Thursday, February 28, 2013


I was soooo smug when L was born. Spouting off about how two kids was not that much harder than one, really. And it was true. Then. What's an extra newborn around the joint? Just bring 'em along and live your life. And have a build in excuse to sit down for a while because the baby needs to nurse you know. We already had all the infrastructure---the physical stuff, the routines, the child-care set up, the parental mind set. Going from 1 to 2 kids wasn't the same completely catastrophically life-changing experience that going from 0 to 1 child was. 1+1 was more like 1.5.

Until. L found forward motion and a pincer grasp and an iron will for whatever the hell he wanted to do. Now its  not just meeting all the needs of two children: inputs, outputs, cleaning, maintenance, rest. There is this whole third entity of managing their interaction together.

When B was L's age, he could sometimes play around us, running, climbing, grabbing whatever he wanted. And it was fine. Cute & fun, even. We could either play with him,  watch him from a seated position, or do our own thing. We cannot do this with L. Because L's #1 priority in life is to get whatever B has (and usually try to eat or otherwise destroy it). Puzzle pieces are thrown into the toilet, crayons are stuffed into mouths, books are torn. And B is not one to simply take it. The usual scenario is: B is playing nicely. L grabs B's toy. B runs after and hits or pushes L. L cries. L hits B. Repeat.

So we have to watch them constantly or keep them physically apart. This is harder than it seems because L wants to be around B constantly. If I separate them by floor, L will shake the safety gate on the stairs and yell. Separating them vertically used to help---I would set B up with puzzles, coloring, or books on the dining table. Recently L learned how to climb onto the chairs and straight onto the dining table. One of us has to physically restrain L when B is doing something not-L-friendly.

They do sometimes play together...throwing balls, pushing each other around on push toys, climbing onto and jumping off of tables (ummmm....wait....), wrestling, or simply chasing each other around. Note that all these activities are bound to result in one or both parties being injured in a maximum of 60 seconds.

Its practically impossible for one of us to handle the boys ourselves outside of the house unless they are contained in the stroller.  I tried taking them to the park myself last weekend and it lasted about 15 minutes. B ran off onto the sidewalk (outside the park) and L found some trash to eat on the ground. I basically had to hold L while B ran around (imagine how much he howled), or have all 3 of us run together. I see people do it, and have concluded that either they are saintlier than I or (more likely) their children are better behaved. 

I've heard that they will soon be "each others best friend" and play together. I am eagerly waiting that phase, because ya'll I am tired.


  1. Oh, gosh... I remember the hurting each other after sixty seconds phase. That sucked. Hard.

    I do encourage you to persist with activities that they can do together though--and to be as hands off with mediation as you can (admittedly not easy at this stage). It's all about practice makes perfect.

    What also worked for me was to tell my older child to do non-toddler friendly activities when his younger sister took her nap. It restricted him, but it's worked pretty well for us to put him under the assumption that whenever she's awake, she'll be getting into what he's getting into.

    Good luck getting through it!

  2. That sounds really exhausting, ana. And if it makes you feel any better, I don't recall you ever being smug about how easy #2 was. It has sounded difficult from day #1.

    I do hope things get easier for you soon.

  3. Our second is just hitting that stage you're describing.

    Our oldest is a SAINT. Granted, he's 6 years old, but he, like our oldest cat, will just ask for help imploringly when the baby grabs his hair in her iron grip. Poor guy. Also he hasn't gotten too upset about her turning things into confetti (so far it hasn't been anything all that important). So I guess our DC1 simply takes it. We have to make sure he doesn't get pushed too far. I'm afraid he might crack after so much restrained patience.

  4. Wait, so why did I want another one so badly? ;)

    I've always heard that 1 is like 2 and 2 is like 10 (and 3 is like 11, interestingly). What you're describing scares me. I'm glad I have some time. ;)

  5. What you describe is one of the things that makes me most grateful for twins -- we only ever have toys that are exactly age-appropriate. I see families with an older kid who covers the house in lego and can't even fathom how there can also be a baby/toddler there. Though perhaps not all kids are as desperate to put every single thing in their mouths as both of my babies/toddlers were (and apparently as L is!).

    The families you see having an easy time at the park definitely have kids who are wired differently. Tamale would never, ever, ever leave the playground, and she never does anything dangerous like climbing too high, so now that she's past the age of trying to eat sand/wood chips/leaves/trash (which lasted way longer than I could have imagined) she needs very little hands-on supervision. I could easily handle 4 3-year-olds like her at the park. With Burrito, usually he's very very good, but occasionally he bolts or finds a stick and starts wielding it or something, and it goes from peaceful to panic quite suddenly. I could definitely NOT bring 2 kids like Burrito to the park, because it's too unpredictable and they could bolt in opposite directions. Some days I can't even handle the one Burrito.

    Within less than a year (I know that seems like forever, maybe shorter? but guaranteed less than a year) I'm sure it will get much easier for you. Either L will get less grabby and obey B's space, or B will learn to accept the grabbing with good humor rather than retaliation.

    1. OMG your kids have the BEST NAMES EVER.

  6. I have to laugh, as it sounds so ridiculously insanely CRAZY MAKING! I am just starting to see some glimpses of what it will be like when Bunlet is a bit more mobile. He's very interested in everything, and very only hope is that by the time he's also fast, Bun Bun will have figured out the need to hide from him. And yeah, right now I really rely on the fact that he doesn't's gonna be hard.

  7. I do wonder how I have missed reading you so far. Really like your blog.
    I too have two children, two years apart. Two boys. And it is pretty much how you describe your childrens' playing together. Well, George is 2.5 and Stevie is 8 mo. But now that S crawls everywhere and only wants to push himslef up and walk, there is no way we can keep him away from his brother. Especially since his brother is the sun personified, poor G cannot do anything without the little pest breathing down his neck, stealing toys, ruining tracks, nicking trains, cars, puzzle pieces, gah! I get annoyed when seeing what he does to his brother, I can only imagine what G feels. And this past week, we have all been sick, snot, fever, the works. Plus both boys are teething (two year old molars and top front tooth). I have had a child attached to me all the time for a week, and even though complaining is a most annoying business, god, I need a break...

  8. Ana -- I read this post today (a friend linked on facebook) and totally thought of you. I hope you enjoy it! It made me smile.

    1. Oh good lord that was AWESOME. Perfect thing to read right before I leave the quiet & comfort of work to face the beasts...

  9. Oh noes. We're still in the blissfully ignorant stage of having 2 - BabyM is only 5 months and still immobile.

    I feel for you. (And am afraid for us.)

  10. Oh, yes. I quit, too.

    The funny thing about my recent post about self-centeredness is that the older woman who taught public school is my mother. Who cares hardly at all for me or for the kids. And I've been feeling angry at her for not caring, for not helping, for doing things only for herself when I'm RIGHT HERE. But it's been interesting to look at her through the eyes of other people, when I've tried not to color judgement.

    I hope that you get a break sometime soon ... you deserve a recharge!