And Everything Else
The 1,000th Post Spectacular!

The New Normal

First of all, my dad is home from the hospital, and also, GO PHILS!



Thank you so much for all the "Noah = hideous, yet NORMAL" comments yesterday. If one could physically cling to hope via Internet Comments, I'd be that scrawny kid in gym class stuck halfway up the rope climb.

After I posted, we left to pick Noah up from preschool. He seemed like he was in a good mood, like we still had some time before the Wall of Nap, and we were out of diapers, so we decided EVER SO UNWISELY to go stroller shopping.

I hate the Big Box Baby Stores as much as anybody, but today marks the first time I ever left one sobbing.

I would consider the fact that we got out alive and with two packages of newborn diapers (SIZE ONES. I BOUGHT NOTHING BUT GIGANTIC SIZE ONES.) to mean the trip was a success, but once we got home I realized we're also out of Pull-Ups, and I promised to bring plates and utensils to the school's Halloween party on Friday, so I have to go out -- outSIDE. outSIDE of my HOUSE. -- again.

Plus, you know, the sobbing. Not really a sign of a successful shopping excursion.

Our original plan was to stick with our single stroller for as long as possible -- we figured when we all went out together we could SO TOTALLY HANDLE Noah in the Maclaren (or on foot, you know, because he's such a GOOD BOY) and Ezra in the snap-n-go dealie, and when going out solo we'd put the baby in a sling or carrier. This is still a smashingly good idea, were it not for the addition of Noah Version 3.0: Hellmonster Unleashed.

(And oh, lord, yes. We take our newborn places. OutSIDE places, even. We also let our snot-nosed three-year-old touch him, sometimes while the dog licks him and I pick up his pacifier off the floor and spit on it. You know, if we have company I need to impress with my mothering skills.)

Two weeks in and we've both already had more moments of frustrated, frazzled OMG I NEED THEM BOTH CONTAINED IN ONE SINGULAR CONTRAPTION than we were expecting. So! Double stroller time!

Our mistake -- beyond going there in the pre-nap witching hour in the first place -- was trying to get Noah to sit in the strollers we were considering. I can see that now. Involving him in any way whatsoever in our purchasing decision was just bad, bad judgement. He cried, he screamed. He arched his back and flailed. He kicked over the substantially stable Phil & Ted's. When strapped into the Joovy tandem he threw himself forward and got his feet on the ground and very nearly toppled the whole thing over on himself. His howls echoed throughout the store, sounding for all the world like a child being beaten within an inch of his life rather than one being bribed with Elmo books and Thomas trains to please, DEAR MERCIFUL GOD, just let me push you around the Bumbo seat display for one cotton-picking minute.

And there I was, trying to ask a nice salesman a few questions while clutching Ezra to my boob under a nursing cover, while Jason tried everything he could think of to calm Noah down and pregnant shoppers walked by with the fear of God Almighty in their eyes, and finally we realized that lo, this was BEYOND a bad idea, this was the seventh circle of HELL ITSELF, and opted to get the fuck out of there.

Outside, Noah continued to scream. We sat down on a bench and tried to get his coat back on, assuring him that dude, you're okay. We're okay. We're sorry. We're going home.

Aaaaaand...that's when he hit Jason. And then he kicked me as hard as he could.

I immediately lost it and burst into tears. Who WAS this child? What happened to MY child? My sweet, loving child who -- sure, is quirky and sensitive and has had public meltdowns before, no doubt about it -- would never, ever be this ANGRY and DEFIANT and downright MEAN. I LOVE my child, but I don't even vaguely LIKE this one.

Save for some weepiness in the delivery room at the sound of Ezra's first little squawks, I haven't cried since his birth -- something of an accomplishment, I thought, since I remember crying for probably two solid weeks after Noah was born.  But I cried yesterday, because I'm so tired, and I feel like I must be doing something terribly wrong.

We came home and I immediately escorted Noah upstairs to his room. I ignored his shriek of NOOOO! when I asked if he'd like to read a story. I tucked him in and gave him kisses, and so did Jason. Then we climbed into his narrow little Ikea bed -- the SULTAN LADE bed slats creaking under our collective weight -- and cuddled with him under the covers for awhile. I felt like if I could just hold him tightly enough I could remind myself -- and him -- that some things will never change, that he is still my baby, that I still love him, that (oh God, please) this is just a phase phase phase PHASE, and that we'll get through it. Of course we will. The gypsies haven't been 'round these parts in AGES.

Then I came back downstairs and read your comments. So you can only imagine how much I needed to hear that this IS normal post-new-sibling behavior (and normal three-year-old behavior, like yaaaaaay), and that it will get better at some point. Just ride it out, continue to love on him and do special things (even if those special things, I.E. GOING TO THE MALL FOOD COURT FOR CHOCOLATE MILK AND RIDING ON THE COIN-OPERATED SCHOOL BUS, end in tantrummy disasters occasionally), be glad he's NOT taking it out on the baby or at school and remember that hell, you can TOTALLY get better prices on strollers online anyway.

I also realized how very, very badly I needed a break from him. We emailed our babysitter and -- after going back and forth and back and forth about whether Noah would be happy to have an evening alone with his favorite person ever...or be terribly upset that we were taking the baby with us and leaving him behind -- went out for dinner, just us and a sleeping lump in a carseat who didn't make a peep all night. I ate oysters. They was reallll good.

Of course, we spent most of the night talking about Noah, about our mistakes and frustrations, and then devising a Better, Stronger, Parentier Plan of more positive reinforcement and a heapload of Ignoring The Fuck Out Of Everything Else. You'll be happy to know that I quoted from the comments section generously, since once again, y'all remain my number-one resource for parenting advice.

