I’m not sure what I expected it to be or if, in all honesty, I had really thought the whole idea through. This whole idea of two children. Did I expect it to be easy? For Alex to seamlessly fit into our lives? Or did I think it would be more difficult than when we had Robbie? That nothing would ever be the same again? Three weeks in, I’m not sure there’s a clear cut answer. It’s a little bit of everything – wonderful and sad and chaotic and strangely peaceful.
There is nothing more incredible than watching my two boys together, seeing the excitement in Robbie’s eyes when he comes barreling through the door after a day at school. It’s a different side of him, and it almost reminds me of the new type of love I felt for Justin when he became a father. Robbie has so embraced being a big brother that it is who he is. He makes every decision based on his little brother. I offer to take him on a run, and he wants to know if his little brother can go. Alex is crying and Robbie drops what he’s doing to find a pacifier and calm Alex. It’s been amazing to see Robbie stop being so self-centered (as any four-year-old is) and really focus on another person.
But, with all of that, there’s a certain amount of sadness. I find myself being short with Robbie, sometimes through no real fault of his own. Did I sound a little too harsh when he was playing with a necklace I’d asked him to put away three times? Yes. Do I feel like I’m always telling him no? Or to slow down? Or to be careful? Absolutely. And it kills me. I try so hard to not make that the only thing I say – much like I tried so hard to stop telling him that we were always going to be late – and to apologize when I over-react.
Trying to get out of the house? With two kids? By myself? Utter chaos. Last Thursday, I had to get both kids to the doctor by 11:30. Two of us needed to be showered. All three of us needed to be fed (Robbie wound up having marshmallows for breakfast). Alex was crying in his swing while I chased a naked Robbie around the house, trying to convince him that he couldn’t go out in shorts and a t-shirt. Then, twenty minutes before the appointment, and while I was still not fully dressed, Alex needed to nurse. Miraculously, we were only five minutes late, despite all the chaos.
And then those moments of peace. Early this morning, while I was feeding Alex, Robbie climbed into bed with me, cuddling on the other side of his brother. We laid there, in the quiet darkness before the sun came up, and talked about everything that popped into Robbie’s mind. In fact, Robbie will sometimes wake up in the middle of the night when Alex cries and come sit with me while I nurse Alex. When I tell him he really doesn’t have to sit up with me, Robbie replies, “No, I think I’ll stay up with you. I like getting to talk to you like this.” And, just like that, I know that, whether I knew what I was getting into or not, we made the right decision.