Double Trouble

I remember being asked about two years ago if I had kids. “Oh yes,” I replied “I have a daughter”. “You don’t have kids, you have a kid” the guy replied.  I was a bit taken aback by this and was left wondering how someone could make this distinction, if you had gone through the trials of the first six weeks, run the gauntlet of dirty nappies and midnight feeds how could someone say just having one child somehow puts you in another category.  It doesn’t, of course, but the difference between a house with one and a house with two or more children are vastly different situations and the arrival of my son has raised some interesting challenges for me as a father.

When two parents are in charge of one child, you get breaks. Necessary little five minute ‘time-outs’, which I used, to compose myself and return to the calamity with calm and enthusiasm.  For dads like me who do not have built in maternal instincts and just want to problem solve, it is important to be able to take step back and assess if problems need to be solved or left alone. When baby number two arrived all bets were off. We were both in there, hammer and tongs, feeding one, bathing the other and passing each other by.

Having one child is much like getting a pet while having two is like going for your zoo-keeping license and not all animals get treated the same way. As a father I did not expect my parenting style to differ so greatly between my two kids. My daughter runs rings around me while my son generally brings at my inner disciplinarian and my wife finds it the opposite way around. This is also true for friends of ours and they too worry that they are not giving their children equal attention or love. Men want men to be men, women want girls to be little darlings and hence we bring up a generation of daddy’s little angels and mommy’s boys.

My wife and I may not agree on all fronts when it comes to parenting but we both agree that the leap from no children to one child, as life altering as it seems at first is not as great a leap as from one to two. From finding friends to babysit, to late night dual coughing fits it can be quite a shock to the system of someone who thought they knew it all.  But however difficult it may be, you now have two beaming faces smiling up at you in the morning and two sets of laughs to melt your heart. The good completely outweighs the bad and when you make it out of the mists of the first few months of ‘double trouble’ and you look down to see two little friends holding hands and trying to push each other over a pot plant  you realize that you don’t know what you did without them.

Author

Mike Marinus

Mike Marinus

Mike Marinus, dad to Megan and James plus a Chiropractor in Blairgowrie with a special interest in family practice and paediatric care. Find his other articles here.

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6 Responses

  1. We had twins (a boy and a girl) and another boy fifteen months later … effetively triplets in payments 🙂 Three and a half years went by in a blur of sleep and social deprevation.

    Now we’ve been blessed with another beautiful girl. I had NO IDEA how easy it is to have one baby at a time 🙂 Yup, Michael, you got it right … there is a massive difference between having a kid and having kids …. and between having kids and having them all at once 🙂

  2. Oh my goodness – we’re thinking of having a 2nd one (son is 18 months old), and this is exactly what I’ve been contemplating. #1 was a handful from the day he was born. Perhaps #2 will be really chilled out?

  3. I never really thought about it that way until I got into trouble from my wife telling me how hard it was. But the truth is, even though you have to juggle more balls the pro’s far outweigh the con’s. Our two daughters are very different although the youngest is only 8 months her temperament is not the same as the older one. I also don’t know what I did BC (Before Children).

  4. 2? You only have 2 of them? HAH! Have another one or two. We have four…our oldest is 4. The others are 3, 2, and 1. My sanity level is fairly low right now. I’d welcome a week or two at our state mental hospital (what could be better…three meals a day prepared by somebody else, clean linens washed and done up by somebody else…)

    Trust me when I tell you…two is easy. It’s still man-to-man coverage. Have another and the game changes completely…

  5. I fully agree, I have 3 girl muskateers (6, 4 and 2 years respectively) and after the initial shock wears off (it takes about 18 months)per each, you look at the people around you that are still childless and think that their lives must be so empty. Children complete you in a way that nothing else can.

  6. It is good to know im not alone in my parenting experiences. For those of you who have three, four or more children I tip my hat to you and wish you all the best.

    I must say, as time goes on you start to forget what used to pass for a quiet evening. We recently had the kids stay over at gran and I found myself making Milo and running baths for no one!!

    Again, thank you all for the great responses. Sometimes we live too far behind our walls and electric fencing to realize there are others going through exactly what we are and this site is a great way of sharing our experiences.

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