Noah had been screaming when we'd left the house. When we came back, he was in bed, happy as a bowl of clam chowder. He told us about his peanut butter and jelly sandwich dinner and playing hide-and-seek. A few hours with an adult 100% dedicated to his amusement appeared to be a hugely calming force. Since it wasn't TOO late, Jason brought him downstairs for a Very Special Big Boy Showing of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. He cuddled and laughed and hugged Baby Brother and us. We watched the fireworks display from the World Series a couple times, to his endless delight. He was...NOAH, not the vile Pod Person we'd been dealing with all afternoon.

I have no idea which version we'll pick up from school today. Either way: dude, we love you. We're doing our best, as shitty as it may be sometimes. But we'll always try to do better tomorrow.




Am I first?!? Yay!


OK, I'm back... I was just so excited about being first, that I had to post a quick comment, and then return to write this. Amalah, Noah is TOTALLY normal. I, too, have a 3 year-old (and a 1 year-old), and we're going through the same thing. Sometimes I look at him, and wonder where my calm, centered, sweet boy went. I look at him and think: ADHD? Autism? Satan spawn? And then, we'll have a good day, and I remember the sweet, sweet boy I used to know and love, and remind myself that this too shall pass.


Don't have anything new to add, but boy do I remember those days. My girls are 6 and 8. There's still a fair share of hair tearing and crying on all of our parts (dad included). But nothing like those first few months of new baby. And you're so right when your first one was new it was scary and awful and lots of tears. Not so much with the second. Except it's still scary and awful and lots of tears, only they're still for your first born. Oh well, at least you know you'll be mellower for the second one. It all evens out somehow. We're all just humans doing the best we can. Thanks for sharing your journey with all of us.


I think your very last sentence sums up parenthood completely. :)


This is a great post! And one that every mother needs to read. No matter how old her kids or her situation.

I forwarded this to a friend of mine who DESPERATELY needs to read this.

Thanks again and HANG IN THERE! You're a great mom!


I am about to have my second, due in December. I'm begining to get really nervous about how my 2 year old boy is going to handle it. I'm pretty much a big cry baby and my son is a total momma's boy. You sure do seem to be handling Noah's behavior well just 2 weeks after giving birth. I hope I can be that good...


Not that it's any of my damned business at all since: 1) I don't even know you and 2) I don't have kids; but do you punish him for acting out like that? You mention more positive reinforcement, but are there consequences for him when he kicks you in the shins? Seriously. Curious. Not judging.


Great post Amy! You've processed so much of this in so short a time... it took me months to come to grips with the horrible realization that I did not "like" what my child had become.

Another piece of assvice: every one will tell you to spend special time with "just Noah" each day- no baby in tow. This is good advice. But don't be disheartened when that doesn't immediately correct the problem. I would spend whole afternoons with my son (baseball games, library), heaping treat upon treat, and then he would still act like a little punk the minute we got home. The only thing that appears to have lifted the punkish behaviour is time. Time.


You are good parents. Noah is a good boy. He needs to rage against "the Man" right now to make sure you still A) Love Him and B) won't tolerate bad behavior.

This will run cyclically for about the next 14 years.

But you know all that because you are good parents.


I just wanted to comment to say that in that last picture, your hair is pretty and your legs are skinny and you just look fantastic.

(Now I'll go back to cowering in the corner worrying about what happens with my 23 month old when this new baby gets here PLEASE GOD SOON.)


You and Jason are doing great. I think the evening with the babysitter was an outstanding idea. It was one on one time for Noah with someone he knows and time for you and Jason to breathe and get some perspective (and decent food, v. important). I wish we had done the same in those early days.

While Noah is most certainly reacting to the changes at home, remember not to feel like you've completely ruined his precious little life by having Ezra... He is 3 and would exhibit much of the defiance and tantruming anyway... it would have just been triggered by something else.

As my own 3 year-old new big brother assured me this morning, "Don't worry Mommy, I'll always be your baby." and Noah will too, even when he's 40.


You just made ME cry!! (Good tears.)

You will also have to excuse the 4 days straight I spent on your blog a few weeks ago, reading all of archives, but alas, work was boring & you were busy creating life. If you even look at your blog stats like that, and if you, I solemnly swear I'm not some stalker or crazy person.


I'm glad your dad is out of the hospital.

I'm also sorry that you had such a shitty afternoon. That bloooooooooooows. I really hope things improve sooner rather than later!!


Man, I remember when my younger son was born, and my older son was two. The lack of sleep...the jealousy, the fog that was my nights for 15 straight weeks. It was hell. And the older one hadn't started preschool, so we almost never left the house. It was rough.
Hang in there. There's a light at the end of the tunnel. Go toward the light!

My Jackson used to scream, "Help, help!" when he used to mean no. That gave us plenty of stares, and looks of shock, and people wondering if they should call the cops to report a woman kidnapping a small child and then torturing him by making him walk around a grocery store, OMG!


This is so my life right now. We have an 18 month old and a 5 week old, and I feel like I am just absolutely failing the "big girl" who doesn't really want to be a big girl yet and is having mean meltdowns at an alarming rate. I called my husband in tears saying "she's just so MEAN to me" before being reminded that I am the adult and should probably try to keep it together myself if I ever expect her to also. It's a tough transition, but you (and I) will get through it!


Oh and 2 more things!

1. So glad to hear your Dad is home.

2. I have a Joovy Ultralight Sit and Stand for my 3 year old and 5 month old. It's been great. It gives me a way to move both kids safely and not at meandering toddler speed, it fits in my small sedan's trunk, and my son is more inclined to like it because he gets to stand rather than sit... and he knows that if he doesn't behave, Mommy will sit his butt down and put the seat belt on him. Winner - a mobile naughty step.


Aww, my heart aches for you a little. Echoing everyone else: normal if not maddening. Hang in there, sweetie!


