Heck, even having 2 kids spaced quite a bit apart is easy. I should know - I've done that. But having 2 small children is hard, so much harder, than only having 1. That is not to say that having 1 isn't hard, but this is my blog and my truth and my truth is that 2 is considerably harder. I, actually, have 3 kids. But when one of the kids is 12 - he doesn't really count in the "little kids are hard" conversation. He never did.
Alec was 9 when Max was born. There was such a huge age difference that it wasn't like having "2 small children". It was like having a newborn and then a really awesome helper around. He was old enough to be self sufficient. He was old enough to understand about "the baby". He was old enough to want time to himself to do his things without being overly jealous and angry about "the baby". It was also not that difficult to procure a babysitter for the 1 small child. All of this led me to believe that having another baby would be fine. Different but not too hard. After all - I already had 2 - how much harder could 3 be?
I'll pause and let you moms of several kids stop laughing.
So we got pregnant and had our last baby, our little girl. And here's where it gets hard. Max was 2 1/2 by the time Piper got here. Books will tell you that the "perfect" spacing for siblings is 2 - 3 years. I believed that then. To that now I say ARE YOU INSANE? Two year olds are not known for their capacity to withstand change. In fact, I think most 2 yr olds CLING to what they know and what is familiar with a ferocity that resembles compulsion. My son was in the process of going through the Terrible Two's, learning how to potty train, getting weaned from his Binky, AND trying to learn to sleep in a toddler bed. And in comes a new baby.
OK, those are a lot of changes - a lot of FOUNDATION ROCKING changes to someone who's only been on this Earth a couple of years. And then toss a new baby into the mix. Not a good thing. It's no wonder he tried to punch her every time he was alone with her. She represented everything that upset his apple cart and turned his world upside down.
We muddled through. Somehow we managed to keep him from doing real bodily damage to her, got rid of the Binky permanently and got him to sleep in his big boy bed about half the time. We are still working on the potty part. But oh, by all that is sacred and Holy, having 2 very small children at the same time is HARD work. Just the simple logistics of things like bath time require forethought and a plan of action - 2 naked, slippery children, 2 set of diapers, 2 sets of pajamas - all the while not letting either one out of your sight while getting the other dressed. And don't even get me started on what grocery shopping expeditions are like now. With all the planning and time management (in between 2 different nap schedules and eating routines) I really should be able to secure a Project Management job when I go back to work. Seriously.
Currently we have 2 small sick children. I think this may actually be one of Dante's circles of Hell. Last night I finally got the 3 yr old to go to bed around 10. At 10:30 the baby woke up because she can't breathe through her nose and that makes sleeping hard for her. We were up until right at midnight. She woke back up at 1:10 - again because she can't breathe. She was up again at 2:30 and this time she was really pissed. I had to walk the floor with her to get her to calm down. We were up until 3:40 when she finally passed out. At 4am the 3 yr old got up and came in and got in bed with us. He was running a fever and coughing. So I got back up with him and we went to the bathroom for some Tylenol. Back in bed around 4:10am. He was talking a bit and coughing and the baby woke back up at 4:20am. I put her in the bed with us. I woke up to her crying around 5:15am and my left shoulder and arm hanging off the side of the bed. The entire arm was asleep so I wasn't able to even use it. I looked down and on my pillow lay Piper and Max. Mark was on his pillow on his side of the bed - snoring. I kicked him. He woke up and said - what's wrong? I told him to look at my side of the bed and see if he could figure out what was wrong. He moved Max over to his pillow and I attempted to settle Pip. We were all back to sleep by 5:40am. Mark's alarm started going off at 6:30am. I got up at 7am to get Alec ready for school. Rough Night doesn't quite cover it.
See with 1, you CAN sleep when the child sleeps. With 2, one is going to sleep as the other one is getting up and vice-verse. Rinse and repeat.
But, it's also wonderful. Even in my sleep deprived haze I will still tell you it is wonderful.
There are twice as many kisses: twice as many smiles: twice as many hugs. And in my case, three times as many. It is the hardest job I've ever had. But, it's also the only job I've ever absolutely loved.
I'm really lucky that I get to do this everyday. Even the days that are hard. Even the days they are both sick. Even the days that I am Zombiefied. I am aware that I am blessed beyond all measure and I am grateful. So very grateful.
Now, back to the sick ward. Max has nasty stuff draining from his nose and Pip is just plain whimpering. Time to call the doc and try to get them BOTH in at the same time. I'm trying to believe here. Stop laughing. It could happen. Maybe.