No, this isn’t an announcement! 😉 Though I am hoping to share an update on where we are with growing our family next week so stay tuned. Today’s Real Talk with Real Moms topic was about going from one kid to two and I didn’t want to miss out, because I have SO many thoughts that I never thought I’d have.
Over the past year as Jeff and I have discussed growing our family, I’ve felt such mixed feelings about the change, some of which I never anticipated! I wonder if any of you can relate? I imagine you can. Having bridged the worlds of “only child” and “big family” myself, I know without a doubt in my mind based on my personal experience, that I want Arlo to have siblings. So while these feelings do anything but stop my ambitions to do so, they did come quite unexpectedly. Here’s a few questions I’ve found myself asking…
Will I be able to fulfill Arlo’s emotional needs while balancing a baby, too?
Arlo’s a kid who needs a more-than-average amount of attention to help him manage his intense feelings, frustrations and energy. I know I joke about it a lot here or on Instagram, but he is determined, intense, strong-willed and independent like I’ve never seen before. And he’s been like that since day 1! When I hold other babies now, I feel like I’m going to break them because they are so floppy in comparison to how strong and solid he was. I’ll never forget seeing his little arms punching up above the bassinet at the hospital. He just came out a fighter, and I know all these skills will serve him so well when he’s older.
Additionally, he’s learning two languages at once right now. While there’s mixed thoughts on whether that delays speech, it definitely seems like it has for him. We feel this way because when we spend a few weeks traveling and he’s only hearing English, his speech grows leaps and bounds. It’s resulted in an immense amount of frustration (for all of us) as he can’t communicate what he needs even though he so fiercely KNOWS what that is. The delay and frustration is worth it to us for him to be able to learn Spanish at such a young age but it’s been tough nonetheless! (And don’t worry, our pediatrician has been monitoring it and we’re continuously checking in to see if we should evaluate him for speech therapy!)
Because of all of this, I feel so sad that I won’t be able to always devote 100% of my attention to helping him manage those big feelings like I do now. It’s soul crushing sometimes! And scary. I’ve never been a mom before, so I don’t know if I’d feel differently if he had a different personality, but I think it’s been a big part of why we didn’t start the next adoption process as soon as we thought we would.
How will our favorite moments change?
Bedtime is particularly special to me with Arlo. We have a very strict, elaborate routine (I know, I need to share it soon!!) and I love every moment of it. Sometimes it hits me that those little traditions will change and it makes my heart ache!
But then I think about how fun it will be for him to share some of those moments with a sibling and form new traditions all together. It’s so strange, anticipating mourning the loss of something but while also anticipating the joy of something new someday.
Will I be able to give this new baby as much devoted bonding time as we did with Arlo?
We spent six months being the only and exclusive caretakers of Arlo. It was a luxury, but we were so grateful for that extra time to continue to form that “bond” that looks a bit different than that of a biological child. Despite not having outside care though, I/we only took about two weeks completely off of working and spent the rest of the time juggling both. I forever regret not taking more.
Now, with a toddler in tow and our business in a different place, I’m hopeful but nervous about being able to devote that same bonding time to our next baby and attempting to take longer off to really soak in every moment and ease Arlo’s huge life shift. It’s especially hard with adoption because you just don’t know when that time will be. You kind of have to continue with your life with a loose back up plan at all times.
What if a future sibling’s relationship with their birth parents is different than Arlo’s?
Every single adoption is different. I think often about how Arlo’s sibling’s story will be different than his and how that might affect them both down the road. Tension, jealousy, tough questions. Even if we hope to seek out a similar relationship and level of open-ness to what we currently have, we never know how things will play out as time goes on. It’s part of the journey and we always knew that, and those thoughts are often in the back of my mind.
What will their sibling relationship be like!?
Arlo loves other kids and I am SO excited for when he’ll have a built-in playmate and friend. Our nanny sometimes brings her son over with her and Arlo FREAKS OUT with excitement, and sobs when he leaves. He also cries when little friends he makes at the park leave, even after only knowing them for 10 minutes. See the big feelings playing out? Ha! It’s so so sweet. I cannot wait to see him as a big brother. He loves to “help” me and I know he’ll get a thrill out of helping a baby bro or sis too.
