My Irish Twins were three and two in December. My other closely spaced baby (not so much “Irish Twin”) is 10 months old.
How time has marched on. Reading my past blogs on parenting closely spaced babies reminds me of how intense the time was when they were really little and how far we have come.
When they were babies my coping was through organised structures, strict routines and long days always trying to stay one step ahead (see my tips for babies here).
As they have got older it has become more natural, easier and the battles have changed.
Things that happen now that they are a bit older:
1. They are Best Friends.
They are lost without the other. Now that the older one has started Montessori two afternoons a week, you realise how much they mean to each other and how much they never do something without each other. They ask continually where the other is.
They always have a playmate, they have favourite activities, have nicknames for each other and are learning to share quite well at times. They understand each other and their developing language (particularly the younger) better than anyone.
2. They look after each other.
They play outside and come in bringing messages that the other is hungry or needs something. They tell me whats going on constantly. Meaning I can clean up inside while they play together outside, or they play in the bedroom. So where previously it was a battle, now I can just get on with it and do it and then have time with them afterwards.
3. The younger seems to advance quicker as she follows her sister
Toilet training has been so much easier as she just wants to go whenever her sister goes. Whatever her sister does she wants to do. This makes everything happen and develop so much quicker and easier. Their little brother increasingly shocks me with what he wants to do, the pace he is at and the tolerance he has, perhaps because he watches his sisters (all so close in age to him).
4. They squabble and fight
Quite regularly. Over everything. Hair pulling, pinching and the works. Then 10 seconds later will have forgotton about it and be playing happily again. Still working out strategies on that one…
5. They are increasingly independent
From an early age I’ve encouraged them to do things themselves. Now they can increasingly feed themselves breakfast without too much mess, try to get themselves dressed, put their dishes in the kitchen, take themselves to the toilet and so on. My older girl even spilled some rice the other day and got the vacuum out and made a good attempt at cleaning it all up. They are more confident and they don’t need me to do every little thing for them (though its all definately under a watchful eye).
6. I’m way more relaxed
Things just happen. We are more in the flow of it all, systems are well practised and regular. The house is getting cleaner than it once was. Things are more organised and I have more time to deal with it all. I even get time to myself at times! The children are generally happy, well fed, clean and running around. What more could you ask for.
We are a unit. They have a great sense of humour, good conversation and fun to play with. They help out when they need to and are used to having to wait.
We can do great things with them now they are older. Summer trips were great fun playing with the children and having the siblings able to do things together. Finally old enough to understand what’s going on and talking about it. Going on holiday and the children and their cousins all being able to play together.
After a busy week I try to do something fun with them at the end of the week. Yesterday I took them to the local wildlife park. And trips aren’t too daunting now. As they are older you need to take less. As long as they are well fed all is happy. They are for the most part well behaved. We have great conversations they are increasingly taking part in. The rewards are so much greater the bigger they get.
8. Things are still exhausting.
Busy from the minute you get up until the minute you go to bed. But life is made to be lived. Its a satisfying kind of tiredness.
9. It seems to be good for me
Closely spaced children means lots of running around. Eating healthy feeding them good food, healthy home baking and snacks. And who needs a gym (who has time anyway?). However between all of that and breastfeeding I’ve lost 17kg in 10 months. Why past generation mothers didn’t stress about gyms and things aye? I’m feeling better than ever, especially after so long with limited time to myself and now getting a lot more.
I look forward to what the next steps will bring.