When out and about with the children, the odd old lady/shopkeeper/drunk will chuckle ‘you’ve got your hands full’. Admittedly, with Leila in the buggy and Asher in the sling, I do look a bit child-laden.
Depending on the day I have two (internal; outwardly I just mumble agreement awkwardly) responses.
The first is to scoff, hey it’s no big deal actually, having two children. Almost everyone who has one, has another. Some birth two AT THE SAME TIME. Some have three, four children- more! THEY have their hands full, not I. I have two hands. I have two eyes with which to shoot dagger-like glares of wrath at errant toddlers. Two is a breeze. Two schmoo.
Alternatively it makes me want to cry, to blurt a shoutily sarcastic ‘you don’t say!’ because, yes, I do have my hands full actually, thanks for pointing it out!’ and run to the loo, slightly encumbered by baby in sling, to weep. On these days, two is hard.
There is no middle ground, it seems. I am either bossing it, loving it, drinking in every blissful moment. Or, all three of us are crying, and I’m listening keenly for G’s key in the lock like some valium-sodden 50s housewife. So if I tell you it’s hard one day, and you hear me saying it’s a doddle the next, I’m not lying on either day. It is both of these things. It’s s the Good, the Bad and the Crazy round here.
The Good is when me and Leila are sitting on the sofa feeding our babies (well, she is ‘feeding’ her ‘baby’) and she turns to me and says ‘oh, Other-Woman, this big baby is giving me grief! Shall we have a cup of tea?’ and then busies around with her tiny teaset while Asher grins up at me; the Good is when, both of them pink from a shared bath, she kisses a fat cheek and says spontaneously ‘night night, Asher, I love you’. And, actually, dozens of moments each day.
The Bad is any time we try to leave the house, basically. It’s a mess. A mess of scarves and hats and a baby who is ROARING and a toddler who is alternately stiff as a plank and floppy as jelly in her efforts to prevent me putting her coat on. Or when we all need feeding, and two of us are shouting about it, and I know that the third one of us probably isn’t going to eat. Guess which one.
The Crazy is the rear passenger door of the car freezing shut so I have to virtually fling Asher’s car seat from the front seat into the back, while Leila sheds her mittens and chirps ‘ooh, ice’,’ as she runs her fingers over a dirty frozen puddle. The Crazy is Leila marching up and down the living room unravelling a roll of kitchen roll as she goes, knowing full well that I am pinned to the sofa by Mr. Greedy Guzzleton and only have the questionable power of the dagger-like glares of wrath at my disposal.
Thankfully, the Good dominates, the Bad is fleeting, and the Crazy makes for some good stories. And the Good, oh, it is so very very good, that I want to urge everyone who has a toddler to go ahead and have a newborn too. At least, I do today. Ask me again tomorrow and who knows what my response will be.
*See what I did there?