*Hate’s a very strong word, I much prefer ‘dislike’ or ‘don’t really enjoy’, but let’s face it they wouldn’t have the same ring would they?
This is in no way related to Heath Ledger or Julia Stiles, no this is my honest take on why having two children can be, well shall we say – challenging. I often look back to when I had the one and there’s no doubt about it, it was hard, bloody hard, but if I really think about it I had so much more opportunity to nap and watch This Morning than I do now. Oh how I miss you Phil and Holly.
So here are the 10 things I ‘don’t really enjoy’ about having two little people.
1. It’s about as rare as an eclipse when both children have a nap at the same time. The only way it’s possible (or at least in my experience) is to drive around in the car playing Classic FM like a 95 year old lady called Doris on her way to the local garden centre. Believe me it works.
The difficulty then is managing to get them both successfully out of the car and transferred into their beds. It almost always ends with one of them waking up, so the feet up – cup of coffee in hand – Come Dine with Me afternoon session I had ambitiously planned is swiftly cancelled. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love playing and chasing around after my boys but just 30 mins peace without having to answer one hundred and one questions would be lovely. In reality what do I do when the ‘rare eclipse’ strikes? I clean and tidy.
2. Multi-tasking like you’ve never multi-tasked before. It’s a skill we have to adopt because we have no other choice. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve been in a situation where one hand is wiping a poopy bum and the other’s preventing the toddler from doing his best impression of Eddie the Eagle. Parents have to have reflexes like a cat. I’ve never felt more like a ninja in my life. 3. My toddler hasn’t quite grasped the fact his younger brother isn’t a toy. There have been a few occasions where I’ve caught him riding his brother like a sad donkey on the beach. The words ‘gentle‘, ‘careful‘ or the phrase ‘get off your brother‘ have never been used as much. 4. Two lots of I nappies (granted not all of you will have this issue, some of you sensibly waited). I remember one particular morning changing six nappies after only been up for an hour. How is it possible for such small people to produce so much poo? Nowadays my toddler is toilet trained so this thankfully is no longer an issue. Just the one set of nappies to deal with, phew!
However, this has now brought around a new ‘challenge’. My son always chooses incredibly inconvenient times to do a ‘poo dance’ and announce loudly for all to hear “I need a poo!” mainly when I’ve either got his baby brother fast asleep in my arms (after a long time of him fighting sleep), or when we’re out and we’ve just conveniently sat down with lunch, only to have to awkwardly abandon it and single handedly juggle belongings, a baby, and a wincing toddler to a tiny loo. Let’s face it the poo was never going to be a good thing was it? 5. One of the hardest challenges for a parent is to get through the day without getting some form of food or bodily function smeared on their clothing. As the ‘owner’ of two boys, this tends to involve a lot snot, where the chuff does it all come from? If snot could be mined they could make a base at our house, and I would be one rich lady.
With two boys in tow I have double the smearage occurrence and quadruple the amount of household washing to deal with. I love spending my days filling the washer and drier (said no mum ever!). Although it has to be said I’ve become more accustomed (doesn’t have any other option so has just accepted) having that extra accessory of banana smear, or snot splatter. Who knows it could catch on. I’ll wait for your call Vivienne. 6. The noise, oh god the noise. The decibel level has certainly escalated since we first moved into our new house. At that time we had a relatively quite one and a half year old and I was seven months pregnant (yes I know we didn’t mess about, and yes moving when heavily pregnant was not the most exhilarating moment of my life, it was flaming stressful). So I imagine our neighbour thought we were a nice quiet little family to live next door to. Wrong!
The first noise worthy experience he had to endure was listening to me whining and mooing like a cow at 4am as the contractions were kicking in – one hospital trip later and BOOM! Welcome to Noisetown.
My youngest was a pretty chilled baby and sound sleeper, however the standard loud hungry baby cries he did at all hours of the night/morning weren’t the most enjoyable. If the mother and father of the child struggle to cope with the noise then I can’t imagine the neighbour was loving it much either.
Next on the noise counter was my fast growing toddler who mastered the fine (but not very likeable) art of winging. Again if even the mother of the child can’t appreciate their own flesh and bloods constant “I don’t wannnntttt thaaaaaattttt!“, “I wannnntttt thaaaaaattttt!“, “Noooooooooooooo“, “Whaaaaaaaaaaaa!“, then my poor bugger of a neighbour certainly isn’t going to either. To compliment the winging there’s also the occasional (OK then, daily) case of ‘parent losing their shit’ noise.
