The Royal Two Under Two: 5 Tips Kate And Will Need For Handling A Newborn And A Toddler
Dear Kate and William,
Oh hey there, guys! As you can see I've dispensed with the formal greetings, because I feel like you'd be cool with that. Anyway, I just heard the news: Congratulations on the birth of your little girl! This is fantastic and I couldn't be happier for you. I don't know if you know this about me (I can only assume you're fans of mine, but I don't want to presume), but I also have a toddler boy and infant girl. So as you can see, this is yet another thing we have in common. (I also have shiny hair, like Kate. Like William, I'm going to inherit a throne one day. I don't know which throne or when I will rule or why my King and Queen parents have never met me or told me about my kingdom, but it's just a completely logical, not crazy feeling I have.) Anyway, let's talk about the hellscape that is having two kids under the age of two. Because you guys need to hear a few pieces of very real advice.
I can assure you that you are in for a wonderful time, though it will be trying. As established parents, you already have some of this stuff locked down, but adding a second little into the mix will force you to relearn some stuff and change up established habits. You used to outnumber your offspring: Now you are evenly matched. But don't worry! This is completely doable, and I thought you would appreciate some "been there/done that" advice from a fellow parent of two (and your secret bestie whom you've never met).
Kate: Relax For The Next Few Days!
After my son was born via c-section, I sat comfortably in the hospital for four days, and when I got home, it was more of the same. So much Netflix. So much cuddling with a baby. Don't get me wrong: Those postpartum days (especially the first few weeks or months) were hard as hell, but I had a generous maternity leave, so I was lucky enough to have my son be my only concern. When my daughter was born, two years and nine months later, there was no way my wonderful, incredibly active toddler would permit a second quiet, laid back recovery period. In my hubris, I thought, "Oh, it'll be okay! I've done this before! And last time I had a c-section and this was a vaginal delivery, so it'll totally be physically easier." Ha! Never underestimate what passing a small human through your vagina will do to your body. Yes, it's a quicker recovery than a c-section, but that doesn't mean there's no recovery time involved.
It will be tempting to try to do it all: play with George as usual, pick them both up constantly, run around, etc. You'll probably physically be able to, but you should really cool your jets. I'm convinced I set back my own recovery the second time around by rushing things. William, you're going to have to do double-toddler duty for a while. Godspeed and courage, my good man!
Baby Wearing: Not Just For Hippies
Personally speaking, I've been a huge fan of baby wearing since my son was born. When he was a wee one, it was a matter of convenience. Once my daughter came around, it was a matter of absolute necessity. She is currently 11 months old and there is still no way I would get anything done if I didn't wear her around everywhere I went. There is no dearth of choices when it comes to deciding which baby wearing technique is right for you. I've tried a few and while I've liked them all, I most heartily recommend getting yourself a pair of Moby Wraps. Some people are intimidated by this very long piece of fabric and have some difficulty trying to figure it out, but once you get the hang of it you could do it in your sleep. I recommend watching a few YouTube tutorials on Moby Wraps. (Or you could hire a few peasants to come to your castle and demonstrate over and over again: is that something you can do? Probably.)
Take Turns Waking Up With Whichever Child Gets Up Earliest
This is, of course, assuming you don't have nannies who do this... you don't, right? If you do, don't tell me because I don't want my myth of you being down-to-Earth and just like us plebes shattered. Anyway. This is pretty clutch. It's easy to fall into a routine of one parent being the "wake up" parent, but as I'm sure you know from your first rodeo, sleep is essential. While you'll likely never quite have enough sleep, you should try to distribute it as evenly as possible between the two of you. (Sorry if "redistribution of the sleep" makes your royals nervous, but parenting communism can totally exist within a monarchy, I assure you.)
Don't Feel Guilty About George Not Being An Only Child Anymore
This was pretty huge for me when I had a second kid, and as such (since we're so alike), will probably be something you will have to emotionally navigate. As much as you absolutely already love your daughter (and that love will only deepen), you likely also feel guilty that your first baby is not your only baby anymore. And you will tearfully think, "He doesn't understand why things can't be the way they've always been! He must think I hate him!" Trust me: He will and he doesn't.
I was incredibly nervous about my son's reaction to my daughter (mainly because you couldn't talk about the new baby around him when I was pregnant. He would immediately command us to "stop saying those words."), but when he saw her for the first time he cooed, "Aww. She's so cute." Then he dissociated completely for about an hour and pretended to be a naughty cat. BUT THEN he got over it and has loved her ever since. Granted, I was lucky and some kids have a harder time of things, but most people I talk to assure me that even the worst cases only to last the first 6-8 weeks. That will feel like a long time when you are in it, but you will get through it!
Please Name Her Daenerys
As someone who gave her son a completely wonderful, traditional, solid English royalty-sounding name and her daughter a unique, hard to spell name: It's the bee's knees. It's a perfect balance! And again, since you and I are so alike, I can only assume you'll follow suit.
Once again, congratulations, and welcome to the Two Kids Club!
Jamie Kenney, heir to a TBD throne
Images: Getty Images; Giphy (2); YouTube