In my early pigeon pair days, a playgroup visit often led to me using one hand to wrestle Austin away from the girl he was cracking over the head with a wooden hammer, and the other to clutch Gwen onto the nipple she was about to bite off in frustration. So I ended up staying at home a lot of the time, feeling like a bad Mum for keeping my lively 2-year-old cooped up for hours on end.
One of the first things I read when I started this blog was The Mummy Whisperer‘s post on why having two children is harder than one. I agreed with her sentiments. Double the amount of nappies. Having to split yourself between two children who often (literally) pull you in opposite directions. Rushing a potty-training toddler to the toilet, and then disposing of the day’s third pair of pooey pants, while trying to keep the baby’s weaning spoon sterile.
But, when I was moaning to a friend about how hard it all was, she reminded me that, although it’s double the work, it’s also double the love.
When little Gwen was born, Austin’s stock phrase was ‘go away, baby’. Now – although we still have to check that his cuddles don’t turn into a head-wrench, in retaliation for her chewing one of his precious dinosaur jigsaw pieces – together the two children are usually a mass of giggles and squeals.
When the builders first arrived to work on our loft conversion, Austin would, several times a day, call them through to the front room to ‘look at our little Gwen’. In front of these men, who occupied our house for several weeks, he treated her with such pride they nicknamed her ‘Princess’.*
And, nearly a year on, the word that Gwen uses most, more than even Daddy or Mummy, is Austin. Or ‘Ooo-did’.
Mainly as a shout, when he’s run off with one of her toys. Which happens a lot.
I’m looking forward to a lifetime of scraps, squabbles, and double (or triple, quadruple) the love. Way, way past the time when the Daddy D and I are around to see it.
*I should, as a feminist, disapprove of my daughter being labelled in this gender normative way. But the proud mother in me stifled these sentiments, in favour of believing the builders had noticed something special in my daughter. They hadn’t, of course – I’m sure they say ‘Princess’ to all the little girls – and as soon as she’s old enough, I’m going to introduce Gwen to this anti-Princess reading list . But at the time, it was quite nice.