Friends, who are parents of one and either contemplating or incubating a second, keep asking me, ‘Is it hard, having two?’
The short answer is ‘YES.’
But it is also wonderful, rewarding and fun.
Double the love, double the smiles, double the cuddling.
Double the nappies, double the mess and half the sleep.
So here are my tips for those of you contemplating or expecting your second (says she with a whole eight weeks experience):
Routine. Let me just say that again. ROUTINE. Help the older sibling to get into a regular nap and bedtime schedule before the new baby arrives. This makes things so much more manageable.
Go easy on yourself. You can’t be and do all (I know, I’ve tried). If you have to leave one cry for a minute or two while the other needs immediate attention, it’s ok. They’ll get over it, you’ll get over it. Do your best.
Train a helper. Crazypixie loves to get me things while I’m feeding or changing tinyelf. They may not be exactly (or even remotely) what I was looking for but it does keep her amused and interested in her sister.
Let your toddler play mummy. Baba, crazypixie’s dolly, is changed, rocked to sleep, burped and breastfed. Hours of fun!
Stagger getting up times, naptimes and bedtimes. In the morning I give crazypixie her cuddles, get her changed, dressed and have the porridge on before bringing the sleeping tinyelf downstairs. I always ensure tinyelf is napping or happily playing before bringing crazypixie up for her nap.
Be a grownup. Have a least one adult conversation a day. Give yourself little snatches of grown up time, be it phone conversations, blogging, online shopping or snuggling with himself – whatever cranks your tractor.
Get out. After the first few times it’s not that difficult to get out and about. Go visit friends and family; give everyone a change of scene from your own four walls.
Remember the priorities. Leave the mess sometimes and just hang out with your kids and your partner.
Enjoy. Do what you can to make sure you all enjoy some of this special time and not just survive it.
Did I mention routine?