I have two under two. OK, actually, at one point I had two under 15 months. For some that seems crazy and miserable and don’t worry, no one has hesitated to let me know.
But to be honest, I think having kids close together is one of the best-kept secrets out there.
In fact, we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Sure, there are crucible moments, especially those first few months—one screaming to be nursed, the other needs help with her sippy cup; that moment when you realize neither one can feed himself, get in his own car seat, or be trusted in a room alone for more than 10 seconds; the fact that getting out of the house, in the beginning, feels like a monumental and terrifying task that just isn’t worth it—but that’s why God invented Amazon, grocery delivery, and online Target. Right?
But what about the stuff other people don’t talk about? What about the fact that you are knocking out the “diaper phase” in one fell swoop? (Bonus points if your kids are like mine and your second is MUCH larger than your first and actually wears the same size diapers and soon-to-be clothes!) What about the fact that you haven’t forgotten everything about having a baby (schedules, feedings, sleep tricks, etc.) since you literally just had one? What about the benefit that your almost-2-year-old will never remember life without her baby sister? What about the fact that it forces you to get over some of your own control issues early and quickly because things just CAN’T be THAT clean, schedules CAN’T be your end-all-be-all because they will be busted often, and you WILL leave the zoo with two screaming children at some point for all the world to see. And you know what? IT WILL BE OK!
For a recovering control-a-holic like me, having two under two was the greatest thing that ever could have happened to me because I finally had to lay myself down.
I learned to gracefully put my own needs last and be OK with that. I learned to embrace the chaos that was our nightly routine and actually laugh at it sometimes. I learned to enjoy my kids rather than just “manage” them (this came due to the above-referenced fear of getting out for the first six months of my second’s life—therefore much more time at home). I finally had to ask for help outside of myself and admit I couldn’t do it all. I finally had to be OK with everything not looking perfectly put together. I guess you could say I became REAL. And I discovered an amazing thing—people like REAL people much more than they like PERFECT people!
And you know what else? I think one day my girls will look back and say it was the best thing that ever happened to THEM. They will have each other all the days of their lives. They will laugh together, cry together, share clothes, share interests, share secrets, share an ice-cream cone, and share a room.
So, hang in there, mama. I promise the crucible will lighten and you will come out refined on the other side. And then you will have a moment like I had last week, when they are both a little older (freshly 2 and 10 months—”older” is relative, right?) and they are in the crib together with books and toys laughing, rolling around, the older one trying to read to the younger, the younger squealing with joy while you actually fold a FRESH load of laundry (not one you’ve dried 18 times because it’s been sitting in there for at least five days) or actually finish a hot cup of coffee watching the Today Show (life goals!).
And you walk in to tell them it’s time to get ready for a nap and you realize that somehow in the midst of all the chaos, you have done much more than keep two tiny humans alive for the past 10 months.
You have grown love in your house. You have watered it with tears of joy and tears of laughter. You have allowed the light of quality time to mature it.
And all of a sudden, it springs up: Love! Your girls have finally realized all the entertainment and joy they need is wrapped up in each other. And FINALLY, rather than asking you to referee one more toy debacle or fetch them one more snack, your older one looks at you and says, “Mommy, please leave. Maggie wants to keep playing with Libby.” Oh my. Be still my heart. Yes, little one. Mommy will leave so you and Libby can keep playing and laughing. Happy to! An hour from now we may be drowning again, but for now, who needs nap time anyway?
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