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. 

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