I asked my husband tonight, “Which is considered a better defense in basketball? Man-on-man or zone?” I, of course, got a convoluted response (for those of you who know Nathan) that went around in circles with no definitive answer, but overall, what I took from his feedback was, “They can both be considered ‘better’ if done correctly.” Well, I’ll be darned. That whole correlation of sports defense to child rearing may actually be on to something.
So, I’ve been tossing and turning a bit more at night lately and I’m pretty sure that my constant is always the same: TWO. Holy crap, we’re gonna have TWO! For those of you who are bad at math, two is twice as many as one. You’re subtracting no work, no time, no money, no energy. Rather, you are doing quite the opposite with two. You are doubling your workload, splitting your time, dividing your money, and doubling your exhaustion. Get the point? Yes, this has me slightly concerned. And knowing that I’m halfway there, and only have a precious few 20 weeks remaining in man-on-man defense mode with my kid, I’m wondering how it will all work out.
So many moments as of late in life have me bustin’ out in a cold sweat. Example: Tonight, Nate and I took Coen and my lovely sister Julie to the Mall of America for a night of shopping, rides, and dinner. Again, do the math: that’s three on one. We chased, we hunted down, we entertained, we rode spinning rides, we cleaned up spilled milk, spilled apple juice and spilled gatorade. We shopped in approximately two stores and spent approximately $10. We walked to the car at 8:30 p.m. and the only one left in a dead sprint was the toddler. Explain that one to me. There were THREE of us! I got in the car, leaned back in the chair, pointed to my stomach and said, “When this one comes, I’m never leaving the house again.” Matter of fact. But, good gravy, I hope it’s not true.
Other times, I just wonder HOW it all works. As in, how do you share your time and love? I remember when we announced we were pregnant on Facebook and an old high school friend, who had just had her second, wrote me a message that said these comforting words: “Take it from someone who knows, how truly big a heart can grow. Gosh, we loved Lou so much and then when Mac came along, our hearts got even bigger.” This message runs through my mind every time I catch myself staring at my child in his high chair, just cutting up his hot dog and talking to himself. How can I love him so much and then just be expected to love someone ELSE that much? Seems so unfair. Seems so impossible. But, seems like everyone manages to do it somehow.
I’m guessing it’s just a natural transformation, like when you go from single-to-couple or couple-to-dog or dog-to-first-born. Not comparing my child to a dog, but it worries me a bit to think of the back shelf our poor puppy took when Coen was born. I have scrapbook pages filled with dog park pictures, she had an extensive collection of collars and bones and I don’t think we ever planned much of a vacation without making sure it was “pet-friendly” first. Along came baby and poof! Chloe spends weekends at the neighbors’ houses while we leave town (humans only), she owns literally one collar (and my cousin bought it for her), and the last spread I scrapbooked that was designated to only dog was about 200 pages ago. It’s sad, but oh so true. Now, before you go calling the ASPCA on us, know that we still love her madly and walk her regularly and buy her treats and groom her monthly, but I’m just saying, her rank may have dropped a bit when the little disruptive human arrived. So, my worry is just that – will baby one back shelf to baby two like our adorable puppy back shelfed to baby one? Coen is such a character that I can’t imagine that being even remotely possible, but it’s a pregnant woman’s fear and it’s being expressed to the world now. Super. That NEVER bites me in the ass. (Does this blog detect sarcasm?)
I have a lot of friends who recently evolved into four-person families, and they are very good at scaring the bejeesus out of me. One friend regularly reminds me that having two isn’t just doubling your work. It’s more than doubling your work. It’s like going from one to five instantaneously. (I would like to point out that this friends’ children are small brunette devil spawn, but that’s beside the point). Or IS that the point? Is it in how you handle the situation? Is it how you discipline, care, behave and react? Does it have anything to do with the impression you make? Kids are impressionable – no doubt about it (the other day, Coen squatted in the grass and said, “Coen poop in grass like Chloe”), but it all comes back to nature vs. nurture and how much personality really does take over. I just hope to God this child is calm like her brother and our lives remain somewhat peaceful and serene. Well, that’s a lot to hope for. Maybe I just hope no one calls my children “devil spawn” in their blog someday. That would satisfy me, I suppose.
When I finish panicking about altering our current playbook, I think about the good things. I swear on my grandfather’s grave, I could not have gotten through this much of life without the help and love and assistance and patience and lessons and pure moments of joy that I credit to my fabulous siblings. Those relationships are unbreakable and that bond is so strong. To imagine growing up without them, I know I would not be the person I am today. I want that for my son. I want that for my daughter. I want them to feel that sense of protection (like when my first date arrived at the house and my then-16-year-old brother came out of his room wearing boxers and a furrowed brow and asked where he was taking me) and that ability to care so much it hurts (like the urge I’d get to hire a hit man every time I’d get a crying phone call from my sister about some jackass that broke her heart). I want that for my kids.
Watching Coen play by himself and use his little imagination never fails to make me smile, but his joys will be so much more substantial when he has someone to share it with. This I know from experience. I can’t wait to create that for my child.
So in closing, I’m ok with a change in defense. A little hesitant about learning some new plays, but really excited to introduce some new players! If they can learn to play the game, and we can learn to play the game, the game will only get better. At least that’s what my husband says. And I’m starting to believe him. So, let’s avoid injuries, keep the fouls to a minimum, continue to practice hard, and GAME ON, people – cuz life’s clock ain’t stopping for nobody!
Coen entertains himself. Now, tell me THIS KID doesn’t need a sibling?!