When I was pregnant with Annabelle and Emmaline was nearly a year and a half old, I recall a fellow mother of 2 under 2 saying that the one thing she sometimes got sad about was that it seemed like her kids loved each other more than they loved her. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with that information at the time but now, with Belle walking and talking and Emma nearing the 3 year mark, I get it. Sometimes your child will love their sibling more than they love you. And that’s ok. In fact, I think it’s pretty awesome.
When you have 2 under 2, you are basically taking care of two babies for two or more years straight. I know that technically a baby becomes a toddler when they turn 1 year old but in terms of bodily functions, self-preservation skills, and completely irrational thought and a general misunderstanding of the world around them, kids are basically babies until they’re 3. Don’t argue with my reasoning, just go with it.
So, let’s say you’re like me and you have your first baby and then you get pregnant nine months later. Fast forward another nine months and you have an 18 month old and a newborn, read: two babies. Both are in diapers (most likely), your oldest might still be nursing or weaning off of a bottle or pacifier, and they’re both probably waking you up at night. And this lasts, not for a couple of months till your newborn is sleeping a little better (and, by theway, who did I happen to wrong in a previous life that I am STILL waking up during the night with one if not BOTH of my children?), but for the next year. So, you had your first baby and did the teeny, tiny baby stuff, got some longer sleep stretches (fingers crossed), and maybe worked on some skills for independence like taking off clothes and using a fork and spoon. Yay you! Then, you wash, rinse, and repeat, all while still taking care of your first baby (who’s only just learned to take off her clothes and use a fork and spoon, right?)! It’s not like you have a semi-self-sufficient kid who can grab a yogurt container from the fridge and call it lunch for you!
Okay, so you get through the newborn stuff with your youngest and your oldest is now 2. Yay! Notsomuch… Now, you’re expected to be potty training and teaching the alphabet and providing stimulating social and educational interaction for your almost preschooler. I’m sorry. That is just not happening. Why? Because you’ve still got this baby who’s now taking crap naps, suffers from acid reflux (doesn’t it seem like every baby has that now? weird…), and is still waking you up 17 times a night. No really.
So you do the best you can to get through your new baby’s first year and then, something magical happens. Yes, your biggest picks on your littlest, grabbing toys away and teasing… and yes, your littlest pulls hair and bites in retaliation and you’re starting to think she inherited your mean streak and you’re very, very afraid… where was I going with this? Oh, the magic. Right.
When your littlest is walking and talking and is becoming a little bit more like a kid and less like a baby, your biggest will say, “I love you, Miss Bellie,” and your heart will melt. Then, if you’re lucky, you’re littlest will lean her head in the direction of her sister and you’ll hear a sloppy, “mwah!” and a “I wub you.” And then, they’ll hold hands and play with the same toys and sit at opposite ends of the tiny Ikea table you almost didn’t buy and color with m
arkers on opposite sides of a gigantic piece of paper that you’ll cherish forever because they made it together and you got to sit nearby and drink your coffee while it was still hot and it was fucking amazing.
And then, you’ll realize that they are now and will forever be about as c
lose as two people can become. And whether they’re fighting over the book that you told your mother to buy two of because you knew it was going to be an issue or stealing the last bite of cupcake off of the other’s plate when they’re not looking or crying because someone isn’t sharing, there will be moments of magic when you know that they love each other more than they love you. And that’s fine. That’s amazing. And that is why, despite how hard it is to have a baby and make it through early parenthood unscathed, we do it all over again.