Just some reflections so far...
All the parents of multiple children I talk to tell me that the "hardest" transition is either from one to two, or from two to three kids. It seems like an even split between the two camps. People all agree, though, that after that number (either two or three kids), adding more isn't such a big deal. So far - and I realize that I am only speaking from a week's experience, so I may change my tune soon enough - going from one to two has been a lot smoother than I expected. Granted, I've had help from my mother-in-law. I still haven't really been put to the test in dealing with them fully on my own.
I have a feeling that "home life" isn't going to change all that much. It's going to be getting out of the house that presents the biggest challenge. I just hope I don't become one of those moms who never goes anywhere anymore, because it's too much work! We have a lot of tools at our disposal to help us, though: a sling, a Moby wrap, a baby Bjorn, a baby backpack, an umbrella stroller, a travel system stroller, and a double jogging stroller (yikes!! no wonder our basement was taken over with baby stuff!). Stella's too small for some of them, and Sly's too big for some of them. But I can find different combinations for different activities, and hopefully figure out how to keep us from just sitting inside all day.
Stella has been such an easy baby so far. She's still in the "sleeps seemingly 23.5 hours a day" phase. But even when she does cry, the only thing she ever wants is to be nursed. Nursing her will stop the crying 100% of the time. And then she falls right back asleep. I really can't complain. Baby Sly used to just scream for hours, totally inconsolable. And he was very bad with nursing for the first month or so. But Stella's just a pro. I wonder how much of that is "her" and how much of it is because I have a lot more confidence in what I'm doing this time around?
It is fascinating to think how the same two parents can produce such different little people. Their personalities are going to be all their own. I'm excited to see how Stella's personality develops. It's also going to be a good measure of how much any "successes" we've had with Sly are a result of our good parenting vs. just "good luck" in getting a child who's naturally tidy, obedient, or any other valued trait.
When Sly was a baby, it changed my whole lifestyle. It was a huge transition - learning to care for a little person, figuring out how to get errands done, learning which social activities could still be handled and which ones just needed to be given up for a time. So I was gearing up for a rough time again with this new little one. But I realize - babies are so EASY. Taking care of Stella is nothing - I know what I'm doing now, and my life has already been adjusted to "parent mode". It's Sly, the very insistent, very energetic toddler that takes so much more of my energy right now.
We were worried about how Sly would handle a new baby. I was sure he'd get jealous, and act out a lot. (Well, he does act out a lot, but I think that's mostly a symptom of being two years old!) But he has been amazingly sweet, affectionate, and welcoming to his new baby sister. He can't see her without wanting to plant kisses all over her. He is very solicitous about her - worrying when she is crying, and wanting to put in a pacifier for her or give her a blanket. He talks about her with a big smile on his face. I'm so grateful for that.
Before Stella was born, I kept wondering to myself, "how will I ever love another kid as much as I love Sly?". But it's just so natural. From the day she was born, it was obvious to me that I had room in my heart for both of them. As they say, your love isn't divided amongst each new child that comes along. Instead, it is multiplied. How true.