You know what’s easy about the 1 kid to 2 kids transition? Absolutely nothing. When you’re a mom to one you have naptime breaks, bedtime breaks and husband in an oh-so-very-helpful mood breaks.
The addition of a second child will break you. And if it doesn’t, I want what you’re smoking.
I thought I’d walk you through a day-in-the-life with two and offer some helpful tips. So pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy it while it’s hot…because once you have two kids, it’s reheated x 3 coffee for life.
Alarm Goes Off
And by alarm I mean one of two things: 1. Your toddler starts banging on their bedroom door (because obviously you lock them in now that their crib days are history) or 2. Your baby starts screaming. Regardless of order, both of these events result in two awake children. Two hungry, screaming children. Good morning, sunshine!
Mornings with one kid presents the opportunity for the “chosen” parent to sleep in. With two kids it’s safe to say you’ll never sleep in again. So make peace with your new normal (RIP lazy Sundays), and make a deal with your partner to BOTH get out of bed every AM to double team breakfast. Otherwise, mom will be crying in the pantry before dad can say, “leggo my ego.”
Going Literally Anywhere
Going anywhere in a car should start with a shot of espresso and end with a shot of tequila. Let’s assume your eldest is a toddler, you’re going to burn 350 calories just strapping that sucker into his or her car seat. In the 15 minutes it’s taken you to wrestle your cute little alligator, your baby is now hungry. You’ll spend the next 15 minutes sandwiched between two car seats in your garage holding a bottle. By the time the little one sucks the last drop you’ll forget where you were off to in the first place. You’ll remember two hours later when you’re trying to make a size 4 diaper fit a 12-pound infant, because obviously you’re out of diapers…and that was the reason for your failed errand.
Pre-kids and during those “easy-breezy” one kid days (I’m rolling my eyes because nothing involving kids is easy) I was determined to not let children “hold me back”. I was going to go here, there and everywhere. Listen people: don’t be a hero. Know your limits. Do not leave the house solo with multiple children unless it’s absolutely necessary, you have a super-laid back demeanor or enjoy crying in public places.
Mommy + Me Activities
I was such a good mom when Bauer was a baby. She did baby gymnastics and swim lessons. Please, someone explain to me how I can take Kingsley to mommy + me classes without a full-time nanny? Surely my pre-kids-self pictured Bauer sitting peacefully on a bench watching her little sister partake in these milestone classes. That thought literally reduces me to tears I’m laughing so hard.
Here’s the thing: Kingsley is going to be just fine even though she never sat in a circle singing songs and clapping hands with her fellow 6-month-olds. She has an older sister. I put them in the playroom and make them clap FOR FREE.
Naps Are What Dreams Are Made Of
OMG. That’s so cute. You think they’re going to nap at the same time. Aw.
Scrub A Dub-Dub
This doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. Put your infant tub in your regular tub and squish your other child into the little space that remains. Bathe them at the same time. End of story.
Disclaimer: do not turn your head for a minute…or you’ll find your toddler waterboarding your baby just for kicks. Also, it’s really unfortunate when one of the two “takes care of business” in the tub. Get out the Clorox wipes and pour yourself a glass of wine. It is what it is.
Your Husband Comes Home (for all your stay-at-homers)
NEWS FLASH: Children can be really hard on your marriage. This is true with one kid. This is REALLY true with two. Make a conscious effort to say hi to your husband when he walks through the door before you tell him all the reasons your day was harder than his. Because he just needs to take one look at your crazed eyes to know that it was.
When you finally get the kids to sleep you most likely won’t want to speak to another human being, let alone be touched. Remember that you love him.
The Bedtime Dance
I’m going to go ahead and toot my own horn: I had Bauer on a really good schedule. Toot toot. And then Kingsley was born.
Schedules are all fine and dandy until preschool drop-off conveniently coincides with morning nap. Let go and let God. They’ll nap eventually. They’ll go to bed for the night eventually. Just never at the same time and never as long as you want them to. I do suggest trying to put them down for the night together. Kingsley goes first with Bauer’s “help” and then we move to Bauer’s room, where she throws out every trick in the book to delay the inevitable, “I got to go potty. One more book. I so thirsty.”
IM THIRSTY, TOO. For WINE.
Miscellaneous Things That Will Rock You
If one gets sick. Everyone gets sick. Let me know when this happens and I’ll pray for you. There’s literally no piece of advice I can offer to help you get through a toddler puking in your face, while you’re puking in a bucket.
Keep that eyesore of a pack-n-play in the living room (and this is coming from someone who believes in home decor over necessity). Toddlers are dangerous little creatures. Give your baby it’s best shot at life.
Spring for the double stroller. Unless your toddler is an angel, you’ll need an apparatus to restrain both.
Some people are going to tell you two is easier than one because they play together. These people are hilarious. When my 2-year-old held her baby sister for the first time although her vocabulary was limited she looked at me and said, “WTF am I supposed to do with this?” Sure, they’ll play together…one day.
Finally (and most importantly), know that you aren’t alone. Know that it’s hard…but so worth it. Know that after writing all of this I literally have goosebumps and tears welling thinking about how much I love these two precious, exhausting, devilish-at-times children.
Memories captured by Brooke Whitney Photography.