Whether conceiving your second child was long awaited or is a big surprise, you’re likely wondering how exactly it is going to go, and how well it is going to go, for all of you, when the new baby arrives. Several friends are expecting their seconds this year. So: Matt and Mary, Mike and Sarah, Pete and Christine, this one’s for you.
Your toddler is two and in her Sounds Phase because when you were descending the stairs together and she brushed against a heat register she liked the sound and you had read How to be a Great Parent by Dr. Nancy S. Buck when she was a baby because that’s when you had time or rather energy, and you don’t any more so even though the register is falling off the wall you let her make sounds and delay going downstairs because Dr. Buck encourages parents in the book to not say no so often because the kid’s desires are ok and it might even express a need for fun or freedom, so she plays it like an instrument and enjoys the sound until you entice her down the stairs with promises of a yummy snack likely containing sugar, but the concept of listening to the different sounds that things make when banged on has taken root.
And she is running around with a red heart shaped measuring cup that you got at a cute bridal shower long before she existed, doing who knows what because she is two and a child of you, and the baby is sitting between the dining room and the kitchen playing with something or other on the floor and you are just trying to get dinner done before Daddy gets home. It’s all about survival at this point and not burning the house down. As you ‘stir the gumbo’ you vaguely hear the baby squawk and see him reach as his older sister walks by and you slightly sternly adjoin him to calm down because he is okay because he doesn’t need the red heart shaped measuring cup because Rebecca had it first and he has other toys right there, and then you turn back to the ‘gumbo’ only a few minutes later to hear a more insistent squawking and this time as you half turn your attention towards that general direction you see said sister dashing off, this time with a slightly more guilty gate while brandishing said red plastic heart shaped measuring cup and you realize that in fact she is the one you ought to scold because in both incidences of squawking it is she who caused the hubub. She is using the read heart shaped plastic measuring cup to bang on brother’s head to hear and learn what sound it makes. But she is already out of sight when you finally put the pieces together, brother is half pacified since the concert disturbance has ceased, and daddy’s arrival is imminent, you really really, really hope, in fact why isn’t he home yet? And you can hardly keep from laughing your dupa off out loud because I guess any very young human would wonder what sound a red plastic heart shaped measuring cup makes on a smaller young human head, and you totally missed this interesting phenomenon the first time and it must have been fun for her, because she took the trouble to circle back and make the sound a second time. So you vaguely say something in the general direction of the dining room to the two year old who has fled about not hitting her brother and you again tell said brother that he is okay all the while wondering why he trusts you after another instance of failing to protect him and then telling him the same thing regardless of responsibility about his okay state once the truth of his innocence is discovered.
And as you review the entire last 7.53 minutes or so you have no idea actually how long it was because every 5 minute interval between 3pm and 6:03 pm until Daddy gets home feel like 48 minutes and you think desperately again that if your spouse doesn’t walk through the door finally, finally – late – at that exact minute you really will go crazy because you will forget to tell him about it and laugh about it after they go to bed if he doesn’t walk in that very next second but actually if the dinner burns in that next second you will forget to tell him even if he does come right away. So you review it again in your mind and think about dashing to the dining room to get the quote book to write it down but dinner might burn and the culprit might hear you laughing and think that banging on her brother’s head with a red heart shaped measuring cup is funny and therefore sanctioned so you review it again in your mind to remember it better to tell people about it and then you have to stop reviewing it in your mind because you laugh every time you think about it and if she catches you laughing she will think that banging on brother’s head not only makes an interesting sound, but is something Mommy enjoys which in fact you do enjoy but only in the company of adults as a story of What It’s Like with Two.