1 + 1 = 1 Billion

Life with two kids is amazing and intense.

On the days when I have them both together, it’s a whirlwind of insanity. And those are the good days. The Smudgie Listening (as much as a 2-year-old every does), Nu-Nu Napping, Weather Not Awful days. Then there are the other days– when Smudgie’s hosting Tantrumpalooza 2014 in our apartment, there’s a blizzard/monsoon outside (blizsoon? sharknado?), and Nu-Nu’s in the middle of a 6-week growth spurt. Those are the days when two kids feels like a lot more than one kid plus another kid.

I’m doing okay, though, I flatter myself. I bundle up my boy and girl and strap the rumble seat to the front of the uppababy (or strap the baby to my chest and pop the big kid in the umbrella stroller), haul them both down two flights of stairs and out the door and then we hit the streets looking for something to do. A new Whole Foods (Brooklyn’s first!) opened nearby? Sure! Nothing like navigating a grocery store with about 70 pounds combined of children and equipment when you don’t even need to go grocery shopping. Nu-Nu slept blissfully against my chest while Smudgie dug into a big plate of hummus upstairs at the cafe, coating it all over the winter coat and hat he refused to shed in the process. A sing-along drum circle around the corner? Located directly next to a brand-new old-fashioned candy store that might as well have a flashing neon sign reading “Smudgie Melt-down Inducer”? Sign us up! I’m sure all the other moms and nannies there won’t mind that I dart after my runaway toddler every three seconds, swiveling to keep from knocking my baby against them, hoping that I when I return my giant diaper bag and wallet and phone will still be there.

Then on the days when Smudgie’s at school, I rarely leave the house until it’s time to pick him up. Partially because it’s really freaking cold out. And partially because I need to conserve my energy for his next day at home. And partially because I’m still working during Nu-Nu’s naps: finishing up some fellowship applications, grading my students’ final papers and tabulating their course grades, reading novels for the next section of my dissertation. Just as when Smudgie was a newborn, I relish the time to use my mind for tasks other than trying to remember which breast I last nursed on or improvising clean-up solutions for poop blowouts when I’m out on the town without enough wipes in my case.

There’s so much else to say: Nu-Nu is almost seven weeks old and is chunky and long and delightful. And also fussy and gassy and sleeping like crap between 3-8 am. We survived out first full-on Smudgie illness, five-day fever and everything, without Nu-Nu getting sick, which felt like a prize-worthy accomplishment all on its own. We’re coming off one of the craziest, busiest, six weeks worth of change and celebration and drama and schedule changes and we are really ready for life to get back to normal.

But I guess I’ll end (for now) by mentioning that even if two children feels like two-times-ten children much of the time, at least I also feel like my joyful moments are two-times-ten more joyful, as well. Watching Smudgie gasp in awe at the empty plate of cookies and empty glass of milk on Christmas morning; holding Nu-Nu while she focused her sweet blue-for-now eyes on the twinkling lights and ornaments, falling asleep in bed at my parents house with my husband beside me and my boy a long sleeping shape in a crib across the room and my girl a softly snorting bundle next to me in the bassinet: if things can only get easier and better and more fun from this point (as prior newborn experience would suggest) I can scarcely imagine how wonderful next Christmas will be or the one after or the one after that.

They give me one billion reasons to smile every day.