Friday, February 17, 2012

The Juggler

Noah's track suit
Photo to simply show off how cute newborn clothes are.
I laugh at this photo every time.


Hi friends!

Today I thought I would share some insights into my new life with 2 kiddos. For anyone who has been there before: this is old news! But, for those people contemplating a second child or who have one on the way, I thought I would share some things I'm slowly learning as I go.

1. Plan ahead
Obviously, right? But you have to plan waaaaaaaay ahead. Here's an example: Paige had an important appointment at 12:30 in the afternoon. So, I wanted to make sure we were out the door at 11:50 to get to the appointment on time. That meant I needed to be sure the process for getting the baby into the carseat and Paige set to go at 11:30 (allowing time for spit up changes, etc.) Well, Paige usually eats lunch at 11:30 so I had to be sure her lunch was served at 11:00 at the earliest. BUT, Noah's feeding was going to hit at 10:30 (counting 3.5 hours from his last morning feeding). Phew! I figured all this out early on in the day. While Noah slept after his first morning feeding, I ran and got his diaper bag ready for that appointment. Then, between moments of playing with Paige, I got dressed and got my things ready. I then ran and packed Paige's things for her appointment and made her lunch. I threw the lunch into the fridge and continued to play with her. Then, I got her all dressed and ready for the day. By the time Noah woke up for his feeding, everything was pretty much ready. Half way through Noah's feeding, I put Paige's lunch out for her and sat with her while I fed him. Then, he needed "burp time" and time to sit up to let the digestion happen. I then sat him in his little recline seat and put Paige's socks and shoes on her while she finished eating. Then, I ran and put Noah's little coat on him and into the car seat he went. The rest of us got our coats and bags and voila! We made it to the car right on schedule and I made it to the appointment 20 minutes early at that! I had to plan and get everything in motion at 8:30 am just to make sure we were at the 12:30 appointment on time. But that advance planning prevented chaos and stress, so it was worth it!

2. Include both kids
When Paige was a baby it was easy to just feed her when she cried to eat. Now, Noah cries to eat while Paige might be crying because she pooped at the start of her nap. Who to go to first? Well, I grab the baby and start the feeding and go upstairs to Paige's room. I then talk to her softly for a moment to tell her that I will change her diaper once Noah has had some food. When I can safely do so, I lay the baby down and change her diaper quickly and tuck her back in. Then, out I go with the baby and finish his feeding elsewhere. This also works in the morning when he cries to eat at the same exact time Paige wants to get up for the day. She can wait longer in that case, so I bring the baby into her room while she plays for a while. It also teaches her all about waiting. When the baby wants to be held and have his awake time, but it's time to play with Paige (for example, we are doing a puzzle together) I will bring Noah's seat down to the floor so he can sit with us and watch. Paige loves including the baby in her activities this way, as long as I am there to supervise. Another way to include the baby when I need to do other things is to put him in the infant carrier (Baby Bjorn or Ergo Carrier as examples). I then can satisfy his wish to be held AND get the pressing things done that need to happen right then too.

3. Use your time wisely
Like I'd said before, you need to plan everything in advance. You know an infant feeding will hit around dinner time? Prep the dinner at lunch time and refrigerate to make it quicker to prepare. Or, make the whole dinner during nap time and just heat it up come dinner time. Then, you can get all the dishes used to make dinner cleaned in the afternoon. Less to do in the chaos of the evening what with bath time, feedings, cleaning up toys, etc. My first pocket of free time is in the morning after breakfast. Paige likes to play by herself for a little bit and the baby is usually sleeping. I then run around and grab all the laundry, dirty burp cloths, bibs, etc. and throw a load into the washer. I then quickly get dressed in the clothes I put out the night before. (Let me quickly say that doing as much prep as you can the night before is a big help! You can set out stuff for breakfast, lay out clothes for the next day, pack bags, take your shower, etc.) If I have any more time at that moment, I quickly do the morning dishes and keep the sink cleaned out. You never know when you'll need that sink for a sudden bath! I hustle around during my free moments to make sure those silly little chores are taken care of so I can spend the rest of my free time relaxing and enjoying life! After all, the rest of my time is spent playing with and caring for the kids.

4. Make a list for success
My mother in law gave me a great tip: Sit down and make a list of the few things that MUST HAPPEN each day in order for you to feel like it was a success. Then, if you do everything on the list you can feel proud. If not, you can say that "tomorrow is another day." I sat down and wrote out all the days of the week and put my MUSTS under each one.
For example,
Mondays: Laundry load, dishes, Prepare and cook dinner, Shower and blow dry hair (usually right before bed), floss (I never floss and have made it a resolution for every day).
Tuesdays: Pretty much the same as Monday, no laundry unless needed, but I'm adding in "exercise routine" to the day. I also add in "blog posting and photo editing". I can do more because Paige has more Early Intervention services that day, so people are here playing with her.
Wednesdays: Same as Monday, but no dinner prep or cooking. Wednesdays we eat Monday's leftovers! Time saved!!!
Thursdays are the same as Tuesdays, but again, we're eating Tuesday's leftovers. More time saved!!! And less dishes to do!
Anyway, the point is, each of us has a thing or two that must be done to keep the house afloat. We also have a thing or two for OURSELVES that we must do to stay sane. Showering, putting on makeup, or even just getting dressed.
Make your list and stick to it. Then, if anything else gets accomplished you feel even more like a superstar.

So, these are just a few things I've discovered in the past few weeks that have had to happen to keep things moving smoothly. I've had some days where only one thing on my list got done. Oh well; you can plan for everything (sudden barf-fests or crazy terrible-two tantrums).
I wanted to share so you can see that more than one kiddo doesn't have to be too stressful, as long as you put in the time to plan ahead. (It helps to have a baby who isn't colicky, I will admit right off). I hope this helps anyone out there who may be worriers like me!
Have a great day my friends!

Paige thinker
Hmmm. How can I make Mom's life more difficult today?

3 comments :

Sapphire said...

Thanks for sharing! Totally makes sense and I love the examples it really helped me see how in practical terms it works.

Also thanks for the photos! Loved them both!

Lor said...

Thank you for sharing. We noticed, with my husband, that now that we have 2 children (one being 5 1/2 months), we always leave the house an hour later than we had planned when we go on a daily (or longer) trip. The next step for us is to try and include that hour in our "planning ahead"... Starting tomorrow! We are finishing our vacation in the Alps today and going back to Paris... We'll see if we do better or worse this time :).

Lor said...

We did the same as usual. An hour later than planned... Sigh.

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