Friday, April 29, 2016

Philomena is four months old now! Ahhhhh time is flying like a mother over here! She is JUST starting to chill out a little more, or maybe it's that I'm just starting to understand her a little more. Either way, things are getting a hell of a lot easier and I honestly am so relieved. Philomena definitely isn't an "easy" baby and only now do I feel like we are starting to understand each other. So for any new moms out there who are a few months in and still confused, please know that I was there for a long four months.

Just a list of things we've been trying to help her with: severe gassiness, problems eating, teething, constipation, super dry painful eyelids and not sleeping like...ever. I mean, honestly, life with two isn't difficult for me. Philomena is difficult for me. 

Before the baby, we prepared Penelope by getting her a step stool so she could help herself to things I just wouldn't be able to help with. I've established a really consistent routine as far as brushing teeth, cleaning up, dinner, bedtime. The routine aspect has helped tons because there is no fighting it, she knows what comes next and 9 times out of 10 its a breeze. I got Philomena's crib super early since they are sharing a room and had it in their room for a few months. I wanted Penelope to understand that she'd be sharing with someone else soon. She went to all my doctor's appointments and we would get excited together about hearing her sister's heartbeats. Preparation really, really helped.

Most importantly I prepared Penelope to understand that I'm not available 24/7. I felt like that would be the biggest issue and so everyday I would consciously be unavailable. If she wanted to talk and I was busy, I taught her that she needs to wait until I'm finished. Or how to play alone without needing me to play with her. Basically, she needed to be ok with being on her own sometimes since I felt that's what would need to happen with a new baby.

Honestly, because of preparation I feel like the transition for Penelope was amazing. She's such a sweet girl and so thoughtful, so I think the preparation was the icing on the cake. And boy was I thankful because Philomena is a handful. Five handfuls. In the beginning it would take hours to give her a nap. Then she'd wake up five minutes later. 

The transition from one to two wasn't difficult. I think going from no kids to one was more difficult for me. The most difficult aspect of two kids is the 24/7 guilt. I never feel like I've given each of them enough of myself for the day. I don't know that I ever will. I want to give endless love and affection in ways that will make them feel singularly special. But no matter how much I do, I'm left feeling like I could have done more. So the mom guilt is the hardest.

Philomena is super difficult, but even so, can I tell you how happy two girls makes me? I have two warm cuddly little babies that think I am the best thing in life. I get to watch the relationship between sisters unfold right before my eyes. I get to snuggle with my two babies one on each hip. It's the most amazing feeling there is in life. I thought my happiness meter was full with one kiddo and it was, but just like that it expanded to include another. And now I don't know how we even lived without her here. Like...that's weird.

Below I've put together some things that have really helped me with two. But even for a new mom, these are great for you too!

Mom of Two

1. Baby Carrier - MUST HAVE. I personally like a wrap because it travels well and I love the natural feeling of it with Philomena.
2. Kid's Table - Penelope has started eating here a lot. It helps me out when I'm busy so she can easily eat, put away her plate and clean up. It's also great as an option to have her near while I'm feeding Philomena and she likes to color or read.
3. Swaddle Blankets - These light blankets I use for everything. Seating, rags, shade, an actual blanket etc. I have a few laying all over the house.
4. Step Stool - It was important to find one Penelope could easily carry around and this one is super light. It's pretty high so she can reach things on our counters if need be. She uses it for everything: toilet, food, brushing teeth, washing hands. When I'm busy with Philomena the stool is a life saver.
5. Ikea Shelves and Baskets - Laying this lengthwise makes things Penelope uses a lot accessible. We store diapers there and also clothes and pajamas. In the mornings, I ask her to pick an outfit for herself and her sister. At nighttime she gets her own pajamas and diapers. It's all about easy access for the toddler!
6. Bouncer - You need this with more then one kid because you don't want your newborn to accidentally get trampled on. Something simple, but keeps your baby off the ground.
7. Double Stroller - Sometimes I want to walk around in peace. I love this stroller and strapping two kids in with seatbelts gives me peace of mind to not have to chase them anywhere. 


Friday, April 1, 2016

We all do it. Our kid does something small and the heat rises in our body and we temporarily go insane. Lose it and yell. Some people lose it and spank. Every. Single. Mom. has been there right? If they say they haven't they are lying. It's totally fine to lose it, I mean we are human. We are raising insane little people who's main goal in life is to drive us nuts (Only semi-kidding). I actually decided to write this post for multiple reason.

reason 1. I think after hearing the 6th person say I was an abnormally patient mother I decided maybe I could help someone else.

reason 2. I totally lost it yesterday and almost yelled, but used a tried and true method to get me back to a joyful place. (See tip #10.) Why not share what works?

