I always knew I wanted a second child, and whether it's a case of good luck or good intuition, I couldn't be happier with my choice. The joy of having a second child will vary from person to person, to be sure, but for most of the people I've talked to the intense euphoria you feel when things are going well is universal.
This isn't to say, of course, that it's all intense euphoria. Sometimes it's the exact opposite of that. The bickering, the roughhousing, and the weirdly effective emotional manipulation can leave you wondering WTF you were thinking when you decided to add another miniature you to the mix. And while you'd never, ever take baby number two back, there are moments when you completely understand why some people don't choose to expand their families.
But then one tiny little gesture of kindness — a shared toy, a thoughtful hand-holding, a moment of unexpected, loving encouragement from one child when the other is struggling to do something new — and it makes all the broken-record moments about sharing a toy worth it.
Romper asked moms to share what about having two children has brought them the most joy, and their answers are proof that I'm not the only sucker for a loving relationship between siblings:
"I adore the relationship between my first and second child. As an only child I find the sibling dynamic fascinating and so special. I love watching them interact and play together.I also love that my second child is an advanced talker. My first daughter had a speech delay so we rarely heard her sweet voice until after age 3, but my second will tell you entire stories and sing songs with her precious 2-year-old voice and I love it. I'm so glad I get to experience something new with each child."
"Seeing someone I love more than anyone slowly (sometimes very slowly) learn to fall in love with the other person I love more than anyone has been one of the most joy-filled experiences of my life."
"I felt more confident and more at ease going to it thinking I sort of knew what I was doing."
"That he came one minute after his sister! I know twins who are three hours apart!"
"As they get older, seeing them stick up for each other, cheer each other on, and talk each other through tough situations makes my heart sing."
"The (still very few and far between) moments where my older daughter is so sweet to my younger daughter. It makes my heart so joyful and full. Granted, this usually happens when my older daughter is upset with me, but if her being a little upset with me helps strengthen the #teamsister bond, I'm all for it!"
"Knowing that my first isn’t an only child — I am and I hate that fact to this day. Seeing them play together. Seeing how protective my first is of my second and how much my second idolizes my first. It’s amazing."
"The way my oldest is so protective and concerned for my youngest."
"You know how schools have peer counseling? Having a second child is like peer babysitting. Hours upon hours go by where they are their own entity. Big helps Little get snacks, Little builds Big's confidence on account of the big brother worship, both exercise parts of their personalities that the other brings out. It's the best and affords me time and space to eat bon-bons alone."
"Having different personalities in the home. Its so intriguing to me!"
"Watching their dynamic is so fun. Their personalities are perfect for their birth order. [My 9-year-old] is a good teacher and is often patient with his younger brother, [who is 7]. [My 7-year-old] is a strong enough personality to stand up to his brother, but he’s also super into working well with [him]. When they cheer for, gently correct, or teach/learn from each other, it’s bliss."
"Watching how they shape one another is really something so special and not an experience I had with my older sister, whose children are closer in age to me than she is."
"Even though they're 5 and 3, we still have the baby monitor in their room because we're paranoid and also can't cut the cord. But also I love to hear them talk to each other after lights out. They have the cutest conversations (and, yes, sometimes arguments). It's so wonderful to see a loving relationship develop between the two of them. The night [my older child] started reading to [my younger child] and I almost died of cuteness."