Life With Two: 1 Year Edition

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This month marks one year as a momma with two. Although it wasn’t always pretty and I wasn’t always perfect we survived a busy year. I’ve learned a lot along the way and decided to spend time on this post reflecting on the last year and coming up with 10 tips to offer parents expecting their second child.

10 Just because your first was easy (or hard) doesn’t mean the second will be. They will have their own personality, quirks, likes, and dislikes. They will have different needs and ways of communicating those needs to you. 

Now I know just how easy of a baby Parker was. He wasn’t colicky, slept like a champ, took a bottle and a pacifier. While completely adorable in her own way, Caity has been the opposite on all of those. Six months of colic and refusing a bottle and a pacifier made round two a completely different experience. At a year I am still nursing her to sleep and we are still co-sleeping. It’s become our normal now and although I kept waiting for a year to hit to transition her, I now realize I am not ready.

9 No matter the age of your first, they will need as much attention as the new baby. This certainly poses some challenges but finding ways for your first child to help care for the new baby is a great start. 

This has certainly been tough for me. Since Caity has been EBF I spent a lot of time early on just feeding her. All Parker wanted was attention and to be with us. That meant lots of cuddles on the couch watching movies while Caity nursed. Caity was born at the start of Fall so the weather turned cold fairly quickly. In order to give Parker time out on the play ground Rob would often take him while Caity and I stayed back. Or I would stay in the car with her while she napped and Rob took Parker to play.

Parker loved helping me out in the beginning and still does. Early on it was sometimes as simple as grabbing a blanket from the floor to cover Caity. Now it’s keeping her company and playing with her. Trying to make her feel better when she is crying. And helping her with toys she can’t figure out.

8 Pay attention to not only the milestones of the new baby but also those of your first baby.

Looking back on photos and updates from Parker last year I can’t believe how much he has grown in just a year. He has gone through some amazing developmental and physical milestones and it was important to celebrate each of those. I loved continuing his monthly updates and keeping a calendar by the changing table to document new things he said or did. We also included him in Caity’s monthly photo shoots which was a great way to document his growth.

7 Routines will change often. Just as you are getting settled into a routine, a growth spurt will hit and completely change up the routine. Try to just go with it. Learn their cues and develop a new routine as best as possible. If a new routine doesn’t fit right away, give them time to adapt.

Looking back on all of my Life With Two posts I feel like each month I was settling in with a routine and then it was changing. When we were settled, I felt like I was on top of the world. When a routine changed I often felt like I was loosing control. I will say that it has gotten easier as Caity has gotten older. They can play together while I get chores done, I can get their meals ready and then eat while they eat, they both take naps (for the most part), and they can even sit in the bath tub together at night. Caity’s morning nap has always been tricky since that is the best time to get out to run errands, attend play dates, or go to the park. I got Caity used to sleeping in the carrier which helped multitask that. Other than that, it’s just trial and error.

October 2014: 28 Months and 1 Month  |  November 2014: 29 Months and 2 Months
December 2014: 30 Months and 3 Months  |  January 2015: 31 Months and 4 Months
February 2015: 32 Months and 5 Months  |  March 2015: 33 Months and 6 Months
April 2015: 34 Months and 7 Months  |  May 2015: 35 Months and 8 Months
June 2015: 3 Years and 9 Months  |  July 2015: 3 Years 1 Month and 10 Months
August 2015: 3 Years 2 Months and 11 Months

6 Divide an conquer but don’t forget to share.

Since Caity only took to breast feeding most of the time Rob took the lead in feeding Parker, baths, and putting him to bed. I would feed Caity and then do the same with her. We feel into a routine and before I knew it months had passed since I tucked Parker in or read him a bed time story. From then on we made it a priority to switch spots a few nights a week. It was difficult because it meant delaying Caity’s bed time a bit but we made it work. I couldn’t believe how much I missed my baby boy.

5 Make sure to take time for yourself. I should be looking in the mirror when I say this but it’s true. 

This one was really hard for me. I no longer had the energy to wake up early to work out, nap times to take a shower, or evenings to get work done. Showering while they were awake meant moving the P&P into the bathroom and making sure Parker has something to keep him occupied. A 10 minute shower would take more like 40+ minutes. For the first 8 months of Caity’s life Rob was also in school and needed the evenings to complete school work. That meant that most nights I was in the nursery trying to soothe a colicky baby.

Now Caity is sleeping better from 7PM-12AM. This gives me time in the evenings to get things done and to spend time together with Rob. I even take a bath once in awhile and just sit in the silence relaxing. I’ve gotten quick with showers and mastered finding ways to keep Caity safe and occupied. I haven’t starting tackling the exercise thing yet, but I plan to start that once we are settled here in Canada.

The most important point of this tip is to hold on to a few things you enjoy and find ways to still enjoy them whether you have 2 or 10 kids. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, time consuming, or expensive; getting a 30 minute pedicure, taking a 10 minute walk each day, or jumping in the shower in the evening before you finally head to bed.

