Remember when you had your first born, this teeny tiny bundle, you may have had them snuggled in the pushchair or cosied up in a sling for when you managed to make it out of the house. You nervously went to groups, made new friends and may have started the regime of going for coffee. You would take your little bundle with you and you could feed there and then whilst supping a hot brew (it may have be the only one you had all week but it was a luxury worth indulging in) and you talked with other adults…adults!!! You shared the highs and lows and realised you weren’t alone.
Fast forward a couple of months and you may now be bouncing your baby on your knee whilst waving some jangly toy in front of them still supping your brew and having a good ol’ chin wag and sharing tales of teething dramas.
Then you entered the phase of weaning, at first it didn’t matter too much, you could hand them something to gnaw on or shovel in a spoon of whatever pouch or pot you had brought, you may have even brought along some homecooked whizzed up smush, but still you gossiped between spoonfuls and baby wiped yourself and your baby down in between tales of woe.
Then you got into real weaning (and maybe scheduled naps) where it was much easier to contain the mess at home, you have even invited other fellows weaners round and waded through the mess together, snapping pictures of your offspring covered in various foodie goodies, laughing at how life is so different to what it used to be.
Coffees in town soon became play dates and the children started to move around, creeping, crawling and exploring, and when they weren’t so dependent on you being there for their every move you’d venture to the groups and let them run free throwing a cursory glance their way whilst chit chatting away to your fellow mum chums.
Then you had a second.
At first it’s not too bad, you wrap up your bundle and carry on going to the groups whilst your teeniest one may have slept.
That’s where the similarities to life with your first born ends. You no longer go for coffee as you now have two little people that demand your attention. Attempting to drink a hot drink over a sleeping baby’s head whilst containing a toddler whose sole mission is to escape….where to doesn’t matter as long as they escape, is becoming more stress than its worth.
Your youngest suddenly transforms from this teeny baby into a little person sitting up and wanting to explore the world around them, all well and good but where is your toddler?!?! Who’s biscuit are they trying to pinch as you attempt to live life as it was before when you only had one??
Then before you know it you’re back at the weaning stage, this time you can’t be arsed with whizzed up foods and fancy baby meals, you literally give whatever the eldest is eating but in more baby friendly chunks to grasp onto, this however only really works at home as the mess produced would require more than a few baby wipes to erase, all while picking chunks of broccoli out of your hair.
So now your life is centred around mealtimes and nap times, getting out of the house can sometimes feel like a luxury especially if you are not having to race around doing errands but your life of going for coffee and having a natter has fallen by the wayside. You watch enviously as friends glide on by with just their one, you imagine what it would be like… you may have the odd moment here and there when it’s just you and your eldest and you can actually go and have a drink (bribe them with cake and some colouring of course) and the memories come flooding back, you used to do this every week. Scheduling mummy dates took organisational skill, you could have a jam packed week of catch ups, coffees and way too much cake.
Now with your mini entourage you’re lucky if you go to a group and pick up the strings of conversation, generally you have no clue as to what’s happening unless you’ve been included in a Facebook thread and then comes the moment where you have to decline the offers of coffee afterwards because it’s almost lunch and nap time – heaven forbid both children get overtired and hungry at the same time.
Then there’s the trips out, with your first displaying their independence with great pride you can let them roam free and explore and if you go with friends in coordinated fashion you can admire them from afar and delight at how grown up they are and share stories of when they little. With a second, at first you drag them along, they sleep (hopefully) eldest plays, you stand smugly as you catch up with friends and talk the time away and you think to yourself “I can do this!”, but before you know your baby has grown and wants to play. How does this work??
If you are within a confined space then it’s not so bad, you neglect spending any quality time with your first born as they are running off doing their own thing and you sit “entertaining” your littlest and you are back to picking up snippets of conversation if you are lucky to be within earshot. Then there’s the places that are perfect for toddlers but offer very little for the littles….what do you do there? You don’t go that’s what you do. Trying to placate a small child who wants to play but can’t is hassle you don’t need, so what do you do? You stay home, you no longer socialise. You now have a jam packed week of meal times and nap times, laundry piles and to do lists, in between all that you play, bake, sing songs and read (or watch copious amounts of Disney classics) you become a house hermit.
This the stage I’m at, the house hermit stage, don’t get me wrong it’s certainly not boring in our house as I try to make sure I have plenty of fun activities to do. Whilst the youngest is napping, I spend quality time with my eldest teaching him to bake or cook or we just generally play, inside, in the garden it doesn’t matter where we just play. We may make it out of the house to do something other than errands and occasionally I will indulge in the luxury of a play date where I can let the boys play and I can converse with other mums and remember what it’s like to have adult conversations. But it’s not the same.
I have been lucky to have lovely friends who will keep an eye out for one or hold the smallest when I’m needed by the eldest but obviously they have their own child to look after so you have to learn to deal with it on your own and find your rhythm.
Life with two is a completely different kettle of fish compared to one, it’s a constantly evolving affair. Just like when you first entered parenthood it can be the most wonderful time which you wouldn’t change but it can also be the loneliest, it can be the happiest and yet the most frustrating, the funniest yet the most tedious.
I know it wont be long and I will be on the other side looking back whilst caught up in a whirlwind of two crazy boys but until then if you fancy a brew come on round, we might even have cake although you may have to rescue me from a monstrous pile of laundry 🙂