I purposely spaced my boys two years apart. Sometimes I don’t know what I was thinking…actually the entire first year of my second baby’s life I asked myself that question daily…but for the most part, I’m happy to have children close in age. I’m gonna break it down for you today, the scary parts and the awesome parts!
1. Two babies at once. Having a two year old with a baby was like having one big baby and one tiny baby. Neither had much comprehension, if any, of my needs to tend to the other one. Neither were self-sufficient at anything; it wasn’t like I could tell my two year old to go make himself a sandwich or to hold on for whatever it was he needed in the moment so I could nurse the baby for 45 minutes. And it never failed that as soon as the baby was almost asleep, my toddler would crap his pants and start whining loudly. A lot of the first year felt like chaos.
2. Neediness. As I was saying above, both a toddler and a baby are extremely needy. There is no self-sufficiency, no understanding, no capability to do everyday things like poop in toilets and wipe their own butt, putting themselves to bed, etc. They both need you. To hold them, feed them, clean them, comfort them, take care of them. Neither have long attention spans…your toddler will only stay occupied with something for so long…and it’s rarely long enough to put the baby to sleep. Nor do they care that the other one exists or that their sibling may need you more than they need you in that moment.
3. Sleep. I know there’s lots of people who have sleepers so they won’t relate to this one. But a lot of toddlers are not sleeping through the night, no matter what you do or try. Most nights the first year it felt like a cruel game of musical chairs…one would finally go to sleep and then the other would wake up. The term sleep deprivation was an understatement for what I was, especially since my boys never napped at the same time either, so there was no “resting during the day” to recover from the previous night. Super fun times!
1. Baby mode. Okay I wouldn’t classify this as awesome, but one good thing about all of the sleep deprivation and constant diaper changes and breastfeeding someone constantly was that I was already in that mode, so it didn’t feel like starting over at square one because I never left square one. A lot of times in life I’ve preferred to just get the shitty out of the way; get my homework done on Friday night so I have the weekend free, clean my house before I sit down to watch tv, run errands on Mondays so I can enjoy the rest of the week, etc. It’s kinda like that.
2. First child has no memory. One awesome thing about having them close together is that the first child won’t remember (for long) being the first and only child. It quickly becomes “life as they know it” and they don’t experience much jiltedness from giving up their throne as an only child with all the attention. Yeah they don’t give a crap that the baby needs you, but they also don’t remember that the baby wasn’t always there.
3. There’s always a playmate. Oh man, if you can survive the first year, you will get to reap the benefits of seeing a super close bond develop between your kids. Not saying that the toddler won’t bitch-slap the younger one at least once a day; they will fight as much as they play…BUT they will have similar interests and be on a similar level which will mean they will enjoy each other’s company. They will run off to play and leave you in peace! Until someone gets bitch-slapped and then you have to go break it up, but it’s worth all of the free moments you gain during the day. In all reality though, my sons are like two little puppy dogs who never leave each other’s sides; they stick together at parties, they always have someone to play with, they fist-bump and hug before bed, they yell at me if I’m doing something traumatic to the other one (like cutting toenails, god forbid)…they’re truly best friends. And that alone makes up for most of the scaries!