September 27, 2014

Family of Four


For months after we brought home our second baby, I couldn't actually grasp the idea that we had kids. Not just one child, which somehow seemed like a single, manageable, and isolated leap of faith, but now a group, a unit, two whole human beings relying on us for their every need. If having our first kid before most of our friends joined the parent club felt bold, going for the second in a peer group of reticent procreators seemed outright nostalgic. I self consciously imagined that I was being judged in the way a new convert to some opposing political party, religion, or exercise regime might be... as though having multiple children was a lifestyle choice that now radically reframed the character of our family. 


The practical reality was that having another baby didn't change our day to day rhythm much. James and I were the same people (if maybe a bit more tired and irritable), Little Smith was the same character, and we were all lucky enough to have this new drooling baby ball of sunshine, along for the ride. 

And for the better part of her first year, that is exactly how our Roo rolled. She napped when and where she could, bounced on my knee through her brother's classes and marathon potty training sessions, eventually crawled around on the floor at his doctor's appointments and preschool drop-offs... she was just there, wherever we needed her to be, and asking little more than an interrupted sleep cycle in exchange for her good nature. 


Of course babies do grow. I had done this part before, and so I embraced each of the bittersweet milestones that marks a first year of life. And with each one came an adjustment; eating real food, crawling, walking, talking, demanding, discovering that she may be sweet, but she ain't no pushover... our little girl gracefully, yet forcefully, carved out more and more space in this family, until one day I looked around and realized how much our second child had truly changed everything. 


It turns out that parenting these kids is indeed a lifestyle choice, one that I realize is common and expected in many crowds, and hardly warrants this degree of reflection. However conventional, these changes in our family do feel profound, and the shift from single child to two has been both gradual and substantial. Our current reality includes far more teamwork, communication, compromise, often sacrifice, and always love. The shape and structure of our challenges and blessings will look completely different in another year, and again in another decade, but there is comfort in knowing that we're on this ride together. It's clear that we were somehow meant to test and learn from one another, and I imagine we all feel ridiculously lucky (and occasionally cursed!) to be part of this family of four.

*these pictures are all from apple picking last week-end. i'm convinced that it's impossible not to have a good time while picking tasty treats. note to myself that there's a couple additional shots from this day here, and if you'd like to see our family pick throughout the ages, check out this, this, this, oh and this... i haven't even shared blueberry picking from this year yet, as i'm waiting to test out our jam (get excited!). we are just a bunch of pickers ;) 

13 comments:

  1. Great post and what a beautiful family shot!!!

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    1. Thanks so much Skyelynn! My bangs drive me nuts in these photos but you can't win 'em all ;)

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  2. Great post! I feel the same way... adding number two to the mix took awhile to fully realize. My husband referred to her as 'the background babe' for months, since she basically snuggled in my carrier or napped in her carseat. Now that she is nearing one her personality has bloomed, and we love being a family of four!

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    1. It's funny right? I suppose it helps everyone adjust to have that koala stage, and I've watched some friends who had some very fussy second babies and felt insanely grateful that we were able to cart her around as needed... But it is nice to get to know her finally too! Thanks Erika.

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  3. Lovely photos, Lily. I have to know where you guys were? My favorite place to pick lost their crop this season. But, there are so many, and you guys look so alone!

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    1. Thank you Melissa... well we usually go to this place in Groton that is pretty secluded and never crowded (but we never remember the name and always sort of luck out and stumble upon it again). This year we actually went to Honeypot in Stowe and it was super insane and crowded apple-palooza. We got there quite early, so it was pretty quiet initially and we hiked way out into the orchard for some solace (hence the 'alone-ness' pictured)... but by the time we left it was a circus of lines and crowds and not my favorite spot. If you find a good one, do share!

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  4. So adorable! Love the pictures and the reflection--

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  5. Your such a lovely family :-)

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  6. This was great to read, Lilly. We too were some of the first of our group of friends to start a family, and then add another and another in rapid succession. I admit that in the midwest, it's much more common to have two or more children, but I still get asked "Are they ALL yours?!" when we are out and about. :)

    It is true that the second child is at first just... there, and then they are so much more. I get the feeling that your little R has added a really peaceful, cheerful dynamic to your already lovely family. You guys are just the best. Love that last shot!

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  7. These pictures are truly lovely. My little girl blended in well at first too. She just sat there being gorgeous and not demanding too much aside from feeding and changing. But that has all changed...quite a bit. ;) She is a spitfire now. Life is definitely different with two kids - more tiring and challenging - but you just can't imagine it any other way now, right?

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  8. So cute! The photos just kept getting sweeter and sweeter!

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