Back when Little Man was a year old I wrote about how hard it had been having two children so close together. I wrote about how exhausting it was, how relentless it was and how all encompassing it was. There were just twenty months between LP and Little Man. There were two lots of nappies to change, two lots of routines – with milk feeds as well as dinner, bath and bed.
LP had only just learnt to walk when her brother was born – due to breaking her leg at 15 months. She was still pretty much a baby herself and even now I can’t clearly remember Little Man’s first few months – there are photos of him and I, I know those months happened but they were a blur of tiredness and constant parenting. There was no down time, no time of just existing, it was hard work and those first months were just so hard.
But, Little Man has just turned four and his big sister is six in the summer so I thought it was time to write an update, I thought it was time to say, actually, having two children really isn’t hard any more.
We had LP and Little Man close together in the hope that they would be close as they grew up. We also had them close together to try and get out of the baby stage as quickly as possible – rather than having one potty trained and learning independence and then going straight back to nappies and night feeds. When Little Man was born I wondered if we’d done the right thing, I wondered whether they were too close in age and whether it would always be so tough.
But, now, I realise that it isn’t tough at all. Life now is as easy as it has ever been and it has made me realise that we have reached that light at the end of the tunnel and, actually, we have been here for a while – and it feels good.
As soon as LP potty trained life got a bit easier. Then, when LP started nursery and I had a chunk of time with just Little Man, time to relax a little, clean the house and prepare dinner, life got a little bit easier again. Then, Little Man potty trained and suddenly nappies were out of the equation, saving us money and time. More recently, Little Man started nursery and I had time to myself for the first time since becoming a parent – more time to clean, cook, go to the gym and work. It felt like we finally had a balance.
But, life being easier now isn’t just about me and the big changes over the last few years – it’s also about LP and Little Man. He has learnt so much from his sister. He wanted to use the toilet and not wear nappies because that is what his sister did. He learnt so much of his vocabulary from her and I’m sure part of the reason he eats so well is through learning from her – seeing her healthy appetite and just wanting to try the same things.
But, more than that LP has been a constant source of entertainment for her little brother – and he for her. They amuse each other, give each other someone to play with – a ready made playmate. They play games together, watch TV together and share the same likes and loves. Having them both so close together means that they are pretty much on the same page and that makes it so much easier for me.
It’s got to the point now where LP and Little Man do homework at the same time, LP will do her reading homework and Little Man will listen intently to the story. Little Man will have to think of things that are a certain shape or a certain colour and LP will give him clues, helping him to find the answers for himself rather than telling him the answers and he loves how it seems like a game for both of them.
LP and Little Man are two peas in a pod, they compliment each other perfectly and they are like two halves of the same whole. We haven’t had another baby partly because it was so hard when Little Man was little but also because we didn’t want to change their dynamic – they worked so perfectly together that we couldn’t imagine another child in the mix.
But, four years on from having two under two and life is pretty amazing. Yes, four years ago life was hard. So hard. I cried often, Dave and I argued and I had the shortest temper I have ever had. The TV was childcare and I pretty much lived in my pyjamas for days at a time. We just did whatever we had to do to get through and hoped, really hoped, that things would get easier.
So, now, I guess I’m writing this to tell anyone else that is in that stage, hoping for it to get easier, hoping for their baby to sleep, for their toddler to potty train and willing away those early days – it really does get easier. It isn’t instant and the days do merge together, each one rolling into the next until you don’t know what day of the week it is and can’t remember whether you brushed your teeth that morning – or whether it was yesterday you’re thinking of.
But, at some point, life gets easier. The nappy changes get further apart, the feeds get further apart, meal times get less messy and you somehow manage to leave the house with your hair brushed and clothes on that don’t have smears of something all over them.
You wake up one day and you realise that those hard days are now in the past, you won’t have to go through them again and life really is easier. But you’ll also realise, with one of those lightbulb moments, that even the hardest and darkest of those days was worth it to get to this point. Even on those nights where you got no sleep, paced the room constantly with a baby crying on your shoulder, with you crying in silent frustration, when you had no-one to pass the baby to and when the toddler woke up with teething pain or a lost teddy – even of those horrendous endless nights that seemed to last forever, it was worth it to get to where you are now, seeing those two children so close and the best of friends.