My siblings were much older than me (10-20 years older) and primarily lived at their mom’s house so I never had that same bond you form when growing up together. It’ll be a whole new world for me to witness and I can’t wait!
How the HECK will I manage two schedules!?
Dude. this has to be the most common one but seriously, wrapping my head around managing two little one’s schedules is mind-blowing. I take comfort in knowing that a few billion people have done it before us. Haha! We’re planning to get Arlo settled in school before welcoming a new baby and I think that structure will be good for helping ease the shock but the thought of just the day-to-day juggling of two nap, food and activity schedules is overwhelming!
I’d love to hear what you thought (or are thinking) about going from one to two kids, and if you felt any of the same things I’m feeling at the thought of it! Be sure to check out the other mama’s posts + thoughts on the topic, all linked below!
Parker Etc | Proper Blog | The Effortless Chic | Lovely Indeed | Sugar & Cloth | The Fresh Exchange | The Life Styled
The Sweetest Occasion | Natalie Borton | A Daily Something | Oh Lovely Day
And if there’s another topic you’d like us to cover in this series, leave that below too!
We have a 13 month old (today!) and I’ve been having so many of those same thoughts and concerns lately. Our little has a half-sister who is 12 years older and who lives about 6 hours away, and I feel the same way you do about wanting her to have a sibling she can really bond with and feel connected to. At the same time, I am so daunted by the thought of adding another level to the stress, anxiety and just sheer juggling that has to go on with two full-time working parents without grandparents close by, but I have always felt so strongly about her having a sibling. I’m also worried about how it will affect my husband and I emotionally, and our relationship. It’s so tough!!
Yes! It’s so hard. Feels like such a crazy leap to make, but of course has SO many benefits to it too! We also don’t have grandparents close by and I think that makes a HUGE difference. Continuously working on getting mine out here. 😉
Hang in there with bilingual teachings! My parents did this with me and my sister (learning both simultaneously as babies) and it’s what i am most thankful for in the world. Being 100% bilingual gives you such an advantage, totally worth it. With work, traveling, the way your brain works, your ability to solve problems, understand others, switch your brain mode constantly… so cool that Arlo will have this gift even though it might be tough now!
Thank you so much for the encouragement!! It’s so helpful to hear and remind myself of the benefits when it feels so tough!
Could not agree more! I grew up bilingual, then started learning a third language at the age of 10. I never thought I was good at languages, as it was ‘normal’ to speak 3 languages, until I moved abroad and started learning more languages. I pick them up so quickly without even knowing how. And yes it totally affects the way you think, feel, speak… everything.
Girl! We have a 3 year old and a 3 month old. I was going a little crazy thinking about how I was going to manage, thinking when am I going to sleep?! How can I love this baby more than I already do my toddler? Is it even possible?! Etc. Let me tell you, DO NOT WORRY TOO MUCH! Things will work out better than you expect and it helps that Arlo already kinda has an schedule, baby will adapt to that, and while some things like bedtime routine may change in the beginning, know that it doesn’t last forever, sooner than later you’ll be able to go back to enjoy the same traditions but with the addition of a little one, and it’s going to be so much fun for both babes to be able to share this.
P.S it will def help if Arlo is in school because it’ll give you some extra time with little baby and hopefully regroup just in time for when Arlo gets home. Lol
Best wishes and I enjoy so much seeing your little family.
Thank you so much for sharing that!! Glad to hear I wasn’t alone in these fears! And ain’t that the truth about parenthood, no stage or moment “lasts forever,” for better or for worse I suppose!!
Rachel Aronson says
I agree with all of this! We have a 2.5yr old and a 8-month-old. Every phase is so short. There are changes, but before you know it the little one just comfortable fits in. The best part of having two is seeing them interact. It is truly amazing.
As for time together, you and Jeff will divide and conquer in some instances, so both may not always get two of you at once like Arlo did, but they will get some nice mommy/me time or daddy/me time and then there will also be family time. You will figure out what works best for you.
I also agree that school helps tremendously for the big guy. We do a 2’s program, Monday/Wed/Fri 9am-12pm. It enables him to get out some energy, interact with other kids and the little guy to get some one-on-one time, as well as a quite morning nap.
