I’m so excited to meet my little girl! I wonder every day who she will look like, if she will be calm and happy like Noah, and how much bigger she is going to grow (ouch). I’m even more excited to watch Noah experience being a big brother, to watch him interact with his sister, and the moment when he realizes that she isn’t going anywhere :)
Looking back, growing up in a family with 6 children is a quality of my childhood that I appreciate. There was always someone to play with and someone to get in trouble or get me in trouble. It helped me form close bonds with my siblings as a child, but even more so today as an adult. Somehow my parents managed to raise 6 unique individual children under the same roof… there is proof of that in each of our different life choices and directions. I admire their ability to treat us all fairly while addressing the fact that we were indeed separate entities.
Having a second child due in a few months has brought about many little decisions like: will we buy kimono style onesies or bottom snap onesies (I vote kimono), which Shea Moisture lotion (the best brand on the market) smells the best for a little girl (I went with Olive & Marula) and how many terry cloth sleepers will she need since she is due at the birth of winter. I would love if these were the only issues we as parents had to deal with, but a few of our bigger decisions include sleeping arrangements, getting her to nap with a non-napping toddler running the house, and frankly, my ability/inability to figure this out as a mother. However, what has been plaguing my mind most is will I be able to raise both of my children symmetrically and individually simultaneously?
Since Noah’s birth, we have co-slept. This was not an intentional decision we made when he came into our lives, it was born out of necessity. That choice then led me down a path of a very specific parenting approach that felt relevant for that time in our lives. An instinctual path, you could say, that most mothers face. Noah nursed until he was 2.5 years old, again, not a decision I would have consciously made, nevertheless, it happened. I remember receiving criticism in regards to how much I carried Noah, felt disapproval in how long he nursed and was constantly asked “is he walking yet?” “what is he saying?”. I felt insecure in how I was raising my son to others, but like I was doing what Noah needed of me in my heart and in the way he responded to the choices we made for him.
I have often questioned if I will raise our second child, Maeby the same way or if my approach will change. That’s a hard question to answer before I know her temperament and discover how she approaches life. I often experience a feeling of guilt over the little decisions that I am making for her that I didn’t even consider making for Noah when he was still in the womb. I recognize that these are things that I wasn’t aware of because it was my first time being pregnant and a mother. I fear I won’t be able to keep my love and attention fair between my two children, that I won’t be able to devote as much time to Maeby as I have to Noah and that Noah won’t receive as much attention as he is accustomed to.
One aspect that I am thankful for in the midst of my concerns is that we have given Noah attention and guidance in ways that I pray we will never have to provide for Maeby. We have been overly diligent at times with his needs and assisting him as he develops. We have purchased “toys” for walking, specific silverware for eating, and a 327 sippy cups in search of the one that HE finds acceptable. We have guarded him in social situations and observed vigilantly during “no parents allowed” therapy sessions to make sure things are going well… And if I’m honest with you (and myself), Matt has done an exceptionally better job at letting go and trusting Noah. As a mother, I still check to see if he is breathing at night, I watch as his chest rises and falls (this is easy because he’s normally laying with half of his body on top of mine) and check way too many times if he has a fever on the days I notice him sniffle or sneeze. These qualities about me are not likely to change, and I’m alright with that. I find myself pulling strength from my own mother and father and how they did this with their 6 children.
We never need an excuse to enjoy a cookie together.
Noah picked out his PJ’s for the fall, Minions, of course :)