Yes, having two under two was hard. So hard. But, it was a phase we had to get through in order to reach this point and now I look back at those first months, I look at the photos and I see the patches of light shining through the clouds – LP and Little Man’s relationship starting to blossom, those 6am wake ups when Little Man and I would sit downstairs, him feeding and me enjoying the silence of the house, that time of just him and I. I remember those first trips out with him in his baby carrier, snug against my chest. LP would skip along holding her Daddy’s hand and we would be so tired, so exhausted, but just oh so happy.
I remember the old people that would stop us in the supermarket to look at the baby, saying what gorgeous hair LP had and observing that I had my hands full. I remember the days when we would go to soft play and just sit in a ball pool or when we would go to a friend’s house where we would just sit and be whilst Little Man lay on the floor and the toddlers pulled every toy from the toy box.
I remember those early days and I smile. They were so hard but they were perfect too. We had no school runs, we had nowhere to be and it really was just the children and I against the world – and Dave too when he was at home. We were fighting our own battle and we survived – and look what we have to show for it.
Two under two was hard work but it was pretty perfect too.
10 thoughts on “Two Under Two – Four Years On”
After being awake half the night I needed to read this! It’s definitely easier now than it was a year ago and I can see that it’s only going to get easier still. I feel like I’m wishing away the baby days but I can’t wait to get to the stage you’re at – and I hope my two have the same fantastic relationship that LP and LM have.
I had a bigger gap between mine and had two under 3 and I’ll be honest and say that was pretty hard too and Logan was late potty training I still had two in nappies. I think the big turn around as you said was when Logan started going to preschool and you start to get just a little bit of a break. But mine are just starting to play really nicely together now and it’s lovely.
Aww I love this post Donna and I feel exactly the same. The early years are so difficult but it is worthwhile when they both get to an age where they can entertain each other and get along well.
I really love this post Donna, I have a bigger age gap between mine but I get the whole you have got your hands full thing a lot. I wouldn’t change it. I loved looking at photos all through the years of them both, they almost look like twins in some of them. x
Love this Donna. We wanted a small age gap and we would have had 20 months had I not miscarried, but I went on to have Holly and we have a 24 month gap pretty much to the day. With the girls birthday’s only 10 days apart. Andy was very much on the same page as you, lets crack on before we get out of the baby stage with Alice. I’m glad he pushed me to see this, as even though we are not quite as far as long as you I can see every few months it getting easier and easier. x
As a child minder I was permitted to care for 3 children under the age of 5 of which only one could be under the age of 1, but after achieving an outstanding Ofsted grade, I was given special permission to have 2 babies at once, this was something that I really enjoyed, but then I didn’t have them all the time!
I really enjoyed reading this… in between sips of espresso 😉 I have a 2 month old and a toddler of 2 year and 2 months. It’s tiring right now, despite the fact that the youngest is (so far) a much better sleeper than the older one.
I wanted them relatively close together in age though and am reassured by your post that I might be able to cut back on my caffeine intake a couple of years from now!
They’re so beautiful. And you’ve done such an amazing job with them! I’m so happy for you all, having come through it and being so peaceful now. Definitely worth all the hard work x
Reading this post has made me realise that this is true for us too! Donna, what a relief it is to leave the house looking semi decent. Today for the first time in years I’ve worn dangly earrings on the school run. Apart from touching them and saying ‘they’re pretty mum’ they haven’t tugged at them (or anything else). I don’t think until I read your post how much easier life is now, it just happened! We’re going camping this weekend for the first time. The kids will still be up super early (6am is normal) but with no bottles, nappies or even buggies to think about I can just about cope with that. Great post! Lizzie xo
Ah thanks for reading Lizzie. And yep, same for me, something just clicked and I realised life was easier. Have a great time camping! x