I'd like to tell you that this picture below is how it goes all of the time... So sweet...together...
But the reality is something more like this...
James was 17 months old when Reese was born. That was super fun. He was pretty non-verbal at the time, unable to communicate much other than his displeasure about the new lack of space on my lap due to the frequently-nursing Reese. His tantrums and whining seemed worse to me after she arrived. Hard to say if that was because of Reese's arrival, or just because he was 17 months old. Or did it only seem worse, but in reality had not changed much? (Because I rarely slept more than 1-2 hours at a time and so my tolerance for such nonsense reduced dramatically.) We'll never really know the true cause, folks.
Having a 17 month old and a newborn was fairly ugly. I expected it to be ugly. It was indeed as I expected it to be. I was told that I would expect so much more out of James since he was the "older" child now. That compared to Reese, he should know better about a variety of things (feeding abilities, behavior, life in general). Since I was warned about inadvertently raising my expectations of him, I made a conscious effort to not expect him to suddenly act older than he was. I did, however, expect him to continue to act how he used to act (reasonable with occasional flip-out sessions). What actually happened was that he went backwards a little bit. Flip-outs became more regular, reasonable behavior became a little less regular. No shocker there. His world was rocked. He had to express it somehow. If I had to go back and tell myself some advice, I would tell me to lower my expectations of James. Allow him some space to regress a little and have less patience, problem solving skills and comprehension than he demonstrated pre-baby sister.
Three months into the gig, however, life was much more glorious. Having a 20 month old and a 3 month old was tolerable. Reese wasn't sleeping through the night yet, but she slept more than she used to. James had adjusted a little and seemed less bothered by her in his behavior. I could finally hold his hand while he went up stairs and have Reese in my arms. I didn't have to carry them both upstairs.
Side note about his behavior: James didn't really act out TOWARDS Reese, for which I was really grateful. He was overall disinterested in her. He didn't try to hit her with things or drive over her with his ridey toys. He mostly ignored her. I realized later what a blessing in disguise that was. Other moms told me thrilling stories of their young toddlers feeding their newborns choking-hazard foods/toys or smothering them with "love" and kisses and hugs and slobber (read: cooties). I was then grateful that he pretty much left her alone. His "bad" behavior involved flopping around on the floor wailing, harming only himself (and maybe my ears).
It has only gotten better as each of the munchkins have gotten older. I keep both of them
Running errands is doable, but not my favorite thing. I'd rather wait until Scott gets home to go the grocery store with the rest of the city after work than lug two kids into the store mid-day. Places like the post office, no drive through and no carts to put kids? Those places just.don't.happen. Or at least not often. Keep in mind, I have a husband that works normal, regular hours. Arranging errands for a time when he can be with the kids, or having him run the errands in conjunction with his commute is very doable. I know not all moms have that option. To you, I am so very sorry.
Bedtime is something Scott and I usually tackle together. One of us picks a kid to diaper/pajama-up for the evening. The other parent gets the kiddo leftover. We take turns getting to pick the kid. Factors in the kid-choosing include: dressing Reese is like changing an octopus. Sweating may happen on her part and/or the parent's part. James sometimes takes convincing to allow the changing to occur. The parent must decide which is stronger this evening: my verbal reasoning skills? Pick James. Or my physical wrestling skills? Pick Reese. No skills this evening?? Beg the other parent to show mercy and give a pass on the evening routine. (rare)
So how did it go for you? What about from two kids to three kids? (or more)