First of all, YAY you're dad's home safe and sound!

Second, you're looking damn fine for two weeks post c-section, mama bear!

Third, I want to just hug you. I have no children and no experience, nothing remotely wisdomous to contribute, but I do give killer hugs. So ::hug::


Although you'll want to pull your hair out about a million times between now and when they grow up....I promise you, these ARE the best days of your life! My boys are now 20 and 24 now. I remember bringing the little one home all those years ago and having the older one scream at the top of his lungs, "I ordered a Girl!" in my face and slam the front door and me and the baby. Thank God, they didn't kill each other gorwing up. They sure tried though.... Now, they're just adult men who are best buddies, like the same things, have the same friends, and oh yeah! happen to be brothers.


So, we were going to try for perfect baby number two starting in Dec. when perfect baby number one turns 1........I am now having second thoughts about that. Or maybe I will just have to make sure my husband does not see this post!!

Sprite's Keeper

I can't tell you how much I love your site, but I will never ever read it in the company of my almost two year old daughter ever again. Wouldn't you believe she pulled the same shit on me last night when I tried to change her diaper? That she asked me to change? And willingly assumed the position for? WTF??
I don't even have a twinkle of the second kid yet and she's pulling this. So, yeah, no more Amalah while in the company of toddlerah. Still love your blog though.


My two cents is to give his feelings words. He's probably feeling lots of yucky stuff and he doesn't have the words to express himself, so you and Jason mirroring it to him will make him feel like a) he's understood and b) he's OK and not a bad kid for feeling that way. He's scared of his angry feelings and worried that he's bad for having them. So tell him stuff like "I bet Noah is pretty mad that things have changed, that Mommy and Daddy can't play with him as much but it's OK to feel mad and sad...", it will really help him, I promise.

Basically, give a monologue about how you think he's feeling. Even the really bad stuff ("you might even want to hurt Mommy sometimes when you are SO MAD, but that's OK, it's normal, and Mommy loves you when you're mad and loves you when you're sad.") This approach really worked wonders with my son when sister came home and he "hated" Mommy and even "hated" Grammy. It still took about 6 weeks, but he came out of it feeling like a great big brother, not a horrible meanie.


I wish I were a fairy godmother who could magically pop into your home and help you out. I have to say that when I had my first baby (I only have one right now) my mother was a God send. She cooked, cleaned, took the night shift, gave my husband and I alone time, etc. And she stayed for three glorious weeks.

I can only imagine that the need for help is greater the second time around, especially with a jealous toddler in the mix. Maybe you could get some help? Family is the best (and cheapest).

I'm aware that you are a wise woman who has thought of this before, so I guess I'm wondering why your husband's Mom didn't stay longer? (I know why your parents aren't there) Why are you alone in your second week with a new babe and a toddler? That situation is so scary to me. Evil, Halloween on crack scary.

I know people do it all the time, but why proactively take years off of your life?


I'm skeeered. (37 weeks today with number 2.)

But what I really meant to say was damn, your hair looks good.


First off - HURRAY for your Dad being home!!!!! I LOVE that picture of the two of you.

Second off - I have no children, and will not be having children, [no, not because of your blog ;-)].

Not sure why that is important to state, except to add context to my admiration - yes, ADMIRATION - of your skills, and your openness and honesty.

If parenting were so easy, there'd be no market for parenting books or self-help books for children of disfunctional families, etc.

We're all human, all imperfect, all together in this odd journey called life. That you are able to navigate your life with abundant love and humor is truly special.


at least you three year old isn't attacking cops. So you have that going for you, which is nice.


1. You and your Dad must have been so happy last night that your team won the World Series! Your Dad home + World Series win = pretty damn good.

2. Sorry to hear about your Big Box Store circle of hellishness. Noah's world did just change dramatically over the last 2 weeks. But hitting and kicking? not so good. Just keep reassuring him that he is still important, it just takes time.

3. That last photo, you, Noah and the sofa all in coordinated earth tones. And Ezra laying there like a little wood elf! He looks so TINY, I have already forgotten just how tiny they really are at first. *sigh* I also agree, cute haircut!


I'm so glad that your dad is back home!

Being childless, I don't have any wisdom for you. But it sounds to me like you're doing fine. You're very in tune with Noah, and y'all are actively trying to him comfortable and happy. I'm sure he feels that and know you care and love him.

I'm crossing my fingers for you that you have more peaceful times like last night, instead of crazy times like yesterday afternoon.


I am literally crying over here. You are SUCH a good mom. Seriously. I know people tell you that all the time, but it really it true. You are REAL and HONEST and LOVING and just all-around fantastic. Noah and Ezra are so lucky.
(oh, and I have to say. That situation you described about the dog and the pacifier and the spit? Yeah, that has happened to us, non-sarcastically and not exaggerated. We build immunities, is all I'm sayin').

Jim @ IPR

I'm glad to hear about your dad. Noah will come around in time...patience and love will get you there.


those first few weeks of getting everything figured out...suck. big time.
honestly. you are doing everything you can. and the babysitter idea. so good. my oldest needed that often too. it didn't really matter where the one-on-one attention came from. as long as it was with someone not holding the new baby.
and four. totally the new black. it's all grown up and negotiable.
wait for it. it'll come.


I will add to the chorus of "YAY for Amalah's dad being home!!"

Also, hehehe...wondered if you were gonna say something about the comment yesterday (the "you took him out of the house???" one). Taking a newborn out of the house is not a problem. Just give them a shot or two of whiskey to kill any germs encountered while and go on about your business.

What's the problem?


