Thank you all so much for all your questions, here were so many that I decided to split this into two posts! The most common question I got was “How do you do it??” Well.. It’s life changing. It’s been… easy. The jump from one to two wasn’t as difficult as I was preparing myself for! Sure there are a few more things added to my day and there are some really tough moments, but for the most part this time of transition has been an amazing one for our family. So, grab your coffee and sit down with me while I try to answer some questions I’ve gotten and give my best “two under two” tips!
What do you do with Luke while you’re nursing Emma?
Even before Emma was born we encouraged a lot of independent play for Luke so that he wasn’t constantly needing us to entertain him. He plays with blocks, plays outside in the dirt, occasionally he does an art project I set up before nursing Emma, and he will ask me to read books while she eats. Reading a story one handed isn’t the easiest task in the world, but it ensures that Luke is quiet and sitting next to me. Now, there are of course bad days where Luke wants to play in daddy’s office and not listen to mommy, but I handle those situations as they come. Rarely have I had to unlatch Emma, discipline Luke and then go back to feeding her; but I definitely have done it so that Luke realizes there are consequences for his actions. Rob and I have worked hard so that Luke knows and understands his boundaries and since he really is a good kid he mainly just plays with his toys quietly while I nurse her.
How do you make Luke feel like he hasn’t been replaced?
Emma is a pretty good napper so when she sleeps I try to get housework done and spend some one on one time with Luke. We cuddle and read a book, build a tower together, he ‘helps’ me clean and put away the dishes, he loves to help me transfer the laundry, and of course go outside to run around! While it can be hard to carve out some one on one time with my oldest and it doesn’t happen daily, those are the moments I cherish the most. Also, getting him involved with caring for Emma is also a way to make him feel like he isn’t being ignored; I’ll talk more about that in a minute.
Who do you buckle in or take out of the car first?
At home getting ready to leave I put Emma in the car seat in the house, carry her out and put her in first, then I load up Luke. When I get to the store I pull out the stroller, load Luke up first and then push the stroller over to Emma’s side and while Luke is literally sitting at my ankles (and can watch him out of the corner of my eye) I will put Emma in the stroller as well. When getting back in I will position the stroller the same way over at Emma’s side and put her in first, then wheel Luke around to get in his seat and then put the stroller away.
If I am planning to babywear Emma, I put my Solly baby wrap on before we even leave the house because it makes my life so much easier for when we get there! In this instance, I will take Emma out first to put her in the wrap, and then walk over to pull Luke out of his car seat. If I’m doing the stroller and wrap, then I’ll pull the stroller out before I put Emma in. Now for getting back in the car, we will walk over to Emma’s side and I will let Luke climb in there to walk over to his car seat and then pull Emma out to put her into hers. Then I’ll walk around to the other side and buckle Luke into the seat; sometimes this takes some coaxing to get him out of the middle seat but he’s getting better at it!
What are some ways my toddler can help with the baby?
I have Emma’s diapers in a special basket in the living room so when I need one I will ask Luke to bring me a diaper. Then, while I change her, he usually lays down on the floor next to her just stroking her face or looking at her. I will also let him pull the wipes out and hand them to me. If she cries, like when she wakes up from her nap, I’ll say to Luke “Let’s go get Sissy! Sissy is crying!” then he quickly squeals and runs over to climb up on my bed and give her a hug. He absolutely loves to help comfort Emma when she cries! We let him start getting used to holding her from the beginning and while at times he is a little rough with his hugs, babies are built for a little trauma from the start. So don’t panic! Keeping the baby at a “safe distance” also isn’t good, then big brothers will get a little jealous.
Who do you tend to first when they’re both crying?
Depends. If Emma is crying because I put her down to go grab Luke then I scoop Luke up, go get Emma and we all sit cuddled on the couch together. If they both start crying at the same time for no obvious reason (like Luke didn’t get hurt, just frustrated) then I go to Emma first. Luke is fully capable to come to me, I’ll encourage him to, and he understands when I say to wait a moment- Emma however has no concept of being patient!
How do you get housework done?
I have a pretty strict routine in that things get done on certain days of the week, but I fit it in wherever I can during that day. (Don’t worry, I’ll touch on my specific routine in a different post!) Luke “helps” me with a lot of the chores which is good for some life skills and responsibility, as well as keeping him occupied. Although, I must admit sometimes he isn’t the most helpful little guy! I do one load of laundry (wash, dry, fold, put away) per day, usually in the mornings, while I wear Emma or she sleeps; Luke will help me pick up the clothes around the house, then depending how full it is he will drag the basket to the laundry room. Once the clothes are ready to switch to the drier, generally after breakfast, I’ll hand the wet clothes to Luke and he happily shoves them in the drier; and then he’ll eventually help me put the clean clothes into the laundry basket! We’re still working on helping me fold and put the clothes away. Maybe someday but for now he prefers to knock over the clean piles! He has his own little vacuum that he loves to use while I vacuum the house, and I’ve taught him how to clean up his own mess when he spills something. So if he ever spills something at your house just hand him a towel and he’ll clean it right up! Although, there are times where I think he’s spilled something on purpose just so that he can clean it up, haha!
Now for the scary part, he loves to help with the dishwasher too. It makes this chore go by faster when your toddler is handing you a plate and you’re trying to put everything away as fast as possible so that he isn’t holding any dish for very long! He’s so sweet to help but man is it a little frightening to see.
I also do a lot of cleaning as I go about my day. If I’m in the bathroom, like during bath time, and see something out of place or that needs to be clean then I quickly take care of it. Doing little chores really helps things to not pile up and get overwhelming! Luke helps me put away his toys and books before he goes to sleep, and I’ve found he seems to have a renewed interest in his toys after his nap when he has to pull them all back out again. Plus it gives me more time to myself at the end of the day since I don’t have to clean it up!
Be on the look out for Part 2 on Wednesday!
I hope this was at least a little helpful to you mamas and that you aren’t as nervous for number 2 anymore. If any more seasoned mamas have some awesome tips please leave them in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!
Praying for you all as we head into this week!