I've had two kids for five whole months now, so I'm pretty much an expert on all things related to double numbers. Of course, these have probably been the easiest months. My friend warned me the other day that shit was about to get real (I'm paraphrasing) and that my life will be infinitely harder once Ember is on the move. And I'm sure she's right, but for now, things feel pretty perfect.
The most difficult part for me was those first few weeks. The weeks when you're too sore to play, too emotional to be patient and too tired to think carefully about how you're parenting. Once we got over those hellish first weeks (made particularly hellish by the start of school and the cataclysm of emotions there), things were easier.
Since then, things have been good. Ebony is a better big sister than I imagined possible. She is so loving and sweet and helpful. She keeps an eye on her sister for me so I can do exciting things like shower or put a load of washing on. She sings to her when she cries, she makes her laugh and she chats away to her after school every day. To say Ember loves her would be an understatement. Ebony always gets the biggest smiles. Ember cranes out of the wrap now as we walk along because she's desperate to see what her big sister is up to. Ebony is already talking about getting bunkbeds so they can share a room when Ember is bigger. Imagine how much room there would be in my bed then!
I think the big age gap has been perfect for us. It means Ebony is big enough that she doesn't feel jealous or left out and any issues she does have can be discussed whereas a younger child may struggle to find the words. It also means I am free to enjoy having a baby all day while Ebony is in school. This is probably the best part of it for me, the lazy cuddles on the sofa when it's just the two of us in the house. It contrasts strongly with the chaos of after school when Ebony is dancing around the room while Ember chatters away at her.
Ember is five months old now. I'm starting to think ahead to weaning her next month. Ebony is excited about being able to share meals with her little sister. I am dreading the mess. I remember with Ebony I was so excited to finally give her solid food. This time around I'm more like ach, already? But the mess! Sob. I know my white walls won't stay white for very long. Ebony only stopped leaving pasta handprints on them about 18 months ago and now there will be a fresh splatter of tomato sauce in her place.
Sleepwise, we're doing ok, though I hate saying that out loud in case it jinxes things. I'm pretty sure Ebony is still the one keeping me awake. Ember feeds in the night but cosleeping means this is easy and I don't often notice it happening (it's a help yourself affair in this house). My Fitbit tells me I'm getting between 6 and 7 hours sleep a night which isn't too bad. Admittedly, it's spread over about 10 hours in bed but I can handle that, it's only short-term.
I'm finding everything to be much easier the second time around. I'm not exhausted and I know it won't last forever. I'm embracing early nights and getting as much sleep as possible, last time I would have been staying up late because THIS IS MY LIFE, but this time I know it's not, it's just a short window of time.
The biggest shock has been how quickly the weeks are flying by. It is crazy to me that I have a five-month-old, it really doesn't feel that long ago that my fanny hurt like hell. Can it really have been five months? Surely not. I don't know whether it's the routine of school, the calm of being a second-time mum or simply the fact I know what I'm doing, but the weeks are disappearing at an alarming rate.
Writing is proving more difficult than I expected. I had forgotten the unpredictability of naps. How long they last, whether they happen at all. Some days, I can sit down and write 2000 words while Ember sleeps peacefully upstairs. Other days, I manage just a sentence before I hear her stir over the baby monitor. Snatches of time, that is all.