Monday, September 26, 2016

Nina from The Joni Journey {The Mommylogues Series}

I'm so glad that Nina is today's Mommylogues Series guest! Not only is she a great photographer and crafter but she also lives closest to me geographically, so I'm hoping a meet up can happen one day too :)

Hi fellow Work It Mommy readers! I'm so excited Whitney decided to share her blog space with me today. I've been following along with her family's adventures, stealing her amazing mom tips, and envying her cool mom style for quite some time now. The Mommylogue Series is genius and I love getting a glimpse into all of your parenting tips and trials, and just some honest insight about this crazy journey called parenthood from one mom to another.

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A little background about myself: I'm a stay at home mom to two crazy, car-obsessed, tornado-like toddler boys, a sometimes blogger over at The Joni Journey, and a recent newlywed to my love of five years and baby-daddy. I'm a classic over-sharer of photos, slightly addicted to all iced caffeinated beverages, and way, way too excited for the fall madness and holiday festivity that is upon us. Finally.

When I was brainstorming what insights or tips I had to share, I kept drawing a blank. I've been a mom for just under three and a half years now, but I'm probably the last one to be giving advice to anyone. The potty training battles have been waging on for quite some time, my living room looks like a hot wheels minefield, and my youngest frequently scavenges for his own food from older bro's leftovers. Just when I think I understand this whole mom of two boys thing, the rules change and I'm starting from scratch.

One thing I feel like I've finally had enough time and distance to process is going from one child to two. When Ez was about a year old we decided we were as ready as we'd ever be for a second, and when Ez was just over two years old Declan was born. Back when I was pregnant I had a ton of swirling emotions that I never gave voice to because I didn't want to talk them into existence, if that makes sense. I wondered how, if my heart was so full with just Ez, would I be able to love Declan as much? I kept turning it over in my head like a math problem. My heart was 100% full of love, how would I fit more in? Obviously I realize now what a ridiculous thought that was, but in my hormonal pregnant state it did cross my mind more than a few times. I also worried they would be enemies and hate each other, instead of the lifelong friendship I was wishing for them. I worried that Ez would feel blindsided and hurt and jealous. There was just a whole lot of anxiety for me with the changing dynamics of our family.

Fast forward to Declan's birth, which happened so fast (2 hours!) that poor Ez was witness to a lot of it. He had to ride in the car with us, while I was screaming like a madwoman in the backseat, something in hindsight I wish I'd been able to tame down for his sake, but the pain had it's own plans. Then Joe walked in with Ez while I was in full 10 centimeter dilated ready to push labor to bring me my purse (why??!) so Ez saw me in pain yet again while I was screaming at them to get out. Definitely not the best first impression that I had hoped for when he met his brother.

When Declan was placed in my arms after that crazy labor all my fears of loving him as much as Ez immediately flew out the window. Our hearts are not a math equation, they are capable of infinite love, and I feel like my heart grew the second I laid eyes on him. Also, it was like we'd just gone through battle together, we were little war buddies, and only we could truly understand what we'd just been through. His birth was so different from Ez's long, medicated birth, with Joe by my side. For Declan it was just me and him and a bunch of strangers since even my doctor couldn't make it to the hospital on time. I know that sounds less than ideal but it actually turned into a great bonding experience for Declan and I, and I cherish those first moments alone with him so much.

However, when Ez walked into the room and wouldn't get near me or even look at me, my fears on how he would react to this whole brotherhood thing were multiplied. As much as I wish I could say those fears were unfounded, they weren't. Ez got lots of attention and presents when Declan was born, probably more attention and presents than Declan got, and that first week after Declan was born was lots of fun and excitement for him. But then relatives left, and Daddy went back to work, and it was just me, Declan, and him during the day, and Declan was constantly attached to me. My usually independent, happy two year old turned so clingy that I couldn't even walk to the bathroom without him crying and running after me and throwing himself at my legs. There were more than a few days when all three of us were in tears at the same time. 

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I'm sure this isn't everyone's experience with having a second child, and I know some older siblings can't wait to be big brothers or sisters, but this was our experience and I'm guessing (hoping??) that we're not the only ones who went through this. 

Slowly but surely Declan became more aware of his surroundings and watching his big bro was his favorite activity of all. Ez couldn't help but love this tiny little being who was so full of complete adoration for him and that's when he really started to embrace his big brother role. He'd get right in Declan's face every time he cried with a concerned look, saying "don't cry, Deck Deck." Or he'd bring all his cars over to wherever Declan was laying and play "with" him. I'd say it was a good 3 weeks to a month before we reached this point, but once I started seeing their sibling relationship unfold my mama heart breathed a sigh of relief. 

Now, fifteen months later, they are so ingrained in each other's lives, it's almost impossible to remember a time when Declan wasn't here. Just last night Joe and I were commenting on how they constantly gravitate toward each other, and even when they're playing separately they seem to keep tabs on each other. Whether or not they realize it, they love each other so much.

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Some other things about going from one to two:

Having two kids in diapers at the same time is insane. Back in Declan's poopy newborn days I was changing diapers as much as four times an hour. That's every fifteen minutes. I repeat: insane.

