Guest post: Nichelle’s adventures with 2 under 2

Today’s post is on a subject I’ll never experience (since C is over 2 and we only plan to have 2 kids…I probably just bought myself some twins in the next pregnancy with that one, ha ha): what it’s like to have two children under the age of two. I love this little peek into her life!

Kids are great. Kids are awesome. Two kids under two years of age, double the awesome! (Right?) The difference between having one kid under 2 and 2 kids under 2 is one crazy life, but I love every minute of it… (or at least I think I will in about 10 years)

A day with one kid under 2:

8:00 a.m. – Wake up somewhat refreshed, get Little out of bed

8:30 a.m. – Maybe have a cup of coffee. Watch cartoons or cuddle with little and have breakfast. Super healthy french toast made with egg, a splash of milk, cinnamon and whole wheat bread. Slice bananas and serve to Little. Help him/her use utensils, have your breakfast conversation.

9:00 – 10:30 a.m. – have some sort of learning time, like reading books, drawing and teaching how to use crayons properly…remember ONLY color on the paper. Little has undivided attention as you happily color together, smiling sweetly and chatting away.

NAP TIME!! Time to get a shower and get ready if you didn’t do that before Little woke up, maybe do some cleaning or watch a show depending on how long Little naps.

12:00 p.m. – Get little up from nap, feed healthy lunch…maybe some boiled and chopped chicken, steamed carrots and peas, and some brown rice. Little isn’t picky because you make SURE that you always keep trying things…just like the books and internet say.

12:30 – 2:00 p.m. – learning and play time. Teaching little new words, stories etc. Little loves cuddling on your lap or playing with the toys quietly.

NAP TIME!!! Do dishes, pick up toys, watch your show, play online…mommy time

3:30 p.m. – Little wakes up – SNACK TIME!

4:00 – 5:30 p.m. – More interactive play/learning. Skype with Daddy (who is deployed) while Little sits in bouncer or plays, even sitting on lap and talking to Daddy

5:30 p.m. – Dinner time! Steamed salmon and asparagus with some potatoes. Yummy and healthy! Little eats it, happily.

6:00 p.m. – Bath time, lots of fun splashing gently and singing bath time songs.

6:30 – 7:30/8:00 p.m. – Winding down time, reading and cuddles. Then it’s BEDTIME! 🙂

8:00 p.m. onwards- do whatever mommy’s do! For me it was skyping with my husband since he deployed right after my first was born, drinking a couple glasses of wine on some nights, watching my favorite shows, chatting with friends etc. Man, who said being a parent was hard? This is the easiest thing EVER!


A day with 2 kids under 2:

6:30 a.m. – Littlest wakes up because he hears Daddy getting ready for work. Crying commences. Drag self out of bed and try to get Littlest to cuddle in bed and go back to sleep. He only wants to sleep in his own bed, so put him back and fall asleep again too.

7:30 a.m. – wake to Little and Littlest talking (read this as screaming in high pitched tones) to each other from respective rooms (on different floors in my case). Jump out of bed and rush to collect them so it doesn’t bother the neighbors. Go downstairs and turn on ‘toons and make a pot of coffee.

8:00 a.m. – Get breakfast ready…bananas and cheerios in yogurt (beats milk any day for little kids!). Little swaps his banana for Littlest’s cheerios ‘n yogurt. Littlest seems happy with this arrangement. Think to self – at lunch make sure Littlest eats his grains and Little eats his fruit!

8:30 a.m. – Clean up yogurt and cheerios from table, chair, floor. How did banana get over here?! Chase around Little trying to clean his face and hands while Littlest screams from his high chair (apparently doesn’t understand “no screaming”) and tries to feed the dog banana while the cat eats banana out of his hair. (My pets really earn their keep!)

9:00 – 10:30 a.m. – follow behind kids cleaning up the havoc they wreak. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU TO STAY OUT OF THE DVD/DIAPER CABINET?

Tie cupboard handles together to prevent the Littles from getting in again. Little poops, untie/cut ties on cabinet pulls (depending on what you used to tie it shut) and get out diapers/wipes. Littlest takes this opportunity to get into the now-accessible cabinets and throw as much as he can out while you hurry to change Little and pick up what Littlest has done. Man, can 1 year olds do some serious damage in under a minute! Secure cabinets again, only to discover Littlest has pooped. Repeat process. Luckily all that one-on-one time with Little has made him somewhat obedient and he listens when you say “Don’t even THINK about it!”

10:30 – Littlest MUST go down for a nap, he simply won’t wait until after lunch like Little. Realize that you haven’t managed to even get a cup of coffee, go in to find cold coffee in the pot. Pour coffee into mug and nuke since you can’t wait for the coffee maker to re-heat it. Little plays and draws, overall it’s a peaceful interlude. Wait, when is shower time?!

