A year ago tomorrow, The Hammer was born.
Throughout the past year – well, more like the last six-to-nine months (those first three are pretty uneventful), he’s been a delightful addition to the Buried household, with an infectious smile, infectious laugh, infectious laundry, infectious stomach bugs, infectious insomnia, infectious debt…
No, I don’t regret having a second child. Why do you ask?
Having a second baby isn’t quite the same as having a first.
Your first kid alters your lifestyle forever – it’s a milestone, a life event, a checkpoint… a finish line! You grew up, you got married, you became a parent; you’re an adult now! A first baby brings stresses, of course, but they all pale in comparison to the joyful celebration of a goal achieved.
Detective Munch’s conception was greeted with much fanfare, the pregnancy was exciting and new (speak for yourself, dad, am I right?!), and when he finally arrived, our lives were changed irrevocably, but happily, and in an organic, this-is-totally-logical-and-exactly-what-we-wanted kind of way. Your second child? It’s just more of the same. A lot more, but still. I mean, my parents aren’t even coming to The Hammer’s first birthday party. Been there, done that! (A third child wouldn’t even get a party.)
And yet, despite all the added stress and less sleep and additional expenses and less closet space and extra responsibilities and less free time and no alone time, and despite sometimes wishing for some of the relative convenience of having the one fairly – and increasingly – self-sufficient kid, and despite all my bitching, I don’t regret having had a second kid.
We didn’t “need” a second kid, not in the way we needed the first. We’d checked off that box, and in the meantime, our lives, and our priorities, had changed. Five years had passed since our first son was born, and despite initial plans for more than one, Mom and Buried and I were no longer so certain we wanted another. The prospect of a second child was delayed by circumstance, until, eventually, we were no longer sure it was in the cards. We’d faced a fair amount of upheaval during the Detective’s early years, changing jobs, losing jobs, moving several times, etc., and for the first time in a while, we were comfortable. Finally.
We certainly weren’t relishing reliving the inconvenient, diaper-filled, sleep-deprived baby years that we’d long left behind. (There’s a reason many parents try to shorten the gaps between kids; getting all the early stuff out of the way is a relief – and getting them all out of the house in swift succession is a plus too.) After all, we’d been past that crap (literally) for what felt like ages.
But we also knew if we wanted another, if we wanted Detective Munch to have a sibling, like we both did, this was pretty much our last shot (for a variety of reasons). So we took it. For better or worse.
We’re a year in now, and the diapers are still a long way from disappearing. In fact, the only thing that’s disappearing these days is my sanity. Everything else is accumulating. And I’d by lying if I didn’t occasionally have second thoughts about having a second kid.
I knew what was coming. Why do you think I was so anxious?
Since The Hammer fell, we’ve gained bills, stress, laundry, middle-of-the-night wake-ups, and a ton of baby-related paraphernalia, so much so that we have no room for anything else. Years after we’d ditched the crib and the onesies and the bouncy seats and the bibs and the diaper genie and the rattles and the smoothie packets and the baby food and the high chairs and the car seats, those things are all back in droves. I’m drowning in all the things I was worried about before he arrived.
But the second kid is no longer theoretical. He’s a real dude, and, so far, he’s been a great one. I love having The Hammer around, and he seems to love having me around (whereas his older brother mostly seems to love having the iPad around). He makes me happy, even in the face of all the stress and frustration and worry he brought with him, and he does it without even trying.
Am I occasionally overwhelmed with life with a baby? With life with two kids? With the looming expense of daycare, the exponential stress of being responsible for multiple children, fear for their futures and my ability to help them maximize their lives? Is all of that harder now that there are two of them instead of one? Of course. But we all have our crosses to bear, parents, single parents, non-parents alike, and we’re all just tasked with living our lives. Ain’t no point in bemoaning what once was, or what could have been. Ain’t nobody got time for that shit, especially not when there are multiple children around to take care of.
Yeah, life is more challenging these days. And it will remain so for longer. But I also get to go through it with a brand-new happy little guy, and I get to watch him grow into a person (hopefully one that’s not quite as much like me), and grow into a little brother, and I get to watch Detective Munch grow into a big brother, and I get to watch them become friends and enemies and rivals and partners, and hopefully protectors, and please god providers too, because I’m broke as a joke and somebody is gonna need to step up, and fast!
Regrets, I’ve had a few – I waited too long to get contact lenses, I didn’t realize what I wanted to do with my career until too late, I saw Beverly Hills Ninja in the theater – but my kids aren’t among them.
At least not yet.