We are four months into the “Parents of Two” experience, and we are surviving. There are certain challenges that having two under two can bring, but I feel we can dispense some of our newly acquired knowledge. This edition is the Toddler / Infant edition, as I fully expect the challenges/rewards of two toddlers or two teens to be much different.
With two you will learn quickly what really matters to you.
We all still have to follow the laws of nature, which means we still can only be in one place at once. There are often times where one child requires the fullest attention you can give, which leaves the other child a bit alone out there. With the toddler, you may be doing potty training while the infant cries. With the infant, they may be eating while the toddler is getting into your pots and pans. When these situations arise, you ask yourself what is important. Is the chance of an accident on the floor of the bathroom worth stopping the crying for? Is putting the bottle down and upsetting the infant worth stopping the pots and pans mess? Or do you break that rule that you made before you became a parent? You know, the one where you’d never let the TV become the babysitter.
There is no such thing as even
Look, we all know that you love both of your children just the same. Love is something that can’t be measured though. Of the things that can be measured like time, money, pictures, hugs and stern looks, they will never be even between the kids. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to keep things close, but don’t drive yourself mad trying to make things perfectly even.
You have more love than you thought you did
Not everything sounds better in stereo
Driving anywhere with 1-2 tired children can be good or bad. Good if the car ride causes them both to sleep. Bad if they don’t sleep, but rather cry. The crying wakes the other child and they start to cry. Nothing you can do but listen to them cry together.
It’s hard not to compare their progress
You know you’re not supposed to because it really doesn’t mean much in the long run, but you compare the age your child met a milestone with other children. Your child isn’t going to Harvard because they walked two months before Sally did. The thing is you are looking for something to measure how well you are parenting your child, and if my child starts to crawl quicker, I must be doing something right.
Then you have a second child and realize you’re an idiot. Sure, you parent slightly differently the second time around, but in general you are the same. So you’d think they would develop the same, but that is not the case. If you ever get a big head about how fantastic a parent you are, or think you are a crummy parent, just have a second child and that will clear up.
The second time around is just as hard as the first time around.
Whatever experience you gained the first time around is negated by the fact that the second child is not the first child, and will do things differently. Plus, adding in that they won’t necessarily match napping schedules meaning you’ve lost some valuable down time, it’s probably actually tougher.