Real life advice on having two kids under two years old

 SO YOU’RE PREGNANT WITH NUMBER TWO? And you will have two kids under the age of two? Congratulations!  You are about to become a person held together by spanx, coffee and energy bars. But don’t worry, it won’t last long. That’s a lie, the hours and days will inch relentlessly along – it’s the years that dash past.  But I am on the other side and can tell you, you will make it! You can do this! YOU ARE CAPABLE!

I ruthlessly scoured the net when preggers with my second – seeking the answer to making it work with two under two. Here’s the answer. It doesn’t. I have found with two under two that my baby came at a time when my firstborn (16 months at the time) wasn’t really ready to ‘help’ or ‘play’ or get too ‘interested in’ or jealous of the new baby – every kid is different though. Either way you now have two kids that are majorly dependent on you (feeding, dressing, changing, playing, etc.)  here are some tips from myself and my super amazing mom friends, to help you fly solo with your two little bambinos…..

GETTING READY FOR BABY TO COME

Solo Play Time

This is a skill all kids need. Take the time to foster this in your firstborn (FB) so they don’t rely on your constant entertainment/company in their play time
Levi playing Extreme Home Makeover – demo edition

 

Waiting Time

If you aren’t already – let your toddler spend increasingly more time in their crib when waking from naps, or sitting in their high chair when they are done eating, or when they are asking for something in specific. There are going to be times you can’t rush in to get them when they wake up if you are nursing or putting baby down for nap.

Less Carrying

When your first born looks up at your with arms stretched out and says ‘UP’ for the first time you pretty much want to pick them up and let them live in your pocket and tell them all your stories.  However, the pending addition means saying no more often to your FB to things you won’t be able to do with him once the newborn is here. As cruel as it may sound you will have to get yourself and baby used to toting them around less.

 

ONCE BABY IS HERE!

Hands-Free Games

Try and make up games you can play with FB while you’re holding baby.  Start now. Songs you can teach them actions to and then sing together later while you are nursing and they are playing around you.  Pointing at body parts, or making animal noises is fun too.  Games you can get them ‘find’ things. ‘Find a ball’ is a game I try to play when I think FB is about to ambush me and baby girl on the couch. And then I throw it and make him fetch it – whoever said dog ownership couldn’t teach you basic parenting skills?

 

Keep Your Body Fed

You are already sleep deprived – so don’t become a HANGRY bear! Do whatever you need to do to keep yourself fuelled and making a plan ahead of time will help.
– plan meals for the week
– try and prep at least one thing each night to help you the next day
– before #2 comes make freezer meals
– spend the extra on cut produce and snacks for a couple months once the new baby is here
– make large batches when you have the helping hands at home and freeze some
– find some delicious & nutritious shakes
– stick with low glycemic foods to keep your blood sugars stable
– and of course give a warm hug to your new BFF coffee (and maybe the odd cameo from Baileys).

 

Siblings

Take lots of time to teach your firstborn how to touch gently, so all you have to do is say the word gentle and they can comprehend and adjust.  Understand that they are curious and don’t hoover over every encounter. Let them express their love in their own way – don’t force certain interactions.  My son enjoys giving his little sister kisses and giving her his snacks. Sometimes there is toast in her hair and cheese in her sleeper – but, awww, it’s a ‘love snack’!

 

Less Carrying Toddler

To help you out once baby is here – here is what works for me: I would pick up my FB the first time he asked, play with him then find something to distract him with and put him down. The second time I would pick him up and just stand there and ‘be boring’ (which is tough, believe me). The third time he asks I would bend down and give him a hug. There are the times though when I just can’t say no and I end up making dinner with him on my hip.

Keep the Snacks Coming Lady

Each time I have a second to myself I stand in the kitchen really confused on how I should spend these precious solitary moments – so I usually give my rusty culinary skills some flexing.  That’s a complicated way of saying I make shit – chop produce and cheese, make little bowls of finger foods that aren’t super messy. The destination is the coffee table for FB to munch while I’m busy nursing baby.  Just like mama bear gets HANGRY, so does baby bear!

 

Simple Routines

You will likely have speedy success getting baby on a schedule as they follow along with your FB’s schedule. Remember that you need a routine too for a couple months. It keeps the thinking and last minute prep to a minimum. Have regular menu choices for everyone (e.g. breaky is oatmeal or cottage cheese and fruit); nap time routines for you (whether you shower, clean, nap, etc.)

 

Redefine Your Roles

You know how every team player has a position – everyone knows what they should be doing and when – that’s where the term ‘learn to work as a team’ for relationships came into existence. And not to get all Dr.Jenn on you (who by the way is on SIRIUS radio and is totally awesome) but having clear roles and responsibilities is the foundation of success in any relationship. This was the biggest adjustment for Husband and I, bringing a second baby home was the harder adjustment for us (than the first or third) – truly one kid is so easy and there can be a lot of freedom for the parents – you get used it. Then, PLUS SIGN!, things are gonna change –the workload has increased and the free time has decreased.  Having lots of conversations on how you will work together will make your life much easier.  Give everyone a bit more grace in the home. Peace at all costs is not peace.

Back to Square One

I was nursing my hours-old daughter and the nurse in the hospital told me something I still have to remind myself of from time to time– she told me to adjust my nursing position for baby girl because I was ‘picking up where I left off with my firstborn’. Sometimes I would forget the crying, the fussiness, the lack of sleep I had with our FB and sometimes get frustrated that the second isn’t sleeping, scheduled, nursing on a schedule. The second does get scheduled quicker but they still need to have their own adjustment period too.

