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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Plus One



Three infamous blogging mamas are having babies s-o-o-n. With their new babe, the number of children in their homes will double.

I remember going from one to two all too well. My oldest, Belly, was just over the age of 2 when I went into the hospital to have my next child. After having a successful VBAC, Fairly Odd Father and I took turns holding Jilly in our arms as we watched snow fall outside our window that March morning. It fell and fell until the roads became impassable, and we were marooned in the hospital with our new baby.

It was luxurious to be able to relax with a newborn without having visitor after visitor arrive, but this also meant that my firstborn, who had never spent a night away from me, was now separated from us for even longer. She knew we had a new baby, her baby sister. I wonder if she thought we were going to go and live with this new baby and leave her behind?

The following day, when the roads were cleared, Belly came bouncing into my hospital room. My first thought was, "Oh my. She is SO big! How did my (first) baby become so big?!?!" It was a huge moment, one that I can still feel in my chest when I recall it.

That was more than five years ago. Since then, I have added yet another to our brood, but he came so close to Jilly (they are 18 months apart) that there was little time for reflection. I do remember holding the pregnancy stick in one hand, a nine-month old baby in another and saying, "How can I be pregnant?!? Jilly is still a baby!!!!!" And then I giggled hysterically, because, really, what else can you do?

One reason for writing this post is that we blogging mamas (and dads) are to give these pregnant moms some advice about having two kids. I'm going to stray from my comfort zone, which would be to give them some very practical advice, and write about something I've observed about myself in these past few years.

One thing I've had to be careful about is this: labeling my kids. Knowing each of my children is a unique person, it is too easy to assign them with a role in our family. I see this done a lot in other families too. One child is the friendly one, the other shy. One child eats everything, the other nothing. One child is 'musical', the other 'sporty'.

Jilly is our spaz who says hilarious and inappropriate things; Belly is social, talkative and loves to sing; D is the quiet, reflective one.

Except when they aren't.

Things in my brain rearrange a bit when Belly hangs back in a new setting and clings to my leg; when Jilly stands up and sings loudly and seriously in the front row of a children's choir; when D starts talking up a storm. They are alike and they are different, but it isn't so much stark black and white as it is a swirling pattern.

As siblings, my hope is that they will stand on their own but will always have another that is so familiar to them that they are never truly alone.

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9 Comments:

Blogger toyfoto said...

Oh yes. That feeling that the first had grown up overnight. Yes. Even the neighbors felt that one. Someone asked me when she started talking when we all came home from the hospital and Annabel gave them an earful about her baby brother.

9:00 AM  
Blogger anymommy said...

Wow, that size thing hit me hard too. My husband called to tell me that my 22 month olds were huge. I'm all, no, my babies, bring them up. They walked in and I thought whose dinosaur offspring are these? Newborns are so little. You have to remember that the first ones are still babies too!

9:27 AM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

That's great advice. It's very easy to label a child but who wants a label all their life?

Thanks for this!

11:05 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicken said...

One of the big reasons I wanted a second child is that I wanted to give my girl a sibling. At the same time, I was worried that I wouldn't have enough love. I am besotted with my wee Poo girl. This gives me a reason to breathe easier on that front. Thank you!

As for the labeling? I'm labeled, too. And so I hope to never, ever do that to our kids.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous kirsten said...

Whenever I am tempted to label my kids relative to each other, I think of how they complete one another. They are so connected, and they help each other out. So the younger one helps the older one be more drawn out of herself, while the older helps the younger be more competent. And all around, this wholeness is what I try to remember makes them sisters in the first place.

6:49 PM  
Blogger AnotherMomCreation said...

I'll never forget that moment too, when my 3.5 year old went from the tiniest peanut to a giant child. Just her legs alone looked like tree trunks.
I fought out of the label shy as a kid and so I made sure that my quiet one, was not labeled shy. And you know, it worked. She's no longer quiet. Careful what you wish for huh?

7:24 AM  
Blogger PinksandBluesGirls said...

Great post!! As I'm now a mama of 3, almost 4... I can appreciate this very much!
Best,
Audrey

2:15 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Aw, you always give the best advice. I still remember the advice you gave me at my shower for Thalia - that pots and spatulas and tupperware tops make the best toys. It's true! They do.

11:24 PM  
Blogger SabrinaT said...

I remember so well the day we added 2, then 3. What a change 2 makes! A good friend told me long ago, when the number of kids in the house is greater then the parents, you are in trouble..

5:20 AM  

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