You know that moment when you’re parenting a toddler, and daily life is totally crazy and overwhelming, and you think to yourself, Hey, we should start all over and multiply this insanity exponentially!
No? Just me?
Okay, well, however you came to the decision to grow your family from one precious bundle of energy to two, I’ve got some intel for you, based on my vast experience and credibility as a top-notch mother (that’s code for: “I have no idea what I’m doing, but just go with it.”).
In my experience, there are eight distinct stages you will go through in the first year of having two kids. I can’t promise they’ll happen in this order, necessarily, but I can almost guarantee you’ll pass through them all at some point. So brace yourself and buckle up:
The Eight Stages of Going from One Kid to Two
Stage 1: Newborn Bliss
You’ve just had your new bundle of joy, and you’re all cozied up in the hospital. Your toddler is probably stashed away with grandparents or a neighbor, and you’ve got nurses bringing you food every few hours. This is wonderful–newborns are so easy! You’ve done this before, so you know the sleep deprivation and nipple destruction are coming, but at this point you’re running on adrenaline and pain killers.
You’ve probably blacked out the worst of the early newborn days, so you don’t actually know what’s coming, but you think you do, and you think you’re ready for it.
Stage 2: Sheer Panic
You get home from the hospital, and are rapidly thrust back into reality. No more meals delivered to the foot of your bed. No more nurses to super-swaddle that baby for you. No more laying in bed watching TV all day while that sleepy baby is placed directly into your arms to nurse.
In fact, it’s the opposite of that. Suddenly, you are in charge of delivering the meals. You have to swaddle that baby – and why won’t she sleep anymore?!
Nursing the baby is a whole new experience. Not only are your nipples completely raw and your boobs feeling like cannonballs as your milk comes in, but you have a tiny tornado spinning around the room, screaming, and getting into all the things while you try to relax and just get this feeding over with so you can tend to the disaster.
At some point, you will think to yourself, what have we done? But don’t panic (much)–it will pass. Pretty soon you’ll pass into the next stage, and it won’t matter.
Stage 3: Complete & Utter Chaos
Everything in life is a blur at this point. Your husband has probably gone back to work, and left you to keep these two heathens alive on your own.
When he gets home in the evening, you’ll have no idea what you did all day, or how you did it, but you’ll know both kids are alive and fed, and that’s all that matters.
Stage 4: Submission
The toddler is in charge now. Don’t fight it. Submission is the key to survival at this point.
Stage 5: Mom’s Uprising
YOU CAN DO THIS. You will regain control of your own household. You will get these kids on a coordinated sleep schedule. You will get the crayon off your walls. You will get everyone out of the house. You. Can. Do. This.
Stage 6: The Resurgence of Chaos
The baby is mobile. You’re totally screwed. I’d love to offer some words of encouragement, but I got nothin’. Time to bust out the baby jail, and hope she doesn’t figure out how to tip it over too quickly.
Stage 7: A Sliver of Sweetness
Now that the baby is getting a little bit older, she and the toddler can actually play together! There will be moments when you’ll look up from your lukewarm cup of coffee and see them huddled together around a toy (or more likely, a snack), giggling about something you’re not in on, and your heart will almost burst.
Everything you’ve ever imagined for your family will be playing out before your very eyes, and you’ll know your two babies have a deeper bond than you ever could’ve dreamed. You’ll see that your toddler was clearly made to be a big brother, and that the baby just adores everything he does and says.
Enjoy and cherish these sweet moments, because, oh are they ever fleeting…
Stage 8: Wrestlemania
The playing has turned to fighting, and you must be the referee. I’m pretty sure this is your life for the next 16 years, or until one of them moves out.