We have been blessed to have really happy and obedient kids, you know, the whopping three years total that we've been parents. But if you're one of those who may think transitioning from one to two kids has been simple for me, well it's honestly been nothing but a giant learning curve.
Pierson was our summer baby. The one we spent three months trying to get pregnant with, the babe we had an entire summer with, just the three of us and our pets, in our new-to-us home; relaxing, cuddling, napping, walking, and oohing and ahhing over single move he made. I documented every single stage, including the time he rolled off the changing pad and we made a trip to the ER (#firstimeparents).
He was sweet and simple; not a crier, an excellent sleeper and a very giggly, happy baby. When he was seven months old, my world was rocked when we found out I was again pregnant. I sobbed my eyes out, knowing that my then napping baby had no idea what his mother just found out and that he would have no idea that it ever used to be 'just us.' I know this has the potential to sound terrible to those reading, but I don't mean it that way. I don't hate our second child (duh, look at her!) and things turned around later in my pregnancy with her-- but there was heartache for me thinking that I wasn't given enough time. I was just figuring out this whole Motherhood thing, I was recovering from Thyroiditis and plain and simple; I felt guilty. "He didn't ask for this!" I cried to my own mom. "He didn't say he wanted a sibling!" The trivial nonsense I bothered myself with is surreal. (What child asks for a sibling? And what about the kids who are second and third and fourth children?)
My daughter Reese was born, almost fifteen months to the day that he was. I was released two days later and it's like when the nurses and doctors were discharging me, they were patting me on the back saying, "Here you go, Mama. Now you have two babies to raise. You have two tiny humans you're in charge of. You'll be fine." My role as Mom to Pierson changed drastically. Before she came, I was his everything. Not that my husband wasn't present (because he is, immensely); but that no other child relied on me. Now I had a tiny baby girl, who needed me for all of her meals, every three hours , no matter what we all may be doing. Pierson had to learn how to play independently, was shushed when I was scared he would wake her, or scolded if he tried to crawl into my lap while I re-learned how to breastfeed. Over time I got better and I learned how to live as a mom of two. But still he was immediately 'the older child' and was required to step it up a notch or two, or twenty by being so.
My husband would often play with him while I nursed or bathed her. It wasn't until she got to be quite a bit older that it became easier to parent together again, instead of mostly apart. Life started to slow down after her first birthday- well, slow isn't the right word. Nothing is slow with toddlers. But we have our routine and thanks to Babywise working for our kids, they love and thrive on them. I can again intentionally focus on being Mom to Pierson. Some days we use the phrase "divide and conquer" and to us this means that we need to separate the kids. They are together all day, every day, and they literally do not know life apart from one another. To Pierson, Reese has been with him forever and for Reese, well, that's actually the case. She loves to grocery shop with her Dad and the photo above represents Pierson's most current mom and son hobby: baking.
I am learning so much about him and his three and a half-year-old self. Cooking is my husband's thing and baking is mine, so when at ten o'clock in the morning this Saturday Pierson said, "Mommy, I want to make chocolate chip cookies with you," that's what we did. Reese went to the store and Pierson sat on our yellow step-stool, helping me measure brown sugar and flour and turning the standing mixer to the right speeds to mix. We scooped the dough on to the cookie sheets and set the timer; he sat on the kitchen floor for a few seconds and watched as their shape started to change. They began to warm and spread out, fall a little and then rise. I stopped rinsing the measuring cups and paused to take him in. The once newborn baby, my once only child. The big brother and the incredibly loving and gentle soul that started our family. I didn't know that he would become a big brother so soon and while I adore being Mom to both my children, my heart very much skips a beat when it's just us.
Thank you, Pierson, for helping me bake these cookies. Thank you for your grace, forgiveness and love. Three years sounds so short to many, but in Mom Time, it's much longer. They have been slow at times but fleeting overall; to think that in three more you will be six, well, I can't even imagine. Your helpful heart and eagerness to learn make me swell with pride. I am so thankful for every single ounce of you, even and especially when I am not strong enough to show it.