I read a lot of advice columns. I always find something comforting in the idea that you send your question off into the world, and someone qualified answers it and takes your decisions out of your hand; there’s a solidarity in reading a question that reflects what you’re going through in your own life and knowing you’re not alone. When the girls were tiny and I was struggling through nursing, and again when they were a little older and we were sleep training, I would read parenting advice columns on my phone – about things I was facing at the time, things I was afraid to face in the future, things that were incredibly different from my experience.
One of the topics that was vastly different from my experience – and that I saw come up over and over and over again – was spacing between first and second kids. This is apparently something that people spend a lot of time and energy worrying over. If we have them too close together, we’re denying our first child the opportunity to be an only child. If we wait too long,it will rock his or her world too much. It seems like people are convinced it’s impossible to have a second child without ruining their first child’s life.
For me, the decision was taken away from me at my very first doctor’s appointment. Rosy was officially an only child for one full minute before Maddy made her entrance into the world. And, to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other day. Sure, having two is hard. Like. Really hard, guys. Do you NEED to choose this moment when I’m halfway through cleaning your sister’s dirty diaper to make a break for it? Was it STRICTLY necessary for you to snatch her binkie out of her mouth when you already have one? Why is your finger in her eye? No, you don’t bite sissy, that’s not nice.
But my kids are never lonely. Right now I’m typing this up and they’re sitting in front of their play kitchen, sharing toys and playing together. Maddy is trying to fit a big toy into her mouth and Rosy is encouraging her by hitting her in the head repeatedly (I swear, that’s how they show affection right now. It’s the hair pulling that you have to watch out for). When one of them is crying, the other looks around the room for her with the sweetest little concerned look. If you pick up or snuggle one twin, you better be ready to give the other the same attention because SHE IS WATCHING AND IS NOT HAPPY.
Sometimes I’m sad that neither of my babies gets 1000% of my attention, the way she would if she was an only child. And I wonder what it’s like to comfort a baby who’s having a nightmare without worrying about waking up her sister. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was jealous of moms out at the store with their adorable, compact single strollers, or strolling around casually wearing their babies. Being outnumbered on my work at home days is certainly a challenge But every time I start to wonder what life would be like with only one baby, I look at the bond my girls are building and start tearing up at the thought of missing it.