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What’s it really like having two under two?
Being completely, 100% honest. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be. (all future two under two mums can now exhale!) The challenges come from having two children, not two under two!
Transitioning to two children does come as a bit of a shock to the system, but transitioning from no children to one child is WAY harder.
So many people have the mindset of “well if you’re feeding one, you may as well feed two” – I wish it was that simple! Obviously, with two children, there are two sets of demands and challenges which need meeting, but I definitely cried about 20,000,000 times in the first month of having Rory (because holy shit – it was hard!), but having two, your “superhero mum” strength just makes you crack on.
I can’t pretend there haven’t been moments.
Last week, after Rory tantrummed all day and Elins colicky shrieks genuinely made me think she’d been possessed and that I would have to spray her in holy water.
I text Rich saying “I’m going to kill one of them”.
I just hauled them both in the pushchair and walked, somewhere… anywhere.
I had the same shell-shocked walk I had when I first had Rory. Just like my brain had exploded.
Anyway, the walk did us all the world of good and we had a much more successful afternoon.
Well, obviously there’s two of them, Two little babies, to love. Two healthy, happy babies to call my own. That’s pretty magic.
Everyone is right, your heart doubles… but your time splits, that’s hard.
You go from dedicating your whole life to one little baby and then suddenly there are two of them.
One that has higher needs than the other.
Obviously, I knew that, but I thought it would be hard for Rory, not me.
I’m the one that’s struggling with it.
I just have constant guilt. I’ve learnt to accept the guilt. It’s a way of life now. I will always feel guilty for something or someone.
I miss Rory and I miss quality time with him.
Its hard at the moment as Elin is still so little so she spends a lot of time in the baby wrap so it’s hard to get to Rory for a cuddle or pick him up. It’s just easier to keep her in the wrap though rather than have to keep checking on her or worry about where she is when Rorys running about.
How has Rory adjusted?
Initially, I completely underestimated Rory. He’s still only little at just 16 months old and it’s easy to assume he doesn’t know whats going on.
He doesn’t like Elin. He doesn’t hate her, but he definitely isn’t keen.
He hates her crying, which is challenging as the girl has a set of lungs!
He definitely misses the attention from his mama and my god, do I miss giving him the attention!
When Elin was small (as in freshly earthside, she’s still small)I used to be able to put them both to bed. Then Rich started having her whilst I put Rory to bed. Recently Elin has been colicky and has been unsettled and tearful from 7:15pm so Rich has been putting him to bed and I MISS THE CUDDLES SO MUCH!! You can tell he’s found it hard because the second he gets a look in, he laps up the cuddles.
When I first had Elin, Rory felt completely alien to me.
I just felt like I didn’t know him anymore,. He was suddenly so big and didn’t feel the same.
Also, I wasn’t the same to him.
I’d gone from having a big belly to clutching a small alien-like thing that made a lot of noise.
Things still feel a little bit weird.
Rory is less dependant on me which is bittersweet. Its good as it’s less pressure on me, but hard because I miss feeling like his number one.
As Elin gets older, we are starting to get more one on one time together which I think we are both appreciating.
Today Mum had Elin whilst I took Rory to baby group and although I spent 40% of it trying to negotiate a tantrum with a non-negotiable toddler (seriously, I could have sorted Brexit in ten minutes), it was so nice to feel like the “good old days”
How has Mama adjusted?
Currently, 4 weeks in I can hand on heart say I feel ridiculously content and am loving having two babies.
I’m not going to lie, it has its moments. The witching hours are real.
However, on the whole, I am enjoying it way more than I thought I would.
I am also a lot more relaxed than I thought I would be. The toughest part of the whole situation right now is having a newborn again and how dependent they are on you.
The perks of having two babies very close together are that you haven’t forgotten about how hard anything is, you’re still very much in it, so all of my newborn tricks and hacks are coming back to me quickly.
The first week I was very up and down.
After an amazing labour and delivery I was hit with the biggest newborn high (ah the things I would do to bottle up that feeling) but with all good highs, you have to come down at some point right?
When the baby blues hit, oh they hit me hard.
I literally sobbed putting Rory to bed one night because he just didn’t feel like mine anymore. He was massive and didn’t want a cuddle. I felt like I had lost my best friend.
I hadn’t seen him properly for four days due to being in the hospital, then him being at nursery, so I think I had good reason to be a little emotional, but sobbing was probably a bit much (damn hormones)
The second week I felt invincible, I was owning this two under two business. – Let’s not get over cocky there though George, because Rich is still on paternity leave. Lets see how much you’re “owning it” when you lose your wingman.
