Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Two Under Two (years apart): The Good

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.

16 comments:

  1. Sorry I've been so absent lately! I've been thinking a lot, though, about how age difference affects sibling relationships. My kids love each other. But it's totally different. C looks up to her big brother, while J takes care of her. It's sweet and wonderful, but at this stage they're not exactly friends. That may change when C can walk and talk.

    Also, all the pluses you mentioned above? Our house was totally not babyproofed anymore. We'd been out of diapers a year and a half. I was not used to waking up at night or buying baby food or anything else a little child needs. And I didn't realize how much of an adjustment it would be to go back to all of that! I love the age difference we have, though (4 years, 3 months).

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  2. Mine are two years and two months apart, so not as close as yours, but I can definitely vouch for a lot of what you've said. I can't imagine what it must be like going back to all the baby stuff after being away from it for a year.

    My daughter turned two in February, and it's been amazing how they've been spending more and more time together over the course of the summer--and fantastic to discover there are more and more activities they can do together when we go out.

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  3. 5 years apart is definitely expensive, just in car seat expiration alone!

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  4. If we ever have a second, we're planning on at least 4 years apart. I see what you're saying about the benefits, but I think having two children under 2 right now would actually kill me, and if that didn't having two children under 3 and being an intern definitely would.

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  5. i tried to comment before (from my phone) but it didn't work! was going to say THANK YOU for this post! i actually had a pt today (with 2 girls, ages 8 and 9, 20 months apart) tell me many of the same things. although annabel sharing clothes with #2 is laughable. i was (and still am) a sucker for dresses and floral prints :)

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    1. I had you in mind, writing this :) I write a lot about how tough it is, but there really are good parts and I wanted to balance it out.

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  6. and ahghghghg the pump! i actually think i'm NOT going to use the same one (my SIL's hand me down pump 'n' style) and rent a symphony for my office this time (and leave it at work). not having to lug that thing back and forth will make me exceedingly happy, plus i've heard some people do better with the symphony than the 'personal' pumps.

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    1. Is the symphony the hospital grade one? If we have a second, I am totally renting a hospital grade pump. The few times I used it last go-around it was faster and more comfortable. Might as well minimize the agony if you can!

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    2. yes, it's one of the hospital grade ones. agree - and i occasionally got to use one last time and liked it better, too. plus, it will be easy to just leave in my office (HAVING an office will hopefully make this a easier this time as well).

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  7. I've heard the same thing about the Symphony being stronger/quicker. I regret not trying it when my supply dropped. Definitely go for that one Sarah.

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  8. I am so so hopeful that mine, who are 16 months apart, will also be super close friends. In fact, I worry that I want it so much I am dooming it from the start! But yes, I so look forward to more playing together and less rabid fighting over the same toy...

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  9. Ours are a little over 2 years apart (2y 4 m between oldest, 2y and 11 days between youngest). It's been really cool to watch them learn to play together now that the youngest is >2. All 3 will run around the house together inventing their own games, which gives me the chance to sit and drink a beer in peace, and I am totally in favor of that.

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    1. sooo, just 2 years and 4 months for me until peaceful beer drinking? i'm going to hold you to this :)

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    2. Sarah -- Don't know whether A has gotten to this stage yet, but recently (like in the last month or so), D has started self entertaining a LOT more recently. She's a lot more reliable in the sense that I'm less worried she will hurt herself also, so I don't have to actively be on her all the time while she plays. Last weekend I actually read 10 pages of a book while she played, which was a first. So yes, it gets easier, and for you A this will happen sooner than you think.

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  10. These are really good points. I hadn't thought about the "stuff" and "routine" angles before- just about the "playmate" part. We're planning to wait awhile before deciding if we even want a second- at least 2-3 more years. Your points are well-taken, though- we'll need to readjust our lives again, instead of having them already calibrated. I just don't feel ready to even think about it yet, with E at 14 months. I was so sick/uncomfortable when pregnant, and E slept so badly for the first 10 months... I'm just not ready to go through that again soon.

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