Real life stories: raising two children under the age of two years

HoneyKids writer Jana Blanco is mum to two beautiful, bouncing boys... both of who are under two years of age!

“Wow, we’re really doing this two kid thing.” That was my first thought after I found out I was pregnant with my second child, and it was right about then that I also started worrying how a sibling would impact my first child, who was still a baby himself. Myself and the husband had always talked about having two kids, it was a number that felt complete and balanced. That didn’t stop me feeling guilty about how this new, tiny stranger was going to really shake things up for my eldest though. Here’s how I navigated the brave new world of parenting two under two years…

There’s a good chance your first kid won’t like the new baby
So, introducing The Little One to The Toddler was always going to be a sticky moment, right? Jealousy was a given, and something I was prepared for, but I also hoped that Number One would quickly fall in love with his little brother. “Put it baaaaaaaaack!!!” was not what I had bargained on. Number One was HORRIFIED. For the next few weeks he would pretend that the baby didn’t exist, which, it turned out, was the calm before the storm. He soon sussed that if he cried at exactly the same time as the baby it would certainly cause some drama. I had hoped that despite his own tender age, he would have an innate ability to understand that the littler one needed more help than he did. Nah. He would howl away causing quite the orchestra of noise.

Do. Not. Leave. Them. Alone.
When you have two kids barely two years apart, you cannot leave them alone, even for a nanosecond. Touching, poking and even experimenting with a toddler-strength chokehold have all been known to happen the moment I turn my back. You will need to develop hawk-like supervision skills and eyes in the back of your head.

Multitasking is your new super power
I can’t count how many times I’ve had to do something else for The Toddler while also nursing the baby. Or had to let the The Little One cry while I change The Toddler’s diapers. And because they are both still so young, neither of them really understands that they have to share mummy, and they might need to wait a few minutes before I get to them. Ironically, seven months into this gig, it’s The Little One who is learning the art of patience and is decidedly less needy than his brother was at the same age. I am not sure if this makes me happy or sad.

You’ll feel like you have the words ‘mum guilt’ tattooed on your head
Being a mum is synonymous with feeling guilty, the two go hand-in-hand. But having two bubbas so close in age not only doubles the nappy changing, but it doubles the guilt too. More often than not it’s The Toddler who steals the show. Thankfully I have a husband who is very hands-on (thanks, hub!). He brings The Toddler to his gym class every Saturday so I can get one-on-one time with The Little One. During the week I take my big boy out on adventures to swimming classes or to the playground while The Little One stays home. Balance is hard, but I am getting there. I think.

When you have two under two, snacks are your best friend

You will be tired. All of the time.
It’s pretty amusing to look back to the time when it was just The Toddler demanding all of me. That all seems a walk in the park now I have two to handle! No one told me how exhausting it would be to even accomplish the everyday things I previously took for granted. Getting out and about for example… Two car seats is no mean feat when you have to carry them around (we don’t have a car) and haul them in and out of taxis (along with a double stroller!). In fact, we’ve stopped taking cabs altogether because there’s just too much stuff to carry. And that double stroller? It feels like a tank compared to our lovely easy-to-use single stroller. And don’t get me started on the diaper bag situation. It was bulky with one kid, it’s check-in luggage size with two.  Carrying everything and everyone around on a simple outing is a workout in itself, so I guess on the bright side I should think about all the calories I am burning, and my newly toned arms.

It’s not all drama and tears (mostly, but not all!)
It will get easier, I know it will. And I console myself with the knowledge that all this craziness right now will soon flash by, and when they are both a bit bigger they will be easier to handle. They’re so close in age that I am hopeful they will have lots in common and become the very best of friends (and let’s hope not the worst of enemies). They are also beginning to have similar routines, and eventually will go to the same school.

Yep: there’s definitely lots to look forward to once I can stop having to pry The Toddler off his his seven-month-old brother…

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