"One is one, but two is ten."

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

On one of our very first outings as a family of four, Elena no older than a month, we had a small interaction with a stranger on an elevator at the mall that has stuck with me.  I'm not sure if we looked as exhausted as we felt or if she just felt compelled to talk to us.  After only a short time shopping we loaded the elevator-- Elena in the baby carrier strapped to Justin's chest, Ty in the stroller with goldfish all over his face and lap, and me with my large diaper bag over one shoulder and shopping bags in one hand, while the other hand rested on the stroller.  Somehow this sweet lady found a corner of the elevator she could squeeze into and the door closed.  She looked us over with a smile on her face and asked us how old the kids were. After we told her, she said, "I have one. My friends all tell me that one is one and two is ten. Is that true?" I had never heard this phrase before, but it definitely hit home.  I just glanced at Justin as we both smiled and looked at the lady and said, "It is absolutely true-- one is one, but two is TEN!"  She assured us we looked like we had it under control and were doing great then she stepped off the elevator and I never saw her again.

When we had our first born, our lives changed completely. I remember preparing for the long nights of feedings in the first weeks like I was preparing to go to battle.  I had to mentally prepare to get no sleep while the rest of the universe was getting their 8 hours of uninterrupted slumber.  I had to get my large ice water set up next to my bed and a stack of diapers prepped with wipes at arm's reach, so that my hubby wouldn't have to get out of bed to change our son.  I had to make sure that I had extra nursing pads and spit cloths ready for emergencies.  I thought that I had my hands completely full... and at that moment in my life, I absolutely did. It was all we could handle, but we did it. And we did it with naps during the day, with taking shifts, with the help of our village of family and friends.  All for one 6 pound 15 ounce baby boy.  And as time went on, our sleep increased and our sanity returned.... and then we got pregnant.

We had no idea what parenting two children would be like.  I think you can prepare all you want, but it's one of those things you just have to experience to understand.

I've never been so exhausted. After long nights of being up with Elena, I get to wake up at the crack of dawn to my toddler who has had a full night of rest and is ready and raring to go for the day.
I don't get a regular shower anymore. I'm lucky if I can squeeze one in while one kid is napping and one is strapped in the booster seat eating.  And even then it is a sprint to get in and out in under five minutes. I've gotten to the point that some tears are OK and shaving is a luxury.
I am eternally a jungle gym. Mommy, the jungle gym.  If I am not on the floor, my sweeties aren't completely satisfied.  They are happiest when they are literally on top of me using me like a trampoline.  Don't get me wrong. I don't let them get away with this misuse of their mother all the time. I want some structure in my house, but I am a firm believer of laughing daily, and this puts the biggest grin on their faces, so totally worth it.  This and tickle fights are a staple in our house when Justin gets home from work.
I do not sit for meals anymore. I am lucky to get a 4 minute stretch without having to get up for something.  Honestly, I try to prepare for everything before we sit around the table as a family, but something always comes up.  More water, spit up, spillage on the pants, need more paper towels, another helping, potty break... you name it. Meal time is no break, but if we are eating as a family, I am happy.
Trying to get out of the house to get anywhere takes a good 15 minutes now.  I remember thinking how it wasn't worth it to make a trip to Target because of how long it took to get one kid in the car seat with a full diaper bag.  It's a whole new level with two kids.  I have to be very methodical about packing up to go somewhere.  Getting the baby set up to play while I get some bottles ready and making sure my toddler has his shoes on.... getting his cup together, then packing him into the car....going back to get baby in the car seat and making sure I have the keys, my bag, and my phone... then finally giving my dog a pat goodbye and getting out the door.  PHEW.. I am exhausted just thinking about it.  IS IT WORTH IT is what always goes through my mind before I start the process.  Nine times out of ten it is because cabin fever with two kids is no joke!

It may not sound like it, but this is the most incredible transition my family has every made.  Adding to our family has been such a blessing.
We work together more often, not only because we want to, but because we have to.  My husband and I appreciate each other more than we ever did before.  One of us without the other in our house is seemingly next to impossible.  When I am at the end of my rope, Justin is there to pick up where I leave off.  Together we are a well-oiled machine.  We are so in sync and it stems from our life as parents.
We are able to watch the love between our children blossom.  We can show them what sharing and selflessness looks like.  We get to watch them teach each other and cheer each other on. We watch them laugh together and "talk" to each other.
We pray more; again, not because we want to, but we absolutely MUST! "Dear God please give me patience," dear God, please get to me to naps," "dear God thank you for these babies." You name it. I talk to God more than ever before. And we pray more as a family for the sake of our kids.
There is more love in our house than there has ever been.  Our house is a mess. When you walk in you see a pile of train tracks, sippy cups on the table, crackers on the ledge of the staircase, and puzzle pieces all over the floor, but where there is mess, there is life.  Our home is lived in and loved.  I read somewhere "your first born child shows you the depth of your love and your second shows you the breadth."  This statement rings so true for us.  I have no doubt that our family is not finished growing.  There is still room for more mess, more tickle fights, more helpings at dinner, and more love.

For us, yes... one is one, but two is ten.  Ten times as wonderful.  Ten times as exciting.  Ten times as rewarding.  Today I am grateful for the two blessings that give our lives so much exuberance!

1 comment:

  1. Ahh...when we were new parents with our first, those first few months sleep was a joke. I cried thinking about having to prepare for the night! lol And two is a whole different level! So glad you can see the blessings that come with two as well. Thanks for sharing and linking up!