Anyone who knows me in “real life” knows that I have two older siblings. But they are *much* older. Like 6 and 8 years older. So pretty much I’m still young and they are just old. I kid, I kid.
As a kid it was more obvious that my siblings were older. By the time I was in middle school, both were in college. I didn’t really have to share my things or a room, so sibling rivalry wasn’t an issue. And now, as adults and all of us being married with children (ha! I used to love that show!), we don’t even notice our age difference. At least I don’t- but maybe they actually look at me and think, “She”ll learn one day…”
However, after this past week I can say that my eyes were opened to a whole new world of organized chaos. I recently spent a week with my brother and his family, and I was paying very close attention as to what its like to have more than one person crying and hanging on your arm at all times. I guess it’s because J and I have had so many issues with fertility lately that I was looking at their little family and thinking, “Could I really handle this all? E and another baby, plus J, the house, and everything that goes with those responsibilities?” It was like God was giving me a peek into what life might be like one day…He’s all, “I tried to warn you and you aren’t listening, so here’s how sh*ts going to go down.”
After a week, I still can’t answer that question for sure. I’ve taken care of several kids on my own on a regular basis, but I could always give them back at the end of the day. I’ve had a newborn, but not with another kid around. I don’t know if one is ever ready for adding another person to your count but in watching my SIL, who is also a milspouse, I found that we are the toughest breed and a few (or lots) of tears, fighting, and everyone needing to eat RIGHT NOW won’t phase us.
Despite my own insecurities about being able to “handle it all” if we are ever blessed with a sibling for E, I did learn a few very interesting things in my visit with them though. Some kid related, some not…:
1. More kids CAN actually be easier- In total there were four kids in the house. And even though it was crazy, I found that the short times I had all 4 it really wasn’t that bad. The older ones played together, the oldest could help me with the baby, and babies actually sleep alot. Bt, I am realistic in that I was only with them for a few hours by myself, they were good to play together because they don’t see each other that often, and I didn’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning. Hence my insecurities.
2. I learned how to use a Diva Cup- I had heard of this…interesting…device and mentioned it to my SIL. We didn’t know how one might use this thing, so she YouTubed it. Go ahead, take a look if you dare.
3. Circumcision is an art- Apparently some people like to tell their doctors how much to “trim” when their little boys are born. Like its a freaking haircut. “Oh doctor, I’d like it shorter on the sides but leave a little extra on the top.” WTH. (For the record, this is just something my SIL mentioned to me, not that they did this!)
4. Always have food- Snacks cure all. For everyone- adults and kids alike.
5. Put your kids to work- Make sure they keep up with their responsibilities, and that they pitch in with chores. Around toddler age, they can throw away diapers, get their own things, put away their toys…it’s just one less thing for you to do. Even if you just have one kid right now, teach them these things early so they are already used to it when another one comes along! That’s why you had kids right? Free labor.
6. E is going to be a great big sister- She wanted to help with the baby in everything we did with him (sometimes a little forcefully, but she had good intentions). She loved on him, snuggles him, and her internal maternal instincts were apparent. She’s going to be an awesome big sister. I hope we can give that to her.
I really enjoyed my time with my brother and his family, and I know E did too. She learned so much from her cousins, she loved snuggling with the baby, and we had a great time. Family is so important to us and I’m grateful to my family and to God for giving me a sneak peek into what life *might* be like one day.