But those still aren’t the worst of the noises he has to endure. No, the worse noise can usually be heard around 7:20pm – 7:30pm, and comes from the mouth of the lesser spotted singing mum, also known as me attempting to sing Feed the Birds to the boys. (Less Mary Poppins more Makeit Stoppins). So I’m sorry neighbour, I’d love to tell you it’s going to quieten down, but the reality is soon there will be two wingers once my little one enters the twonager/threenager zone. I’ve heard Boots sell some pretty good earplugs, you may want to invest.
7. Both of my son’s have an obsession with hiding things. If I could compare them to an animal they would be squirrels. Squirrels hide nuts, well my children hide just about anything they can get their hands on. On occasion the selected object in question has rather inconveniently been my keys, and always on a day when I’m in a rush to get out of the house. When my eldest was about twenty months old I caught him looking rather sheepish whilst standing near my relatively expensive speakers. Having remembered music was starting to sound a bit tinny, I put two and two together and decided to get my Mrs Marple head on. After shining a torch in the back of the speaker I discovered a plethora of items, I’m talking pens, golf balls, small knick knacks, toys, cars, a stylus, you name it, it was in there. After a lot of vigorous shaking and probing with some BBQ tongs the little hoarders stash had been retrieved. The speakers have never fully recovered, but they’re now out of reach from the ‘little squirrels’.
8. I am a nag nag. A double nag. One of my most used words is “No”, along with the phrases, “Please don’t do that”, “Get off that”, “Can you stop doing that please?”. This is one of the parts of motherhood I really don’t enjoy, in fact I’d go as far to say I actually hate it. I really didn’t want to be a naggy mum but when one of your children is constantly pressing the sky record button (we have a lot of random Part Rec programmes in our planner), whilst the other decides it’s a good idea to smudge his bananarey hands all over the sofa, then Mrs Naggy McNaggyson from Nagthorpe has to make an appearance. In the past I’ve read a few articles about alternative ways to say no, but when your kid’s about to jump off the top of the slide head first “Please could you refrain from jumping off the top of the slide darling” just doesn’t cut the mustard, because ultimately the kids probably already committed to it, then cue a mammoth wait in A&E and a potential mark on the social services risk register. However nagging does have it’s uses, let’s face it if there was no such thing as nagging then there would be a lot of unpaid bills, and half done jobs (not a dig to you hubby obviously😂).
9. You have to choose. I don’t mean as to which child is your favourite (that varies on behaviour obviously), I mean there are situations where you have to balance out their needs and make an on the spot decision. I’d liken it to a game of Top Trumps. For this example I shall rename it ‘Tot Trumps’. ‘Toddler doing poo dance’ vs ‘Baby touching TV remote’. Now let’s see the stats:
Toddler Doing Poo Dance
- Risk Factor: 95
- Danger Level: 95
- Speed: 70
- Whinge Volume: 85
Baby Touching TV Remote
- Risk Factor: 60
- Danger Level: 20
- Speed: 80
- Whinge Volume: 65
The toddlers needs win on this occasion. Deleting an unwanted programme on the Sky planner not a problem, having to scrape poo off the living room floor? I’ll pass thanks. 10. When we just had the one baby waking up in the night, the hubby and I were a little more inclined to leave him for a bit to ‘cry it out’, or at least do that thing most couples do and have a ‘stand off’ (or should that be ‘lay off’) and wait for the other to make the move. Nowadays as soon as a hint of a decent cry emerges we’re quicker than Mo Farah after eating a bowl full of Quorn to react and ensure their cries don’t wake the other. After all what’s worse than a child waking up at 2am the night before you’re up early for work? Two children awake at 2am the night before you’re up early for work. So there you have it, those are my 10 Things I ‘Hate’ About Two, but it’s not all Tot Trumps, squirrels and noise. The tight Yorkshire lass in me is incredibly happy that we saved a flipping fortune on clothes and toys etc. Even though I know the pain of a second child all too well (having to endure the bobbly unfashionable hand me downs, getting the second hand bike, etc.) I’m now the sensible(ish) parent trying to be careful with money, so I’m pleased the clothes we bought and gratefully received for my first born have been used again and they’ve both got their wear out of them.
Ultimately the best thing about having two children is that my son has now got a buddy to share his childhood with. He has a friend, a best mate, a Robin to his Batman, an Ant to his Dec, and vice versa. Watching them play together is a wonderful thing, it makes me go all mushy (when they’re not having the “I was playing with that”, “Mummy, he took it off me” sharing issues).
We’ve made two beautiful boys and we couldn’t be prouder, even though our house permanently smells like farts.
Love you boys X