Before I had children, I always believed that a two-year age gap was the best. Perfect. The kids would be close enough in age to get along, they would both be in the same session in school, and the older one would probably not remember a time when he was the only child receiving his parents’ exclusive`love and attention.
So once the candles were blown from Aidan’s first birthday cake(s) and the presents had all been unwrapped, I started planning. We went straight to my gynaecologist to run the necessary tests (because, INFERTILITY) and I was afraid that it would take us another two years and many procedures before we conceived.
Who knew that, oddly enough, pregnancy is the cure to infertility (in our case). Bloody Murphy. 27 months after Aidan’s birth, Zac was born.
It’s been almost 20 months since my little bubba was born and wow, has it been tough. Not horrible, soul-massacre tough but mentally and physically exhausting. Bringing up two bebe is tough.
It was really tough in the beginning because when Zac was a newborn, Aidan was in the throes of being two and shifting into disequilibrium. There were heaps of meltdowns and teary tantrums and wails of “mama!”. It certainly did not help that we also enrolled him in the childcare centre at the same time and he was having a tough time with the transition.
There were so many moments when I felt torn. Tired. Frustrated. Spent. I wanted to spend my days cooing and marvelling at my darling little newborn. I could spend hours just looking at the baby. And yet I felt guilty for not reading with the toddler or playing with him or bringing him out.
With a two-year age gap, it was not easy because while the newborn demanded a lot of my time and attention, so did the toddler. When they cried, they cried at the same time. When they pooped, they pooped together. It was like a conspiracy between the two, even if they didn’t like or care for each other very much.
I still remember this period of time when I was going batshit crazy. I had gone back to work and the routine was simply a madcap rush. Once I reached home after work, I had to nurse Zac while feeding Aidan his dinner (little bugger refused to eat on his own for a while!). And then I would put Zac in his bouncer as I ate dinner. And then I would bathe them – Aidan went into the tub while Zac was in the Puj tub in the sink. After I had towelled Zac dry, off he went into the bouncer again while I soaped, rinsed and dried Aidan off.
By then, Zac would have been overtired and shrieking in the bouncer. IGNORE MODE ON. Poor second child.
Once the boys were massaged like little Kobe cows and dressed in their jammies, I would nurse Zac to sleep while Aidan watched videos on my phone. Not the best setup, I grant you, but one which worked and kept me sane.
Then Zac learnt to crawl and he would crawl into the bathroom because he would not go into the bouncer anymore and I had to put him on the floor. Which freaked me out. So I had to get my helper to carry him for a bit. Which made him cry. Which then stressed me out. Which made me extremely short with Aidan. Which made him cry. Which then made me angry with myself. And then I would wonder out loud why oh why I decided to have them two years apart.
Thankfully, those days are over. Long gone. Now that Zac is a full-fledged toddler himself, the two do get along most of the time. They would eat their after-dinner fruits sitting on the floor of our balcony, watching vehicles go by. And then I would plonk them both in the tub where they play with cups and watering cans and plastic fish. BY THEMSELVES.
They can entertain themselves WITHOUT ME.
It’s easy enough that momnesia has set in and I can now smile to myself, two years is really not a bad gap between siblings after all.