Friday, April 30, 2010

Finding the balance in waiting

When Charley was born there was no question that our love would be enough. It would overflow. He would be surrounded by it from near and far. He would experience life at a pace that we chose. He was our first go at this thing called 'parenting.'

Then along came number two....Hank. Charley was so excited to be a big brother. We talked it up. He knew what a big responsibility it would be at the age of 3. And when Henry arrived Charley quickly learned that his life had changed...  But he now had to share his mommy and daddy.

Ed and I knew we had to be careful how we transitioned from being a family of three to a family of four. Best advice - let baby wait from time to time and give Charley the opportunity to hear us say, "Just a moment Henry, I am reading with Charley right now." Letting Charley know that Henry had to wait too was so important. It was very easy to jump at Henry's cries and needs...but knowing that Charley needed to feel like he wasn't the one who always had to wait was key.

Charley transitioned to big brother so wonderfully but the focus in the back of my mind was to make sure that the baby didn't leave Charley waiting ALL. THE. TIME....waiting while I nursed, waiting while I changed the 10th diaper for the day, waiting while I rocked, bounced, or sat still letting that new little miracle sleep on my warm beating chest. The transition of a second child has to be done with a balance that takes time to get right.

Now, two years in I see the balance I have to find is different.

The other day we had swim lessons - I signed up both boys. I would get in the pool with Henry while Charley was being an independent fish. However, Henry had a little cold and so we decided for the first lesson we would sit out...Henry sat - waiting, and patiently watching his big brother - excited to swim himself ....someday (since he doesn't get that in a week he will get to go too).

That morning Charley had a field trip to the zoo. Grandma was here so she went along to chaperon and Henry and I wandered in the distance. We watched Charley board the bus and Henry took off when I glanced away - strutting proudly towards the bus. When I asked him where he was going he said, "Me ride bus too!" Here again I had to explain that he had to wait.

When Charley was trying on his soccer shoes, Henry enthusiastically was so excited for his big brother. He found some shoes that became his "soccer" shoes and he said, "soccer too!" Here AGAIN I had to explain that he would play, when he older.

The balance I strive to find these days is one that let's Henry shine with his own experiences in the world. It is hard because the second isn't content waddling the yard with a ball or bubbles...the second wants to ride the scooter at the age of 2 (which Henry CAN do quite well). The second isn't content playing with a rattle or wooden blocks....the second masters the names of all the Star Wars characters before he can make 3 word phrases.

Letting the second be his own person happens a lot quicker but he is still our baby. He still finds joy in bubbles with Grandma, rocking before bedtime, and seeing what each day brings. But his instinct is to climb on that scooter, to fight for the cool Transformer toy, and TRY to sit in the big boy booster seat in the backseat of the car (even when mama says NOT YET!).

The balance is now making life just as exciting for the two year old as the 5 year old who is riding buses, heading out to soccer practice, having playdates, and riding a bike down the road.

My boys are great brothers and that makes finding the balance a little easier because they find joy in spending time together - which ultimately makes life perfect in their eyes. Charley probably doesn't remember a time when his little brother wasn't there to play with, talk to, and "deal" with. They will know each other longer than any other relationship in their lives. And so as the mother I strive to offer balance while they wait for their turn in life, so that their relationship is strong, healthy, and secure. Their life is NOW and making the now special for their TODAYS is my goal.

Love is an amazing thing - it grows, expands, and balances the world so everything is just right as it keeps spinning round.

This post is linked to Steady Mom's 30-minute blog challenge.

This post is linked to New Friend Friday and Friday Follow.


Amanda Vines said...

I came here from New Friend Friday!

I can totally relate! I have 3 boys that are 8,6, and 2!! It is hard to try and share your time equally!!

You have adorable boys!!!

mub said...

Just popping over from New Friend Friday!

I really love that last photograph on the tire swing. What a great moment to capture.

shellycoulter said...

Awww...such sweet thoughts. I do feel like i tell my older one to wait often for nursing, changing, playing, etc. I never thought about how that will reverse in a year or so. Interesting. I know I've told you before...but your boys are adorable. I love having two boys...and to think I wanted my second to be a girl...I'm so thankful it wasn't! Two brothers is perfect for us! :)

Goings on at the Glenn's said...

what a great post. Isn't being a mom great, wonderful, and amazing?! Your boys are so cute!

Beth said...

Beautiful post and excellent piece of wisdom! :)

JMN said...

Hi there.
Stopping by from Friday Follow to say hello. New follower.

I'm enjoying your site. Love the photography!
Have a great Friday!

I hope that you take a moment to visit my site too.

Debbie said...

What a beautiful post. And as the mother of four, I have watched these same scenes play out in my family numerous times.
I'm a new follower from Friday Follow. Nice to meet you.

blueviolet said...

I hope that bond lasts a lifetime!

Anonymous said...

Love this Sarah.

Happy Gramma said...

I am following from FF. Please visit my site and enter my 2 fabulous giveaways! One is just or the weekend so hurry and enter!

Cheryl B. said...

This is so true, you hit the nail on the head. Not all parents are so willing to try to balance this out. Enjoyed reading about your precious boys. I am raising 2 grandchildren who are 5 and 10 and see everyday the struggles of the younger one not getting to do everything his sister does. "It's not fair" is his favorite mantra.

amandaginn said...

I appreciate this as we are due with baby #2 in July. I often wonder how we'll balance things with two, but what you wrote is so true -- there are seasons of waiting for both children.

(found you at Steady Mom)

heidi @ wonder woman wannabe said...

Yep, I can relate! I've also got two boys spaced 3 years apart - I grew up an only child so it's an education for me for sure, but I love to see how they interact together even through the balancing acts. ;)

Anonymous said...

I have three boys ages 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5. I have seen so much of the rush of the second child with my middle boy. He was potty trained around 2 whereas my eldest was 3. He wants to do everything that his big brother does. I am starting to see little flickers and glimpses of it with the baby. He wants to walk down the stairs like his big brothers chattering away all the while, "counting" the stairs in his own little language, sitting on the potty in his diaper pretending to use it. He was already in a bed at 16 months. It breaks my heart to see the baby becoming less and less of a baby every day. I wish I had lived in the moment more...


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