Today was one of those “I’m exhausted purely because I have an 18 month old” days. She wasn’t disobedient or rebellious, just 18 months old. You know, busy, high maintenance, wanting everything, then not wanting it when she gets it, etc.

One especially exhausting part was something we are really working on this week – she is very demanding sounding when she wants something (even when I am 12 inches away from her, looking her in the eye). For instance: she wants a cracker, so she says “CRAAAAAAAAAAACKER!!!!!”, and so I patiently say, “that’s not the way you ask for something, can you say ‘cracker, please.'” (and I smile to try to portray the right attitude to have when saying something), so then she says “cracker, please” in a small, meek voice, with the corresponding smile.

We went through this routine regarding various items at least 156 times before naptime, and around 47.5 times during the writing of this blog.

Also, some of her demands are so loud and urgent that, for the life of me, I can’t understand what she is asking for, which makes it really hard to get her to ask meekly for something that I don’t even know what she wants.

Anyway, I wasn’t mad or aggravated with her – she’s just ONE, for goodness’ sake (a fact which she proudly announced at the playground today – I was asking how old the girl was that was swinging next to Ali, and Ali held up one finger and loudly interrupted, “ONE!”). But I was ready for a break. So I put her down for her afternoon nap, hoping that it would be an extra long one, seeing as how she went to bed really late last night, woke up early, and had been so, umm, “energetic”, all morning.

Naptime turned out to be slightly shorter than normal, a little under 3 hours (during which I worked, of course, which actually IS relaxing to me). I wasn’t quite ready to enter back into toddler land, and she didn’t seem as awake as she usually is, so I decided to try a Grand Experiment.

I grabbed her with her paci (only allowed at naptime and bedtime) and her pillow and headed to my bedroom, where I had turned out all of the lights and closed the blinds really good. I told her that it was still night- night time, so we needed to rest. She said “night-night, rest”, and laid down on her pillow.

I laid down next to her on my pillow, and put my arm around her to reinforce the night night idea. I think it was the first time that she had realized that I actually slept there, because she got this voice of wonder, tapped my pillow, and said “MEME’S pillow!!!” (Meme is my name of the day). But she got the point. She laid down, put her fingers on her eyes (presumably to close them), and said “night-night”.

The Grand Experiment lasted for a whole 12 minutes, which I’m pretty sure is equal to about 8.5 Months in Toddler Years.

There were a few interruptions, like a long string of her “tooting”, laughing, and then announcing “TOOT!!” (Daddy’s been teaching her some new tricks), but she really did actually lay down, very still (except for the arching of her back and straining for the toots), for TWELVE WHOLE MINUTES before she was standing up in bed, reaching for the pictures hung precariously close to the bed, pointing and naming “Daa-y! Meme!! Ayi!!”.

So we got up, and are now playing (I’ve started and stopped this blog a few times to read books, give out snacks, and help pull out toys).

So my question is: if ONE toddler exhausts me (I know you’re all thinking I’m a complete wuss right now, and that’s fine because I probably am), how am I ever supposed to have more than one?

She really doesn’t exhaust me every day (maybe not even most days), but I’m pretty sure that if I had two, today would be a rarely calm day.

I want to understand though – some of my friends tell me that they’re less exhausted with two than they were with one. I’m assuming this is because they play together rather than with only Mommy? But I would say last night with both Ali and AJ, there was just as much crowd control needed as there usually is entertainment, so I’m not sure if I buy that whole “they entertain each other” logic.

Chris and I joke all the time and say “add that to our list to have an only child”. But I really like the whole “one kid” thing. At least right now I do. And not just for the easiness of my life – Chris and I really enjoy Ali and love to relate to her one on one (or even two on one). Besides the fact that Chris needs me doing the accounting for his company (plus the other two companies I work for), which is something that would be excruciatingly difficult with two children.

I know – it could be just selfishness and maybe I should be trying to get pregnant, but I HAVE actually prayed about it, and have yet to be convicted.

7 thoughts on “The Grand Experiment and associated thoughts

  1. The reason I say to have more than one child is b/c children get lonely by themselves. At some point in time, Ali will lose interest in playing with her parents, and want to play with other children around her age. I know it’s exhausting, but there are some good things about having more than one child. God will answer your prayers in his timing. :) I know even though I had a brother growing up, I always longed for a sister to play with. Ali’s probably too young right now to want to share you, but at some point she may want a sibling. :) Give it time and prayer. You don’t have to stress yourself out about whether to have another child right now or not. :)

  2. As the youngest of 2 girls two years apart, I couldn’t imagine not having my sister. She is my best friend and confidante. And sometimes a second mother. But you are young and have time to decide if and when the time is right to have another baby. God will let you know the answer in his time. Right now you are lucky to be able to enjoy Ali even on her not so calm days.

  3. You have a lot of irons in the fire, Rachel. You have a right not to want to add to all of it right now. I was thinking earlier today when I read your post about Ali and AJ’s play date that it was like they were sisters. So, she does have someone to keep her company now and then and be bestest of friends with. (and since they don’t live under the same roof, they aren’t as likely to get on each other’s nerves)
    You also mentioned in one of your posts about your spritual daughters. Perhaps God wants at least part of your family to be those spiritual daughters, and it’s just plain fact that the more kids you have, the more limited you are in how you can minister. It’s not an excuse to not minister at all, though. (sorry, preaching to myself there)
    God has you where you are for such a time as this. I’m sorry if people are hounding you with “so, when is Ali going to be a big sister” type of questions. That is so rude and annoying. If you are meant to have more, God will give yout that desire or just “surprise” you. David was just such a surprise – a wonderful, delightful surprise.
    Okay, I think I’m done rambling. Thanks for being so frank and honest. I love hearing all the cute Ali stories, it makes me look forward to Amy Beth getting older, which is a good thing because part of me is mourning how quickly she is growing up. She’s 6 mos today already!! How did that happen? Oh, that’s another piece of FYI, each subsequent child you have grows up much more quickly than the previous child(ren).

  4. It’s all about God’s timing..not ours. Whatever His will is for you and Chris rest easy knowing He’s in control. It’s ok to only have one child. It’s ok to have 8-10 children. It’s about what you and Chris feel like is God’s will for your life. Continue to pray and seek His direction for your life. If God so chooses to “surprise” you then know that that is His will for you. :)

  5. I agree that God will either lay it on your heart to have another child or surprise you with one, and that you shouldn’t feel pressured to have another one if you’re not ready. Keep in mind, though, that Ali would be in a completely different phase by the time that you had another child (especially if y’all waited a couple more years), so I would think that would decrease the toddler mayhem. But maybe not – who knows. Definitely not me! Yet… Good luck!

  6. You know, I get asked all of the time how can I handle 4,(soon to be 5)when they can’t “handle” one or two, or whatever number they have? They say I must be such a patient person and I just laugh. The last thing I am is patient.
    I just tell people it’s not about me. If I make it about me, then I have a hard time with 4.
    It’s not about how many you have it’s about what you do with the ones you have.
    Ali is sooooo blessed to have you being with her and loving on her all the time. The time you spend teaching her and reading to her, is blessing her life!
    I can’t tell you how many littles to have, and no one else should even try.
    I do know this though. When I thought I couldn’t handle anymore, God said, “Yes, you can. With me you can do anything I ask of you.”
    And He was right.

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