Thursday, January 22, 2015

Five Tips for Surviving Life with a Toddler & a Baby

Currently, we have two daughters (2.5 and 9 months).  We did this 100% on purpose and will probably do it again with another baby.  For the record, we are not as crazy as our friends and family might think. This is how we've survived...
The Squirrels in Question (aka Squiggles and Squishy)

1.     You have to LAUGH.  Some days will be utterly and completely ridiculous.  Some days they will only want to go in opposite directions.  Some days the big one will hate the little one.  Other days she'll be pretty sure she's the mommy and she loves the baby ten times more than you ever could.  Some days they'll fight.  Some days they'll love each other.  You will only survive it if you're willing to laugh with them and, let's be honest, sometimes at them.

2.     Some days the older one will come first.  One of the best pieces of advice I received when I was pregnant with #2, was that sometimes you need to just let the baby cry to help your older child.  It's advice I've followed and passed on to more than a few people. Your instinct will likely be that the baby should always come first, because baby; but, baby will survive and when you devote some time to your older child when they really need it, they remember that they are sometimes more important than the baby.   

3.     Some days will be really, really freaking hard.  Do as Elsa and learn to Let it Go.  I'm not saying let kids get away with whatever they want or turn on the TV for hours on end.  I'm just saying, don't be too hard on yourself.  If you need some quiet time, turn on a movie.  We're partial to Doc McStuffins.  If a little person misbehaves, follow through with your normal consequences, but then move on with your date.  Don't let it stress you out.  I've found that if I don't let it go, even small instances can wind me up.  I'm learning to deal with it and then just moving on.  My "favorites" lately have been when the two year old decided that carpet was a good place to color the day after I rented a rug doctor and when she colored all over her sisters new push toy in the matter of 60 seconds.

4.     Try to Organize.  When Squiggles first came home things were chaotic.  I felt like I was pulled in too many direction at once.  I quickly realized that it wasn't just the challenges of the new baby sending me spinning, I figured out that I wasn't organized and it was making me crazy.  I took steps to keep the house neater and found ways to work in the housekeeping aspects of parenting and it allowed me to feel more relaxed with the girls.  I know it sounds impossible and like the least of your worries; but, it does make a difference.  I'll try to do a little write up on how I manage that and include a link here soon.

5.     Remember they are only this age once.  This is a great reminder for both your best days and your worst days.  On your worst days you can remind yourself that this chaos will pass sooner than you think.  Soon they'll be able to entertain each other, communicate with each other, and they'll be more independent.  On your best days you can remind yourself that this magical time won't last forever.  On those days take lots of pictures and give lots of hugs.  It really does go by so very fast.  Someday I'll have two dramatic teenage girls.  I don't know for sure, but I have a feeling I'll be longing for these days in 14 years. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

One of THOSE Days

Sometimes as a parent you have one of those days.  Unless you're a Stepford parent don't even try to pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.

One of those days....where you are 80% sure your children have actually been replaced by small gremlins who only look  like your children.

One of those days...when your older child seems to have lost the ability to entertain themselves and the little one thinks everything is sad.

One of those days...when you consider hiding in the bathroom for five minutes but remember that there's a very good chance that someone would get hurt in the meantime.

One of those days...where you start to wonder whether you might actually be done making miniature humans.

One of those days...when all you want to do is scream at the top of your lungs into a pillow and you honestly wonder how you are going to make it through the rest of the day.

We all have those days.  If you don't, I will say right now I don't believe you.  I honestly think it's days like this that keep us sane. It reminds us that we're only human.  That perfection isn't realistic.  And when days like this are done, it helps us remember that we can get through it the next time it happens.

Today was one of those days in our household.  The baby, my lovely 9 month old Squiggles, has been a stage five clinger.  Putting her on the floor has been labeled a scream worthy offense and god forbid the pouch of peaches takes more than a second to reach her mouth.  She will make her wrath known.

The big kid, well, she's been potty training and chose to use today as her regression day.  She's also lost the ability to entertain herself and during this blog post, when she was supposed to be napping, she informed me over the monitor that she needed a new pullup because she'd taken hers off.  Yup.

Days like this are hard.  I waiver between utter exhaustion, extreme frustration, and a deep and profound love for the day.  It's like a roller coaster. But even as I hear the toddler refusing to sleep and the baby is rolling on the floor next to me talking to a notebook, I wouldn't change these days for anything.

These days remind me that I will get through this.  They remind me that parenting is an adventure and I'm only human.  They remind me that someday I will have no little bodies in my house and I will yearn for days like today.  They remind me that, at the same time, when I have no more little bodies in the house I will be content and won't feel the need to fill my house with cats or rats or bats.

Remember when you have one of these days that they are fleeting.  That although other mamas may pretend everything is rainbows and sunshine and unicorns pooping glitter, everyone has those days.  Even those mamas.  And if they don't, if they're just that perfect, they'll probably be a crazy cat person or have creepy realistic doll children when they have an empty nest.  You don't want that.  I'd much rather have a few rough days than resort to doll children ;)

Remember these days can turn on a dime and remember those moments when a little person crawls into your lap, wraps their arms around you, and says "Mama I love you."

A non-Gremlin Day.