Friday, January 29, 2010

Onto Number 2?

As soon as Eleanor turned one, we started getting the question: When are you going to work on #2?

Disregarding the complete invasion of privacy, the question is an interesting one. How close in age do you want your children? As close as possible, to be (hopefully) constant playmates and friends? A few years apart, so you never have more than one in diapers at a time? More than 5 years apart, so the first is off at school and you can still have quality alone time with the second? And there's so many other factors to consider, including your age, whether you're planning to have more than two, if you would ever like to have spare time/money/energy again ....

I'm not going to lie to you: I found Eleanor's first 6 months to be really tough. Partly because we were having such a hard time with breastfeeding, and partly because my personality does not go well with words like "play it by ear," and "just wait and see," and "relax." It was a very stressful time for me.

In contrast, Eleanor at a year-and-a-half is a completely different experience. She is a wonderful, unique person with her own wishes that she asserts regularly, at length, with volume. She is doing new things all the time, and I'm really getting to enjoy her company.

Plus, many of my friends are onto Round 2. Most of their first children are older than Eleanor, but not always by much. I envy them the second pregnancy; I imagine that they feel calm and confident the entire time, since they know exactly what they're getting into.

You would think that this would make me think about getting pregnant again. And yet, the opposite is true. Yes, I want to have at least another child. But I find myself saying, more often than not, Maybe we should wait a little bit longer. At first I definitely wanted to wait until Eleanor turns two. But now I'm wondering if maybe we should wait until she's 2 1/2, so she's definitely out of diapers by the time the second one arrives. Or if she's 3, she'll understand so much more and be such a help .....

I am reluctant to go back to those early days of sleep deprivation and worry and stress (although I would hope the worry and stress, at least, would be at least slightly eased the second time around). Every time I try to think back to that time, my gut reaction is "I'm not ready!!" I think I'm more worried about it now, having been through it once, than I was pre-parenthood.

On the other hand, I am also reluctant to give up this time with Eleanor. I'm not eager for a fourth, unknown person to intrude on our cozy family circle of three. (Plus pets, of course!) Even though we all know we would love Littler L as soon as he/she arrived, the abstract concept of another child really just makes me yearn to spend time with the child I have. I want to appreciate her, and show her how she is the sole center of my universe. For now.

Because I'm sure at some point, the scales will tip. Instead of my first reaction being, "I'm not ready!" it will be a sense of openness and hope at the possibility. Just like it happened the first time around. A gradual change from "I'm not ready to be a Mom!!!" to "Well, maybe ...."


Jonathan said...

All I can really do is relate the experience of our three.

The younger two play together all the time - about 15 months between them.

The one thing I would say is that you cannot predict what their personality will be - and it will make a huge difference to their ability to either play on their own, or together.

M. Lubbers said...

15 months?!? Wow .... just, wow. So, in other words, just do what we want and assume it will all fall into place, eh? ;)

Amy said...

I turned 3 about two weeks before my sister was born, and I'm not sure how much "help" I was . . .

My mom says I used to announce helpfully, "The baby's crying!" in case she had suddenly gone deaf. (My sister cried a lot, btw; my mom also says that if she had had my sister first, there would have been no second kid. Chew on that!)

Andrea said...

You crack me up, Megan! The second baby is sooooo different than the first, there's no denying that. While Will was up every 3 hours on the dot during the night, Archer sleeps 6-8 hours already at night. On the other hand, he cries a lot more during the day. So, you never know what you might get with #2! We find it too cute how "loving" Will is toward Archer; I don't worry about him being too rough, rather I constantly say "stop kissing the baby!"

I'd like to say "You'll know when you're ready," but I honestly can't. I thought I was ready for #2, then kind of freaked out when the pregnancy test was positive. :-) But now it's fantastic! And, yes, so much less stressful than the first time around!!

M. Lubbers said...

Amy: I can believe that story. From the girl with about 20 remote controls :)

Andrea: VERY glad to hear it's less stressful the second time around, even if they are different. I do think that the sibling interaction is something that I'm looking forward to. Someday.