Deanna - For awhile there, ALL WE WERE DOING was punishing. Time outs, naughty step, leaving fun activities immediately, early bedtimes, scolding, yelling, hollering. It made everything infinitely worse, trust me. It gave him negative attention, which he would gladly take, diluted the effectiveness of our punishments, and made us feel even more exhausted and beaten down. Now that we're IGNORING the negative attention ploys (within reason, obvs, like not if there's someone's safety at risk) and lavishing praise when he does ANYTHING good, he's acting out significantly less already.

Kate - Not alone! Jason is still home with me. He goes back to work on Monday, but his mom comes back on Tuesday, right after she votes.


I had (still have) the same stroller problem with my two--I can't carry my 25 lb 1 yr old for too long, and my 3 yr old needs to be corralled or Mommy will be very very wicked pissed by the end of the shopping excursion. But my 3 yr old is 42 inches tall and 46 lbs...wayyyy over the weight limit for just about all reasonably priced strollers. I have a Phil & Ted with the jump seat in the back for the mall (I bought it used on craigslist and I find it kind of difficult to steer, but it fits my giant 3 yr old and is easy to get in and out of the car). We spent the good money on a BOB Duallie for everything else. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Bob. Bob rocks. Best freaking $550 I ever spent. Its big enough for my 3 yr old to sit comfortably, and the seats recline almost flat for when the baby was a newborn. My one complaint is that its not the easiest thing to get in and out of a car.

I bought a Mountain Buggy first, but J was too big for it and I had to return it (that was a hassle, believe me). Otherwise I think it would be an awesome stroller--perfect for outdoors and in. Easiest thing in the world to push, even easier than the Bob. 29" wide so it fits thru standard doorways. Four 12 inch air-filled wheels. Not cheap, but worth the money.

and you look awesome, post baby :-)


Unfortunately, he is being 100% normal. My oldest was 20 months when her sister was born and she went from *NEVER* ever doing anything naughty, to being full out headstrong and contrary as hell. After 3 months of no sleep (difficult colicky newborn), I gave in and put her in a 2-3 time per week, 2 1/2 hour "playgroup". I felt like a failure for not being able to control my own child. But I had no family nearby to help out, and she was bored with sitting around the house. By the time baby sis was around 6 months old, her naughtiness let up some, but really didn't stop until around 4. So maybe it's a maturity issue too. They go from being the center of your universe, to having to share that honor. Be thankful he isn't taking it out on the baby, I've heard of older siblings biting and pinching infant hands! So just try to give him as much 1 on 1 as possible and be patient. You aren't doing anything wrong! AND, you have given him the best gift imaginable: a sibling.


Good thing about the tantrum timing? Now you totally know what it takes to tip those strollers over! Better than finding out while little Esra was in the stroller, too! He was doing some fine product testing for you.

Kidding aside, I feel for you. My son has gone through several tantrum phases (and we don't even have a second child yet!). Just when it seems like it couldn't get any worse, we always manage to turn a corner and *poof*! Genius, wonderful child once more.

This too shall pass.


Boy do I remember those days when Gameboy was so mean and defiant to us the parents and so lovely to everyne was..... challenging. I think back on it now and am glad that as parents we get these challenging periods because as time goes on we learn and are better able handle the bigger & longer challenging times as they are older and maybe more important.


The whole "it will pass" thing is true, but how long it takes is partly up to you.
It is really hard for a little kid to have their whole world turned upside down, even with the preparation you did, and presents from baby brother.
A child Noah's age needs time each day, devoted to him, with you.
He still has his school routine and that is great, but the more predictable, reliable things you can provide him, the better he will feel, and behave. (Developmentally, kids his age rely on routine, and being able to predict the day through it.)
Ha, ha, predictable, I know, that's why it's hard. But setting aside an hour just for him, when you do something special that is for big boys will make a big difference (doing at the same time each day helps more). He will look forward to his special mommy time, and it will help. He is really doing the only thing a child his age knows how to do, telling mommy and daddy that they are not making him happy- he doesn't know why, so he can't explain it, happily he isn't blaming the baby, all TOTALLY NORMAL!


I teared up reading about your return home to find that YOUR Noah had returned and about the special Big Boy movie time. I empathized completely. I just wanted to let you know that the entire Internets is here for you and are going or have gone through the same thing.


Hi Amy. Been reading you for a few months now. You're a wonderfully relevant writer, and a pleasure to read. Your candor and sense of humour keep me coming back.

And I think you're holding up spectacularly well. Really, really.


You and Jason are handling the inevitable situations that arise with two babies quite well. I mean, you're doing the very best you can, and it's all coming from love. What more could anyone ask for? Everyone stresses and everyone deals with things differently. So long as everyone is in one piece and knows that they're loved, the bottom line is that it will all even out in the end.

So whenever things get frustrating, just remember: you're a rockstar.

Also, that is one very lovely haircut. I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to look that good if you've just had a baby. New mom? Yeesh, you practically wouldn't know it to look at you. (That adorable baby is kind of the giveaway.)


wow, that was quite the adventure you had! I am glad you got away though and had a nice dinner and were able to come back home to normal Noah! That is wonderful. Good luck with tonight! I hope it goes well :)

Also, holy hair lady! It is so smooth and silky in that pic! love it

Abby're doing a great job. Five days after I gave birth to our 2nd boy, my husband deployed to Afghanistan for 13 months leaving me to figure out the jealous sibling thing on my own with no family or friends anywhere nearby. It was one of the hardest and most frustrating things I've ever ever done in my life. Eventually Calix figured out that Maddox wasn't going to go ANYWHERE and that he'd better get used to it most fucking ricky tick and now that Calix is 3 and Maddox is almost 2..they're buddies. Total buddies who spend hours on end playing together (and every now and then torturing one another because 'AHHHHHHHH my car!!!!! My car!!! Mah-ee mah-ee my car my carrrrrr!!!').

