It was simple. Almost too simple, really. But their advice actually seemed to be working.
Was it a fluke? Maybe. But when you’ve recently welcomed baby number two and you have that first moment of utter chaos, that moment when everyone needs everything at the exact same time, usually with a multitude of tears and screaming involved, you become desperate. You reach into your back pocket and whip out any and every trick that you’ve ever heard, because it’s that kind of situation. Duty calls.
A Quest for Attention
So that’s exactly what I did. Because I found that my usually calm—but currently perplexed by this tiny, alien-like creature that was thrust into his life—two-year-old thoroughly enjoyed waiting precisely until I’d begun nursing his little brother to unleash his fury. The moment my tush hit those couch cushions, it was on like Donkey Kong.
He would spew milk from his mouth like a fountain. Or pour his bowl of dry Cheerios all over the floor. He also became obsessed with climbing on the couch and squeezing directly behind me, my back and the couch cushions transforming into the walls of a tunnel for his new favorite game. And, spoiler alert: it wasn’t my favorite game. In fact, it was one of my least favorite games.
That’s when I remembered my arsenal. I’d read a few articles to prepare myself for this very moment, so it was time to put that sage wisdom to good use.
It seemed like everyone had waited a bit longer between kids, though… so their sage wisdom wasn’t really so sage anymore. Because there was no way that these tips and tricks would work for a little one who was only about to turn two. And believe me, I’m all for setting high expectations for children. I wasn’t simply underestimating my little man; he just genuinely wasn’t quite there yet. Now what?
There I was, one child attempting to (literally) latch on, while the other had determined that this would be the ideal moment to scale my back like Mt. Kilimanjaro.
I Get By With a Little Help…
In that moment of sheer desperation, I remembered what my mom and many other mamas had shared with me long ago. It hadn’t been suggested as direct advice for my current struggle; it had been thrown out in passing, just a flippant remark about juggling two children. But those five magic words popped into my mind, and having spent the rest of my tricks, I decided to give it to a whirl.
I locked eyes with my oldest (which was unusually difficult considering he currently had me in an unintentional choke hold) and said, with all the thrill and excitement in the world (I learned that little acting bit from my years as a first-grade teacher): Could you please help me?!
He stared blankly for a moment, my hope in this final straw waning by the second. But then, just as I was about to give up, it happened. He released me from his choke hold, wiggled out from behind me, and hopped onto the floor. His beautiful, blue eyes locked intently on mine. I knew that this was it: he was ready and waiting for direction. And since I wasn’t at all prepared for this outcome, I started to panic a bit.
What was he capable of? What object could he grab for me? Could he reach a burp cloth? Would he even know where that was? No, no, too specific. Get it together, Lady! Can’t you think of a simple task within a ten second time frame? But it’s mom brain times two now. Oh, stop with the excuses! You can do this!
“Could you please bring Mommy a towel?”
The Moment of Truth
That’s what came out of my mouth. Did I need a towel? Absolutely not. But he looked at me, now resolute in his mission, and ran as fast as his little legs would allow. To get a towel? Who knew? But he was no longer cutting off my air supply, no longer squirming behind his nursing brother and me. Mission accomplished.
And, guess what? Not thirty seconds later he returned victorious, towel in hand, beaming with pride.
So, as you can imagine, I ask for help a lot now. It hasn’t worked 100% of the time, but honestly, I’d say we’re rocking about 98% over here. And now that I’m a more seasoned mama of two, I’ve begun to ask for things that I actually do need. Crazy, right?
But I’m not out of the woods yet, so tell me—what’s some of the best advice you received when welcoming number two? (Or maybe some advice for later down the road… for a friend…)