 

Get ‘er Done

When baby sis was first born I was waiting for her to nap to get things done – and as she napped less and less I realized I had to just do what I could do, whenever I could do it. This means bringing number two everywhere – baby girl is in her bouncy seat or bassinet during bath time, getting dressed, outside playing. Just make sure that if baby needs nursing or cuddles that you move to the most childproof location so the older can roam around with need for your interception.
My husband loves this so much he wants to post it at the front door.

 

Super Mom Shmooper Mom

As your FB became more independent you probably have gotten back to the luxuries of life – showers, hot coffee, dishes done, laundry folded, a well-rounded dinner made. Well, now there is a little bean who needs those arms and that time for cuddles.  So don’t get disappointed when you are wearing a toque on your greasy hair, FB is eating fishy crackers for lunch and the dishes wait until the end of the day. As the months go on you feel like yourself again and let your babe bounce in the excersaucer or jolly jumper while you and your toddler have a dance party or you make dinner.

Get Outside

The thought of feeding, changing, bundling, and loading two little ones makes you sweat thinking about it.  But even if it’s wintertime and it means snowsuits and a quick outing it is still worth it. So put in the extra effort and planning and get everyone in the stroller, meet up with another mom (who is maybe named Sophie and maybe has two really cute girlies) and get your butts outside.

Hone Your Mama Skills

My husband thinks it’s weird I can work the trackpad on my laptop while nursing the baby – I think it’s called ADAPTATION! Mama needs to get her Netflix on Honey! You will be amazed at what you learn to do while rocking, burping, nursing a baby. Some of the most commonly acquired skills you develop may include: chasing FB to make him giggle, kicking soccer ball to toddler, paying bills, eating lunch and blogging.

Crying Squared

There will be times of the day when both babies are crying. You will likely learn a routine for feeding, naps and the art of necessary distractions to keep tantrums to a minimum. However, the crying will happen at least once a day and will pull your heart into two directions. Don’t beat yourself up. Parenting can be like triage – treat the most distressed first and don’t feel guilty for letting one cry while you are helping the other.

Accept Help

Sometimes we moms can be overly proud – having two kids can be very humbling though (it has been for me). I am blessed with great family and friends who come visit, take my son, have us over for meals or just to play. The first three months with two is getting by day-by-day and little reliefs such as these have helped greatly. It’s great to have an extra pair of hands and even better for your FB to have others to play with.

 

Peace with the Grease

When voicing my concerns about having two kids under two to Sophie she listened, smiled and said “I’m not gonna sugar coat it, it’s gonna be hard and some days you are just gonna be dirty”.  A shower can make a mom feel like she just had a 15 minute power nap and red bull – so when that can’t happen don’t stress – throw on some dry shampoo and a cute hat and have some coffee.  Spending the first half of your day in PJs can be inevitable at times, other times you just gotta get up, get dressed and get moving without the luxury of a shower.

Watchful Eye

I know this is a splurge, but I highly recommend a video monitor (here is why).

Tiny Time Outs

I read somewhere that if the baby does something you tell your FB not to do (hits, throws something, etc.) that you should give your baby a time out. I haven’t had to do this yet – but it makes sense. Maybe it is never too early to be demonstrating to the FB that there are actions and consequences that everyone has to follow.

Start Sharing

The other day I brought out some newborn toys – I put them on the baby and told my son they were baby’s toys and he had to ask her if he could play with them (so he stood there saying ‘beeees bebe’). I’ll say things like, ‘baby is sharing with you’, ‘can you get a toy to share with baby?’ – and then when he is done playing he’ll bring it back to her (well, he’ll throw it on her and say ‘bebe’). I have no idea if this will help, but it’s worth a try.

 

Family Meals

There is a lot of research out there around the importance of family meals – and it starts right away.  Even if you are bouncing baby on your knee (and yes, even nursing them), take the time to sit with your FB during meal time – you have to eat too after all!

 

White Noise

The day your FB learns how he can project his voice to scream at the top if his lungs will likely also be the day your baby is fighting all naps and it takes hours to get her down.  White noise is always going on in our house during any nap time – sleep sheep, radios, tvs, bathroom fans – helps buffer those sudden harsh noises and squeals.

 

Squeeze Out Every Drop of Quality Time

Don’t forget your FB still needs those quiet special one-on-one times with you. When baby is sleeping or just happy to be in their chair, take some time with your FB – read a book, sing a song, hunt for toys, draw a picture, chase them around the house and tickle them. Floor parties (AKA sitting on the kitchen floor and playing with kid) are almost a daily occurrence in our house – they usually happen while dinner is cooking.

and the tip from the bottom of our mom hearts….

Lower the bar for yourself and prepare to be uncomfortable for a while, because sometimes UNCOMFORTABLE is also NORMAL. Things will not run smoothly at all times. You will be tired, get stressed, dishes will pile up, you will eat frozen dinners. It is normal and best of all it is temporary. You are going to have to go through this time regardless, so you might as well do it with joy in your heart.
You are probably thinking ‘DUH Mama, these are all common sense’ – but sometimes we mom’s get so wrapped up in all the details that you can forget the simple things – and sometimes we just need to hear it from someone else to give ourselves permission or even a push into it.

SINCE THIS POST WE HAVE WELCOMED NUMBER THREE! WANT TO KNOW WHAT THAT IS LIKE?…..

SIMPLE ON PURPOSE FEATURES A FUN EMAIL CALLED SIMPLE SATURDAYS. Sign up here! 

 

Join in Simple Saturdays

Simple_saturdays_-_a_bi_monthly_email_from_simple_on_purpose_copy

Around here I'm doing less blogging and more emailing. Sign up to get the bi-weekly email Simple Saturdays in your inbox.

You will love it. It isn't just any old email! It is a fun, quick read of insights, tips and references for everything simple, on purpose, and waffles.

Powered by ConvertKit