Once little Ezra is more mobile you'll see how much Noah will truly love having him around. Be'll happen. Wait until they hold hands in the car for the very first'll break your heart right the fuck open.

Catherine S

Serioously, you have my full respect. As a barely functioning new mom with an 8 week old boy, my ovaries shake with fear at the thought of adding anotherat this point. Both of your sons are beautiful. Not having experience with such things, I have no asssvice to offer, but will support everyone else in saying that this will not last forever.

You do look fabulous:)


SO so normal. My wise MIL says it gets signifacantly better by the time the babe is 2 mos, then better again at 6 mos. She was right!


What's a Maclaren? Isn't that the car from "Back to the Future"? You parent types sure have a lot of lingo to learn, not to mention the whole being responsible for other lives bit.

Speaking of, like you are taking notes from your readers who actually have kids (ie, something useful to say), I take notes from you & the few other souls brave enough to write about the non-unicorn and rainbow side of parenting. I'm filing this away for those ovary-searing moments when I need a child thisveryminute.

Off to write my mom a thank you email, since I WAS that child for many years . . .


I think Gigi has it right. Help Noah with words to explain how he's feeling. Let him know it's okay to feel that way and you still love him even when he's mad and sad. Even without a new brother in the house, being three is HARD. It does get better though. Soon he'll be in the Fuck-You Fives. ;) (Or, at least that's what we called it when our oldest was five.) It sounds like you've got it right so far. Just keep it up. And do take breaks, because a three year old can try the patience of a saint. If you can get out for an hour or two once a week, all alone, or with a girlfriend, do it. It does wonders for your sanity.


Jeanne way up there nailed it--even if Ezra (who is adorable) had not recently made his way into the world, Noah would still be suffering from the Threes. Three has been the HARDEST age with my second. My first--eh. I couldn't tell a difference.

Three has been full of "No, I don't want that--wait I just changed my mind, yes I do and will fall into a tantrumy pile of tears when you tell me it's too late to say yes to what I didn't know I wanted." Uggghhh.

I look at my third, my little toddler, who is about to turn two, and I want to press PAUSE on the Remote of Life and freeze him there. I love that age. Three? Not so much.

Yay for your dad being home!

And I am jealous that you're getting a double stroller. Three kids and my husband never saw the need for a double stroller.

Tracy D

The most important thing is to remind yourself, and him, that you love him no matter what. Even when you don't like him very much, you still love him. And repeat at intervals "This will pass. I am OK." because it is true.


First of all, glad your dad's home.

And, like everyone else, let me say that this too shall pass. And in no time at all, you'll be wondering why you ever worried.

I have two boys, three years apart, and I remember my heart almost breaking when my older son said, some time in the first year after his brother was born, "Mom, remember when it was just the three of us?"

But now, they sit in the back seat of my car, and every once in a while, they will say that they love each other.

And all is right with the world.


A day late and a dollar short, of course, but I wanted to ask you to tell Jason something for me. A three year old doesn't really discriminate very well between his own feelings and his parents. I suspect that the real message was 'Daddy, I am scared of this me who is angry all the time.' The answer has to be,'That's alright hon, I am not scared of him at all.'


Glad your dad is back home!

I also had to chime in on the "oh, it is sooo normal and SOOOO GODAWFUL" thing. Just yesterday I asked our pediatrician to just reassure me one more time of how normal it is for the older sibling to go bonkers when baby arrives. She assured me he didn't need shock therapy or anything. She is even dealing with it herself with her 4-yr-old and 6-month-old.

We should form a support group!


I can still remember SO VIVIDLY a few of Ryan's more spectacular public meltdowns around that age...oh, and yes, they involved kicking, screaming, hitting, general flailing, etc. You did exactly he right thing by simply leaving the store and removing him from the situation. You also did the right thing by taking a little break later on -that's usually therapeutic for both parties.

This has happened to all of us, it has NO bearing on your parenting skills, and it WILL get better. Keep doing what you're doing.


((((hugs!)))) Sounds just like my Colin when Landon was born. He LOOOVED his baby brother, but would have emotional breakdowns at the weirdest times. Wish I had some suggestions on top of what you've already been told...but I don't have any. You will soon find your "new normal" just like you did when Noah was born, and these days will all be memories that (gasp!) you will be able to laugh about. Maybe one of you could take him to see Madagascar II that's coming out this weekend? Some special "noah" time might be good....More ((((hugs)))) coming your CAN DO THIS!!!


Oh Amalah! I laughed & cried reading your entry! I used to think that there was something wrong with me! I have been through this exact same thing! It does get better - hang in there!


Oh, the hitting. My boy is a year older than Noah and I'll never forget wondering where my sweet babe had gone, and being horrified that he was turning into a BOY. (And he remains an only child.) Don't worry, the sweetness is still there, he's just going through a lot right now. I think it's pretty clear that he's acting out due to overwhelming feelings and not maliciousness and I think you are right to just love on him harder.


Oh, yes, so VERY normal. Year #3 sucks. Everyone said it was two but NO it is 3 that sucks. My son is almost four and it is better. So, to sum up: three sucks, four is better. The End.


It is such a relief to hear everyone say that thier children did this too. I was CONVINCED that my son was going to need psychiatric intervention. I just knew he was manic or something. OH the mood swings and anger. But alas, its is true, it gets better. I just kept telling myself that people had been having siblings for millions of years and living thru it surely we would to.


I've gone through my share of strollers, so Im just gonna throw this out there... Graco DuoGlider. You can steer it WITH ONE HAND. That is all.

tracey b

Hell yes, that's normal. All of it. Every word.

2 kids is wonderful and horrible. But you WILL find your groove. Though you might fall in and out of it from time to time, you will FIND YOUR GROOVE.

Glad to hear about your dad...


Hi, Amy!

