When I found out I was expecting baby number two, my first was only 10 months old. A bit of quick mental arithmetic and I quickly calculated that my daughter would be just 18 months old when my new Bear Cub would make an appearance. Gulp! All those horror stories you hear of people coping with two under two, I mean I had only just got things worked out with one baby and now I had to start thinking about adding another to the daily struggles of motherhood.
On top of that, I think the most common phrase’s when people found out I was expecting number two were:
1 – You’re joking aren’t you?
2 – Oh two under two – Good luck with that!
3 – was it planned?
Nothing particularly encouraging there not like the first time around when everything was positive. At this point in time, I had a whole heap of emotions, mainly of the “help, how am I going to do this” variety. I hadn’t even gone back to work yet and all I could feel was guilt. Guilt for returning to work expecting, guilt for thinking that my daughter would have to grow up quicker, guilt for feeling guilty… The fact is, you can’t worry too much about it as what will be will be. And you will get through it.
Roll forward nine months and Bear Cub number two arrives. The positives of this small age gap start to show immediately. I have never left the “baby stage” so changing a nappy was still part of daily life and most nights were still limited in actual sleep time.
There is no denying that the early months are a mixture of emotions and struggles and I found that either William was being carried around in his car seat most of the time to fit in with our currant life or Felicity was being told to just “wait five minutes”. A phrase I soon learnt I must have said a lot as it was soon being repeated back to me from her very mouth!
Routine I think was one of the key things that I wanted to get in place. Although finding a routine for William was more problematic maintaining Felicity’s seemed to be easier and this in turn helped me and William out. Bedtime, believe it or not always turned out to be the least stressful part of the day and quickly it turned out that both Felicity and William would go down for the night at 6pm. Another dose of mother’s guilt would hit though as I remembered back to all the long bedtime cuddles I used to give to Felicity and the stories we would read. Now it was a case of put William in his cot so he was safe whilst I dressed, read stories to and cuddled Felicity and finally tucked her in. Then by the time I would get to William for his turn he would already be fast asleep!
Daytimes with two little ones were long, especially as at this point Felicity decided to cut out her daytime nap. I would always make sure to get out every day and going to the gym became my sanctuary. I could have some “me” time whilst the kids were in the crèche and as I never had family nearby my friends became my go to people for help. As time goes on it definitely gets easier, for many reasons, William growing and becoming more settled, Felicity learning to be more independent and discovering role play and her imagination for playing on her own. She also has better understanding of instructions and knowing when Mummy is busy. There are obviously days when you are running on low batteries and don’t have the energy to fight certain battles so I do give in to things that will comfort her. TV for example or Felicity’s dummy that we were trying to wean her from.
Although having two under two scared me initially I now look at the two of them and think it is perfect. The bond between them is so special and they both idolise the other. They both have their own personalities but they compliment each other perfectly. Maybe in a couple of years I’ll be cursing the small age gap as they fight – who knows, but for now I really do hope they keep the closeness as they grow up.