12:00 – Lunch time for Little. Healthy lunch, then off to bed. Sneaking back downstairs to try to get a quick shower, Littlest wakes up and loudly insists to get out of his crib. Grab him up and head back downstairs, thinking “Where did I go wrong? Why does this one have NO patience?”  Feed lunch, but end up cleaning most of it off the floor. “So you eat broccoli but not cheese or chicken? At least you are getting your vegetables in….”

12:30 – Play with Littlest. Except he has almost zero interest in interacting with you, would rather try to grab the remote, touch the PS3, steal your chapstick, climb on the couch and on to the side table. Finally you get him to play with you. Try to get him to say “Momma”…he repeats “Dadda” or “Bubba”…hmmmm…Does he not get enough talking time like you had with just one?? He goes off to do more naughty things, looks at you before he does it and laughs and does it anyways (even if it means a spanking or time out, after which he promptly repeats the offense that got him in trouble in the first place).

OH MY GOSH, you haven’t peed ALL MORNING! You realize just how bad you have to go, rush off to the bathroom. Come back to find Littlest has used the sub-woofer from the surround sound as a step stool to get onto the TV console.

Sit on couch and talk to littlest for a while, play, try to interact with him. Mine wants nothing to do with me for the most part. The baby who didn’t want anyone else, has turned into a 1 year old who would rather eat crayons or pet the cat than play with Mommy.

2:30/3:00 – 4:00 p.m. – Little is up from his nap, and Littlest is ready for another. (There goes the trip to the commissary) Little has a snack and you take the opportunity to pee again. Come back out and he has all his raisins stuck in his mouth (this is the child that KNOWS to only take one bite at a time, and refuses to take another bite of food before he has finished chewing and has swallowed) and is trying to flip up the couch cushion that the cat is sleeping on yelling “WHEEE, Blaze goes WHEEE”. Ohmygoodness. The cat lays there looking at you as if to say “This is all your fault”. Little then plays nicely.

4:00 p.m. – Littlest wakes up. Bring down and give him a snack, then let the two Littles color while you prep dinner and do dishes from earlier. Look over to see Littlest hogging most of the crayons, Little sitting on top of the table (the stable little kids table, NOT a normal size table) while eating the only crayon his bigger brother would let him have. (where does wax fall on the food circle or whatever new thing they have created is called?) Walk over to them only to catch a reflection of yourself in the mirror (oh MAN haven’t even gotten a shower! When did I get circles under my eyes, it looks like I haven’t slept in weeks?!)

5:00 p.m. – Daddy comes home from work, Littlest screams in excitement and drops whatever he is doing to crawl his fastest over to Daddy. Lazy little booger still doesn’t feel the need to walk (even though you KNOW he knows how to since you have seen him take steps when he thinks you aren’t paying attention or are in a different room). Cook dinner while Daddy plays with the kids. Eat…well Littlest deems it more important to feed the dog and cat his food than actually consume anything but his vegetables…

6:30 p.m. – Bath time. When all is said and done, there is more water outside the tub than inside the tub, and you managed to get your shower. While fully clothed.

7:00 – 7:30 p.m. – Winding down time. Which consists of Daddy throwing the kids around and all 3 of them rough housing and wrestling.

7:30 p.m. – Bedtime at last.

8:00 – 9:30/10:00 p.m. – Mommy and Daddy time, watching tv shows, relaxing, and falling asleep on couch.

Mind you, all our days aren’t EXACTLY like this…sometimes we have to go to appointments, run errands, take the animals to the vets (which is in itself a circus event, a 2 year old walking, a 1 year old in a stroller, a German Shepherd/Great Dane cross on his leash, and a Maine Coon cat who ISN’T in a carrier but on a harness/leash…it’s quite a sight I am sure). Some days the kids are absolute angels. We keep quarters on the door frames to the bathrooms since our 2 year old can open the doors, pee in the dark since he can ALSO reach light switches (and here in England they are on the OUTSIDE of the bathroom), tie cabinets shut, still have a bouncer that we put the 1 year old in if we NEED to get something done that’s NOT in the living room, have too many toys, and LOTS of diapers. And this is all as a stay at home mom, which I am SOO thankful that my husband being in the military allows us to do this. I haven’t bought myself but maybe 2 items of clothing in the last year. We have started buying the cheap diapers, because for the most part they hold pee and poop the same. Life with 2 kids under 2 is crazy, hectic, but full of love and adventure. And I know in a few years when they are both a little older, I will miss all this chaos. My house will be sparkling clean again, and I will get to shower and get ready every day! I will even get to drink my coffee in peace. But my boys will grow up close to each other, and hopefully be the best of friends. Especially being a military family, I feel this is great for them, because no matter where we go, they will ALWAYS have someone to play with, someone close in age. Some days I want to pull my hair out, but I look at them together, how much they love each other even at this age, and I am so thankful for my 2 under 2, and this crazy life we lead!

