EXPONENTIAL: characterized by an extremely rapid increase
My brother was the only person who told me the truth about having a second kid. Pregnant with my second, I asked him what to expect – Twice as hard? Three times as hard?
He smirked and said, “It’s exponential.”
I’m going to a baby shower this afternoon for a friend who is expecting her second child. It is hard not to think about my own transition from mother of one to mother of two. Mostly, I remember the exhaustion.
Some Darwinian drive to perpetuate my species made me forget the bone-aching exhaustion my first child caused. I thought I remembered and knew what to expect with the second. I wasn’t even close. Partly, it’s an unfair comparison – like comparing apples to toenails. Even if the second baby sleeps more than the first, you end up more tired because between nursing sessions you are chasing a toddler.
I remember one day, sitting on the couch nursing Daughter while Son was running around naked in our misguided attempt to potty train him while we adjusted to life as a family of four. The doorbell rang and I stumbled to the door bleary-eyed. I was greeted by our backyard neighbor saying something about goats in my yard.
I responded, “I’m sorry, now is not a good time for me.”
I shut the door, went back to the couch, resumed nursing , and let the neighbor’s words sink in. Did she say there were GOATS in my backyard?!? I walked to the back door to find….goats. Big goats. Three of them. Eating my landscaping.
Turns out, our next door neighbor had rented a few goats to eat his blackberry bushes and morning glory. The goats, seeing much finer leafy fare in our yard, broke down the fence and helped themselves to a recently landscaped buffet. There I was, baby on boob, naked toddler by my side, watching as my precious plants were consumed.
Thankfully, the backyard neighbor is also a mother of two and recognized my inappropriate response to her announcement as the new-mom haze. She took charge of the situation, solicited the help of another neighbor, chased the goats out of our yard, and constructed a temporary fix to keep the goats on the right property.
That incident captures, for me, the essence of the transition to two children.
You will be tired. Too tired. Too tired to cook. Too tired to clean. Too tired to form complete sentences. Too tired for goats.
But, it will get better. Eventually, you will look at your two kids playing happily together and entertaining each other while you write blog posts, cook dinner, or read a book and you will realize that the too tired for goats moments were worth it.
Having two kids pays dividends, but it is a long-term investment.