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Location: Midwest, United States

I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Hard Part

People keep asking me “Is it hard having two kids?” or saying “It’s harder with two, isn’t it?” Those are weird questions at this point, because I don’t have two kids yet. I have a kid and a newborn, which is a whole different thing. Harder than two kids in many ways (one of my kids is much needier than the other), and easier in others (no sharing issues, no “she touched me” or “he hit me”). But as for the question of whether it’s harder having a newborn when you already have another kid, so far it’s been easier than I thought it would be. Maybe this is partly because I was scared shitless and exaggerated in my imagination just how chaotic it would be. Maybe partly because the experience factor makes having a newborn easier the second time around. Maybe partly because Roo is a (relatively) “easy” baby.

It’s been easier than I thought it would be, until recently. Until O. came down with some nasty bug. Having a sick four-year-old and a newborn has given my Old Man and me a taste of the real challenges of having more than one child.

Last Thursday, O. woke up feverish, complaining of a sore throat. By the afternoon, he was puking. Luckily, my Old Man was home from school by then, so between the two of us we handled the baby, the suffering child, and the vomitorious laundry. Friday O. was feeling much better, but since he was still getting his appetite back and potentially still contagious, we kept him home from school another day.

Since Roo was born, O. has been in preschool six hours a day, five days a week. Weekends have been positive, a nice chance for me and my Old Man to spend more time with O. and for O. to hang out more with Roo. We went into this weekend having already spent two days with O. at home, and two particularly trying days. And as the weekend was beginning, O. had already entered his post-illness mischievous phase. (Have other parents of little kids experienced this? After a day or two of dependence and sweet-tempered listlessness, my kid enters back into health with a renewed lust for life, and especially for puckish behavior.) Now it’s Sunday and the Old Man and I both have about one nerve left apiece. O’s belly sickness has morphed into a cough that doesn’t slow him down but sounds fairly wretched. “Do you think he’ll be well enough to go to school tomorrow?” my Old Man muses. “He’d damn well better be,” I say. We need a break.


Blogger Lisa said...

I chuckle sympathetically in your direction, dear! I have always thought it would be tough to have two kids of different ages. What a bizarre concept!!

My sister was just here with her 3 month old and 4 year old and I found myself thinking of you. :)

6:15 AM  
Blogger K said...

I've been absent from the blog world for a bit, but I did want to tell you congratulations. Roo is beautiful!

11:38 AM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

Having 2 is really wonderful eventually. Being an only child myself, I really wanted 2 so they wouldn't be lonely. Some days, I fear, my older one would give heaven and earth to be lonely, though.

5:04 PM  

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