As a second wave of royal baby fever rises, speculation mounts on the effect the "spare to the heir" will have on the economy, fashion - and even the election. We asked writer Alice Olins to give the Duchess of Cambridge some sage advice on how her world will change beyond recognition when one becomes two.
Congratulations! Felicitaciones! Mazel Tov! Two children – what a blessing, what a gift. Now welcome to chaos. I have two children, I know the score. Just to start things off in style, daughter number one was full throttle in a Terrible-Two’s-Tantrums, on the floor and screaming, as I left for the hospital to deliver daughter number two. Life with two is certainly noisier. Life with two is certainly more tiring. But life with two is also more wonderful.
But let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Kate, things are going to change. That’s why I thought it prudent to drop you a note. Us mothers of two, we need to stick together. Here are my tips for a smooth first year. Good luck.
1. Bath time
It's tricky. It's slippery. At least one child will not get washed. The other might just poo in the water. Get reinforcements, learn to internalise your swearing and bring pyjamas and a changing mat into the bathroom.
2. The hierarchy of love
Before you had children, you thought your love for William could not be surpassed. 'He is the love of my life! He is my everything!' Then George arrived. 'He is the love of my life! He is my everything!' Then baby arrived. You are so tired you can no longer fathom the concept of love. Rest assured; slowly your brain will recover some function and you will realise that actually, the best feeling ever invented is the love between your siblings. That is the highest, purest, most perfect love of all.
3. Meal times
Get the nanny involved. Call in the housekeeper. Phone Camilla and tell her that Carole is busy packing party bags and things are D-E-S-P-E-R-A-T-E. A toddler throwing spaghetti on the floor whilst a newborn roots around for milk is a stressful combination. When you thought it couldn’t get any worse, your toddler will need the loo. Potty training + newborn + mealtimes = hell. Do not attempt alone.
Kate, if find yourself without the chauffer and want to see your mates in Kensington then think about travel logistics before you leave the palace. Are you going to go for a heavy double buggy? Or how about a collapsible number and a scooter for George? But then again, it can be a hassle crossing the road with an errant toddler on a pair of wheels. Of course, there’s always the baby in a sling and George in a pushchair option, but it is a bit cruel on the young lad. Then again, you would have a hand free to update your Facebook status (NEVER BEEN SO TIRED). Anyway, probably best to have a proper think before you jump on the bus.
Not actual freedom of course. You said goodbye to that when you decided to become parents. But now that number two is here you’ll at least find yourself freed from those pesky First-Time-Mummy constraints. Royal dummy falls on the floor? Give it a suck and then straight back in baby’s mouth; no need to treat it to three different types of sterilisation, waste of blooming time. Found George scoffing some mud? Hey, that’s lunch sorted then, mud is nutritious, right? ‘Cook, hold fire on the fish fingers.’ Welcome to your new parenting freedom; life’s too short to do exactly what the book says.
Let’s get real; you’re going to be absolutely, eye-scratchingly knackered for at least the next six months. Even if you have a night nurse, a nanny and a housekeeper, trying to balance the day-to-day needs of two little people is exhausting. So as quickly as you can aim for that sleep Holy Grail: the simultaneous nap time. Then use your free hour to apply concealer, drink strong coffee and find solace and strength in your other mummy friends.
Kate, your heart is going to burst in new and magic ways. Have so much fun.
8. The baby breast feeder
Expect to see George with his Batman T-shirt pulled up past his tummy and a teddy suckling at his nipple almost immediately once you get home from the Lindo. Toddlers that breast-feed their teddies are funny and laughter helps soothe cracked nipples. Sometimes life is very simple with two – and that is something to celebrate.
9. Family time
Just so you know, aside from ‘pass the breast pump’ and ‘clear up the sick’, you and William probably won’t chat much for the foreseeable future. It’s ok, you’ll have the 2020’s to properly reconnect. In the meantime, divide and conquer. Have a child each.
10. The iPad
There will be moments when you’ll love no one more in the whole wide world than Peppa Pig. Screaming baby? Put on Peppa. Baby neck-high in poop? Put on Peppa. Want to relieve your own bladder? You got it…
I hope this has been helpful Kate. Enjoy the journey,