4 Use the sleepy tendencies of a newborn to your advantage. Since newborns sleep often, invest in a good carrier. It’s a great way to still get out as a family or spend time with your first baby walking to or playing at the park. 

I have certainly wore Caity a lot more than I did with Parker. Not only out and about, but around the house. Colicky evenings made it really hard to make dinner, spend time with Parker, and even give him a bath. When I started wearing her I was amazed at how much more I could get done. When she was old enough to start back wearing it got even better. Clingy days I would throw her on my back to get the dishes done, meals cooked, laundry done, and even the house vacuumed.

3 Having two is more than double the work.

It’s something my mom kept telling me. I didn’t believe her (sorry mom!) but man was she right. It’s hard to even explain why or put it into words exactly. I mean it’s double the laundry, mouths to feed, and kids to bath… Other than that though I am most definitely more than double busy. I don’t have any solutions for you on this one. It is just a fact!

2 You don’t have to take those possibly innocent but completely annoying comments: “Are you happy you are having another boy/girl?” or “Will you love them as much?” or even better yet “Did you mean to get pregnant so soon?”. 

Luckily we didn’t get too many of these comments but I know some moms who did. It’s annoying and you don’t need to take it. You can choose to walk away or you can address it then and there. Whether it’s a feisty response, reciting the latest facts about why doing xyz is best for your family, or simply letting them know it’s none of their business.

1 Breathe…. And keep breathing. You got this… Even if you don’t think you do… They will end up just fine and love you unconditionally… Just breathe…. 

Having kids is hard. Whether it’s 1 or 10. In the end all the sleepless nights, messes, and frustrations are all worth it. These two kiddos are my whole world and they have my whole heart.

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Life With Two

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In each of my Life With Two posts I decided to do a side by side comparison of Parker and Caity at the same age. It was fun looking back on old photos of Parker and finding ones that complimented photos of Caity. I can’t believe how much a like they are while still having their own look.

Parker and Caity at 2 Months

Parker and Caity at 3 Months

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5 Months Side By Side

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Blog Version

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Kids at 9 Months

Parker & Caity 10 Months - Watermarked

Eating Spagetti

Life With Two: 3 Years (and 2 months) & 11 Months

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Multitasking Momma
We have had a really busy month but I think making lists and planning ahead made it stress free, smooth, and fun time. It’s funny to watch Rob’s head spin when he is home in the mornings and I am running around doing my thing. Usually that means getting myself and the kids ready, breakfast, cleaning up, getting packages and bills ready to send, and if I am lucky some blogging done. But I never do one task at a time, it’s always moving between them back and forth.

The one thing I really focused on last month was spending equal time with Parker. I can tell he feels left out especially since Caity now sleeps with us at night most of the time. He seems to want to cuddle in our bed because he knows we are all there.

Babywearing has certainly made things easier with two. Our wagon has also been a must have to go get packages at the front desk or quick trips to Target. What I love is that we take the wagon there. Then I wear Caity in the store, put P in the shopping cart and the wagon folds up and fits perfectly underneath the cart.

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Brother & Sister Love
My goodness do these two love each other.

Caity is always looking for him whether it by crawling around from room to room or looking at the monitor. Parker notices when Caity isn’t around and wants to run to her side when she is crying. Although they have there moments, they play very well together. Caity it pretty resilient so she doesn’t seem to mind when Parker gets a little rough. Parker on the other hand freaks out when she touches him, go figure. The only time she really gets upset is when he tries to take a toy from her and when that happens she gets mad, really mad.

Iv’e noticed that Parker is starting to get protective of Caity and always wants to swoop in to make sure she is already and “make her laugh” so she feels better. It’s so precious and I hope that this remains the same as they get older.

Parker VS Caity

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Life With Two: 3 Years 1 Month & 10 Months

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I know I will probably jinx myself but even through the threenage tantrums, Wonder Weeks, and bed-sharing nights things are getting easier. I have my good and bad days but when it comes to multitasking them, I am getting pretty good. I’ve had to get creative with dual bath times solo and trying to spend more time caring for my appearance.

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Iv’e made it a point to go out with them by myself as much as possible and it’s finally starting to pay off. I can manage both at the park, in the mall, and during meals. Caity is really getting good eating on her own so I spend the most time prepping both of their meals. A few of my favorite gadgets that I will be talking about in this weeks Tipful Thursday post certainly make that all much easier.

Even at home I am getting better at multi tasking with them. Learning where to put them or how to engage them so I can shower, get chores done, and even have a few hours to blog each day. It’s certainly been easier and at the same time harder in the apartment. I love having everything so close. I can be cleaning, putting away laundry, doing the dishes, and even working on my computer while they play.

