Today I did something that would have been brave last summer. No--it would have been impossible. I took both boys to Monkey Joes, one of those inflatable places.
I took them ALONE.
Gasp! Did you gasp? Probably that may not sound weird to you guys. You moms with like 3-20 kids are laughing in a loud way, maybe even snorting. But for me, it's true that this would not have been something I did or tried to do. I would have violently opposed the very idea last summer. I might have fought to the death to avoid it.
Why? And what changed?
The reality when your kids are only two years (or less) apart in age is that it takes a while for them to kind of be going the same speeds. And in the time when they are going at different speeds (and I mean developmentally as well as just the actual speed of motion), it is really insanely difficult to do certain things with them. I think that for each set of kids this is different.
In our case, I have two boys. Sawyer began running out of the womb. Not really, because that would have been alarming and really gross actually, but he began walking at nine and a half months and running at ten months. I mean RUNNING. Not just the wobbly run of a toddler. He very quickly mastered the art of being a speed demon and stopped walking anywhere. It was all running full speed all of the time. Hence the fact that we got a leash for him when I was very pregnant and just after. I literally could not always keep up in crowds while towing a giant belly and then after that, a baby.
Lincoln was slower, but as soon as he got a little better at walking, began to run because his brother was running. Only he usually ran in a different direction at a different speed. It was like one of those math problems where you have one child A running at 5mph going west and child B running at 4.3mph headed east. If a mom tries to catch both boys, how fast must she run? Wait--the more important question is which direction does she go in first?? This math problem doesn't work out. Algebra would not solve this equation. Leashes and things like strollers with straps and not going to public places alone that didn't have gates and fences--THAT solved my equation.
So last summer I struggled in what I could do alone. The pool at our gym was so tough. I saw a mom at our pool the other day with kids that were the age of my boys last summer. The younger was crying and clinging to her leg and kept falling over in the pool. The other was running outside the pool being yelled at by lifeguards and alternately trying to swim where the water was over his head. Before I left, I said to her: "Looks like our kids are about the same distance apart. Next summer, you will LOVE this." I said this while sitting on the edge of the pool tanning while my boys splashed contentedly in the water.
One summer changes a LOT.
The boys were amazing at Monkey Joes. Generally they stayed together and even when they didn't, I felt okay telling Sawyer to meet us back wherever I was with Linc, or if he lost us, to go up front and tell someone with a name tag. He came back every time. We had a blast and they were dead tired after an hour and a half. Me? I felt refreshed.
If you have little ones and they are close together, running in opposite directions--it gets better. Hang in there. Enjoy the moment, all the while knowing that next summer, it will be easier.