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My First True Love: Transition from One to Two

Toddler doing the laundry

Do you think you need any more pegs, Margo? Helping me do the laundry today…

I’m certainly not the first mother on the planet to sit there and wonder, ‘How did my little baby all of a sudden grow up?’. It really struck me hard today; this time passing quickly thing. After I put Goldie to sleep, I came back into the living room and started chatting with Margo. Even though it was a little late and almost time for bed, we don’t get much alone time anymore, so I let her stay up a little while longer. We started making her a baby doll ring sling. I let her choose the fabric, she watched me do all the sewing, and I even let her push the little button on the sewing machine to let the stitches go backwards, and so on. She wasn’t getting into mischief like a little toddler would, instead she was asking a million questions about the sewing machine and about everything else under the sun. She was asking permission if she could pick up things in my sewing box and being very cute. She had been like this all day. Earlier, Margo had helped me do the laundry. We tied a piece of line out for a ‘mini clothesline’. She was hanging her clothes out and helping me to fold them when they were dry. Anyway, after the ring sling construction, she started telling me she was tired, wanted boobies and wanted to go to bed. So, we sat on the chair in the living room for a bit with the boobs, then read Dr. Suess’s, ‘Mr. Brown Can Moo‘. The whole time, Margo was asking me what the words said, and was finishing the lines that I was reading to her. ‘Mr. Brown can go like a cow.. he can go ‘Moo Moo’. and so on.

She was getting really sleepy and jumped on me to give me a big cuddle and I thought, ‘My God, she’s so big!’. I mean, after holding a three month old baby all day, anything would seem big (even if Goldie is a big fat three months old). Not only did Margo seem big, but she was different. That baby body shape is really disappearing, you know, the hugely out of proportion head and discoid shaped tummy. I felt hip bones and knees. Long skinny legs (compared to Michelin Man legs of her baby days). Her hair smelled like little girl hair… not like soft downy baby hair. I tried to imagine what it was like holding her as a tiny baby, and I couldn’t even remember. What did she even look like back then? How was it that she couldn’t talk, walk or do anything? Look at her now, she’s four months away from turning three, a constant source of chatter, never misses a beat, with ringlets of curls that I always want to pull.

A few weeks ago at the markets, one of the stall holders that we always visit, was cooing over Goldie when she said that she loves being around babies because it reminds her that within each adult (grumpy ones included), is that innocent baby. Perfection in their silence, I think of it. Okay, I know, babies aren’t exactly silent, especially when they belch, fart, poo and cry, but they certainly don’t talk. That not talking part is one of my favorite profound things about a baby. I think most parents would agree that it’s ‘nice’ before they can talk in some ways (not if you’re trying to figure out what’s wrong or what they want). It’s just that without the noise of words, babies can experience the world in such a different way. I remember my mom saying how a newborn baby has this certain wisdom to them. I think it’s partially because they can’t talk. There’s some great nursery rhyme in one of Margo’s books:

A wise old owl lived in an oak

The more he saw, the less he spoke

The less he spoke the more he heard

Why can’t we be like that wise old bird?

Of course, I understand the power of silence. I’ve done many silent meditation courses through the Art of Living Foundation, and I know that being in silence (and doing meditations) for even a few days, rejuvenates your whole system, improves your clarity, etc . But, imagine constantly being in silence and hardly being able to move? That would really make you a wise old bird 😉

When Margo was born, it was instant love, it was all over but the crying. I must have cried every day for nearly six weeks. Art will tell you, I was a mess. Just gazing at her in absolute adoration and giving thanks to the divine for this beautiful baby. No joke. It was insane. A friend of mine came over when she was six weeks old, and I thought I was done with the crying, but then she mentioned ‘imagine having to leave her at daycare and go back to work now?’. Yup, started crying again. It was all very normal emotions, just very intense. Now… where did those intense feelings of love go, by the way? When Margo is ready to crush her baby sister and I have to throw my body in between them as a human shield… I think intense love has been replaced sometimes by ‘intense annoyance!’. Of course, I still love little Magoo as much as ever, but that intense love of those early days is gone. I’m glad it is too… wouldn’t be very good for business if I was still brooding over my little divine baby and crying every time I gazed into her eyes. Now, she’s just Margo, I love her to bits and don’t mind taking my eyes off her, if I’m lucky to get the chance.

I haven’t cried with Goldie… in fact, when Goldie was born it was sort of like, ‘Oh, hello, where did you come from?!’. If you look at the birth photo of us in the pool, you can sort of catch a glimpse of that expression on my face while I’m holding her. I was so busy during my pregnancy with Margo and work, and then she came early and the labor was so fast, I was in a bit of shock when she arrived. But, do I love that little Goldie as much as Margo? You bet I do! Gowsh, I love that little chubber chunk! You think you could never love another one as much as you do your first and then number two comes along and your capacity to love just doubles. I’ve heard this from countless mothers about each subsequent child they have had.

A few months before Goldie was born, I was visiting a friend in Sydney and she mentioned that going from only one child to having two was really difficult. For me, that has been very true in some ways. Yes, the lifestyle change has already happened with #1. The weirdest part about having #2 is realizing how your little #1 is all grown up. Then, you start realizing how fast the whole thing goes. Then, you start wondering how the little person that you felt such intense emotions of love for only a couple years ago can now bring you such intense feelings of irritation! Of course, the love is still strong and very much there. But, with a baby, you want to catch their every whimper. With a toddler, you feel like running away from their every whimper! Ugh… what now?! So, maybe having this #2 is a good wake up call for me to remember that #1 was just like this only 2 years ago. Maybe it’s a good wake up call for all of us to remember that every person on the planet used to be 3 months old once… silent and innocent. Kind of makes you stop and think a little the next time you go to judge a person. We were all that cute and innocent once!

This is the way we fold our clothes

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