Welcome to my crazy life
Just a quick welcome from me to you and a thank you for reading and following along on the crazy road which I call my life. Here you will be able to follow along the ups and downs of our little family's life and adventures as we grow, learn and travel. Plus I will give up some advice on things I have done that seemed to have helped with getting my daughter and son to learn different functions, from sleeping through the night to eating all her food and beyond. Also if you have a question please feel free to leave it in a comment and I will happily make a post just to answer your question. Also keep a look out for new and old product reviews as well as special events. Here's to the family life and to a crazy adventure.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
From 1 to 2 under 2, Kids that is
I have been asked a lot how I manage to take care of 2 under 2 and both in diapers, and I can't take all the credit because my daughter who is almost 20 months old is an amazing helper. I think the hardest part about have 2 under 2 is the attention each wants and needs. The older they get the more independent they become but until they get the vocabulary and understanding to talk to you instead of crying or screaming at you can be a challenge. I have found myself giving into the first time mom syndrome when my daughter starts whining or screaming at me where I just want her to tell me what she wants, as she is normally standing at the entrance to our kitchen doing this, and end up yelling over her loud yells. I almost instantly realize I am doing this and back off and either turn my back to her to let us both calm down or take a deep breath and start the guessing game. I think all 1st time moms do this at least once a week if not more but curbing it can be a hard thing when you are going on less sleep than you have been getting and stress from other areas of your life that your young kids would not understand. Something I have learned since adding our second child to our happy little household is that keeping cool under pressure is an absolute must if I want to have a calm house I must be calm and not let myself get upset.
I know that is easier said than done because I am very hot blooded and tend to let people get under my skin way to easily, which in turn leads me to getting upset while on the phone and then my household erupts with kids screaming. Once it erupts I then have to take a step back and remind myself to calm down and then work even harder to get the kids settled down. I end up holding my 2 month old son or switching his activity and getting my daughter a snack or some juice or milk depending on the time of day. Its normally a process that takes about an hour or 2 to get the house back to a calm peaceful place.
Going out is a completely different experience and often ends with the kids dragging the attention of the people around us as I hurry to get my grocery shopping done or bills paid. For some reason these are both very stressful events for me and it transpires over to the kids which makes them fussy as well. It is hard to take care of both of them at the same time, but when you need to get things done its sometime easier to apologize to those around you and just get out of there than to stop and fuss with the kids knowing that they are just going to start up again. Now by all means this is not saying I just ignore them. I do try a few times to get them calmed down. I do the normal checks: diapers, hungry, burp, some other form of discomfort, for Gabe he hates his car seat but when going into places like the grocery store I don't have much of a choice but to have him in his car seat so often I will loosen straps to try and get him calmed down. Its not a fun guessing game but once I strike all those out of the list and the kids are still at it I tend to knuckle down and just get the things I absolutely need and get out of the store and get home. I think because I am up tight with these outings that it badly effects the kids to act up. However, I have found, like today, that when I am relaxed and just going into places with a having fun attitude that the kids don't scream at me or any one else for that matter and relax as well. Lesson, relax and just have fun and so will the kids.
My biggest advice to anyone who is about to or has just entered the realm of 2 under 2 is to relax and try to see the light side of everything. After the last month and a half of outings ending with me high tailing it home because I couldn't handle the kids acting up in public I finally discovered that it was me not them. I had forgotten what I had always told my husband about going out with our daughter, if you are calm she is calm but when you get up tight and worry that she is going to make a scene she will, because you are up tight so she is up tight and irritable.
Also make sure when you are doing any activity with your kids that you make it fun. Today I went into Bath and Body Works to look around and spot out some new scents for the house. I found a few that are really nice and when my daughter started to whine because I was taking to long smelling candles I turned and let her smell it too. Her tune changed and though I don't think she was actually smelling the candle, the simple act of including her on what I was enjoying relaxed her and made it easier to do what I wanted and let me spend more time smelling candles and looking at the store than I ever have before. Also because we were relaxed Gabe relaxed to the point that he fell asleep in the car seat he hates so much. Since he was asleep and my daughter was enjoying herself I was also able to do a little window shopping in my favorite clothing store and have a decent conversation with the sales associate on future sales the store would be hosting, and the current cute new arrivals, no screaming kids to talk over or interrupt. It was pleasant. Finally we left and got in the car though Gabe woke up at this point and decided to scream at me for a while he calmed right down once I got him out at the park. We had a good time out side at the park and downtown in general and again no screaming kids which made for a relaxing outing. I made the day fun for all of us and made it so we all got to do something fun. Yes even Gabe as I took him out of his car seat at the park and put him in a front carrier to carry him around then I put him in the back seat of the stroller so he got to look around at the world as we walked.
So to reiterate the whole how do I do it. I figure out how to stay relaxed during outings and at home, this means taking one thing at a time and when the kids do act up take a deep breath and steady yourself then check everything before chalking it up to them just wanting attention.
Learning how to control your own emotions is probably the hardest thing to do when taking care of 2 under 2 but its not impossible to do. It will make your life raising kids so close in age much easier. Another benefit to gaining control is that you don't lose it so easily and tend to get better responses from people when you do have to deal with less than pleasing situations.
You know, we chose to have our children close together so that they could be friends, though if they are anything like my sister's and my relationship then they will fight like crazy but be good friends as they get older. For us the timing was right to have both kids and plus we wanted to be able to be younger parents and really be able to be active as they grow up. Having a plan in place when you decide to have a second child so close to the first is a must however if you are military like we are those plans get changed for you here and there. Such that when we got pregnant this second time we were not expecting to find out that my husband would be deploying the same month that we were do. I didn't plan to have to be an acting single parent to 2 under 2 and really thought that he wouldn't be deployed that quickly after moving to a new duty station. It was a shock to say the least and even though we did our best to plan everything out for while he was gone. Things have of course changed but as they finally settle down I can relax a little and like I said enjoy the outings and play time.
Its a stressful job and I would highly recommend thinking hard and long before having kids so close together but at the same time, for me, I wouldn't have it any other way. I love my 2 beautiful kids and wouldn't trade this stressful but fun life. I love watching them grow and learn and figure out what this crazy world is all about.
Well, I hope that this shines a little light on having 2 under 2 and the stress levels that go along with them as well as the fun times you can have if you just take a deep breath and go with the flow. This doesn't all happen over night and often finding that relaxed pace or emotional control is a trial and error and then finally finding it type of situation. So take a deep breath and enjoy their little years because, as I am sure you all know, they grow up entirely too fast.
If you have any questions on things to do with 2 under 2, or are just looking for some quick advice feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or better yet leave a comment here, who knows, maybe there is someone else out there who has the same question but doesn't know how to ask.
I'm here to help.