Thursday, July 21, 2011

It Takes Two

When people find out you have a two year old and a one year old, they occasionally react with alarm.

I was at a wedding this weekend (quick aside to the Berkshires - way to go with the epic scenic beauty, Berkshires, really good job). In getting to know our fellow revelers we encountered no small measure of concern when we told people about the respective ages of our children.  

And I can't say they're wrong. As this blog has often chronicled, it's a bit of a madhouse over here. But today I'd like to take a little time to speak to the unheralded upsides of having closely spaced siblings, because shockingly enough - there actually are some.

For example:

The Diapers

One common concern that people express when they find out my kids' ages is the diaper issue. They tell me they can't imagine having two in diapers at the same time. 

But, to be honest, what I can't imagine is getting one kid out of diapers and then STARTING AGAIN. The fact is, when the diapers need changing at the rate they do at my house, they just kind of become part of the stinky fabric of  life to the point where you barely even notice them.

Which brings me to a larger point.

You're Already Doing It

When you're in the "under three" zone, having an extra human around doesn't really make that big of a difference overall. The diaper point is really true for almost all aspects of life when you have two young kids who are close in age. 

Flinging chicken fingers at dinnertime? Just make a couple more!

Heading off to the zoo for a day of animal peeping? Unfurl the double stroller and make it a family fiesta!

Dealing with a severe zoo-based meltdown when your kid is perturbed by the gorillas for reasons that defy explanation? You'll hardly notice when the other kid starts screaming because he has spied the snack stand and cannot live another second without stuffing his maw with Dipping Dots!

Whatever the child-related dilemma, the fact is a second kid doesn't really make it any worse, because you're already doing it. Now you're just doing it a little bit more.

They Entertain Each Other

This simple truth is the Holy Grail of the closely-spaced offspring. Unfortunately, at our house this is a nirvana that has not yet been fully achieved. Currently, my two boys have a relationship that is characterized by mutual ignoring, interrupted by brief bursts of intense violence. BUT, I have seen glimmers. They're are days, even now, that they do manage to play together (or at least, near each other) for a significant amount of time. This amazing development affords me some precious downtime which I use to catch up on house cleaning, meal preparation, Facebook perusing, and/or excessive snacking.

And that's golden.

So, I leave you with a simple thesis. Yes, there are some real downsides to have two kids under three. There are days when, just as you've settled the younger one into a swing at the playground, you look up to see your two-year-old taking off across the adjoining soccer fields. And it's not great.

But I remain steadfast in my conviction that if you are on the fence, don't be afraid! I'm in the deep end of the closely-spaced sibling pool and I'm here to tell you.

Come on in, the water's fine.....*

*Please note: This advice may be the result of advanced sleep deprivation, intense laundry-related malaise, or Stockholm 
syndrome. Follow at your own peril.