I am still struggling with the best nap schedule for them. When we are home Caity can take up to a 2 hour nap in the morning. But then she isn’t ready for an afternoon nap when I put Parker down. His afternoon nap, usually 3+ hours, is just now starting to affect his bed time. On most nights they both are not ready to go to bed until about 9. If we don’t push it earlier, they both usually go down super easy. Parker sleeps until 6-8 am and Caity has 2-3 wake ups to eat. After the first one she spends the rest of the night in bed with me. If her brother doesn’t wake her she is happy sleeping until 8 or 9 am. In a perfect word Caity would take a morning nap for an hour, they both would go down for 2 hours in the afternoon and be ready for bed at 8. Obviously we don’t live in a perfect world so I am not expecting that schedule anytime soon. I am almost thinking that have a split schedule for afternoon nap maybe better. I wouldn’t have any time to myself but then I would get some one-on-one time with them which is rare.

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I decided to take a risk and bring both kids for their well visits together. Oh boy was that a *%&# show. If one wasn’t crying the other was. If one was running around the other was wiggling about. And during the actual check up they were distracting the doctor left and right. We walked out with two healthy kids and memories that make me smile.

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Their love for each other blows my mind and melts my heart everyday. Parker can’t seem to leave her alone which causes a lot of tiffs but I know he just wants to be around her. She lights up every time he walks into the room and when he isn’t around she is looking for him. She also has a specific pitched screech which I think is her calling for him.

She isn’t saying any words yet but she has these various screeching noises that I swear are her trying to communicate with Parker. She also has no problem making fun on him and mocking him when he is trowing a tantrum.

Next week I am going to share some of my favorite products that have helped with two kids. They have made life a lot easier and given me a chance to step away every so often to pee or make a meal.

Sleeping at 10 Months - Watermarked

Parker & Caity 10 Months - Watermarked

Life With Two: 36 (3 years) Months & 9 Months

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Multitasking Momma
Oh my little minions… I know you both stay awake at night plotting against me. Plans of changing up your schedules dance around in your heads as you sleep. Well I’m ready for you. Sure I had a rough few months but  now I have my Tula on hand and Super Why! on deck in the DVD player. All I can say now is bring it. Bring. It.

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Brother & Sister Love
Lately Caity has been watching her brother like a hawk and a few times even got him in trouble. It’s hard to tell Parker to stop being rough with her when she is giggling away. Or to give back her toy only realizing afterwards she keeps teasing him with it.

He loves making her laugh, holding her hand, and dancing with her. He comforts her when she is crying and even cries himself when he realizes he is the one that hurt her.

As she is getting older they are interacting more and more. They both love when I let her roll around on the floor. It makes me nervous because Parker is very energetic but he is getting use to being careful around her. Now comes the stage of sharing and “he/she is touching me!”. Oh joy!

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Kids at 9 Months

 

Life With Two: 35 Months & 8 Months

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Multitasking Momma
Although I have my moments and my days, managing two has continued to get easier. Caity is now eating some solids at every meal and about 1 container of puree a day so meal times can be a little busy. I have started to find my rhythm though and on good days we all eat a good breakfast and lunch together without a single tear. Parker and I usually have the same thing and then I feed pieces of mine to Caity. Then there are the days when it’s worth it to pile them in the car and head to Chick-fil-A for lunch. Even better when they fall asleep on the way home and I can play on Facebook in a cool car!

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I still haven’t figured out morning nap with Caity because she still needs to nurse and be rocked for awhile before I can put her down. I usually try and reserve that time for Parker to watch a movie or one of his shows. Once she gets more consistent that nap will be a good time for Parker and I to play or work on something together. Afternoon nap I am trying to get at the same time after lunch. That way I can put them both down and have an hour or two to myself to blog, craft, or finish up something around the house.

They are now also on the same bedtime schedule. Over the last 3 or so months we have slowly gotten Caity down earlier and earlier from when we started around 10pm. We had a little hiccup with the time change but that surprisingly didn’t affect either of them very much. After dinner we do bath, story time, and then Rob puts P to sleep and I nurse/rock Caity. Lately she has been falling asleep around 8ish. Some nights she is done nursing but not asleep so Rob and I switch so I can have some one-on-one time with Parker and he can with Caity.

The next few months are going to be extremely busy with getting ready to move and then unpacking everything. I hope I can keep calm through the process and take it one day at a time. My goal is to get out and do something fun every morning and then focus on the “to-do” stuff at nap time and after bed time.

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Brother & Sister Love
I love watching them together. Parker is wanting to play with Caity more and more each day. Caity desperately wants to move and do the things her big brother is doing. Parker easily forgets how fragile and small Caity is so I feel like I am constantly telling him to be careful and inadvertently saying, “get out of Caity’s face”. I didn’t think it an issue until one night I overheard Parker say to Rob as he was getting him ready for bed, “get out of my face Daddy”. I started laughing hysterically and still can’t keep a straight face when he says it. Rob wasn’t as amused… We found the Summer Infant Pop n’ Play Portable Playard on Amazon and it is a great way to give Parker and Caity a chance to interact with one another but still keep C safe.

Parker VS Caity

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