|Imagine, a kid that prefers to play on his own? This one is that child.|
That's why this whole second child thing is a mystery to me.
One was easy. I mean, at the time I was all like ohmygoodness I'm a mom and this is soooooo tough, but with two, OH TWO has put hair on my chest and on my legs...well it hasn't added any per say, but my shaving time has for sure been compromised. Not to mention my mind has been completely perplexed by this whole number 2 phenomenon (not the potty training number 2, get your mind out of the gutter :)
Number 1 was spoiled. I mean SPO-IL-ED. I'm pretty sure that for the first year of his life, we were constantly touching. He slept with us, ate on our laps, went everywhere with us, and completely turned our lives into a Theo centered universe. And at the time we wouldn't have had it any other way.
Then little brother came along.
I did the very same thing with Elliot. I constantly held him, touched him, cuddled him just as I did to Theo. I spent many nights crying because I felt like I wasn't able to do it all. TWO KIDS? TWO KIDS THAT NEEDED ME 24 HOURS A DAY? HOW EXHAUSTING! Constant attention!. I felt like I wasn't enough. I was killing myself to make sure that Elliot got the "same" amount of attention as Theo did when he was born. I wanted it to be fair.
But Elliot isn't the same. He's a second child. And second children are born with this unspoken stubborness, and strength. Second children want nothing to do with the ways of a first time parent. Second children want their independence. I even tried to have Elliot co-sleep, this lasted until about 6 months (with little to no sleep) until he rolled out of bed one night sending me on a frantic run to the Children's hospital. Elliot was fine, but my confidence was shaken. What if I wasn't as good as a parent as I thought that I once was? I mean, my child rolled out of bed for heck's sake. He was literally jumping out of bed to get away from me. ME! The uterus that had housed him for 9 months!
That day prompted a few parenting changes. Elliot never slept with us again, one, because I was scared that he would roll out of bed again,and two, because once I stopped smothering him I realized that he was totally different person than Theo. He was independent. He slept better in his crib, all alone, without me bothering him. In fact, the more independence I give to Elliot, the more Elliot's personality began to shine. My two kids are totally different from one another. And even though the attention to infancy ratio was much higher with Theo, Elliot could have cared less. They are two very different boys, that need two very different parenting styles. Stupid me was trying to be fair and treat them the same, instead of celebrating their differences! How unfair! Shame on me.
I was beating myself up for something that I was doing to myself. I was forcing myself upon my kids, and even though Elliot doesn't need me every second and is very independent doesn't mean that he loves me less. And me giving him less attention than I gave Theo doesn't mean that I love him less, In fact, allowing him to be independent, although tough for me, is teaching him that I have trust in him and that I believe in him. Elliot wasn't being neglected for attention, he in fact, rebelled against my smothering ways. He didn't care that Theo wanted to be held all of the time at this age. Elliot isn't keeping score. So why am I? Because I'm a mommy who loves her boys and wants them to show the world what fabulous human beings they are, that's why.
Parenting is tough. But us mommies have this extra gene, the guilt gene, that sometimes kicks in and makes parenting even harder. Mine still works in overdrive all the time. In fact, if I weren't aware of it's powers, it would probably still get the best of me, and sometimes it still does anyway. Being a mommy is like that show Wipeout...nine times out of ten you get knocked down in a stupid fashion and feel like an idiot. But that one time. That one time that you succeed, makes you feel like you are on top of the world, even if it took getting hit in the face with a rotating mallet (or in my case, a block) a million times. The rewards are so worth it.
Especially since my rewards come in the form of open mouth smooches and super squeezy hugs.
Seriously, is there anything better in this life?