I apologize for the rant yesterday (or was it Wednesday? Oh wait. Wednesday WAS yesterday. Whatever.) I hate to be negative, but I also do not want to sugarcoat the situation. So, while I am at it, I might as well list out the other challenges for the 2 Under 2 Club.
The #1 problem with 2 Under 2 is that your oldest is not done teething yet. The week we brought Anjali home is the week that Arun decided to cut some canines. Nobody was sleeping that week, for sure. And now, judging from the way he chews on his finger and pulls a Paris Hilton by pointing to his mouth while saying "HOT!", it is safe to assume he is now working on his 2 year molars. The irony that my newborn has usually slept better than my toddler is not lost upon me. Except for the first 2 weeks and the occasional Greek meal, Anjali is a rockstar when it comes to sleep.
As you can imagine, it is difficult enough to get one kid to sleep, try working on TWO. The problem is, if Anju is crying, this worries Arun. We get her to sleep first, then we work on Arun.
Arun is obsessed with Anju beyond reason and to the point of restraining orders. There is NO rationalizing with him, either. The best method I have found with him is to tell him what he CAN do (think Conscious Discipline by Becky Baily - I love that woman.). When Anjali is on the floor, he can lay BESIDE her (as opposed to on top of her). When she is in the bouncy seat, he can pat her gently or hug her while his knees are on the ground (as opposed to laying his entire body on her). It is still difficult and is a fast track for me losing my temper because I am SO sick and tired of him loving her. Like I say, it is a good problem to have but it is still a problem.
Oh My God. The boredom. Dead of summer and I was stuck at home with a newborn and a toddler. Folks, it was television and toys to the rescue. I am so unapologetic about this. Television does not have to be a bad thing - you can sit breastfeeding your newborn while you talk to your toddler about what is going on the TV. And toys? Sure, we bought some new toys, but I also spent the last few months of the pregnancy scouring clearance racks and garage sales. Arun's birthday is next month, but I made an executive decision that his birthday gifts would be best used in July. He will not even notice that he is not receiving gifts from us next month.
Okay, 2 Under 2 is not all bad. Here are some good things that I can try and pull out of my ass to make this post somewhat "fair and balanced".
Close in Age
I am very glad that my children will be close in age. My sister and I were 5 years apart and quite frankly, my grandma and mother did a really crappy job of ensuring that my emotional needs were met when my sister was born. To say that I was shoved in the background to chew scenery is to put it mildly. And worse, I remember it. I have specific childhood memories that are still hurtful to think about to this day. Am I being dramatic? Um, my dad is the witness and even tried to talk to my mom about it. So, my sister and I were scarred by this experience and as such, wanted very much for our children to be close in age. While Arun is obsessed with Anjali and that is stressful, it is also amazing and very cool how he did not even question her arrival. Before she was born, he had this thing where he would sit in his crib before going to sleep and do his litany of "Mama....Daddy.....Wah-Woo...." over and over before going to sleep. When we brought Anjali home, he automatically added "da bee-bee" to it. He will never remember not having a sister and I am glad.
Already in Baby Mode
I am already in the mode of rocking, changing diapers and the constant State of Need. Our baby equipment did not even have time to gather cobwebs. There is something to be said for not having to "start over" because in many respects, adding Anjali to our family was seamless and not so mind blowing.
Overall............I think regardless of the age difference between one's children, every mother's heart gets a little scrunchy when she watches her children coo and smile at each other. I know I do and it makes the achy arms, long nights and tired soul a little more bearable.