There is almost 4 and a half years between my small people. I know friends with smaller gaps and friends with bigger gaps. There’s no ‘right’ age gap to have. Each comes with it’s own challenges and highs and lows. People plan the gap that suits them, although sometimes the universe, or in this case biology might have other plans for us.
Whatever the age gap deciding to have another child and going from one to two, changes things in more ways than you can imagine.
Remember those first few weeks of maternity leave before your first baby arrived? I was 10 days overdue so had more time than I planned. The naps, the shopping, the trashy day time TV. It was heaven (apart from the being huge and really uncomfortable bit). Well you can forget that with number two! You are more likely to be getting your ginormous belly wedged in the rollers at soft play than you are taking a nap.
The trouble with two is that it’s double the guilt. Guilt that the big one isn’t getting as much attention as they used to. Guilt that the little one doesn’t get as much time as the big one did when they were a baby. Guilt that you are incapable of splitting yourself in two, and one small person will always be waiting for their needs to be met whilst you see to the needs of the other small person. Never before have wanted so much to be in two places at once. With 10 pairs of hands, and eyes in the back of your head.
Then there are the times when they are both crying. At the same time. Full on tears and heaving sobs. You will learnt that you always have enough cuddles and love to go around. No matter how big and fast they are growing there is always room on Mummy’s lap for two. Ok you might not be able to breathe, and the circulation to your legs is in question, but the tears have subsided and right now you are Supermum.
The illnesses can be a never ending nightmare. The snotty noses seem to pass from one to the other and back again, with you sometimes caught in the firing line. Then there’s the sickness bugs. oh my God, the sickness bugs. It stands to reason that with double the trouble, your chances of catching the sickness bug are also doubled. And when Mummy and Daddy go down along with the kids it may as well be the apocalypse. You will find your self playing tag with your partner as you take it turns to have your head down the toilet to re-visit breakfast and then swap so you can mop up the kids sick, wipe their brows, and get bear washed and dry before bedtime. Fun times!
The trouble with two brings along a brand new set of parenting sods laws that will leave you rolling your eyes to the heavens above and muttering curse words under your breath. My small people always seem to poo at the same time. Whilst I am changing the little one, the big one is yelling his orders for me to wipe his butt. They will have simultaneous growth spurts that leave you in the shoe shop gasping for breath and feeling faint as you part with a small fortune. Do you know how many handbags I could by for that money! And of course just as you recover from a bout of sleepless nights with the little one teething, the big one will develop one of those nighttime hacking coughs.
The trouble with two is that your house gets taken over by toys and you have a constant pile of crap to go to charity, or to be sold whenever the hell you can find 5 minutes to do it.
And the washing. Holy mother of god the washing.
The trouble with two are the squabbles and fights. We have all this to come. The arguments over toys or which movie to watch. I have flash forwards to the big one hating me for making him take the little one with him wherever he is going. Or the little one being mad at me for not letting him do what the big one is doing because he’s just not big enough. There was a minor ‘shark attack’ incident when the big one was showing me his dance moves and the little one waddled over to sink his newly acquired gnashers into his butt.
Why on earth would people have two or even three children?
In some ways adding another child to the mix is easier than when you added the first. The shell shock of the late night wake up calls and early morning starts isn’t quite as hard hitting. This time you’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt. You are already living the family life and your new little bundle somehow slots right in as if they have always been there. It’s like there has been a space all along that there was just waiting for them to fill it.
Double the trouble is double the reward. Because second time around you may have forgotten a lot of the baby stuff, but you know you survived it the first time and this time you savor it that bit more. You know what people meant when they said it would go quick. There is less of a hurry to get to the next stage or milestone. Instead you enjoy the moment. You worry, all parents worry. But you don’t worry that your baby is not yet crawling when all his comrades are, because you know that he will in his own time. You also know life is going to be a whole lot more complicated when he is mobile and you have to start hiding the big ones Lego.
Second time round you have more confidence in your abilities as a parent. You are not as open to the judgement and criticism that comes your way. When someone makes an unhelpful comment you will roll your eyes and smile sweetly and ignore them rather than cry your eyes out and ask google for advise.
And your heart will swell with joy when you see the unconditional bond between the two small people you have created. You will witness it grow and develop every day. The big one will take such pride in his new role as the older sibling, and the little one will be in awe of everything the big one does. It’s a beautiful thing. You will laugh at how you even considered whether there was enough love to go around for two.
The trouble with two is it can sometimes make you want three! 😉
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