I always wanted a sibling for my first little boy. Right from the minute he was born. So I wasted no time trying to conceive number two, but after the initial excitement of that positive pregnancy test passed, I started to worry.
I knew what having a baby entailed now. How would I manage with two children just 22 months apart?
Anyway, I already had a perfect little boy. We were inseparable. He was like my whole heart holding my hand and walking down the street for everyone to see. How on earth could I ever love another child like I loved him? It felt impossible at the time.
But then boy two arrived.
From the second I laid eyes on him, I was spilling over with love. He was perfect and fit into our little family immediately, like we’d always been four.
We took him home from hospital and he got a big cuddle from his big bro – aawww I thought, this is going to be great.
I quickly learnt it wasn’t going to be quite so easy. Splitting yourself in half between two little people you love, is actually quite hard. By night two, I found myself lying on my toddler’s bedroom floor holding his hand trying to get him to sleep, while breastfeeding a newborn baby.
As the days past, I realised that I may know all about looking after a baby this time round, but I now have another whole child to look after AT THE SAME TIME.
It was like both boys knew my dilemma. No boys, I can’t clone myself or split myself in half. So they conspired against me to become tag team champions. You can guarantee that every time I am in a hurry to leave the house, BOTH boys will have an epic poonarmi – one after the other, and both will need a full strip and change. When one is teething, the other will have a cold – so one will wake in the night, be settled, my head hit the pillow and cue….boy two will cry on the monitor.
I’m lucky to have a brilliantly supportive husband, so when he was on nightshifts when my youngest was just three months old he was a huge miss on an evening. I had to do bathtime on my own – I’ll always remember the first attempt which of course ended up with me thinking I had everything under control as I filled the bath – only to hear the baby scream as he rolled over in the doorway and smacked his head, then as I go to save the baby my toddler ends up falling headfirst into the bath and wailing. Clucking bell. Both boys of course chose this time to also have colds – which meant no sleep for mammy, AT ALL.
The guilt you experience from having two is like no other. When you have two babies crying to be up at the same time when you can only physically carry one – you want to cry too. But it does get easier and you acquire a whole range of new skills.
I can now pick up both boys, one in each arm, at the same time. I can change a nappy with one hand while helping a toddler with this toy with the other. I can now perform household tasks with one arm tied behind my back while singing Twinkle Twinkle.
With two, my days are filled with double the love, double the cuddles, double the nibbling of toes and double the baby giggles.
I may spend my days saying to one boy “In a minute” or “Hold on”, and while I do often feel guilty about it, sometimes my boys just have to wait a little until I catch up with myself. But that’s ok as I’ve come to accept that there is just one of me. I definitely can’t clone myself or split myself in half. I looked into it.