There was a little discussion in the comments of one of my recent posts about the pain of having two kids close together in age. I've talked about this before. But, to my readers that are currently in or expecting to be in the situation---take heart, its not all bad!
In the past couple of months we seem to have fallen into a really good rhythm. L turned 2 in early October and he really began to develop in leaps and bounds. His speech has caught up, his clinginess has decreased (mostly), and he has started to play independently for short pockets of time. (No his sleep has not improved). I can sometimes go to another floor of the house by myself, to change out laundry or quickly use the bathroom, without him freaking out or getting into some mess. All in all, things some a touch easier right now, and I am starting to appreciate some of the good sides of having kids close-ish together.
The obvious: you have the stuff. Since we had two of the same gender, we really needed nothing for L except newborn diapers. If you have a boy and a girl, you may need a few clothes to replace the obviously gendered ones, if you care about that kind of thing. But you've got everything else: the pack and play, the changing pads, the bouncy seat, swing, baby car seat and snap n go, rattles and toys, the carriers, the bottles, THE PUMP. And since we had just used it, it was all still out and arranged in our house or stored easily in the boys' closet. We hadn't given anything away yet, nothing was getting dusty and cobwebby in the basement.
Not so obvious: you have the routines and are still in them. We knew how to get ready for daycare in the morning, we HAD a daycare picked out and expecting us, I knew how often I needed to pump and how to store milk in the freezer, how to pack a diaper bag, how to make and freeze baby food, how to trade off overnight wakings and morning wakings with G, I had diapers and wipes on Subscribe and Save on Amazon, I had a babysitter, I had lists of what to bring when traveling. All that stuff you have to figure out when you have a newborn, we had JUST DONE, and were still doing in many cases with a toddler. Also, the house was baby proofed. B wasn't yet old enough to relax any of that, so we had no tiny choke-able toys or breakable items in reach. The baby gates were not only in place, we were still in the habit of using them regularly.
The sublime: very very soon they will be playmates. Suddenly, with L's recent advances, they are close enough in development that they are interested in the same toys. This DOES mean that we need duplicates of a lot of things to prevent fights, but it also means a lot less need for mommy and daddy to play cars and dinosaurs. They build "birthday cakes" out of Duplos together, race cars on the floor, listen to music and dance around, watch Toy Story and Monsters Inc, and laugh and shout hysterically a lot. Yes, there are still many many instances were L seems hell-bent on destroying whatever project B is working on (play-doh and puzzles in particular), and he still can't be trusted with painting or crayons or anything that might end up in his mouth. But he'll grow out of that, or he won't, and we'll have to keep them separate for certain activities. Being at home on the weekends is just a teeny bit less exhausting because they can entertain themselves for a while (before the next fight breaks out..but hey, even 15-20 minutes for me to get a chore done or read a magazine is better then I've had in the past 3.83 years since B was born!)
Of course what I'm hoping for, the whole reason I spaced them close together (no, L was NOT in any way a surprise) is that they'll grow from playmates into friends. There is, of course, no predicting how a sibling relationship will end up, but I'm hoping I've created two friends for life.