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Two Kids Vs One Parent: 10 Ways Your Children Will Conspire Against You

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The decision to have a second child is extremely personal. There's no right (and therefore no wrong) answer. Personally speaking, having a second kid is one of the best calls I ever made, and I'm loving life as a mom of two. So when people ask my opinion, I tell them I can only speak from my experience, but that in my experience it's the bee's knees. Be warned, though, because two kids vs one parent situations will ensue and your children will absolutely conspire against you and in ways that you couldn't have possibly imagined otherwise.

Sure, it's easy to assume your kids aren't "really" conspiring against you because they're "just kids" and it's "nothing persona." But I'm telling you, they know what they're doing. You have no idea just how diabolical babies are and it's absolutely personal because there's no way it couldn't be.

I mean, I don't want to scare anyone out of anything, but based on my children (and I have nothing to show me they're unusual in any fundamental way) I can surmise that kids are constantly in a state of hatching plots. It's like I gave birth to a two-person KGB — a mini Boris and Natasha scheming ways to undo me. To what end? I don't know. Maybe it's just fun for them. Maybe they have a grand plan. Either way, here are all the various ways they will screw with you.

One Will Be An Early Bird & One Will Be A Night Owl

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It's just one of the unspoken laws of the Universe that if one child is an early riser, the other will keep you up past midnight, every night, so that you're running on four or so hours of sleep for a few years.

I don't know why children insist upon this model — maybe they think it's funny, maybe they want as much attention as possible so they work in shifts, maybe they want us exhausted and ragged so they have a psychological advantage — but it happens and it works.

They Will Strategically Plan Out Their Naps

If you're lucky enough to have the oldest one still napping when the younger child is born, then I promise you that nine times out of 10 they will not sleep at the same time. Don't get me wrong: having one asleep can be really useful, if only because it allows you to focus on one of them (even get in some quality time) at a time. But wasn't it so nice when you had one child and they napped and all of a sudden the world was your oyster? Your children will just not allow that to happen most of the time because #BabyConspiracy.

Every now and then, however, they will slip and they'll fall asleep at the same time and it will be so beautiful I can't even describe it to you.

They Will Tag-Team Wake Ups

My kids have shared a room since the youngest was a few months old, and when we first started out I was extremely nervous that when one would wake up crying it would rouse the other and I'd be dealing with two tired cranky babies. Imagine my surprise when that never happened. Not once. How?! How did my toddler sleep through the hungry shrieks of an infant? How did my infant sleep through her older brother's night terrors? To this day I have no idea, but they slept soundly through one another's assorted issues.

I am convinced this was part of a larger plan, though. Yeah, it was nice not to have to deal with two at once, but what it meant instead is that they would wake up at different points throughout the night, so my husband and I were always getting up for something. And that's... maybe worse?

Eschew Hand-Me-Downs

I was able to give my daughter some of her older brother's clothes, but between their rates of growth and the fact that she was born in May and he was born in September, the sizes and seasons never quite synched up.

(Some may say the fault here lies with me, since my children had no say in when they were born, but that's just proof you people know nothing about my very, very strong-willed children.)

Secretly Plan A Million Delays Any Time You Need To Leave The House

There is no other explanation for the shenanigans that go on right before we need to get going. Shoes go missing, clothes that were on are suddenly off, toys that had been in their hands all morning go missing — you name it, it happens. It has to be a coordinated effort, though to what end I couldn't begin to guess.

Back Each Other Up

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This doesn't happen for a little while, but the first time your kids stand unified against you is... kind of a cute day and kind of not. For me it was the day I put my oldest child in time out and my younger child, newly walking, toddled over to him and gave him a hug while glaring at me. Like "How dare you, you wretched witch."

And it's so sweet because "Awww! They love each other! That's adorable!" and it's also like "Oh sh*t, they have a numbers advantage against me--one giving the other moral support is going to make any battle of wills infinitely worse."

Be In Wildly Different Stages

This is less your children conspiring against you than the Universe: gear shifting between an infant and a toddler or a toddler and a grade-schooler or whatever is actually something that drains way more of your mental energy than you realize. Because, for the most part, it's not a question of one stage being "harder" than any other, it's just how they're challenging. And when you have one you get used to a particular kind of challenge. When you have two it's just constant code-switching and OMG.

Be In The Same Stage & Dial It Up To 11

It's a lot, is what I'm saying. Both my kids are school-aged now and there's just a lot of enthusiastic screaming... like... all the time. So... yeah, basically there's no winning.

Somehow Know Any Time You Want To "Get Intimate" & Interrupt

I don't know how they do it or why, but every damn time for the first year of my youngest child's life my partner and I would get interrupted. It's either nature's birth control or a plot between my children ("you wake up this time and I'll wake up if they try again after you're settled") to not have another sibling.

Mission accomplished, niños.

Emotional Terrorism

Photo courtesy of Jamie Kenney

This is a term coined by my editor to describe a child's ability to "manipulate my feelings as if it's nothing, even though I know he's not doing it on purpose" and it is accurate AF. I mean for the love of God, people, would you look at these two? How can I be expected to even?