Before I had children, I had always planned to have two children in rapid succession. The philosophy was that if the age gap was small, it would be easier for them to relate to each other and form a stronger sibling bond. If the gap was too large, the older child would always find the younger child to be a nuisance. Although that was the plan, it appeared my body wasn’t ready for a second child until first born was nearly three. A three year gap was larger than I had planned for, but it was still acceptable.
Now that I have to balance two children together, I have realised that it is a lot harder to do special things with your older child when you have a younger child to handle at the same time. When I’m trying to do Fun Thinkers with Gavin, Gareth wants to be a part of the action and he keeps pulling the tiles off the grid. When I’m playing Play Doh with Gavin, Gareth tries to eat it. When I’m trying to paint with Gavin, Gareth tries to eat the paints. When I’m trying to teach Gavin music, Gareth wants to take the books and bang on the piano keys, too. When I’m trying to do flash cards with Gavin, Gareth wants to take my cards. When I’m trying to read to Gavin, Gareth tries to snatch my book.
It doesn’t matter what I give Gareth, nothing sufficiently distracts him enough to buy me the time to do something with Gavin. Well, nothing, that is, except the TV. But the TV isn’t a good distraction for Gareth either because it also distracts Gavin. The only other distraction that can keep Gareth from interrupting his brother is me, but that also means Gavin ends up doing lot of things on his own – which he doesn’t like.
Even when we’re out and about, I find most of my attention is diverted to Gareth because he is the one who is most vulnerable and likely to get into trouble if I am not watching him. It is hard to find time to devote to Gavin and I sometimes catch myself wondering if I should have waited longer before having a second child (not that I would trade Gareth for anything in the world). But it brings me back to the guilt that I am not doing enough with Gavin. But how do you find the time to do all the things you used to do with your first born now that you have a second child?