1. So glad your dad is home.

2. It's been said eleventy billion times already: What Noah is doing is normal I-just-turned-three-and-just-got-a-little-brother behavior. Hang in there.

For now, acknowledge the HELL out of the good behavior, even if it seems as though he's only been good for maybe a second that day. And, acknowledge the bad behavior. Be sure Noah knows that hitting dad and kicking mom (and vice-versa) will not be tolerated.

He'll move beyond this, I promise. And you will be just fine, I promise!


The worst guilt I ever felt was after my second was born and I could no longer stand my first born. How is it that someone who was so recently the center of my universe was now someone who I wanted to hold under water just until they stopped struggling.

It gets better and it gets worse. I love both my children dearly but as my second child is now gaining on three I also want to run as far away from these hell beasts as possible.

It is a horrible horrible age, and as a seasoned mom of two, let me just say....wait until they are old enough to argue with each other. You will find yourself wanting to shove a screwdriver in your ears for a little peace.


Sounds just about right, all of it. When my 2nd was born, I used to wait for my husband to get home and then pick up the baby and RUN to the grocery store, where I would spend hours walking up and down the aisles with her in a sling or in her carseat in the cart. It was just so peaceful and predictable there. I also went to babies r us alot because I really liked their nursing room with the rocking chair and free diapers. I used to cut pictures out of the store ads and make my husband go buy them, then I would assemble them and reject them and disassemble them and make him take them back. That's the only drawback to buying online, but you know what? Whatever stroller you pick will be fine, and when you know you can't take it back you will consider the flaws on any particular model less important.

Hang in there, and stop volunteering to bring stuff to school functions immediately. Give them a blank check if you must participate.


Yeah your dad is home!!!!! and the Phillies won!! (since the other PA team stinks)

And to echo everyone else, 3 is a tough age even without adding baby brother. My twins were awful the year they turned 3.

You and Jason are doing a great job and it is important to take some time together.


We're going through the same thing with my 3 year old daughter & my 5 week old son. I mean, the exact same thing, only she's been rotten at school, too. I was on the verge of a total breakdown yesterday when I read your post & then the comments and saw a ray of light and realized that all things will pass. So, thanks to all of you.


I've got to tell you that my son (who will be 4 in January) is going through this exact thing, and I didn't just bring home a new baby. I think they call it the terrible threes. There's no such thing as the terrible twos it's just the terrible Threes and man are they rotten. So much so that I actually called a child psychologist for advice.

Wouldn't you know it, he's been a perfect angel ever since I made that phone call, I haven't even had a chance to use her advice.


My standard refrain when my kids acted like that (sometimes said out loud, sometimes said in my head) was and is, "I love you very, very much but I do not like the way you are acting at all." Hehehe...I would also threaten to call 1-800-GypsiesRUs and give them away for free.


so glad to hear your dad is out of the hospital. i hope soon he gets to meet Ezra.

don't have any kids, but i do know having a new sibling is hard no matter how old you are. I was 9 when one of my brothers was born and i completely ruined this birth. Not kidding, screamed out of the room yelling about how much i did not want another brother & how unfair life was.... Kid was about 2 minutes old, my mom haddn't even held him yet and i was making a scene.

Now the "kid' is 19 and i'm the closest to him of my 3 other silbings. I have faith Noah will be fine soon. If not well, sounds like he likes that babysitter, maybe she'll adopt him ;-)


I have no practical advice because I'm still cooking number two, but I have to completely admit that what you're going through with Noah is my biggest and worst fear for how things are going to end up in April when baby brother/sister is born. Mine will be 2 3/4, and he seems an awful lot like Noah personality-wise (based on what I've read). I'm scared to death that he'll be wonderful with the baby but become HORRIBLE HELLSPAWN to Daddy and I once there's a new baby. :-/

I have heard that the 3s are worse than the 2s, and that it does pass. I hope, for your sake, they pass quickly.


Yaaay, Dad home!

When I read your post yesterday, I was worried you were spying on us. I can totally relate. That's exactly how it is at our house. My daughter has a brand new baby brother who she loves to pieces. With us, however, she has become the Queen of the Meltdown. If you find a cure for that toddler business (well, just the bad parts - the sweet and hilarious parts can stay) please post it! *sigh* just a phase just a phase....


A few months ago, I read somewhere (maybe here?), a comment saying that the "terrible twos" were nothing, but the "fucking threes" could drive a person batshit. I clung to that for our remaining months of the fucking threes. So far, all three weeks that we have had so far of the fours have been better. Not great, but definitely better. I'd say our evening alcohol consumption and despairing, parental-skills-doubting swear-fest is down by AT LEAST 5%. So, you know, that's something to look forward to.


Just remember that while One was fun, and Two was a Zoo, THREE (because it deserves all caps) is definitely where you find yourself asking "Now why did we decide to procreate in the first place?"

My 12yo son coined the phrase that best describes how my 3yo daughter acts sometimes. You can borrow it if you want. It's called "Unflushed Turd".

monkey mama

Oh, how I send you love and patience. You've got the other signature gift to good parenting...a sense of humor. It's brutal bittersweetness to watch the ones we love struggle with change. Hang in there, and keep up the good work. You are so normal it is refreshing.:-)

SO GLAD your dad is home already!!!


Please take comfort in the fact that your hair looks amazing.


So I don't have kids. Therefore, I have nothing productive to add except...YAYYYYYYyyyy PHILLIES :D And I'm awfully excited to see you're a Phils fan!

Mary Margaret

Amy, I have 2 girls, now 21 and 24, and everything you describe is soooo familiar. I really felt like DD#1 was possessed!! She was the easiest child in the world (no sleep issues, no eating issues, no defiance--I could not understand why people went on about the terrible twos--I thought I was clearly the BEST mommy in the world. LOL). Then DD#2 was born and #1 turned into a mean-spirited little troll. The tantrums, the defiance--oh, I remember it like it was yesterday.