Declan flew through all his milestones at lightning speed thanks to having big bro to keep up with. Crawling at 7 months, climbing stairs at 8, and walking at 9. I was not at all ready for any of that.

Sometimes I miss my other kid. Depending on which one used up most of my attention and energy that day, I'll go to bed wishing I'd been able to spend more time with the other one. I hope that in the long run there's a balance, and they each realize they're of equal importance to me, but unfortunately on a day to day basis that's not usually the case and it's something I still struggle with.

Our romantic life suffered a lot more with a second baby than it did the first time around. I think that after Ez was born we were on such a euphoric high as first time parents that it carried us through those chaotic newborn days. But with a second child there was literally no break. I couldn't just hand the baby off to Joe when I needed some alone time, instead we were just trading kids back and forth all evening. I know you moms with three or more are laughing at my novice skills right now. We'll just call it a learning curve ;) But after having 1-2 kids attached to me at all times, day and night, the last thing I wanted was to be touched by anyone else, even if that somebody else was the love of my life. Thankfully that too was a phase, and it passed.

Some of my favorite mom-of-two moments to date:

The other day Ez told Declan he loved him. My heart burst into a million pieces right then and there.

When I have to reprimand or discipline Ez Declan will come running up, wedge himself between us, and push me away. He's clearly trying to protect his big bro, and it's the most annoyingly sweet thing ever. Especially because I really want to smile, but I'm trying to be stern.

When one of them starts clapping or cheering or dancing the other automatically joins in. It's like a nonstop toddler party over here.

Watching them play together is basically the best thing in the world. Usually it involves some kind of running and screaming and mess-making, but I love it all the same.

Holidays are twice as magical. I seriously can't wait for the holidays this year, because even though these are technically Declan's second holidays, they're the first where he's really aware of what's going on.

If you made it this far, thank you for following along with my winding, rambling musings. I'd love to hear your experiences on those first few weeks of bringing a new sibling home. What are some of your favorite moments watching their sibling relationship unfold? And on that note, I'll leave you with this universal mom fantasy:


15 comments:

  1. I love this. It's so real and honest. You are one amazing momma for dealing with labor "alone" since it was happening so fast Daddy had to be with Ez. Wow! I'm glad that things got better with Ez. Becoming a big brother is a big change and although it took him a little time I'd say he's doing great at it. :) Love your story.

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    1. Thank you! Ez really is a great big brother now, he's come such a long way :)

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  2. Oh man reading about the two kids in diapers I seriously lol'ed. I can totally see the craziness of it all in my head and goodness I bet it felt like an are you kidding me moment. Definitely something to laugh about down the road though. So fun to read about Nina. I don't really know her or her blog.

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    1. I think enough time has finally passed for me to look back and laugh. Only took 15 months! ;)

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  3. Awww, so sweet, and yes to the whole two in diapers thing, I luckily only had to really deal with it for a few months after the first, but holy cow. And I pretty much had the same birth as you with my second! Watching your two kids interact is just the best thing ever.

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    1. I remember reading your birth story on the mommylogues and I related so much!! You think you're prepared for labor the second time around, but nope. Kids do what they want.

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  4. Amen to all of this! While I didn't have the pleasure of experiencing two kids in diapers, there are still many a day when the three of us are all in tears. And, the love of caffeine is strong over here, too!

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    1. You are lucky! I can't say I'd recommend the two in diapers thing to even my worst enemy. Unfortunately I think tears and parenthood go hand in hand. That's what chocolate, wine, and Netflix were made for. And iced coffee, of course ;)

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  5. I'm doing a little happy dance that Aria is out of diapers lol. And, Chris has always been unsure how he could possibly love more than one kid when he adores his little girl. Hopefully he realizes it is easy as soon as he sees his little guy! I'm sure there is a nice learning curve going from any number to another. I'm being kicked in the bladder. Cheers.

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    1. I'm doing the happy dance for you too, my friend! Well, for the potty training bit, not because you're being kicked in the bladder ;) Aria is going to be a great big sis. At least she's looking forward to it, which is way ahead of where Ez was. And I totally relate with Chris, but he'll melt when he meets his little guy, and then all of a sudden it feels like he's been a part of the family forever.

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  6. I think diapers on one is tough so two?? I swear you'd be wiping bottoms all day long.

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    1. Yes! It seriously felt like nonstop all day long. I tallied it once and it was like 15 diapers. It's pretty crazy once you start breaking it down in numbers.

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  7. While I don't have experience of my own with two kids, I love hearing other people's perspective and experience with it. I bet it is insane at times but the good definitely out weigh the bad and when they tell each other they love each other or hug or you see them play together, you forget about all the craziness and it is all worth it!

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    1. The good memories definitely make all the craziness worthwhile. Even if I knew going into it how insane those first few weeks would be I'd do it all over in an instant :)

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  8. I couldn't imagine two being in diapers at once! I love to read about moms of multiple kids! Thanks for sharing Nina!

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