Last weekend, I posted an Instagram reel and, for various reasons, when it appeared in Stories the initial caption was “Now that I’m pregnant again…” I had to get on to reassure people that I am definitely not pregnant again.
While this was happening, I was on a weekend trip with my almost-12-year-old, where we dressed up and went to dinner and talked about the really weird Bing chatbot situation. I was a little sad to realize I’m never going back to those early stages, and also very happy to realize how amazing these current moments are, and then a little sad that they’re growing up, and then happy that they’re happy. So, a woe and a win and a woe and a win. Life is complex. Though not as complex as it would be I were pregnant again!
Read on for today’s stories and a question from a pregnant reader who is having a hard time being excited about kid #2.
Proud Mom of a Tattletale
We’ve been really struggling with our 4-year-old frequently hitting, biting, pulling hair, etc. when he gets upset at his classmates. There have been so many phone calls from the school, so much feeling ashamed and powerless. Yesterday our kid finally made it through a whole day of school without any physical aggression. He said a classmate pointed their finger at his chest and said “pew,” but he just said “stop!” They didn’t stop when he asked, so he went to tell the teacher. I was so proud of him.
Every time we go to Target, my son throws a fit when we pass the toy section. I just dread being “that mom” carrying a screaming child under one arm all the way to checkout. On our last trip, I could see him getting ramped up as I prompted, “Just a few more minutes till it’s time to go!” But then I remembered a technique from a book I’ve been reading about toddler communication: give in fantasy what you can’t give in reality.
I picked him up and said, “If you could have any toy here, what would it be?” Motorcycle — of course. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” I said, “if we could take all these motorcycles home with us? What colors would you pick?” As we left the toy section, he chatted happily about a sparkly purple motorcycle with rainbow stripes, and not a single tear was shed! He even bestowed a fantasy motorcycle upon his baby sister — bonus sharing win!
Preferred and Pooped
I see a lot written about how hard it is to be the partner of the preferred parent — when your toddler prefers your spouse. I have no doubt that’s true, and that I would hate it more if the tables were turned for me. But I think we might not talk enough about how hard it is to be the preferred parent. In this season of relentless illness, I am in the bedroom with our sick kid night after night after night, and she won’t let my partner step in to help even for a moment. And all the holding her during the day and being the go-to for playtime… it’s sweet, but it’s exhausting!
This week’s reader question
Hive mind, can you please assuage my fears about going from one to two small children? I am midway through pregnancy with kid #2, due shortly after kid #1 turns two. I am having a hard time being excited. My partner and I have loved being parents, but we are also pretty independent and really value our identities as not just parents. We both work demanding/rewarding jobs, love to travel and adventure outdoors, and don’t live near our families. I’m worried that this lifestyle is just not sustainable and am preemptively mourning my independence. I grew up as a happy only child. Can you help me see the bright side of things?
—Happy Only Child