Two years ago, at almost exactly this time, I was sitting in our living room, looking out the window, and shaking my head in disbelief at the snow falling from the sky.

It was nearly April and it seemed that spring was nowhere in sight, even though the calendar said spring had officially started.

Fast forward to today and I’m sitting here looking out the window and shaking my head in disbelief at the blizzard raging outside.

Two years ago, though, I was sitting in the living room rocking our newborn daughter and still trying to mentally adjust to the reality of having two children.

Right now, Monika is sleeping peacefully in her bed and, while parenting is an ongoing education, I, at least, feel like I’ve got a good handle on raising multiple children.

What a difference two years makes. 

My spring baby (Monika was born on the first day of spring) is no longer a baby, but an easy-going toddler who loves tickles and airplane rides and story time. My winter baby (coincidentally, Dan was born on the first day of winter) has grown into a big brother; he’s a bit overzealous at times, but he loves his sister fiercely.

There have been some bumps and bruises (literally and figuratively) along the way, but we’ve all grown tremendously in the past two years. 

Dan has learned to share, to wait his turn and to care for others.

Glen and I have learned a lot, too. If having a child teaches you vigilance and responsibility, having a second child teaches you to relax a little. Here are the lessons I’ve learned in the past two years:

• It’s okay for babies to cry. Likewise, a toddler can cry for quite some time and still be fine.

• It’s okay for kids to cry themselves to sleep every now and then (although I’m still not a big fan of the concept).

• Contrary to the belief that two kids require twice as much parenting as one, two kids require more than twice as much parenting as one. There’s an exponential factor involved. (Which is why the thought of having three children scares me silly – at least with two the parent-child ratio is still equal.)

• Along those same lines, your love for your children more than doubles when you become a family of four.

• It’s okay to fall in the gutter… or drive the tricycle into the gutter. That’s why they make milk house sinks big enough to accommodate a toddler.

• Farm kids don’t abide by the five-second rule… it doesn’t matter how long it’s been on the ground, they just brush it off and eat it. And they survive.

• Kids can accidentally or intentionally ingest mud, manure and other outside substances and be just fine.

• Toddlers can slide down a flight of stairs and have nothing more to show for it than a few tears. (I tried that once and was black-and-blue for weeks.)

• It’s okay for little girls to wear Spiderman underwear and navy blue snowsuits and drive toy tractors around. Just like it’s okay for little boys to play with dolls and proclaim their desire to be a princess.

• Never underestimate the motivational and instructional power of “monkey see, monkey do.” Just because your baby shouldn’t be old enough to climb up on the couch doesn’t mean she can’t figure out how to do so after watching her older brother.

• Never underestimate the power of teamwork. 

“Dan, how did Monika get out of the pack n’ play?” 

“I helped her get out.” 

“Can you show me how?” 

“Yeah, I went like this…” 

And he proceeded to show me how he jumped off his bed into her pack n’ play, hoisted Monika out of the pack n’ play and then climbed out himself.

I suppose it’s safe to say that these lessons are just a primer for the lessons we’ll learn in the coming years. But since everyone has survived these past two years, we ought to be off to a decent start.

Sadie and her husband, Glen, milk 70 cows near Melrose, Minn. They have two children – Dan, 3, and Monika, 2. When she’s not parenting or farming, she’s writing for the Dairy Star. Sadie can be reached at gsfrericks@meltel.net.