And then there were 2

Meeting her sister for the first time
Meeting her sister for the first time

I was always amazed at how parents can handle kids in so many different ways in public and private situations.

I always had this idea (before kids) that there was no way I could possibly remember anything beyond my mobile phone and my wallet.  How was I suppose to remember not to lose a kid.

Then, we had one.  Miraculously, especially with the first, they aren’t out of your sight for more than a millisecond and ‘remembering’ them was a 6th sense (and 7th and 8th).

I was very used to saying “My daughter did this”, “My daughter did that”.

Then we had our 2nd daughter (who is now 18 months).  The earth shifted.  Aside from the fact that losing either one of them was not an option, logistically, trying to keep track of where they are, especially in public is more than a full time job.  They think it’s very funny for one to run off in one direction at Spinney’s and the other, the opposite way toddling along as fast as her little chubby legs will take her.  You instantly find a way to make a choice of who to chase first and how fast you run to the next aisle (which is the sweet aisle so you know the oldest certainly didn’t bother wanting down the fruit section).

What really got me was my wife went for coffee, alone – completely and utterly alone – after having our last one around 1 month into her maternity leave.  I am now left with 2, alone – completely and utterly alone.

As expected, she calls within about 23 minutes and says “How are our girls?”.

Girls? What?  It hit me like a fast moving truck.  This was plural.  This was more than 1.  This was 2.  There were 2 girls.  2 daughters.  What am I going to do with 2?

Not sure about the rest of you but when it moves from1 kid to 2 or 3 or 4 (God give you strength!), it’s like life completely changes.  No longer are you worrying about one crying and stepping on eggshells with one.  But now you worry about the one crying because it will wake up the second.  Or one walking too ‘loudly’ (even with fluffy socks) or the baby will wake.  Or, oh no, the infamous ‘getting more than one out of car seats’.

I had girls.  I had more than 1.  I had a big family now.  It wasn’t just the 3 of us.  We had 4 (although 1 of our cats that sits around 15kg is basically a small child anyway).  Everything was counted in 3’s.  Everything was coordinated in 3’s.  Now there was 4.  It seemed like a big number – one where everyone needed their own rooms now and their own toys and blankets and stuffed bears.  And how would we be able to afford 2 kids?  School fees, Eid, Christmas, doctors, school fees again?

I really applaud parents that have more than 2 kids.  My mom always said (she had 4) that after the 2nd one, you just dealt with it as each one came along. How do you just deal with more?  And, I had thought that with just 1.

Funny enough, you just naturally deal with it.  Yep, there are school fees and Christmas and Eid and nursery fees and whatever else fees seem to come up in Dubai for ‘plural kids’.  You deal with shifting your attention from one to the other.  Making the choice to chase one or the other – the toddling toddler who goes in one direction and the 5 year old that, because you know her like the back of your hand, heads 10 feet away to the sweets.   One is placed like a rugby ball under the arm and the other is negotiating whether she could have one sweet or two.  And, it all works out – you just naturally deal with it.

I still think twice sometimes when I refer to them as “the girls” or tell someone “my daughters”.  I think back to how completely simplified life was when I just worried about grabbing my wallet.  And now I think about how funny it is when my wife and I can time grocery shopping for the week to about 32 minutes, no fits/tantrums/assaults (not us, the girls) and still have time to laugh about how completely efficient we are and oooooh, does that coffee taste good  (as the 18 month old has toppled over the Blonde Brazilian Coffee Beans bag display and the 5 year old sits and says “What are we going to do with her?”).

We moved from 1 to 2.  Mom was right, you just naturally deal with it.

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