It was January 2nd, 2020 the very day our lives went from one earth side child to two earth side children.
I always mention the term ‘earth side’ child when talking about my children because if you aren’t familiar with our personal circumstances then you may not be aware that we also have a child in heaven – our first child who would never go on to meet the siblings we would have after him.
For us as a family at the time of three we were very much excited about having a second earth side child. We chose not to find out the gender this time around with a son in heaven, a daughter on earth we truly had no preference and trusted that whatever this baby would be would be the right soul for our family. We found this brought joy and excitement to our lives as we adjusted to the prospect of how raising two children under two for some time would be.
I will be honest that we didn’t plan to have two that close in age. Elle was 14 months old when we found out we were pregnant again. We had planned to consider another child when Elle was around two but instead just three months before Elles 2nd birthday we welcomed her brother to the world Cruz (birth story here).
I had heard lots of feedback about what it was like having two children. ‘Prepare for your life to forever change, You’ll never leave the house on time again, Good luck, Are you scared?, Wow that is close in age!’. The truth is whether you have children close in age or far apart there is no perfect age gap but there is the perfect age gap for you.
The Pro’s To Two Close Together
- Your heart will grow much bigger. I promise you this the more love that surrounds you (in the form of little people) the more love your heart receives day in and day out.
- You will manage. Just like you adjusted to one child, you will adjust to two learning quickly to prepare for two, pack for two, carry two, wash for two, complete bed time for two.
- You’re a pro this time. You’ve done it before and now you can do it again but with much more enjoyment and ease because this time you’re a pro at it. You know what works and what doesn’t work in your house hold. You’re confident in your own decisions and choices.
- Your children will entertain each other. As your children grow together it is like you created built in best-friends and that won’t only bring you joy but it will bring you a break too. Someone to get the baby that toy they are crying for, someone for the baby to watch to keep their eyes busy and yet someone equally for the toddler to enjoy helping to care for.
The Con’s To Two Close in Age
There is none, just kidding but I find the con’s you perceive is actually a lot based on mindset so these will differ from family to family and while two children come as a choice for many for others it sometimes ‘just happens’ so what can some considered ‘con’s’ be?
- Budget – I have definitely noticed an increased spend on having two children. There is a slightly hike in our groceries around an addition $50.00 p/week to include nappies, formula, food (this will vary depending on your circumstances).
- Tantrums – When you have one child you have a great patience but add in two and sometimes you will be a little more tired, a little more defeated and one little tantrum can be enough to label today as ‘a bad day’ but if you are raising a toddler in general even without a baby you will know that you likely feel this way regardless some days.
- Packing for Two is a little bit hectic. Even though you adjust to this it is probably still one of my most hated tasks of having two little ones close together in age. I look forward to the day I can just wing it out of the house with my own bag and every kid to fend for themselves with their own supplies.
- Time goes fast. I know people with children of any age and any gap would say the same thing and I remind myself this constantly but it really does fly because you are so busy. There is a hindsight to this though – that you truly to savour each moment the good and the bad because you can see how quickly time passed by.
I wouldn’t change the age gap of my children if I had a choice. I have found it to be young enough for the older sibling to be okay with ‘sharing’ our love and adapting quickly and yet old enough to learn to make decisions and become a confident, independent toddler.
I know if you are considering another little one and have just passed through the phase of the first year with your first born that you may be thinking ‘how can I do this all over again?’. I get it. It is an absolute whirlwind the first time around and it is truly not until you stand back and look how far you’ve come that you realise that was HECTIC.
I assure you also though that you’ve learnt so much from your first born, so much that you can now officially confirm yourself as a promoted parent when you are considering adding another to the mix because you’ve allowed your mind to executively decide that you can do this. You can do it again!
Adapting to two in the first few months…
The biggest transition from one to two in the first few months wasn’t so much on how am I going to do this day to day at home. In fact home felt like our safe haven. I could have a happily sleeping newborn and a toddler in a calm and controlled environment who knew what to expect next. It was the easy part.
The biggest challenge I found in the first few months was leaving the house.
I remember specifically a moment when we left with our two week old baby and 20 month old toddler just for a simple shopping trip. I needed to get out of the house. Mum’s need the change in routine too. I needed to know I could do this new normal. It was overwhelming packing in the big pram, a bag full of items to remember and ‘just in case’ selections and additionally two children.
We got to the shops and Cruz started crying. Elle wouldn’t behave and I had a crying baby who needed to feed. I had forgotten a swaddle to cover myself while I fed the newborn as we walked around. How could I forget the very most important thing to make this whole trip easier and avoid sitting in a parents room for 30 minutes with a restless toddler? I was overwhelmed and incredibly disappointed in myself. I remember just crying and thinking it was too soon to leave the house. Too soon. I felt disheartened I had forgotten something so simple and didn’t ‘nail’ this trip.
If I could go back to that moment and the way I felt I would tell my past self –
It is okay to not nail every trip out with two kids. It will take some adjusting. You have been through this all before and have a lot more to think about now and sometimes you will forget things. Adapt where you can and be kind to yourself. It will take you around six months to completely feel comfortable juggling two out and about.
That is right – It will take around 6 months for you to have the hang of two under two and trips out and about and that is okay. After this time passes you will be once again and absolute professional.
What to expect with a six month old and two year old…
When Cruz turned six months and Elle was two and a bit months this definitely began to shine a light on parenting two under two. I began to see them interact, play and smile at each other. I instantly felt joy when I watched the bond they shared be enjoyed by each others company. ‘I did this’ I would whisper. ‘I made two friends for life be siblings’. I felt so proud. I do feel proud. It is truly these moments that remind you how worth it it all is. Transitioning from one to two really isn’t difficult, it is rewarding. That is what I’d call it.
If you are asking yourself are you ready? What is the right age gap? Do I want another? Can I do this again? I urge you to trust your gut feeling. If the thought of two siblings together interacting, smiling and growing together brings you joy and warmth within than it could be your heart letting you know that more love wants to be welcomed into your life in the form of a little baby again.
As always, I wish you all the best on your parenting journeys.
You got this mama!