One year ago today was apparently the busiest day in recent memory on NYU Hospital’s labor and delivery floor, because my induction (scheduled as I was 41+ weeks with nothing happening) was pushed back twice. I was sent tromping back and forth to my doctor’s office with my suitcase. Good times. But little Sam finally appeared around 10PM, so today my baby turns one. A few folks have said to me “I can’t believe he’s 1 already!” Well, I can. There have been a lot of long bedtime battles and the like during these 52 x 168 hours (or so). In addition to the rest of my life, which has not necessarily been low-key this year.
That said, now that Sam is one, I know for sure that having two kids has not changed any of the opinions I advanced in 168 Hours. Last summer, when I first floated some of the themes of the book in a guest post for Lisa Belkin’s Motherlode column at the New York Times, and when I was profiled on the front page of the Globe & Mail, I heard from a ton of folks saying “just wait until you have two!” Partly, it’s just that those two pieces were a wee bit combative (the book is more nuanced). But I have also learned that a number of people are really wedded to the idea that we are completely starved for time. So when someone suggests flaws in this narrative, they look for any way to suggest that the person advancing this idea doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
Here’s what I’ve learned over a year of having two very young children. Yes, it is logistically more complicated. It takes more time to get two children ready to go somewhere than one, and so you have to build in more transition times. You have to manage the dynamic between them, and carve out some time for each of them as well. In my case, the two boys share a room, so we have had some later nights and earlier mornings than I would have liked.
But what I learned from writing 168 Hours is how to look at your time and figure out how all this will work. When things aren’t working, you can make changes. I now go to bed earlier so I can get my 7.5 or so hours of sleep. I extended my day time childcare hours a bit since the post-bedtime evening hours no longer work so well for work (I have high hopes that they will again in the future when Jasper gives up his nap and Sam starts taking one instead of two). I use the early mornings to play with the kids, and plot out where I can fit in my runs. And as a result, this has been relatively doable. I won’t pretend that it’s been all rosy (see the bedtime battles, above, which really wear me down). But doable.
And of course Sam has turned from an oversized newborn (nearly 9lbs) into a lovely little boy. He babbles about mama and “addy” and gives hugs that involve patting your back. He likes to throw balls and wrestle with his older brother — the size difference doesn’t intimidate him! I am really looking forward to getting to know him better as he gets older. Now that Jasper is 3 years old, we can have actual conversations, and I love seeing how his little brain works. The other night we were eating squash, and the Jasper started talking about cooking “squished.” If you think about it, that makes grammatical sense. It’s very exciting to me that over the next few years, I’ll get to know another special little person like this.