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Making Time: Adventures in Toddlering
Our first year as a family of 4 was not what we expected

“Daddy, Adam took my monkey Cheerio cup!”

That’s what I heard from the family room as I cleaned Adam’s bottle from breakfast. “It’s okay Brandon, he’s a baby and he doesn’t know how to share yet. I’ll give him his dinosaur cup so you can finish the Cheerios in your monkey cup,” I replied.

It was the latest daily reminder of just how different life is now that we have 2 children – but what a year it has been. When we first found out Sarah was pregnant with Adam, it was before a new virus turned life upside down. By the time Adam was born, it was just days later that everything would be in lockdown. Just as we were bringing our newborn home and getting ready to venture into the unknown world of raising 2 children, we had to digest and navigate the new threat and new unknowns.

Instead of having quality bonding time alone with our new little one, we spent the year together as a family of 4 nearly all the time. The exception was when it came time for Adam’s doctor visits. Rather than recognizing milestones at these appointments together, as we had done with our older son, we had to choose which parent would take Adam and which would stay home with Brandon. There were no play dates or time spent with other parents, or even time for us to be alone without kids. Sarah and I joke (most likely to avoid crying) that by the time Adam eats in a restaurant he will be sitting in a high chair or, more likely, a regular chair with a booster. And while we know that Adam will not remember the things he is supposedly missing out on, Sarah and I sometimes have to remind ourselves we are making great memories, just in a different way.

But Adam smiles through it all. The happy, adventurous child cruises around so fast, you can’t let him out of your sight without him seizing the opportunity to make a break for it. When Brandon and I go to wake up Adam in the morning, he’s already standing in his crib babbling to his big brother with a smile that melts my heart. And once he is out of his crib, he’s pretty much in constant motion for the rest of the day. Thank goodness Brandon is a protective older brother with an extra set of eyes and ears for when Adam is trying to do something he shouldn’t – which is quite a lot.

As I turned to get the dinosaur holder and more milk for Brandon, I heard a rustling sound. Brandon sensed it too and ran over to the family room.

“Daddy,” Brandon called out. “There goes Adam…again!”

This time our littlest had decided to push his Boppy pillow up against the ottoman cushion, giving himself a boost to climb on top of it. Brandon was there in time to catch him before the fall.

“Thanks Brandon,” I replied as I separated Adam, the pillow and the ottoman.

“My milk Daddy?” asked Brandon.

“Got it right here Buddy.”

At the scene of the near accident, Adam gave me a wry smile and slowly started to push the Boppy back towards the ottoman again. “Oh no little buddy, I know where this is going this time. I don’t think so. Here, take this Cheerio container instead.”

That’s part of the regular juggling that comes with having 2 kids instead of one. Even though things are different than we planned and definitely more exhausting at times than we imagined, Sarah and I are focusing on the brother bonding and the joys of experiencing the last 12 months together as a family. Of course, after appreciating everything for just a brief moment, I heard Brandon say, “Daddy, Adam is trying to go up the steps” and here we go again back into accident prevention mode. It never ends.

Read more Making Time here.

April 2021
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