The transition from one child in our family to two has been SO different than the transition from zero kiddos to one. It has been much easier and much harder.
It has been easier because we already know how to be parents and I already know how to be a (primarily) stay-at-home mom. Not that parenting or being a mom is easy, but neither of these roles are the same new frontier for Josh and I that they were when Liam was born. I have more experience with newborns than I used to: I get less stressed about whether or not I'm doing everything the "right" way, and I spend less time scouring books and Google searches trying to figure out what to do next. Just last night Josh and I were talking about how much easier it is to be patient with the difficult newborn things, like endless feeding or when she just won't go to sleep, because we realize what a short season this is. Sure, we might be super exhausted, but we know it won't last forever. I don't think we realized that when Liam was a newborn. It has also been an easier transition because we already are living a family-with-small-children lifestyle.
However, it has also been harder. Emotionally, it has been much harder to adjust this time, because I feel like I used to be a better mom to Liam than I am now. It's tough to watch him play on his own or watch cartoons while I sit on the couch feeding Cora. I know it won't be long before she gets quicker at eating, and does so less often, but it is still hard in the short-term moment. I am learning how to make the most of our time just the two of us when she is napping, though, so that is helping my heart. Another difficult part of the transition is adjusting to being in constant motion. It definitely feels like I've moved into the next, more challenging level of Mommy-hood. The divide and conquer strategy is also taking some getting used to. I know once Cora is a little older we will do lots of things as a family, but for now most of Josh's time at home is spent entertaining Liam while I (can you guess?) feed Cora.
Gratefully, the little person whose transition I was most worried about has been amazing! Liam has been the sweetest big brother since day 1. He has never shown any aggression or frustration toward Cora, and he's continued to be (mostly) obedient and cheerful. The first week she was home was the hardest. He was in and out of the house a lot, being taken to do fun things with his grandparents, but I think the newness of having a sister and the lack of consistency in his schedule wore on him. He had more cranky outbursts than normal that week, but it didn't take long for him to start adjusting to our new family dynamic. Here are a few of our favorite brother/sister moments so far:
Reading one of his favorite books to Sissy while she sleeps
A few days after we got home from the hospital, Liam asked to hold Cora for the first time. He was SO proud of himself!
When Josh is home, he takes over what baby duties he can so that Liam and I can play. Little buddy and I have made forts and gone on a couple of TCBY dates.
Usually a couple of times a day Liam will want to chat with Cora. He really likes looking at her when her eyes are open, and he just giggles when I use a tiny voice and pretend that she is talking to him. He asks to hold her once or twice a day, which lasts for no more than 10 seconds at a time. It's a really precious 10 seconds.
He really enjoys helping me out: bringing diapers or my water bottle, or picking up things that I drop. He was very interested in being involved in Cora's first bath.
All in all, it's been a great transition, and we're getting more accustomed to it everyday. I know there are going to be plenty of overwhelming, emotional days ahead, but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel ... you know, the tunnel of wondering if you're the only mother of two children that you know who may be completely incapable of parenting two children. With the help of Jesus, my husband, our wonderful families who help out ALL the time, and the super sweet friends who are still bringing us meals 3 times a week, I think I can do it!
And even though it may not be the easiest thing ever, it is so much more worthwhile than the easiest things are.