Friday, May 22, 2015

Surviving the First Few Weeks of Two Babies Under Two

From the time I had my first baby, I knew I was going to have a second boy. Whenever I thought about having more kids, the name Colton would pop into my head. What I didn't know was how fast he was going to come! 


Steven and I have always planned on having our kids fairly close in age, but having them exactly 18 months apart was not exactly what we had in mind. We were so excited when we found out we were pregnant again and even more excited when we found out it would be another boy! Not only would Weston have a little buddy, but we had all the clothes already and my best friend was also having a baby boy! It just seemed perfect. 


When Colton decided he was ready to make an entrance, boy, he came fast! Props to all you mommas out there who go natural because I dilated almost all the way to an 8 without anything and I definitely don't think I could go all the way! He came so fast in fact, that the nurses told me next time I have a baby I have to go to the hospital on my first contraction, otherwise I will likely have a car baby. No thank you! He came so fast, and that pace kept up. 



Having two babies under two can be very intimidating. Especially when your 18 month old is as active as mine! From the day that Weston was born he has been a mover and a shaker. I was so nervous about the sleeping situation since Weston still gets up in the night (and trust me, I have tried every method on this planet to try to get him to sleep). 

Luckily for us, we haven't had the sibling jealousy as bad as it can be. From the minute Weston met Colton, he just loved him. 


We had bought Weston toys for when he came to the hospital, and when he met Colton, he immediately tried to share his toys with him. 
That was probably one of my favorite moments of all time.




I stayed one night in the hospital and Steven had two days off of work. Then it was back to real life. Steven had work and huge final projects, and I had two babies under two.


I have only had 5 weeks of experience with this, but this is what I have learned so far. 



1. Don't make any promises.
This starts before the baby is even born. One thing I did with my first baby that was a huge mistake was that Steven and I promised all sorts of things to all sorts of people. We told people that we would go to their house for dinner, or that we would still be able to go out with them on a Friday night. Learn from my mistake! Don't tell people what you will be doing after you have the baby. Babies are a mystery. You never know what kind of temperament your baby is going to have, not even to mention if the birth will have any complications. When people ask you to make plans for after the baby is born, tell them to call you again when the baby is a week old. At that point you will know whether you have a happy baby who is a great sleeper or if you have a less than content baby who keeps you pretty sleep deprived. It gets to be an even bigger deal with two! I had no idea what Colton would be like or how Weston would be acting after I brought the baby home. It was much easier this time not coming home from the hospital already having plans to be different places. 




2. Organize and Prioritize
This is a big one people! My day goes much easier when I have it organized. Once we get both boys asleep at night (which is quite the mountain to climb), I grab clothes out for the next day for both the boys and myself. I make sure the carseat and diaper bag are packed and by the door ready to go. If we have any special plans for the next day, I make sure those things are ready to go. That way, the next day we can just get dressed and relax until it's time to leave and everything is already there. I'm not running around the house looking for things at the last second or I'm not getting upset when there's a tantrum being thrown right when I'm supposed to be getting ready. It takes a LONG time to get out of the house. Good bye to the days of when I could grab my purse and keys and run out the door. You have to have enough diapers, a change of clothes, blankets, bottles, special toys.... The list goes on and on. If you are trying to grab everything at the last moment, you will never be on time again. 

You also have to know what is important in the moment and what isn't. Having priorities is important because most likely, you won't have time to get everything done. I pick one household chore to do once a day and just focus on that. Two different days a week are laundry days, one day a week is cleaning the bathroom, one day is for the kitchen... You get the point. 




