My kids are only 19.5 months apart. They would have been 20 months apart if William didn’t arrive two weeks early but I doubt that would have made much difference. Believe it or not I’m really thankful for my 2 under 2 and the way they’re encouraging me to grow as a person.
Having 2 kids under 2 cops a bit of a bad rap by some people. The funniest comment I ever got was “don’t you own a TV?” Yes we do. Most people stick with the, “you must be busy.” Yes I am, you’re very observant aren’t you. These comments I don’t mind too much but it’s the whispered, “was it planned” question that gets me a little cranky.
Not that it’s anyone’s business but I will clarify, we did plan it thisway. Not that it would have made any difference to our love for William if he had been a surprise. Although Corey and I certainly do have days where we wonder what we were thinking, for the most part I really do love having my littlies this close together.
We wanted to have our kids young and we wanted our kids close together. We wanted them to enjoy each others company. We had a deliberate gap between the two (trust me. They’re not 12 months apart like many families) but just long enough for us to feel confident we could care for a second baby. I’m grateful for the gap we did have.
Before we decided we were ready Alexis was already walking and starting to talk. She had a strong bond with Corey and I and her grandparents. She was comfortable spending time with her aunty and uncle and she was an amazing big cousin to Isabella. Alexis was growing more independent daily, beginning to sleep well, and eating very well. Her breastfeeds were mostly for comfort. She had good social skills with the young children at church.So when the time came for my maternity leave to end and my employer would not provide a suitable part time job it wasn’t too hard to decide to have another baby instead of going back to work.
As mentioned before, there are moments, sometimes days, when we question what we were thinking. There are times when I fear I may have robbed Alexis of something important, my undivided attention. The truth is though that if it was not for William I would have been back at work this time last year. Whether I had worked full time days (with regular night shift and overtime too or part time nights and weekends I would not have had as much time for Alexis as I do now even sharing with William. I would not have gotten much more sleep either and I certainly wouldn’t have been any happier.
In terms of being pregnant with bub number 2 while looking after bub number 1, 20 months is a great gap. Even with me not being entirely healthy during my pregnancy, she got 19.5 months of it being all about her. She had long enough to know how special she is to us. Yet she was still small enough and compliant enough for me to wrangle her on my own. Mostly. She was old enough to spend the day with nanna and grandad when I needed a break but not old enough to refuse to come home again.
She was also young enough when William was born to just accept that she now had a brother and that’s just how it was going to be. She didn’t really get jealous. She didn’t really have any dangerous toys that we had to take off her. She wasn’t really getting into mischief or being mindfully disobedient. She’s started these things now but William is 3.5 months and a lot more settled so Corey and I have a little more time to devote to disciplining Alexis.
I’m glad Alexis wasn’t much younger when William was born though because of a few reasons.
a) she could walk very well so I didn’t have to carry her
b) she was weaned
c) she appreciated the value of reading books or watching tv
d) she could feed herself
e) she could hold baby William (sitting on a couch with me hovering right there) and join in on the excitement
f) she could help me. Really. She fetched me wipes and nappies and nappy bags. She carried dirty nappies in the bag and put them in the bin. She was an amazing little helper.
Now 3.5 months later Alexis is still a great helper. She still loves her cuddles on the couch with her baby brother. She still shows him off proudly to every stranger at the shops or at church. She still has a special nickname for him. Yet it is even better.
Now she jingles his rattling toys for him, she sings to him, she kisses him and they play together. They play peek-a-boo, she does her version of round and round the garden and this little piggy and they have baths together. They even have tea parties and play with blocks now that William can sit up in my lap. All four of us read stories together tonight and it was the most fun I’ve ever had.
Alexis and William babble backward and forwards to each other. It’s adorable. As soon as Alexis wakes from her day nap all she wants is ‘ugck’ (William). For a few days now I’ve put William in the cot while I changed Alexis’ nappy and once I let her down she tickled his hands and feet through the bars and the two of them had a ‘conversation’, gooing and gah-ing and giggling for close to 10 minutes.
Having William able to play with her in this kind of way is helping to tire Alexis out so she is sleeping better and longer than she used to. Having Alexis to look up to means that William will have a great role model. It also means that he is happy to just be near her and I don’t always have to try to entertain him. Unfortunately I don’t get much housework done because I always need to be standing right there supervising but it truly is a privilege to watch.
Of course there are moments when having 2 under 2 is so hard. Of course there’s times when Alexis gets too rough with William and I have to step in and there’s a lot of tears from all of us. Of course there’s times when Alexis wants to do big girl things when William is cranky/sore/gassy/over-tired and it’s so very hard to juggle. Of course I have to keep reminding Alexis that although its great to share her things William doesn’t eat food and only has booby milk not her bottle. Of course it’s difficult to keep her occupied during William’s growth spurts. Of course there’s times I feel like I am totally unqualified to be a mum at all let alone to two under two, but thankfully the hard times are getting fewer and further in between.
I’ve worked out a few tips for making it easier but that’s a post for another day. This one is probably too long as it is and considering it’s 3am (I’ve been up to both kids) I should go back to sleep now. Another busy day is fast approaching. Even though I’ll be very tired, I’ll be thankful for another day with my 2 under 2.
What are you thankful for today? Check out what others are thankful for with Thankful Thursday at Katesaysstuff.