They are really best friends now, and they are both kind, gentle and beautiful inside and out. I not only love them, but we are all truly friends. Hang in there, it will get better. (Even though this may recur at certain ages - there was a time - preteen to early teen - when I used to cry because I didn't think that they would ever like each other.) This, too, shall pass.

Your boys are just beautiful and you and Jason will get through this.

Emmie (Better Make It A Double)

My 3 year olds are going through a horrible phase right now, all the same stuff you describe. No baby, though. A lot of my friends with 3yo's had babies this year, and of course, they think the baby caused all the drama, but here I am, same shit. 3 is hard, especially a few months into it on. I hear four is better. I really fucking hope so, because I don't always like my kids that much these days either. Hope it passes for you soon.


In the beginning with two, I just ordered diapers from either or amazon or whoever could get those things to me fast enough. We do go places now, but you know, it has to be perfect circumstances. It will get better. Repeat. Repeat. You look great!

Jen L.

So glad your dad is home!

As far as the three-year old sibling adjustment goes, I got nothing except a heartfelt wish that things will get better soon.


You are fab! Noah is also fab, and this too shall pass. Hang in there.

Also, if you don't need the air tires of a P&T, MBUD, BOB, etc, which you might not given your new suburban life...try the Baby Jogger City Mini Double. I have the single and we love it. Turns on a dime, folds easily and compactly. DH certainly likes it better than our huge yuppy air tire beast.


Totally normal. I remember a plane ride on which my child turned into the devil himself. I spent the last 5 minutes and the deboarding process in tears and then had to find an airport restroom where I could bawl my eyes out while changing his pull up. Good times!


Nobody ever told me about the threes. But oh lordy! I wish someone had.

Two bits of advice that helped me when I had a 3-year-old boy and a newborn (advice given to me by my once-landlady, who had a Masters in Child Development):

1) Skim through (or read the whole darn thing) Your Three Year Old. (I read them every year now: Your Four Year Old, Your Five Year Old, etc. Pretty good, even if a tad outdated.)

2) Find someone else to spend time with the 3-year-old as much as possible. Dad solo time is good. Fun babysitters. Etc.

ok, i'm a first time mother of a 4 month old (should be a two month old, but he felt he just had to come out 12 weeks early) so i don't have any helpful advice, but my son has the same socks Ezra has on in the picture. I know, that is some important and earth shattering information. In all seriousness from what i have gathered from friends that have multiple baybays Noah is completely normal. he'll grow out of it once he realizes Ezra is here to stay. good luck!

just beth

hey, I'm sending you a big hug and five minutes alone in the bathroom. Not that you need anything in the bathroom, just, you know... I thought you might like a little time on your own.

You're welcome.

Now, I, too, have had very similar happenings around here. My Sally is two, and Wayne is now seven months.

Difficulty ensued, throwing things, hitting, scratching, super fun. What has worked for us is that I recently started taking Sally to a co-op preschool once a week. I stay with her and follow her around and play with just HER. Don't worry about trying it now, you're exhausted, take a nap. But in a few months, you might want to make a regular 'thing' with just you and Noah.

I know you guys will be fine, just take it easy (or try to) and forgive Noah for now. His little world just got ROCKED.

P.S. You're doing a fantastic job.




oh amy, hang in there! you are doing great!!


Hey, I know I'm being redundant but, as a pediatric psychologist and mom of a 3-1/2 year old and a 2 year old, your little guy's behavior is normative for his age, whether or not there was a change in the family, but ESPECIALLY with the recent change. Of course, it's still distressing! I have no advice for you - sounds like you and your husband have it all figured out (even if you don't always feel so confident about it!). My only caveat is to respectfully disagree with the suggestion someone made that you spend AN HOUR of one-on-one time with Noah each day - sounds very unrealistic to me, esp. for a breastfeeding mom (breastfeeding the 2nd time rocks, doesn't it?). Otherwise, Internet support is so great - bask in it when you need to.


I hope you take this the right way but THANK GOD! I was starting to worry that your whole 2nd baby experience was going to be so glowing and easy and awesome that I would feel like a leper when my 2nd is born in a few months and I inevitably fall into a sobbing, unshowered mess out in public while getting pummelled by my then 3-year-old. *WHEW*
I, too, agree with Gigi - and with what you're doing with Noah already. Sometimes naughty steps and punishments are necessary but esp. in times of huge transition positive attention, letting them know their feelings are valid and letting them cry, tantrum & get upset and seeing that you'll love & cuddle them anyway has gotta be the way to go. There's some saying about how when your kids are acting in an unlovable way is when they need your love the most or some... thing? equally lame? Sorry. Sleepy. You're doing a great job, anyway (with the hair AND the kids).


I wish I could offer words of encouragement but, fortunately, I never went through that with my two girls . . . maybe it's a boy thing? I'm sure the other commenters are right and that it's totally normal and will get better. But it must tear your heart to see the child who was your heart acting out because he now has to share your heart.

Anyway, just a quick thought: could maybe the 5-day-a-week preschool be too much for him with that's going on? I know he was fine with it before and it's every convenient, but maybe it's just too much for a little guy -- especially one with so much "new stuff" to process at home?

None of my business, clearly. But just a thought.

Here's hoping things calm down on the Noah front. Oh, and my mom always uses the expression "new normal" -- love it!


I remember this from when I was in your shoes:)

Imagine how you would feel if one day your hubs came home and said " Guess what? I'm bringing home a new wife for us! Yes, I love you, but we can all love the new wife too! Won't that be fabulous? But every time the new wife cries, I have to hold her. Every thing the new wife wants I need to give her, because it is my job. And she won't even acknowledge you for three months, but surely you can adjust to that. Won't it be great?!"

