For the first year of Nolie’s life I couldn’t imagine, fathom, or even understand how anyone could have more than one child. Not because it was difficult (it was, but not in any way that made me think two wouldn’t be possible) but because my heart was so overfilled with love for this tiny person, so overwhelmed with how perfectly made she was, and so filled up to the top with adoration… I just couldn’t understand how my heart could hold more. My love for Charlie had grown exponentially watching him as a Papa, and my heart was filled in every crevice with love for our new baby… I just felt so hugely full.
Our little family was a perfect fit. The baby all wrapped up tight on us while we walked and went out for breakfast. The stroller trim and fast as we ran around the lake and smiled at all the other runners. My baby, easy to keep up with and hover around at the park as she cautiously tried to make her way up the steps and Charlie took pictures of our play. We were a tiny family of three and it was just right. Nothing was infringing on that time. And it was just right.
But then, around a year after having Nolie, I felt that damn break. My heart nearly burst, and with it came some space and an ache for a baby I didn’t know yet. In my heart I felt she would be named Ever Brave, and then as time went on I was pulled and pulled to the name Harbor again and again. But (duh) neither was the final name. I knew there was space for one more. I still felt anxious… how in the world would I parent two kids? How would I nurse two babies? How would Nolie ever learn to sleep at night… would she ever stop nursing at night? How will we afford it? Will we need more space? I was filled with questions, and anxiety, but I felt sure that the love would be there.
Everyone told me, your love won’t divide, it will multiply. And, on faith, I believed them. And all those parents of multiple kids were right. My heart grew ten times its size on the day she was born. I can’t put into words how incredibly right for our family our little Ever Harbor Joy is. But, BUT, the thing I wasn’t ready for? Sibling.Love.
I worried about jealousy. I put my adult ideas onto a three year old and assumed she would feel displaced by… everything. She would be mad that the baby got to nurse all the time. Upset that Ever sleeps in our bed. Angry that Ever is using all of “her” toys and clothes… I basically turned all of my guilt and how I would feel (as an adult) onto her, and neglected to realize… She is so untouched. So innocent. So sweet. And just so so so wonderful.
Nolie wanted to nurse a lot when Evie was first born, but she was easily placated by a quick explanation and distraction with an activity (nursing basket anyone, heyo!). And now, as she has grown, she loves to learn about why Ever needs to nurse more. We talk often about the size of babies’ bellies verses preschoolers’ bellies, about how milk is digested differently than kid dinners are, and about hydration and how much water a kiddo can drink verses a baby. We talk about the flora in our bellies and how we can feed and grow that, and how Ever needs frequent and longer nurses whenever she wants so that we can be sure to grow her up super healthy just like Nolie.
We didn’t cosleep with Nolie. I couldn’t figure out side-lying nursing, I was worried it would damage my relationship with Charlie, and I had no idea how to sleep with a baby next to me and let fear overrun my instincts. So she was in the crib from night four on. She didn’t sleep well; even though we did all the *right* things to help her sleep. So when we had Ever we knew we would try cosleeping… and guys, it has been a godsend huge miracle. I have yet to have an “up all night” feeling… I haven’t had a crying baby all night… I haven’t felt that zombie tired feeling… It’s mind blowing. And? My relationship with Charlie, and the intimacy that is important to it, even better than ever. We both love cosleeping and are really thankful that it’s working this time, and working for the whole family. If it wasn’t we would be quick to reassess, but are really glad to be firmly camped out in the cosleeper camp for now. BUT I was worried that Nolie would feel jealous, upset, want to be in our bed too (and that would be too much!) but instead? She just accepts, unquestioningly, that babies sleep with their mamas and that preschoolers don’t need to.
I’m getting rambly, off the point, and on a soap box here… but basically the gist tonight is this. Having two is starting to smooth out. The girls are evening out more quickly than I could have ever imagined. They are a gang of two and rarely out of each other’s eye line. They hold hands in the car. Cuddle and wrestle on the floor. And Nolie cheers her sister on in each new endeavour and in turn Ever saves her firsts for Nolie; first smile, laugh, and kiss; to be exact.
I am looking around my sun filled home tonight and feeling full again. We walk to the park and have one baby wrapped up tight, and one holding our hands flying between us squealing. We sit on the bench and watch them chase and tumble around, Ever eating dirt and Nolie digging holes, Ever squatting down to peek under and Nolie hiding to yell “here I am baby!” and we kiss. Because, we’re there again, full to the brim on this (not quite) tiny family again. I’m so in love.