And so before I enter into my tips that have helped me through and through with my children, I would like to make my usual disclaimer. I am not a child psychologist and half the time I have no idea what I'm doing. But I'd like to think I've racked up some experience by being a stay at home mother of a toddler and now an infant as well. This is what works for me.

TIP #1. YOUR CHILDREN ARE PEOPLE TOO: I think this is huge. As parents, we tend to forget that. Tantrums are so annoying right? Yeah I hear you. But what a tantrum actually means is your child is trying to tell you something. Have they slept? Have you ignored them all day? Are they hungry? These little people just haven't developed the skills to tell you without hyperventilating and screaming. So in those moments remember, they are people too and they many times just want to be heard. If you are tired, overstimulated and starving you have tantrums's called yelling :) 

TIP #2. GET SOME SLEEP: When you don't sleep, you are a ticking time bomb. Now mix that in with being starving, no alone time, a toddler who ignores you and a filthy house. You're going to lose your shit for sure. Just a matter of when. So when you can...nap. Go to bed at 8pm and be an old Grandma. Whatever it takes...get adequate sleep unless your like Jeezy and just don't want to sleep until you die.

TIP #3. GET OUTSIDE: I take the kids outside just about everyday. Everyone thinks I'm a great mom and that's why. Well thank you and that's half of the reason. The other half is getting good ole' vitamin D keeps you sane. (See proof HERE) Going outside makes you at least throw your hair up and put some semi clean clothes on. It's a whole new world for your kids every time and they can touch virtually anything. It makes the day go by quicker. No cleaning. Seriously...get outside.

TIP #4. GET OFF ALL ELECTRONICS: Something weird happens to your brain on electronics. All the sudden you are SO busy and any interruption is heavily annoying to borderline enraging. What can you do instead of scroll through Instagram all day? Go outside! Make a new meal you've been wanting. Read. Paint your nails. Talk to people with actual eye contact. Play with your kids. Start a business. Play cards. I mean...anything really. 

TIP #5. IGNORE YOUR KIDS: I am not 24/7 entertainment for my children. That's what their imagination is for. When I tell Penelope I am relaxing, she knows this means to go play. Sometimes I tell her she needs to go play outside for awhile. I think there is this common idea that we as parents exist to provide entertainment for our kids at all times. Not true. Being independent is good for them and good for you.

TIP  #6. SPEND QUALITY TIME: I am not my children's 24/7 entertainment, however I am their mother who loves to explore their little personalities. What quality time means to me is they have my attention 100%. I will not answer my phone, I will not check my text message and I am totally engrossed in them. I like to spend about 30 minutes a couple times a day. This makes my toddler so happy and when I'm all done her emotional tank is all filled up. That means that she's not whining or doing crazy things to make me lose my shit. 

TIP #7. GET UP EARLY: I always say this but it's true. Get up earlier than them. 15 minutes if that's all you can do, makes a huge difference. I have an infant and I know how exhausted we all are. But do it and your whole day will go better.

TIP #8. HAVE REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS: If my infant hasn't slept all day and is miserable, I'm not going to decide to take her grocery shopping for an hour and a half. Your playing yourself my friend. If I give my toddler water to play with outside, I'm not going to expect her not to get it all over herself. That's what being 2 is all about...exploring and cause and effect. I expect a mess, tantrums, testing, interruptions, whining. Being prepared is 75% of the battle than knowing how to respond is the last 25%.

TIP #9. SET BOUNDARIES: I have very few boundaries with my toddler because I don't want her to live in a glass house. Tiptoeing around on eggshells. Also, tons of boundaries again is just an unreasonable expectation. But the boundaries I do have I am firm, zero tolerance and consistent. I set boundaries on things that I know trigger me and also safety issues. Ignoring me is unacceptable. Not cleaning up after yourself is unacceptable. Being disrespectful in how you speak or act towards me is unacceptable. Not holding my hand in a parking lot or to cross the street is unacceptable. Remain consistent on your boundaries and they will stop being battles. Then those things that trigger you will happen very infrequently.

TIP #10. WHATS THE HURRY?: I forget the quote but basically we're all in a hurry to get nowhere faster. Young kids are a blessing because they teach us to stop and smell the roses. Appreciate your surroundings. When your walking to the park and rushing them to get there...why? If they are trying to do something themselves and it takes triple the what? If you don't have an appointment to make or something of that manner, next time you find yourself being impatient just ask yourself...what's the hurry?

TIP #11. WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: Alright, you've tried everything else. Today is just a shitty day. You're on the brink of losing it. Go get some space, a cup of some strong coffee and start counting everything your thankful for. Your health, your beautiful kid(s), the fact that you have running water and food in your refrigerator, the vacation you can afford to go on, the fact that you looked in the mirror and didn't cringe. Your nails look good. I mean, just keep counting...until that anger subsides then resume life as the keeper of psycho little people. :)

I hope this helps...lmk if you tried it and if these things work for you!