Back when we just had our firstborn, my hubby and I would indulge in cafe breakfasts on the weekend. Our little guy would be perched in his highchair with a piece of toast and a toy car as we chatted and smiled, as only parents out with one child truly can. Then, when it was time to go, we’d simply pay the bill, strap him into his stroller and wheel him home in the morning sunshine. Bliss!
But then things got a lot harder – and then one day, to my surprise, it got easier again. Here’s what happened.
Welcome baby number two!
When our second bundle of love entered our lives, we tried to keep up our little family cafe outings. He was teeny and so they were still on the cards as he’d usually just sleep in the pram. Sleeping was all he’d do (well, in the day anyway). Apart from a breastfeed at the table when he squawked, we really only had our two-year-old to keep quietly entertained.
Then it got harder
For me, the first six months of having two little ones with a two-year age gap was the hardest.
Having two little guys in nappies and also juggling feeding and sleep schedules, meant that getting out of the house required a degree in strategic planning, as well as a well-stocked Mary Poppins-style nappy bag – MUST. NOT. FORGET teething gel or my toddler’s favourite toy train.
Cafe brekkies became a distant memory
As our loves grew, it become obvious that hanging out in cafes was a thing of the past. It’s not that we couldn’t go to them if we really wanted to, it’s just that they were no longer enjoyable. It had become stressful trying to make two little people fit in with our adult pastime – there was too much nagging, too much sighing and way too many “what were we thinking?” looks between us for this outing to approximate anything approaching enjoyable.
Instead, we’d drink takeaway coffees as we pushed them on swings at the park, and yawned. This become our weekend morning for the next few years …
Then one day this happened
Last Sunday my parents offered to take our eldest, who is now a preschooler to the beach. They felt one child would be easier to wrangle than two and so we suddenly found ourselves with just one little guy again.
Yippee, we thought. Let’s take him out for a babyccino – and grab us some cafe breakfast!
We’d underestimated their brotherly bond
We thought it was going to be easy – one less squirming child to get into the car seat, one less whinging child at the cafe, one less child to chase when we left the cafe, but we were wrong.
He was miserable. He missed his brother. He made us feel terrible for separating them. He sulked the whole time. We lied to him and told him his older brother was at the supermarket, not the beach, but it didn’t matter. He just wanted to be with his best mate.
It’s not that he hates cafes. He actually likes them – so long as his brother is sitting next to him and we keep things short.
When we got home, both of our boys didn’t want a bar of us for at least an hour as they reconnected and played together.
We went out that morning because we were craving coffee and conversation, but we actually got this over the cup of instant we made ourselves on the couch as they pretended to build ‘campfires’ with sticks outside.
When two is sometimes easier than one
As we laughed at how we should never separate them, it occurred to me that their bond actually makes our parenting gig easier these days. Yes, it’s harder having two in lots of ways, but I am no longer the Chief Entertainment Officer as they entertain each other most of the time.
Sure, there are squabbles over who has the green dump truck, but on the whole, I think we get more of a break thanks to their friendship.
I think we will go out for a cafe breakfast again soon, but I’ll ensure we go somewhere where the boys can play together while we eat. There’s a cafe on the roof of a surf club near us where the kids are welcome to run around and bring their toys. It’s family friendly, not trendy and it will suit our little tribe of four to a tee.
The boys can just play as we eat, sip coffee and chat. So sometimes – not all the time – but sometimes, I think two is easier than one.