My house is inhabited by two two year olds. One I have raised since it got pulled out of me, the other has only been in my charge for a number of months (and I have to give it back sometimes), but I have, at the age of twenty nine, found myself mother to two two year olds just five months apart in age.
Whilst being in charge of just one of them led me to say and do a number of peculiar things, check out Only Parents Say, there is something about having two of them on the loose that makes everything else in the world seem like calm serenity.
These are things you may recoginise about raising two two year olds (or three under three, or twins, or any number of toddlers that you have running around your house and driving you to push up sales of coffee exponentially)
1)You recognise the intrinsic value of “one toy”
Most of the toys in our house are “multiples”. They’re building blocks, lego bricks, cars, trains, things that there are several of in different shapes and sizes which can be played with by as many people are can fit around the heap on the floor as possible. However, there is just one magnadoodle. There is a single Vtech laptop. One highly coveted Dora The Explorer scooter. Most of the time these are kept out of reach however, should one of them come to an accessible location, it’s time to batten down the hatches and brace yourself because there is nothing in the world more important, more valuable, more worth fighting for (sorry Bryan Adams, you got this one wrong pet) than the single solitary toy.
2) You’ve come to the dull acceptance that even multiple toys aren’t actually multiples
Ignore that previous post because you know what, every single toy car in the enormous toy car box is different. She’s got the blue digger? He needs that specific blue digger. He’s got the BatMobile, nothing else in the world will please her except the BatMobile. Fights over these are less frequent, admittedly, but trust me, they can wage war over two cars that are identical except for the shape of the headlights.
3) Your lap will never be big enough
They can quite comfortably sit side by side on my lap. I sit on the floor and cross my legs and one sits one side, the other on the other side, and my arms fit nicely around both in a cuddly and comfortable position… for them at least. I’m usually in agony. The amount of times I have said “I HAVE TWO LEGS, TWO ARMS, AND TWO KIDS” as loudly as possible between flying fists and gnashing teeth is unfathomable.
4) They suss out tag-teaming far too quickly
Being obnoxious and loud and difficult is tiring, but oh so pleasing. Watching mummy and daddy tearing their hair out in exasperation is exhausting, but so amusing. So, what’s the answer? Take turns. She is a monster whilst he is angelic. Then she gets tired so they switch. He begins tantrumming like a pro whilst she sits quietly and has a cuddle. Then they swap back. This system keeps them drama going for five times longer than if they both got it out of their systems in one big hit. Evil geniuses.
5) There is nothing more terrifying than silence
When two of them are about the house is rarely quiet. Even when they’re eating they’re managing to squabble or chatter. Silence is sinister. Silence means plotting. Silence means danger. It’s easy to momentarily get distracted by the pleasure in washing the dishes or having a poo in peace before realisation dawns on you and panic sets in. They can be found pulling everything off the shelves like stealthy ninjas, chewing on books behind the curtains, or attempting to scale the stairgate and get upstairs before you notice.
6) They are possessive to the point of idiocy
Most things are communal. We don’t let them claim “mine” over things because things are the “house toys” and anyone is allowed to play with them. However, certain things are theirs specifically and they are allowed priority play, if one has it they can ask for it back and it’s to be given. For instance, my mum bought her a diplodocus and him a stegosaurus from her holiday. If he dares pick up her diplodocus, no matter what he is doing anywhere in the whole house or garden, her spidey-senses tingle and she appears in rabid fury to reclaim it.
7) Tandom Naps are gold dust
Getting one toddler to have their nap at a convenient time is trying. Getting two down at the same time is miraculous.
8) They are a solid team and nobody can mess with them
Whatever abuse they give one another, if anyone else tries it they are in for a shock. Nothing and nobody gets to bully one of them except the other, and they will make sure anybody who tries it suffers for it.
9) They miss each other more than anyone else
Because he spends some nights with his mother, and days with his grandmother, Z spends more time away from home than Miss Rose does. When he gets home she screeches “it’s my brother Z! Z’s home! Z’s here! Come in Z! Come home Z! It’s my brother Z!” with such excitement I sometimes think she might explode. Even if they are going to fight viciously within five minutes, that first reunion is beautiful and longed for.
10) Everything is more fun
Bath time alone, great. Bath time with company, immense. Kicking a ball around alone, alright. Kicking a ball around with your sibling, brilliant. Everything is more messy, more noisy, more chaotic, and so much more entertaining. They are carted around with their best friend in the world all the time and get to get into trouble together, play games together, and wind up all the adults together.
11) Two toddler cuddles rock
When I have both of them on my lap, both of them wrapping their arms around me and kissing me, there is no finer feeling. It’s twice the love, twice the fun, and twice the pride.
I had no plans on having two children so close together in age. I planned an age gap of 3 or 4 years between any children I had, not a few months, but it’s convinced me in the joy of small age gaps. Don’t get me wrong, I have no time for any of the stuff I used to do when there was just one (gym, swimming, walking round in the sunshine looking at pigeons), and I get far less sleep because one or the other seems to be climbing on my face at any given moment in the night, but it’s brilliant. It has actually made me want more kids when I wasn’t sure I did before. I was happy with one but having two has made me want three!
Guess I’m just a glutton for punishment.
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!