Kinda gives a little perspective.

Play up the big boy stuff-things the baby can't do or have...the chocolate milk, the rides in the mall. Almost make him sympathetic ("Poor Ezra, he can't help Mommy like you can. Can't even have chocolate milk! Isn't it great to be a BIG boy? I sure am glad to have a big boy around to help me out.")

Again-worked for me :)


I'm just amazed that that is the first time he has ever tried to hit you :).

But thinking back, I don't remember my oldest ever hitting until she was much older - like maybe three. They lead such sheltered existences...

You guys are doing great. Parenting is just one big muddle because each child is unique and each situation is unique. I spent so much time reading books trying to find out what I should do when and never finding a concrete answer - and then I realized there are no concrete answers. Embrace your philosophy and do the best you can to stick with it. And yes, at this age they try out so many different versions of themselves. I'm sure this one isn't actually "Noah".

Must be Motherhood

Oh, my dear...I am glad to read these posts because my own toddler has reacted much the same way as Noah. And it has continued now for 2 months. People tell me it can take up to 6 months for them to adjust. Man, in the first few weeks I felt evil for wanting someone to just take.him.away. so I could love my new, quiet, sweet little baby in peace. Not a happy feeling.
You're not alone, it's not personal, and we're all right here withya.

well read hostess

Hardest time of my entire life was after the birth of my second child. The guilt about the first was CRUSHING and I wasn't equipped. Dark days.

It wasn't until my sister in law sat me down and kind of screamed over and over in my face that my feelings were normal and my son would be fine and wouldn't be scarred for life and this too shall pass etc...that I could start to DEAL.

That picture is absolutely beautiful. Nobody should look that good with two kids at home!


Oh, I forgot to share the often-told family story of my brother's response to my birth. He was a month shy of three. Prior to my birth he would tell total strangers, with great excitment: "Mommy, belly, baby come SOON!" During my birth, he was staying with our great-grandparents, and when my parents brought my swaddled self home, he was busy watching "Emergency".

My parents said, "John, it's your baby sister!" and stuck me down at his level. He tore his eyes from the screen, glanced at me, said "Uh-huh," and went back to his previous schedule of television viewing.

It was such a touching moment, I bet they wished they'd taken a picture.


You've probably already thought of this, but you might want to get a stroller than you can fit the baby's carseat into so that if the baby falls asleep in the car (in the carseat), you won't wake him up when you get wherever you're going and you have to put him into the stroller.


This pod person will rear his
ugly head every time the baby
does something new that you ooh
and aah over. Brace yourself
for when the heWALKS AND OMG
GRABS MYYYYY TOYS!!!!!! My 4 and 1 1/2 year old are just tthe
bestest buddies though- and
mortal enemies!


A while back my mom told me the story about how the 2 year old version of myself reacted to my new little brother entering my life... Apparently one morning my mom came to get me and I greeted her with "Mommy No Walk" and a refusal to stand up. Yes, at the ripe age of 2, I pretended to be a parapalegic to turn the attention of my parents away from my brother and to me. Supposedly I pulled it off so long and so convincingly that my mom actually brought me to the doctor thinking there may be something wrong with my legs. A few hours and one nap later, I woke up and miraculously had use of my legs again, and had scored a solid day of all parental eyes on me. 25 years later, I love my brother and my parents, and have never resorted to fake paralysis again. Noah IS normal and things will get better!!


Totally totally irritating and frustrating, but normal. Like everyone else said, as long as he's not acting out towards Ezra or at school, it's generally alright.
And I found that three was harder than two because he really thought he was a Big Boy and didn't need us telling him what to do, and had the ability to say things that would just crush us ("you're not my friend, Mommy" was a popular one). But we kept up the positive reinforcement as much as our patience allowed, stayed as consistent as we possibly could on discipline (and dude, there were a few days where I swore he was in Time Out longer than about guilt). After a short time, the worst of it abated (I couldn't tell you the actual length of time since I was also nursing a boob monster every two hours). He would still be difficult at times, but we made the concerted effort to try to do things together, or just with him. It's hard, but now that Gavin's four, life is remarkably better. Seriously I think a switch flipped on the day of his birthday. He is also the only one who can make his little brother laugh.

I'm also thrilled to hear your dad is out of the hospital and doing well. Hopefully a trip can be planned soon so that your parents can plant tons of kisses on your boys.

And since I'm really behind in reading, I'm so very glad that nursing is going so much better this time around (and I'm with you on the thrush...holy crap does that stuff scare me!).


It's been thirty years, but reading your post put me right back in that moment with a screaming two year old and a new baby. When I thought I couldn't take another moment, my husband and I also went out to dinner where I put my head on the restaurant table and sobbed for an hour. Quite the sight, I'm sure. Several days later as I was having a very tough time in the grocery store with both kids, an older woman approached me, smiled and said "these days seem so long but the years will seem so short." At the time I couldn't imagine there was any truth in that, but she was right. Now I'm blogging about my overly quiet household and how much I miss those days raising the kids. It will get better. You'll be fine.


You are doing everything absolutely right. really. This is survival mode time. Everyday you make it through is a huge victory. Then you will see a few very short weeks from now your family will "settle in" and you will have your gorgeous adorable sweet boy back. Take breaks, give lots of hugs, and cut yourself some slack!


Amy - When we had our baby (now 8 months), our 3yo was never mean to the baby (in fact, it was weird how easily he seemed to understand Colin's need to feed constantly, etc.) but was really unpleasant to us for a while. It gets better... I think around 6 months everyone was sleeping, eating and we had figured out our groove. But I would cut him as much slack as possible for a while, although it is so hard during this time when you are tired and healing too. I had to keep reminding myself that most people have siblings and things would get better!

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