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  • Gareth Ellis

Two Under Two: Expectation v Reality

We have officially had two children for six days now, and I have to say it’s begun with mixed results – albeit most of them positive.

Some of them are positive because of the baby Emilia has been so far, but a lot of them have been good because I expected them to be much worse.

So, I wanted to run through a few of my expectations v reality moments that we’ve experienced thus far. Although I first want to caveat it with the explanation that these are personal to me and that they can either a) change in the coming days, weeks,

and months and b) that they won’t be universal to all children.

1: How Rupert would react – Expectation: Rupert has been the top dog in our house for 17 months, he’s used to getting things his own way and having all of Jess and I’s attention. I thought that he would be jealous, he’d start acting out, he wouldn’t sleep, and he may even get ‘aggressive’ towards Emilia, not in the way of hitting but by pushing her off us when we’re holding her.

Reality: Rupert has been incredible. The only bad thing is that he doesn’t understand just how proud of him we are. He cuddles her at every opportunity, by putting his head on her chest, he beams when we suggest seeing the baby/his sister/Emi, and he hasn’t really acted out all that much. He still sleeps like a dream and he seems like he’s absolutely besotted with her.

2: How Emi would sleep – Expectation: With only one baby to compare to we were fearing the worst. Rupert woke every two hours, pretty much on the dot and cried for a feed/change/both when he was a new-born.

Reality: So far, Emilia will take her time to settle between 10pm and 12am but after that she sleeps solidly, we’ve even had a couple of four-hour stints thrown in there that Rupert didn’t give us for months, so fingers crossed she keeps that up.

3: The birth – Expectation: As we moved through this pregnancy none of this pandemic situation had kicked off. So, we were expecting a hospital birth at Bedford Hospital (the same as Rupert) and that Jess would have her mum and me as her birth partners. We’d then have a pool birth and hopefully avoid a week’s stay in hospital at the end.

Reality: Fuck you Coronavirus, you massive twat! Even though Jess loved her home birth we’ve still not been able to introduce Emilia to her aunt, uncles and grandparents, or had the support network that we would not only love to have but that they’d love to provide.

4: Our relationship – Expectation (and reality): I’ve been with Jess for eight years now and we’ve been through our ups and downs, yet we’ve always come out stronger on the other side. Nothing will test a relationship like a lockdown or a new baby and we’ve had to work through both. I’ve expected some cross words, but we haven’t really had any of that recently. We’re both doing our best to work together as best we can and we both need each other’s support and we’re giving that to each other. The reality is that I’m so proud of how she is handling everything. From giving birth to our children, to managing our new lives with both, she seems to take it all in her stride. She’s a bloody superhero, my woman crush every day, and just one of the strongest and most wonderful people I know.

One rule seemed to work well in our house when Rupert was born, and we’ve carried it over to this birth and that is ‘Don’t take to heart anything that is said in anger between the hours of 10pm and 6am the next day.’ Although some of our funniest one liners seem to come out in that time, such as me saying ‘I fear for his health’ when Rupert was born as he didn’t sleep a lot, and this time uttering the classic ‘I swear she cries when I get into bed and then stops when I get out, she’s doing it on purpose.’

So, it’s been a good start, we’re just taking each day and each situation as it comes.

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