Baby boy Winston put his dads Michael and Matthew through their paces this past year. Here are the five key things they learned.
I know people say that time flies and to cherish every moment because kids grow up so fast. All of those platitudes aside, they’re said because they are true.
Winston has turned one year old, and we can’t believe it. In the past 12 months, we have learned some lessons we’d like to share with you.
1) 1+1=3. Anyone who says that having a second child just doubles the work is lying or had puppies. In our situation, having two young children was like having three. The don’t sleep at the same time, they don’t eat at the same time and, much like my middle school math teacher, they could care less what your English teacher or anyone else told you they need you to do, what they need is the immediate need. Learn to do what you can and give up on the idea of doing it all. That’s a myth made up to sell parenting magazines. Also, watch out for parenting magazines. Reading those can be like reading WebMD when you’ve got a cold.
2) Boys are different than girls. Aside from the obvious physical ways that boys and girls are different, Winston has been a stereotypical boy so far. He crawls on everything. He doesn’t hesitate to try to jump off the bed head first (note I said, “try.” We usually catch him — usually.).
3) Boys are the same as girls. Girls can be just as crazy and just as messy, but more so, as soon as you think you are in a good groove and know what to expect they grow and change. You cannot keep up with the development so it’s easier to just assume a position of ignorance and be surprised when you know what’s going on.
4) One-year-old birthday parties are really parties for the older sibling. Using some great advice we got before bringing Winston home from the hospital we included Estelle in all things to reduce jealousy. For Winston’s birthday we let her pick out the cake, balloons and even party hats. No sooner than we finished putting up the balloons and patting ourselves on the back she announced to us that “this was her party too because she was his twin. His slightly older twin.”
5) It’s all worth it. There are days when my husband and I forget to eat because we were running around taking care of the kids from the moment we got home. I’ve fallen asleep in front of the washer because I was up all night with a teething baby and the only time I can do house chores is when one of them naps (note they NEVER nap at the same time). I’ve had meetings in front of very senior officers of large companies talking about important lawyer stuff. Using big lawyer words. Feeling like a ninja, only to walk to the restroom afterwards and notice I’ve got baby vomit all over the shoulder of my jacket. No one said a word.
There will be times when you want to hide in the bathroom and lock the door because your son is crying because his sister is crying. Why is she crying you ask? Because she is “threenager” who cannot properly process that you handed her Elsa doll #6 when she CLEARLY wanted Elsa Doll #9. There will be moments like these regularly. You will look over at your husband and think, “we did this to ourselves. We paid a lot of money and moved mountains to make this happen.” Usually at those exact moments, one of your children will look up at you and shoot you a smile like this one and you will finish that thought with “and it was all worth it.”
Originally appeared in the Houston Chronicle.