forever about how much I love my second child and how much happiness she has brought to our family. What I hope that you gain from this is that there is really no reason to worry about adding a second child to your family. There will be adjustments and learning curves, but you will figure it out. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to relax and that everything will be fine. So please, take some time to relax whenever you can and enjoy this special time as you prepare for your second child.

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