3. Have Someone To Talk To
Luckily for me, I have quite a few friends that have babies. A couple of them have babies 12 months apart! And I think that 18 months apart can be tricky! There are several things that unless you have had a baby, it's just hard to understand. Take for instance going to the bathroom after you've had your little one! As much as my husband would be kind enough to listen to me complain about it, he just wouldn't understand like my best friend would. There are moments that are hard and you just need someone to listen to you. There are times when tantrums are going to drive you up the wall and you need someone that you can cry to when you are just done. What's even better than have someONE to talk to, is have PEOPLE to talk to. Different moms and dads experience different things so it's nice to have a group of people that you can go to for advice or just a shoulder to cry on. 


{Weston likes to share his food with his brother}

4. Use Your Resources
We live in a world of technology. Use it to your advantage! I don't have time to scrapbook all the cute moments now. So instead, I open a new note on my phone, date it and write down what I would write in my scrapbook. When I have a few moments, I print off all these notes and file them by month. That way I don't feel bad about not having all my memories written down and I can even do it while I'm breastfeeding! 

Obviously, I also am a big fan of blogs. I love mommy blogs! They remind me that the hour long tantrum isn't just from my 18 month old. The internet can be a great thing!

The first time we tried to get some dinner after having the baby, Weston was crazy (which was nothing new). Steven was smart and had a movie downloaded on his phone and gave it to Weston to watch while we were there. I'm sure a lot of you are thinking that we shouldn't just resort to movies to get our child under control... But if that's what gets us to have our first dinner out and it entertains him while we spend 20 minutes eating our Cafe Rio... GREAT! Use what you got. 




5. Plan short outings to gain confidence.
When Colton was about 2 weeks old, I braved grocery shopping. With the two boys. By myself. I did have people that would either be willing to come with me, or do it for me, I felt like I needed to do it. I needed to show myself that I could be ok while going out by myself with just the two of them. To be honest, I think I only gathered milk and chips and fruit snacks, but it showed me that it was going to be ok. 

Plan hour long outings like going to the duck pond, going on a walk, going to get a treat. If it's much longer than an hour, it takes much more planning. But an hour is possible! It is long enough where you feel like you get out of the house, but not so long to the point where you are going to have big break downs. I also try to keep it close to my house so even if it ends up a nightmare, I throw everything and everyone in the car and just go home. Planning little things every week has given us the chance to be out in the world so we don't feel cooped up and we get some fresh air. 



6. Take lot of pictures!
All parents know this feeling... They grow FAST. I remember when I was little, my parents would always say, "You are getting big too fast!" I would think, "No I'm not. I've been 7 years old forever!" But now that I'm a parent, I completely understand! Even from week 1 to week 4, Colton has gotten so big! And when I left for the hospital, Weston was a baby, and after I came home he seemed like a big boy! You will never regret having too many pictures. 



7. Know when to throw in the white flag.
There are some moments that you are just going to need help. The week that we brought Colton home, Steven had huge final projects. He was gone from 6 in the morning to after 10 at night. There were a few times that I just would have gone insane if it wasn't for our families and friends. We are lucky to have two sets of parents, four sisters, and lots of best friends and neighbors that will come to our rescue at any minute. We definitely used them all! Don't be afraid to ask people to come and help. And most likely they would love to come play with the babies anyway. :)



8. Give yourself a break!
Sometimes you are just not going to win and there are certain battles that just aren't worth fighting. Weston's sleeping thing is worth fighting to us, because we need to sleep too! But his picky eating... not always worth the battle. The first week we had Colton, there were two nights in a row that Weston threw absolute fits because he wanted to have popcorn for dinner. So guess what... he had popcorn! Yep, that's right. No vegetables, no fruit.  Just plain home-popped pop corn. I was tired and I was trying to breastfeed my 3 day old and there were worst things than Weston eating popcorn for dinner. 

There are going to be times when the dishes don't get done or the laundry sits in the basket for an extra day. Toys are going to be scattered. You just have to do as much as you can, and everything else can wait. Just do what you can momma! Sometimes you have to take it a day at a time, and sometimes an hour at a time. 


And after all the chaos is over, the boys will be cuddling or laughing or trying to share. And you realize that life is really great.


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