21 September 2015

Factually Accurate and Entirely True Representations of raising Two under Two

A lovely lady recently tweeted me to thank me for some rubbish I'd written online somewhere which made her smile. She went on to say that she'd read my blog and the fact that I was still alive having had an 18 month age gap between my children was basically nothing short of inspirational. And she's right. I AM a wonder. Anyone who raises any kids is incredible, twins, triplets, small age gaps, big age gaps. It IS a wonder we're all still standing.

The lady in question is in her 2nd trimester with a just turned one year old baby. She's struggling to put him down in the cot without squashing the bump, in a few weeks she'll be struggling to get him in his car seat (unless this particular lady has super human biceps and arms as long as her legs, in which case she'll be fine). Basically, she's struggling, physically and emotionally with the bizarre knowledge that she's gone and gotten herself pregnant when she already has a baby! She asked me if I had any tips. And besides "I promise you will love your second baby as much as your first, although possibly not straight away" I have no words of wisdom to offer. Sorry.

I'm going to be straight with you lady (I'm going to call you lady because although I know your twitter handle, I don't know your name!) you are in for a tough ride. So instead of trying to make it sound like you'll be fine, (you won't) here is a visual run-down of the first year with 2 babies. Hopefully it will enlighten you, prepare you for the worst and indoctrinate you into the mindset that you have to laugh, even while crying.

Here's a Venn Diagram of your future:





Don't get me wrong, there WERE times in that first year when no one was crying. I mean, probably. I can't recall any right now but... Y'know, there must have been one or two.

Here's the main reasons we were crying during that year:





But it's not all crying! Oh no, don't forget the endless, endless wiping of bums and sleep deprivation too:



That covers the basics, but there were a few factors that I couldn't squeeze into the timeline:

1) At some stage you have to transition Baby 1 into a bed, which means they can roam the house and wake up Baby 2 at any point. Get locks. On all the doors. (Or stair-gates which you will then walk into in the middle of the night for the rest of your life)

2) You have to potty train Baby 1 roughly around the time Baby 2 is crawling/cruising and a complete liability to leave unattended in a room. Putting a child on a potty with a baby on your hip is a skill you never really gain.

Amazingly I haven't even got to the emotional turmoil yet:



Don't worry, you can handle it lady. Well, not really but I'm sure your Facebook page will make it look like you can and that's all that counts right?

Seriously, it is shit, so don't go it alone, ask for as much help as you can. I promise eventually your brain will edit out all the tough times so that in 30 years time when your daughter or daughter in law asks you how you coped with 2 under 2 you'll tell them the same LIE my mother and mother-in-law told me:

                       "It's easier the second time around"

It isn't easier the second time because you didn't have TWO CHILDREN the first time. It is bloody hard work, physically, mentally and emotionally.

But...
After the initial wave of postpartum hormones and adjustment, the whole baby thing is slightly easier because it's not so alien this time around. [For the record: I am not saying second babies are easier: mine was exactly as hard as the first, the same constant feeding, the same refusal to nap, the same nighttime shenanigans.] What I mean is you're a Mum already, you've got this. You know who to ignore, which baby classes are total crap, which friends you can call at 8am because you need to get out of the house already, you know that those funny spots on the newborn went away after a few days last time. That all makes it marginally easier. 

And, this too shall pass.

It gets better. It gets better, easier, less emotional, less exhausting, less terrifying. 

My eldest is 3 and despite this haunting my every waking moment for over a year, I now literally can't remember the last time I felt guilty about giving one child more attention than the other. 

They play together, sometimes for long enough that I can make their whole dinner without either of them tugging on my jeans asking for something. 

Taking them both out on my own is no longer an issue. Last month I took them both to a theme park, on my own and (get this) had the best day ever! 



You will get there terrified lady of twitter. And until you do, when you are moaning on twitter I'll try my very, very best to sympathize and not to be that smug bastard who tells you to savour every moment 'because they're not babies for long'.

It's true though, they're not babies for long... thankfully.



7 comments:

  1. This is fab - and just what I needed to read at 2:30am whilst feeding baby number 2. To be fair I don't have two under two but I do have 'one under two and one who was only two two months ago' so I pretty much have all the same problems. My current worry is that I'm addling the big ones brain Ashe watches CBeebies all day as the baby won't let me stop feeding him and get off the sofa! In the grand scheme of things I'm sure he'll survive though...

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  2. Oh Amy you've just taken me back through it. It was hell. Thank goodness for wine. x

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  3. So so funny. This is why I had gaps between mine. But then again, I now have 3. And that is a hell all of its own.

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  4. Hilarious (and very) clever Amy. I had an 18 month age gap and don't remember any of this - mostly because I buried it far into the depths of my appalling memory. So far in fact that I had a third 3 years later. What?!

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  5. Haha love this Amy! And the pics. My oldest two are just 18 months apart *shudder* xx I went on to have a third so I must have forgot or wine dulled my memory xx

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  6. Well mine are now 15 and 16! Does it get easier? Well? It certainly changes. But ... They are the best of friends. They support one another, stick up for one another and have fun together. They have different friends but also the same friends. They still do things together. They help each other with homework. Oh yeah.. They fight with one another! Boy do they fight: sometimes. I've learnt not to get involved. I learnt quickly to say to them " how does x feel when you..." And leave it at that. Intervention is reserved for injury (mainly) because they always make friends 20s after an argument. Enjoy their closeness. In the long run, I recon it makes things easier. As for having 2 babies. I think you'll find the 2nd knows it's place!

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  7. Great post - so honest. I love that. I had a three year gap between mine - way way easier. They adore each other despite the gap but having said that my oldest is SO impatient for his younger bro to hurry up and grow so they can play together properly. It will be a while yet as bubba is only nine months. I am considering a third but perhaps not just yet after reading your post! :-) xxx

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