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3 + 1 = 6

July 22, 2011

No one ever told us (until after the fact, when we were reeling from the shock) that the transition from one child to two is far more challenging to the family dynamic than the transition from zero to one.

Two parents, one child = easy peasy.

Yes, really! Trust me on this, all you parents of one child. TRUST ME. Once there’s two of them, “divide and conquer” becomes the goal, but rarely the outcome.

All that being said, the same goes for switching back from two to one. As we did last year, we left one boy at the lake with Nana and Papa to continue climbing rocks and falling off inner tubes and riding wave-runners screaming “Faster, Papa! Faster!” We weary parents trucked home late Tuesday with a crabby and over-tired 4 year old who nodded off 15 minutes after we pulled out of the driveway.

Now that it’s Friday, and we’ve all somewhat recovered from our adventures, we’re noticing just how serene and calm the household has become.

One child to feed. One child to launder. One child to tuck into bed.

Once again, I had almost forgotten how EASY it that is.

Last night, I fed him what we fondly call “snack dinner” (a healthy and balanced combination of foods eaten over the course of the evening. A banana here. A yogurt there. Some cucumbers a little later along with a cheese stick…) and I made a “nice” dinner of grilled lamb and veggies for the dad and me. Just like the old days. We had eaten as a family at the table the night before – something more kid-friendly – but tonight he watched “Dinosaur Train” while we grown-ups enjoyed a late supper together.

So calm. So peaceful. So EASY.

Not that we don’t miss our big boy. Each morning when little brother wakes up, he goes to big brother’s empty (and may I say, remarkably tidy) room.

“Where is he?” he asks.

“He’ll be home on Sunday, sweet pea.”

“I miss him.”

Me too. His room is lonely and bereft. The house is lonely and bereft. We are, all of us, incomplete – despite our temporary calm.

But for now, I’m enjoying the calm and the chance to love my baby as my baby for a few brief days – to enjoy him without the need to divide my time. All to myself, and me – us – all to himself.

To linger in his bed after the stories are read, not feeling rushed to get to the next room and do the routine a second time. To let him sleep till the last second, and then rock him as he wakes, his warm self soft and sleepy in my arms.

“I love you, mama.”

“I love you more.”

“I love you most!”

Not possible, precious. Not possible.


Read about last year’s experience with our only child in: Time. A Gift. 

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