Weeks three and four are much the same, we are finding our feet. There are moments where its tough, but they are just moments, not whole days – thankfully! I used to find with Rory that whole days would be really testing but with the two of them, they both seem to pick an hour (luckily they always seem to be in sync) where they’ll make me want to pull my hair out, but then it’s done and they’ll go back to being lovely.
Week five I am starting to enjoy things. My brain feels less foggy and I feel back to myself again. I have been reminded all too quickly how much I HATE postpartum. I just hate not feeling like yourself. By week five, the bleeding has stopped (“ish”, I am still finding ‘leak-proof’ underwear like Knixteen pretty helpful). My hormones have settled. I’m not in any post-labour pain anymore and they only thing left a little ropey is my pelvic floor (did I mention that I weed myself twice after giving birth? – it’s no joke ladies, we need to do those exercises)
As I’ve touched on all throughout the post, the thing I have found the hardest is my relationship changing with Rory but that will probably be a whole separate blog post.
How do I entertain Rory whilst feeding/changing/tending to Elin?
Luckily, Rory’s pretty good at entertaining himself but he definitely does need more attention at the moment.
He is also good at getting his toys out so I’ve found packing his toys into sections really helpful i.e. musical instruments, cars, Happyland etc. So he will bring things over and we will play with that.
Toys that have been a lifesaver whilst breastfeeding are train sets and cars. They’re easy to push around one-handed and chase his car etc.
Mess-free colouring books, these are GENIUS and again easy to do one-handed.
Stacking toys, these entertain Rory for HOURS.
If you’re bottle feeding I’d invest in a feeding pillow so that you can still have a hand free to play.
How have two children impacted our relationship?
It’s actually got better.
I’ve made no secret of how our relationship came under strain after having Rory.
So I was really worried how it would fair with two of the little buggers adding pressure, but surprisingly having the pressure of two has done us well.
Our gripes used to be that I was quite high energy and ‘on the go’ and Rich was pretty laid back. Having two kids means more is required of Rich but I also have to expect less and can’t be as demanding.
So basically, balance right? We’ve kind of met in the middle.
Do I ever leave them unattended?
Yup! Something I said I’d never do, but girls gotta pee.
Do I get any sleep?
Yes. I sleep more now than I did before Elin arrived!
Before she came Rory was still in our bed and would wake during the night. When she arrived Rich bought him a Peppa Pig duvet set and he started sleeping through the night.
I don’t know if its the duvet set or the fact that there is now a screaming baby in with us, but either way it means we get some sleep.
Elin is co-sleeping (bed sharing) with us. I cut the bullshit and she has done since day one. It’s just easier.
She wakes once or twice for a feed then goes straight back to sleep. Do what you gotta do, Mama.
People asked all the time if Elin would be in our bed and I really did have good intentions of trying to get her in her co-sleeper but after Rory started sleeping through the night in his own cot, I realised that these habits we make don’t last forever and right now, getting sleep to be on form the next day is more important.
Do we still attend baby groups?
Yes, but you do have to be selective about what groups you go to otherwise they can knock your confidence.
You basically want baby groups that have no structure.
I’ve managed three groups so far and the most successful has been a messy play group where you just let your toddler loose with tough trays and fake mud.
The least successful have been groups that have set story/song times because trying to restrain a toddler to sit nicely whilst clutching a newborn is no joke and people look at you like you’re clearly mental and on the verge of a Britney 2007 moment – which by the way, makes things 10x worse.
Tips & Advice:
Get out the house as soon as possible. I am quite shocked by this advice as I thought I would be saying “don’t put pressure on yourself to get our the house” but I find I have the most momentum to get everyone ready in the morning. When I start to slow that routine down, everyone is less compliant to get dressed etc so we then tend to end up staying in. I’ve found by getting up and out the house as soon as possible, even if it’s just to the shop or a park, is the best way to set up the day! It burns steam off the toddler which avoids any tantrums inflicted through boredom. It just makes the day a little more productive and it goes by quicker.
Zoning. Baby gates are your new best friend, zone off everywhere. Limit the amount of running space for your toddler.
De-clutter. One thing I wasn’t prepared for (maybe quite naively) is how much time I would spend cleaning. I’ve aptly nicknamed the toddler ‘Hurricaine Rory’ as he just comes along, causes complete destruction and then just leaves. Its an exhausting stage he’s in right now, no amount of “firm no’s” and telling offs are stopping him. With a newborn its harder to clean so I find myself constantly tidying up as we go along but it feels like all I do all day is clean. I’m trying to find the balance between letting him play and preserving the house. Inspired by the Organised Motherhood Instagram page, I have found de-cluttering really helpful. Big ruthless clearouts have meant there is less stuff to be cleaned or packed away and that is lifesaving. I wish I’d done more it before Elin arrived.
Make the most of your firstborn. Cuddle them up whilst you can.
Two Under Two Essentials: