Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Greatest Surprise We Ever Survived

Jack is 20 months old today. That is the exact age Avery was when he was born. Just thinking about that makes my head spin a little.

I can't imagine having a newborn right now. Even if Jack was our only child, I can't imagine bringing home another baby because he is still very much a baby himself. Sure, he walks and talks to some degree (mostly just 2 word phrases and a lot of hand gestures mixed in with some sign language) but he still depends on us for almost everything. In fact, most of the time he still wants to be held--much to the displeasure of my back. When I look at him I realize just how much of a baby Avery was when he was born and it kind of blows my mind.

How did we handle a new baby when we already had one at home?

We were fooled by her vocabulary. By the time Jack was born she was speaking in complete sentences. I talked myself into believing she was a big girl. That's the only way I could feel better about robbing her of being the center of our attention at such a young age. But no matter how much I tried to convince myself that she was a big girl, I know now that she wasn't.

How did we handle a new baby when we already had one at home?

Jack is such a cuddler. I wonder if Avery would have been, too, if my lap hadn't been occupied by my pregnant belly. She loves to rock before bedtime like most kids do, but she rarely just sits in our laps and snuggles on the couch like Jack does. In fact, that is one of my favorite things about Jack. He loves to hug and lay his head on our shoulders when we hold him. He likes to wake up a little bit earlier than Avery so he can get some solo cuddle time with us before he starts the day. After about 10 minutes of that he demands a "banana!" or "Bar!" and the day begins.

How did we handle a new baby when we already had one at home?

Once it became obvious that I was pregnant, strangers would ask me when I was due. When Avery was with me, they would almost always follow my response with, "oh, my. Two in diapers. That is going to be so hard." Or the equally helpful, "20 months apart? Well you won't sleep for a few years but you should be ok after that." Matt and I would just look at each other knowing that we shared the same feeling of helplessness. I mean, there wasn't much we could do about it. The train had left the station. And realistically, this was the only "normal" we would know so we just figured we would take it one day at a time. But looking back, I don't know how we got through the early days of sleepless nights coupled with temper tantrums and potty training.

How did we handle a new baby when we already had one at home?

When I look at Jack I see a baby. Not because he is my youngest. Not because I am holding on to anything. Not because I don't want him to grow up. It's just a fact. My boy is still very much a dependent baby who needs help with everything from diaper changes to getting dressed to opening banana peels. His size may fool you but his sweet baby smell and unsteady walk reveals it to be true.

How did we handle a new baby when we already had one at home?

So when I look at Jack today, on his 20 month birthday, I wonder what in the world we were thinking. How did we mistake Avery for a big girl? How did we fool ourselves into believing that she was old enough to share our love, affection and most of all, our attention with a newborn? I can't even wrap my mind around the idea of having a new baby now--with Jack at this age. I can't even begin to comprehend how we would handle it.

And yet, we did. We did handle it. We handled everything. From midnight feedings for Jack and 6am wake up calls from Avery to breast feeding during temper tantrums. We managed to have 2 in diapers at the same time. We were able to sleep at night--after the first few months--with relative consistency. We grew closer not only in our marriage, but in our friendship.

Clearly we owe a lot of thanks to my parents and aunt for pitching in when the going got tough. There is no doubt that our Saturday nights of uninterrupted sleep keep us sane throughout the week. Maybe I should go as far as to say that we couldn't do it without them. I hope we never have to find out.

What I know for sure is that having our big baby boy in our lives has been such a blessing. We are so fortunate to get to raise two very different children and watch them both grow and develop in their own way. Seeing the two of them getting along and playing together just makes my heart want to burst. Avery is Jack's biggest fan and he loves her so much. They share (most of the time) and keep each other entertained.

I can't say that I would want to figure out how to handle 2 in diapers again. But I can say that I am certainly glad we were blessed with the chance to figure it out this time. Sleeping in past 6am on Sunday is great but we sure do miss seeing their faces light up when we get them out of bed in the morning. There is just no substitute for Jack's morning cuddles and Avery's attempts to sneak into our room by hiding under her blanket so we can't see her walking through the door.

Happy 20 months, my sweet boy. We are so blessed that we have you in our lives. And happy 40 months to my little girl; the greatest big sister we could have ever asked for.

Jack was being coy. 20 month picture.

I think he learned how to be coy from his big sister.
Avery at 40 months.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Hey girl-
Diggin' this post.....very good.
Hey to the fam.