Harry in silhouette looks down the path while perched on his bike
Letters to Harrison,  Parenting

My General Dislike of Newborns and Two-Year-Olds

Pardon my click-bait-y title, it’s fuelled by strong feelings and big-time eye-rolls. I’m going to preface this, Harry and Olive, and state that you both do exactly what you do in your respective developmental stages. Nothing I describe is especially outside a normal range of behaviour, but as “they say” (I have no clue who “they” actually are), the terrible two’s are a thing, and newborns have a lot of needs

 

Today sucked.

I have never had such a rough day in all of my two years of parenting. Two kids is definitely more adjustment than one, and today, my level of patience was not up to the challenge.

I’m going to explain the title of this post a bit more, since I don’t want either of you to think I’ve got some sort of dislike for either of you. I love each of you more than anything I have ever encountered, you are my sun and moon, my stars, etc.

Olive, you are a ton of fun, especially these days. I love those tiny features, bizarre faces, snuggles, and utter inability to do anything independently. I also love toddlers and their entertaining quirks (seriously!). I am delighted every single day by the language, play, and interaction of two year old Harry figuring out where he falls in this world.

The “general dislike” bit falls in the part where I have to take care of both at the same time. Things I love and enjoy about each of you start to feel nightmarish as you “take, take, take”, both from me- and most notably- from each other.

The leisurely breastfeeding sessions I enjoyed as a parent to one have been replaced by rushed episodes that leave me feeling trapped in my seat and at the mercy of the trouble a two-year-old can cause from a room away.

Harry’s invitations to “Play toys?” and “come sit?” are denied by an infant who is frequently only calm when carried, and a Mom whose back lacks the functional ability to baby-wear while sitting. We’ve read lots of books, which is my only consolation.

Relaxed morning baby snuggles are no more, thanks to flaily toddler legs.

Unhurried walks for the mail with a snoozy baby are complimented now with the two year old asking for ever-more snacks, or darting off on his bike.

“Napping when the baby naps” poses a challenge with two kids that seem to take turns being awake while the other sleeps.

 

Harry pitching a rock into the river

Is it Me? Or That Damn Bike.

And now, today.

We thought we had it in the bag. Soon after breakfast, both of you fresh out of bed and fed (those being the typical culprits for any sort of discord). My expectations set low, per usual, simply a desire to take a walk.

We brought your bike, Harry, thinking you’d be elated and excited (you were). Presently, however, that bike is also the bike I want to throw in the garbage. It’s your favourite belonging, and the cause of 90% of the trouble you attract outside. For most of the journey we simply followed you, keeping you- if not reasonably close- at the very least going in the same direction as us.

The main rule?

Stay on the path.

We set that limit.

Reminded you, perhaps once or twice more than usual, for the sake of a fun Sunday outing.

You walked some, upset and mad that your bike had been temporarily confiscated. It was returned to you no less than few minutes later, though, after being fed a snack and a drink, and your promises to stay on the designated route.

Each time this happens, internally, I beg you: “Please don’t make me have to call my bluff”.

Eventually, your bike was taken away from you (in the name of safety), following a breakaway in the direction of the river.

How can it possibly be fun to have something you love so much taken from you 8 out of 10 times you go out on it? That’s the reality, You wind up in tears, I wind up carrying your bike, and we all wind up on the quickest route bound for home.

The rest of our day involved attempted escapes out the front door, food thrown, treats snuck from the freezer, and general vandalism of our house. On the newborn level there were feeds, diapers, and a predictable and notable “witching hour” in the early evening. In all honesty, it was much the usual for both of you (a fact I’ve thrown in to horrify you non-parents reading this!).

I think the difference between one child and two is me.

My patience is shot.

My sympathy levels are low.

I’m in mourning for all the activities we’ll lose this summer.

Olive naps on Jill's lap at the flag lookout

 

Only the Lamest of Activities Will Do

We definitely won’t be able to go back to that trail without a second adult. There are 40 hours a week you kids and I spend looking for things to do when your Dad is at work. I fear the options to pass that time are about to become incredibly limited.

I made the realization that no way can I safely go to the beach, or even on the easiest of hikes with an especially rambunctious toddler and sometimes fussy baby in tow. The toddler needs help staying safe from his own tendencies, and the other just straight up needs to be kept out of the sun. I can’t always chase “motorlegs” when occupied with Olive, and that means we now stick to places with the lowest of risk levels and most limited of escape routes.

I’ve said up until now that there are very few things we’ve missed out on since becoming parents, we have simply made compromises. That statement felt a lot more accessible with one child.

With two?

We will just have to see.

 

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