When I pick up my older son from preschool, I always bring his little brother with me. Sometimes I let the little one check out the toys and books in the play area.
The other day, my toddler was carrying around a book and occasionally putting the corner to his mouth. I was only taking a moment to jot down a note for the teacher, so I knew he wouldn’t get far. But a concerned mom walked over to him, took the book from him, and said, “I don’t think you really want that in your mouth.”
I’m not really sure what she meant – was she genuinely concerned that my son was getting into something that might be dirty? Or was she worried he might pass his germs on to other kids there?
Either way, I hadn’t been that concerned. I just am not that worried about everyday germs. I’d go crazy trying to keep everything from my toddler’s mouth.
My older son knows to cover his mouth with his arm when he has to sneeze or cough. He automatically washes his hands after going to the bathroom. Those are the bare minimums for keeping your germs to yourself, and at four years old, he does pretty well.
I also cancel playdates if he’s sniffly or coughing, even if he is in good spirits with no sign of fever. But beyond this, we don’t go out of our way to do much to keep germs at bay.
I’ve also found it impossible to keep the brothers’ germs separated.
Little brother just wants to test out everything with his mouth, including big brother’s straw, snack leftovers, and even his baseball bat. And with two kids, there’s just no way I could keep everything out of his reach.
Worst of all, this has been big brother’s first year in preschool, so he has caught everything. Strangely enough, the little brother has rarely come down with even a stuffy nose.
We were pretty picky around the house when they were newborns, though.
We were especially protective when they were first born, as they were premature and the doctor warned us about the potential dangers of catching a cold with their immature immune systems. But when they’re that small, it’s so much easier to shield them from everything.
How about you? What lengths do you go to keep germs at bay around your kids?
When I went from a mother of one to a mother of two, my life changed. Sure, the first one caused a major change up. But two, wow. I’ve been stretched in ways I never knew I could be – physically and emotionally!
That said, we are already starting to enjoy the good parts of having two kids –and it’s so worth it!
My boys are one and four years old, with birthdays only four days apart. And already I see that special bond emerging, the bond that only siblings share.
Nik (the one year old) says a lot of words. But his favorite word is his brother’s name. He runs to his brother in his little toddler waddle. He pulls his hair and grabs at his ears lovingly, as if his big brother were a giant squishy teddy bear.
Rohan (the four year old) loves it. He’s so patient, letting his messy little brother tug at him, chew on his toys and crawl all over him to get to something on the other side. If Rohan is in a bad mood, all we have to do is set his brother down near him, and he’s giggling like nothing was wrong the minute before.
If Nik yells “baaaiiii!!”, Rohan runs to bring him his binky, eagerly popping it into his little brother’s mouth for him.
They hold hands across the backseat of the car, Nik still facing backwards, as I’m driving.
I’m not trying to sell you on having two kids. I know there are plenty of reasons to stick to one (or none if motherhood just isn’t for you!)
But many people who have one child ponder at some point whether or not to have another.
If you’ve grown up with siblings, as I did, you already know all about it. If you were an only child, as my husband was, having two kids can be wondrous. An only child can’t really fathom what it’s like to have a sibling.
Even though right now I feel like I’m in the middle of a tornado, I know it’s temporary. It’s all worth it to know I’ve given my sons the best thing I ever could as a mother – each other.
My doctor said she felt that having a second child was easy, since she’d already been through it all with her first.
Me, I feel like it’s been harder than anything I’ve ever done. I’ll share here a few of the things I have discovered the second time around. Let me know how it was for you – or if you’re just contemplating growing your brood!
Your relationship with your firstborn changes
This one hit me hard. My son and I were so close, but suddenly I was relying heavily on others to keep him occupied when I had the new baby.
When I finally found myself alone with both of them after the relatives left, he had changed. It was inevitable – he was also growing up, and I was now in charge of two kids. Never again would we spend our days as we had before.
Your life changes in unexpected ways
I am an introvert, and I like to keep my days slow-paced. Well, good luck with that when you’ve got a newborn and a preschooler! By then your first child needs more social and physical activity, and if you’re a SAHM like me, you’re the one providing the entertainment. Meanwhile, your new baby needs a schedule of his or her own… It’s not always easy to keep up.
You have more confidence
Sayings like “this too shall pass” and “it’s just a phase” bring you real comfort. You did it once, and yes everything did pass eventually.
My first child didn’t sleep through the night until he was over two years old. I remember wondering if he ever would. You now know that whatever you’re facing is going to disappear (and right around the corner is a new challenge!)
Your second child may see a side of you that your first never did
Somehow I kept my cool through the most trying of times with my first. Now that there are two of them, I’m outnumbered. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t display some sort of frustrated outburst. I never feel like I’m able to give the attention to my second child that I did my first at the same age.
You’ve already got an infrastructure in place
You know what sort of parent you are and you’ve figured out what works for your family. Now the new one just needs to fit into what’s already there.
Hopefully you saved all your gear from the first baby. If you jumped on the cloth diaper bandwagon or did EC with your first, for example, you’re going to find it easier with the second.
Whatever your second child misses out on from you is balanced by having an older sibling
Your second baby will never know what it’s like to be the only one, as your first did. They won’t have the benefit of your full attention day in and out, as you’re stretched among so many more things when there are two.
But an older sibling can provide a different kind of stimulation and help advance your baby’s development. I know my baby just loves staring at his big brother, who also adores him in turn.
As a mom, it’s incredibly satisfying to see them together, and to know that they will always have each other to laugh with, lean on, and learn from.