January 23, 2015

Surviving Life with a Newborn and Toddler, Part 1

There's a learning curve for everything we do in life. Having two kids, one a toddler and one a newborn, one a boy and one a girl, is no exception. Here's what I've learned so far about surviving life with a newborn and toddler. I kid you not, at times it really is about survival.

Check out parts two, three, and four.

1. Anyone who says a boy's diapers are easier to change has never done a girl's.  That, or they're just plain lying leading you astray. In theory, boys should be easier. They're not. They're really, really not. Mommy has to master the pee-pee arc dodge, learn to wipe pee off walls and become a ninja with how fast you have to wipe and slap on a new diaper. Boys have more nooks and crannies than an English muffin (or a girl) at least as babies. Mommy has to clean them all and move bits around to get all the sticky icky poo off. All before the pee-pee arc dodge and wall wiping come into play--which isn't going to always be successful, hence having to learn them. Girls dribble if Mommy doesn't get a diaper on fast enough. There's no spray. There's nothing like seeing your daughter's wide eyes as she watches you change her brother's diaper and an arc of pee shoots up high into the air. She stands pointing at the pee, amazed at how quickly you deflected it with a diaper to hit the wall, rather than her.


2. Someone is going to end up unhappy. With two kids who are still at the age where they needs lots of help, one tons of help, Mommy has to make a choice on who to help first. Neither will comprehend taking turns. He or she wants you to help them, now. If you don't, screaming, crying and possibly destruction will ensue. The problem is, it's impossible to take care of both at the exact same time. Someone is going to have to go first and that other someone is going to not like it. Most of the time, it'll be the baby who comes first which then causes the toddler to feel left out. It's heartbreaking to have to make the choice and even more heartbreaking to hear a child cry when he or she just needs mommy's help. Sometimes, it'll be Mommy that needs something immediately (like going pee before there's also a mess on the floor to clean up). That has the potential for leaving two kids unhappy.

3. One-on-one time is a must. Each kid needs to feel special and like the center of Mommy's universe they are. It's Mommy's job to make that happen by juggling schedules and activities to spend special time with each. The baby automatically gets cuddles, kisses and love as he is fed often and needs to be held much of the time. There still needs to be time where that happens without the distraction of watching a toddler at the same time. Conversely, the toddler has had Mommy all to herself for awhile now. She doesn't understand having to share Mommy. She wants all the love. Taking the time to cuddle, hug and do something fun with her without baby brother around is special for her, and for Mommy. Enjoy the special time you have with each.

4. Be flexible. Daily life, and life in general, doesn't often go how we want. For example: Bed times aren't always going to happen at the set bed time. In fact, having a range of when bedtime makes things much calmer for all involved. That way, Mommy isn't freaking out when bedtime is a half hour later because dinner had to be cleaned up off the floor and the toddler didn't want to put on jammies and brush her teeth. She much preferred to dump out more toys while being chased around and told it's bed time. Mommy feels accomplished because she met the bedtime goal. Flexibility in nap time is also helpful. If toddler and baby MUST NAP AT X TIME, COME HELL OR HIGH WATER!! it's going to be hard to fit in things like errands, events, doctor appointments and, well, life. If the kids are used to a more variable naptime, say, somewhere between 1-3 p.m., and are used to missing it every now and then, it won't be as big of a disaster when nap time doesn't happen as planned. This really goes for anything--rigid schedules will get bent. Remember science class? That hard, inflexible pencil will snap. The nice, pliable paper can be folded into something else just as beautiful, if not what you'd planned for it to be.

5. Foster sibling love. Having big sister help change diapers (read: be in the room, hand over the diaper or wipes) makes her not only feel special and included but more connected to her baby brother. Letting her put a blanket on the baby when he's in his swing or on his play mat achieves the same goal. Keeping her involved and encouraging giving baby kisses and hugs builds a bond and connection that lasts a lifetime. It's beyond priceless to see the look of total adoration big sister gives the baby and him giving her the same one in return.

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14 comments:

  1. Excellent post! I agree about the diaper issue - both boys AND girls are challenging in their own ways. I had two in diapers at the same time, one a boy and one a girl so I know lol. Everything you said - I agree with! Mine are 20 and 21 now ... the time does fly.

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    1. It seems like every year goes faster and faster. I can't believe M2 is already 2!

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  2. I agree with all of these and having a boy and girl myself, I say diapers suck regardless!! They both have issues lol

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    1. lol YES! They do! I'm hoping M2 will be potty trained by summer at least.

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  3. Great post with a lot of truth. Each child needs their own time to feel important.

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    1. Yes, M2 LOVES her special Mommy time.

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  4. I love that you're sharing the tip to have that on-on-one time. My kids are grown, or on their way to being grown (except the youngest) and the strong bonds they formed when they were little still hold very firm today. :)

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    1. I'm hoping my kids will be the same. Having siblings you're close to is so important.

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  5. Definitely worse to change boys' diapers! Sometimes it is just easier to give a bath! #manic mondays

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  6. Haha! I so agree with all of this. Changing a boys diaper is hard. You hit this post nail on!

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  7. I love all these points. Having to divide time between the two kids is so hard, and I always feel like I'm disappointing someone. I wish I could say that it gets easier as they get older, but my 5-year-old still resents the time her toddler brother gets. It's hard but their relationship with another is amazing. Thanks for linking up at the Manic Mondays blog hop!

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  8. I love all these points. Having to divide time between the two kids is so hard, and I always feel like I'm disappointing someone. I wish I could say that it gets easier as they get older, but my 5-year-old still resents the time her toddler brother gets. It's hard but their relationship with another is amazing. Thanks for linking up at the Manic Mondays blog hop!

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  9. I can relate! I have a 9 month old and 2.5 year old and there are SO many points in the day I just wish I could clone myself because they BOTH need me at the exact same time! Stopping by from the Manic Mondays Blog Hop! :)

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  10. I hear you! I have a first grader and a toddler, and I'm always letting someone down. Usually my daughter because of my focus on keeping my toddler, you know, alive. It's hard! Thanks for sharing at the Manic Mondays blog hop!

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. As a busy mom, I'm not always able to respond to each one, though I read and appreciate them all.