The Stew Spiral

Whew. Hadn’t planned to write a post today, but sometimes it’s not about what you plan! This morning has been a test of my patience – the day started at 0430 and we had two timeout sessions before 0700. Yikes. Deep breath. Coffee. Deep breath. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee….

One thing that I’ve noticed about myself is I can get caught up in the “frustration spiral” (I tried to come up with a clever, alliterative name but couldn’t think of an ‘s’ word to go with spiral that aptly described how I felt). You know those days, when it seems like everything your LO does is with the express intent to annoy you? Every time I turn around, C was throwing his crayons, running over his train set, trying to steal the laptop, coloring on the table, kicking me on the changing table. And when I said no or asked him to stop, I was met with tears, a slap, an emphatic no, a tantrum or a combination of any of those. The timeouts helped him calm down and “reset” his behavior; that’s how I should have used them, too! Instead of doing something to calm myself while he sniffled in the corner, I stewed about how naughty he was being (so maybe I was in a stew spiral?). Letting frustrations build up like that without release is not healthy, especially when you’re on your own with an energetic, willful toddler!

I, like most moms, have a tendency to be too hard on myself. When we have difficult mornings like this, I can get really down on myself. Is he acting up because I’m a bad mother? Am I a bad mother for using timeout? The answer to both of those questions is NO, and once I gave myself a timeout to calm down and think about the situation, I soon realized that. Timeout works for us – it gives C a chance to calm down before we sit down and talk about why he was in timeout and what he needs to change about his behavior (listen to Mommy, don’t hit, don’t throw toys, etc.). We always end timeouts with a chat, hugs, kisses and “Love yous.” I just need to remember to use C’s timeout as a chance to reset my own emotions!

What do you do when you get sucked into the “stew spiral” and feel like your frustrations are getting out of control?

Guest post: Courtney’s experience with formula

I’m so excited to present my first guest post! Infant feeding can be such an emotional topic and when things don’t go as we plan, it hurts. The following post is Courtney’s story, in her own words, and I’m so grateful she decided to share it. ~sjm

I was a first time mom with my hopes set high on breastfeeding. During my pregnancy I had many complications and was told formula feeding was probably my best bet. But against what I was told I was determined to breast feed. Then the wonderful day my darling son was born! Due to more complications he was immediately taken from the room until they could keep his fever under control. After 4 hours I got to hold my baby boy for the first time and I instantly went to feed him. I was a young mom and weary from a rough labor but the moment he latched on I felt the instant bond the experts and studies talked about.

Unfortunately that was the only time I had an easy feeding. Through out my 49 hour stay in the hospital I struggled to get him to latch properly. I had many nurses come in and help but I grew weary of it. As we left the hospital gave us some liquid formula, I made a snide comment abut not using it. I wanted to give my child the best milk, my milk. I was a bit naive at the time. I don’t know why I thought breastfeeding would get any easier as I got home. It was our second night home and my son woke up ready to eat. I tried to get him to latch but he wouldn’t. I tried pumping in a bottle and feeding him that way but he just screamed and cried. My heart broke. I felt I was a failure because I couldn’t even feed my own child. I called the hospital for advice, followed the instructions on putting sugar water around the nipple, trying to squeeze a bit into his mouth until it registered. As his panic grew so did mine. I began crying. I was resolved to feeding him drop by drop through a straw. After 3 hours of drip feeding him I was out of pumped milk. I tried pumping more but nothing was coming out. My son started his crying and screaming all over again. My husband decided he was not so stubborn to use the formula we were given. He wanted our son to be happy. He made him a bottle with the formula and my son instantly latched to the bottle with no problem.

I had to leave the room because I was so heart broken. I wanted nothing more to breast feed and in that moment is was taken away from me. But I was so grateful for that formula as well. It did what my body couldn’t. It gave my son the food he needed. I wrote the hospital a thank you letter. I never switched formulas either. My son loved the one we were given and it worked well with him. He did not spit up. Had no reflux or reaction to it. Formula was my life saver. I have 2 more kids since and I breast fed them. I had no qualm in supplementing formula every now and then. I agree whole heartedly that any way to feed your child should be taken in to consideration. Human milk or formula, when you have gone hours of hearing heart wrenching cries knowing your child is hungry, either choice gets the job done.