Good luck on your adventure!!! It is so fun– and crazy.
Our Em is in a very very similar situation as yours growing up. She is not an only child, but her siblings are as much as 15 years older than her. Her oldest brother graduates high school this year and she’s only 3 so functionally she will grow up most of her life as an only child. I don’t know exactly how I feel about that in the long run, but I also know that it just feels right for her to be the end of the line. She’s also a LOT like Arlo in the big emotions way so I don’t know if being an “only” will be better or worse for her. We’ll find out I guess and in the meantime I’ll start saving up for therapy!
For what it’s worth, I think it made me so much more grateful for my siblings because they weren’t always around and time was precious. It made me see first and foremost the GOOD a big family can be, which I think has allowed me to want to pursue that without fear! And I never had the sibling rivalry, so that was nice too. 😉 Plus I got to become an aunt at such a young age (12) which I LIVED FOR!
Sure sometimes being the only one around was hard but there was so much more good that came from how my family was formed!
Hi!! Bilingual speech therapist here! And just wanna say what an amazing thing you are doing in making an effort for Arlo to grow up bilingual! Sometimes they go through ‘silent periods’ when acquiring two languages. Because they are so busy trying to learn and aquire all the new words you are teaching him. So even though he may not be using to many words sometimes he is always listening and learning! Keep at it! It is such a big benefit for him 👍🏽
I can’t offer any advise at this point. Just dropping a line that (essentially since Arlo was born) we’ve been on the same wave length with raising kids. My daughter is a few weeks younger than Arlo but sounds like the same personality (the word spirited comes to mind). My husband and I have also started thinking about growing our family again and I have the same worries/fears. I just trust that the bond my daughter will have with a sibling will outweigh all those fears. Except the two schedules thing, that terrifies me. You guys are rocking it with Arlo and will continue to do that with any other kids you have!
I think so much of this is normal! My boys are 3 years apart and it took us a while to be ready to welcome baby #2. Our oldest was high maintenance in a lot of ways (he needs a lot of attention). You worry how you will adapt with 2 kids. You worry about time and attention management. My boys are my biological kids, so I didn’t have the extra layer of adoption related concerns, but those make total sense. I mourned the passing of our 3 person family and I missed the time I had to devote to my first born when he was the only one. But our relationships evolved in awesome ways and it has been so great to see him become an amazing big brother. There are growing pains as you figure out how it is going to work for your family but you figure it out. I’ve found that I am a more confident and relaxed parent the second time around because I know more about what to expect. Adding a second child changes things and the feelings are complicated but I’m sure you already know it is totally worth it.
Des Reyna says
You are not alone.
These are definitely the feelings of a Mama, who loves her boy.
I had a hard time going from 1-2, thinking about my first not getting to have all of me, and to be honest, I’m pregnant with my 4th and those thoughts are back, with my 3 having to share me, once again. It always ends at my thoughts though… the babies come and then you realize that this was the family that was made just for you, and everyone fits in so perfectly. God works it out, and it’s better than you could ever imagine (even in the hard seasons). You’ll do great, and so will Arlo… and Jeff.
So much of this is familiar. I have two girls, now 11 and 6 so we’re well into it at this point but I had so many fears about bringing another little one in. What I now know is that the two kids will have very different experiences and that is ok. First off, they’re different people and will need different things from you – which I promise you have enough love inside to provide. And while yes, your first may have more actual attention given to them, the second benefits from parents that are more confident about themselves and their ability to raise a child (seriously – the things you sweated about on the first you just take in stride on the second) Also, you’re giving a complete new relationship to both children. Will Arlo have less specific time with you? Probably. But he gets to be be loved by another human completely. And the second only knows what it’s like to look up to, love and adore their older sibling. The relationship my two have with each other, outside of me is rich beyond words.
With respect to holding on to special times – you will keep the ones that are super important and the others will be replaced with something you didn’t know was missing. And also these years are really fleeting (such a cliche but so entirely true). Those moments and traditions are going to evolve anyway as Arlo gets older.
My real comment is this. You got this. Hold on to the hopes and dreams knowing if you want it, you will make it happen – and it will be good. Make it work for you and your family and you’ll win. No family is the same; no family is perfect. But I guarantee you end up with a family that is perfect for you. I sure did.
