Posted by: thatjen | September 9, 2008

Notes from the Fray

Addition problems, indeed.  When is 1 + 1 waaaaaaaaaaaay more than 2?  When it’s one kid plus one kid!  The new baby stuff (except for nursing) wasn’t hard for us at all with Natalie, and it isn’t hard with Teddy either.  But the toddler + new baby thing?  Yikes.

Teddy is a dream, and we are all in love with him.  But the transition from a 3 person family to a 4 person family is tough, and I’m not sure whether it’s tougher on Natalie or on the moms.  Scratch that – I know it’s harder on Natalie, because she didn’t choose it, doesn’t have the language to talk through all the upheaval and emotion, and really had no comprehension of what was going to/has happened to us.  As a result, however, hooo dawggy is it rough on us, too.

Don’t get me wrong – she is wonderful with the baby and loves to see him, sing to him, talk to him, hold him, and would happily do more (wake him, share food and toys with him, carry him) if her mean moms would only let her.  But it’s very, very evident that her world has turned upside down since Saturday morning.  The fact that she started school yesterday and was left for the first time EVER with a room full of near strangers (she’d met the kids a few times before at summer playdates, but that’s it) surely didn’t help.

She has alternated between visibly shaking with excitement and shattering into major hysterical fits the likes of which we’ve literally never seen prior to Saturday (most accompanied by ear-splitting repeated shrieks of “I didn’t want _____!” or “I want _______!”).  We are tandem nursing, and this provides some of what little sanity and quiet we’ve had in the house… except when it doesn’t.  Most of the time she’s content to share or take turns, but a few times, Teddy has had THE SIDE she wants (at that moment), and that has provoked major angst.  However, I shudder to think what we’d be enduring now if she’d been forcibly weaned at some point during the pregnancy, and the good of tandem nursing is far outweighing the rough patches.

It HAS only been three days (although it feels much longer, in the sense of enduring the emotional roller coaster and all of the toddler-related household chores that don’t stop just because a baby arrived… and much shorter, in terms of how new Teddy is), and it hasn’t been all bad by any means.  Natalie is quite pleased to show her brother to new visitors, and whenever she realizes she can’t see him, asks immediately “Where is our baby?!”  She has been in charge of introducing him to anyone meeting him for the first time, and has several times told people his name was “Teddy Bear”.  My favorite, however, was the time she stopped, searched her memory, and said, “His name is… Fishy?”  Seems logical, in a two-year old way, to me anyway!

Yesterday evening was the closest we’ve been to a semblance of normal – Teddy and I came down from the bedroom while Natalie had dinner, and that alone helped her regain some balance.  This morning we had a nice, relatively quiet (in 2 year old terms) family morning in bed and then came down for a late breakfast.  She’s been at my mom’s the rest of the day, so we’ll see what state she’s in when she arrives home.  Cait and I got to get a little rest while she was gone, so I think we’ll be in better shape to handle what the rest of the week brings.

We’re so delighted to have two kids, but it’s going to take a while for us all to adjust!


  1. I can only imagine the insanity. I do hope that things even out soon. (Though soon may seem a long time from now, now.)

  2. Some things will get better, some things will become the new normal. Everything will be better with sleep and some time.

    I weaned at a year and my son had no memory of nursing. Clearly nursing through toddlerhood and the upheaval of a sibling is a far better choice but, I am interested to see how Natalie feels about sharing the breast. My kids at least were very very attached to them.

  3. I feel for you. That transition from one kid to two really took us by surprise. We foolishly thought the newborn phase would be much easier second time around, without giving any consideration to the fact that it was our first time parenting two children.

    We had some really tough weeks as Hunter got used to the idea – somewhat unwillingly – that Hugo was here to stay.

    I’m sure you know it, but time is really the only answer. It’s new territory for all of you but you’ll all eventually figure out what it means to be a family of four. 🙂

  4. My sister had her second when her oldest was 23 months, and they are a girl-boy pair, too. My nephew is six months old now and I think she’s just feeling like she’s got a handle on everything — and that was without preschool!

    But she loves the two of them together, especially now that the younger one is so mobile.

    Congratulations again! I can’t imagine how you’re doing it all!

  5. I forgot to mention — my sister is tandem nursing, too, and she agrees: it’s great, except when it isn’t. My niece still doesn’t like to share. 🙂

  6. totally taking notes…

  7. Yeesh, I don’t even know this world because twins plus one is very different I think. But I’m sure everything will get used to your new version of normal.
    Glad that tandem nursing is going well and Teddy can handle (or maybe benefit from!) the resulting faster flow of milk.
    Lots of love to all!

  8. ps- We got the boys a “gift from the baby,” and it both kept them occupied and perhaps took some of the sting off. Something small but really meaningful to Natalie is what I mean. (Like, we got each of the boys a new train for their set, and they were quite thrilled.)

  9. You know I feel your pain.

  10. Whooeee, y’all. Good work all around. You sound remarkably sane to me – and remember I hear about toddler + new baby adjustments all the time. It’s rough.
    I think in the long run (and maybe even the short run) the new school thing will be a blessing. I find that 2 year olds are SO glad to have a place of their own when there’s a new baby at home. We have a little boy in my class this year in a very similar situation to Natalie and he seems relieved to be at school on the days he comes, even though his mama reports that he loves his baby. So even though it’s a room full of strangers, it’s *her* room full of strangers, which gives her an extra sense of power at a time when the rest of her life may seem topsy-turvy.

  11. You really seem to be doing a FINE job. It’s tough and there’s no getting around it, but it’ll get easier and better.

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