It’s hard to believe that I’ll soon be celebrating my second baby’s first birthday. The year has gone by so fast in many ways, yet some of the days (and many sleepless nights) seemed to stretch on forever. As the saying goes, “The days are long but the years are short,” and I’m amazed when I think back on where we were 365 days ago and how our little family has changed and grown.
Just a year ago, I was fretting about how my 2-year-old would handle having a sibling. I now know there was no reason to worry; Lukas has taken to his role as big brother (and protector) very seriously. He doesn’t seem to have a jealous bone in his body (which I’m sure will change once his little brother really starts eyeing “his” toys), and he has become a great helper when it comes to his younger brother. Lukas offers Julian his baby toys and sings to him in the car if he’s crying. The sweetest words I hear in my house are, “It’s okay JuJu. I’m right here. Your brother is right here.” The love these two have for one another already is truly heart-warming.
A year ago, all I knew of Julian was that he had strong kicks and punches that already kept me up at night. And now when I think of my baby boy, I see his huge smile and hear his infectious laugh. He is my happy, independent toddler. He rarely likes to be held aside from cuddling before bedtime, preferring instead to explore the world on his own, but he is always looking back to make sure momma is close by and watching. He is not a sleeper. I’m convinced he’s afraid he’s going to miss something! He’s definitely a social butterfly. I know it sounds so cliché, but I honestly have a hard time remembering our family life before him.
Last August I was naïve to think there was one way of parenting my children. I’ve learned over and over again that each child is different and requires different things from me as his mom. I’ve realized that there is no way to be equal when it comes to parenting and not to beat myself up for doing things one way with one child and another with the other (I’m looking at you, breastfeeding: 19 months versus 9 months). Comparisons will only make you feel guilt, which doesn’t serve any purpose in the end. I’ve learned to roll with whatever works for each child.
And there have been countless other realizations and lessons learned over this past year. Things have not always gone as planned. But when I look at my two boys I feel joy and I know that my heart is filled with more love today than it was a year ago. This mom business is hard work (especially during that first year of ups and downs), but it is hands-down the best job in the world.
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