So glad that I’m not the only one worrying about going from 1 to 2! It took a lot of time and discussion, but I’m super excited that our son will be 3 3/4 when baby #2 will be born. I just keep reminding myself that 1. I want him to have a sibling 2. I have stretched myself to be the mom I want to be and can do it again and 3. I’m not doing this alone (husband is super hands on and our responsibilities are shared pretty equally). Where this is no right recipe for a family, you guys will make a great decision on whether or not to adopt again.
Also, bravo in raising Arlo bilingual! Definitely 4 times the work, but it sounds like he is right on track and what a gift to him and your family!
Arlo’s personality reminds me so much of my oldest. Always on the go, big feelings, with a need for lots of input. I had so many of the same questions. To be honest, the first year of having a second child, I spent a lot of time feeling like I had made a mistake, despite my intense love for baby number two. I felt like my oldest was missing out on so much, and also felt like the youngest wasn’t getting the same attention and bonding time his brother had. But once we entered the toddler stage and they were able to start interacting and playing more, I knew this was the best thing we could have done. They adore each other. Yes, there are things they will miss out on not being only children, but the special bond they share makes up for it 100%.
As far as the adoption side of it, that is something we are still figuring out. My oldest is in a very open adoption. We know both of his birth parents, one set of grandparents, as well as numerous aunts, uncles and friends. They are like a part of our extended family, and we visit them or have them come visit us whenever possible. It has been so beneficial for him when he has questions about himself, where he came from, and how much they love him. But for my youngest, there are safety issues that have forced us towards a semi-open adoption. It breaks my heart that as he gets older, he will see these relationships his brother has, and be aware that he does not have that same thing.
These are all such legitimate questions and worries. I have two boys, 10 months and 2.5 years old. They are not adopted so it’s different in that way…. but the struggle was still real. Changes and transitions can be hard and it just takes time to settle into the new family of four rhythm. At first I missed my oldest so bad it hurt when I needed to be with the baby and miss out on bedtime and other things, but after a while you settle in and realiZe that a sibling is a gift to your oldest, a friend for life!
Kyrstin Hill says
Thanks for writing this! I’m 20 weeks pregnant with my first biological child and the pressures and worries build daily. My husband and I have a 10-year-old son from his previous relationship. We have shared custody with my son’s mother and while we do see him every week, he spends more time at his mother’s house. There, he has two younger sisters that are 7 and 9 years younger than him. And although I know he loves them very much from the stories he tells, he does talk often about the frustrations that come with being so much older than them. As he gets older, I’m sure those frustrations will lessen, but it still makes me nervous.
He and I have a very special relationship that I’ve worked hard on cultivating respectfully and on his terms over the last 6 years. We have developed some traditions that are very special to me, and hopefully, him. I’m so nervous that when baby arrives all that will change and he will resent me for it. I worry I won’t have time to be the silly, funny, playful, *mostly* carefree person he has come to know. And I worry he will resent his father for having another child, even though he is excited for our family to be growing.
I would love to hear from some other step parents about any similar experiences they’ve had. Also, a post on the pros and cons of growing up with far older siblings would be interesting! I think a lot of people could relate to that.
Sorry for the book. Thanks for sharing your life. I wish I had bits of wisdom to offer like the other commenters, but it’s clear to see I have no clue! 😉
Something I constantly find myself wondering is, “When will I know it’s the right time to have the second kid?”
I do have infertility issues and my first is now 18 months old. But I feel so strongly that I don’t want to be pregnant again. I know it’s ridiculous because I’m super fortunate to have been pregnant in the first place, but it was hard on me physically and emotionally and I don’t think I’m ready to do that again.
I do know, however, that I want Blair to have a sibling. I just don’t know when that will be. It’s something I’ll continue to think of until I know it’s right, I guess.
You are so smart to be thinking of these things ahead of time! I definitely did not do my research, budgeting, critical thinking before having a second. We just knew that we wanted two no matter what. The first few months were incredibly hard (27 months apart meant potty training a jealous, spirited 2.5 year old who peed on the floor for attention while the newborn cried to be held!) but now, ten months into it, the blossoming relationship between my two boys is the most precious thing that I couldn’t have even imagined.