Monday, 19 March 2012

Two under two

The image we as mothers are meant to
 portray and are expected to live up to ...
Bet you this women wasn't even a mother, silly cow
looks way to happy and rested...

Now having two children under two with very little help or family around I feel is almost suicidal. Everyone paints this ideallic wonder mom picture of how life is meant to be, when you are a stay at home mom with 2 very small children. How its meant to be all bliss and serene, with butterflies fluttering around and baby power in the air. You are meant to be glowing and wonderfully beautiful while you make biscuits in your spotless kitchen - well it's not like that at all ! It is MANIC!!! I dont want to scare anyone - but I wish people has just prepared me - rather than blown sugar up my baby pile butt.

I absolutely wouldn't give up being with my babies for the world! I know I moan A LOT about how hard it is. But you do need some space to vent and clear your thoughts and find appreciations again. What gets me through the day is believing my views, ideals and beliefs are being imprinted on my children and not someone elses. I also want to enjoy this wonderful time with my kids and teach them as much as possible before life takes them on their own journey and we as parents become taxi's, fairying them from school to extra mural activity and life snaps them up and they leave the house.

I wouldn't ever want to miss out cuddles from my son, especially when he has just woken up and he hanges on really tight - like there is no better place than in my arms. Or my daughter cuddling up to me and telling me I'm her best friend - those are amazing moments and they really help me through the mayhem and make me appreciate the time with children.

This is what mother hood really is like - thrown up
 on you when you are still in bed and in the face too 
When you have 2 under 2 - everything is done in stereo. Seriously I had about 6 months when I thought "oh my God - I need a job out of the house so I can getaway from my kids" it was making that crazy!! Dont for one minute think I don't love or enjoy my kids but when its all day everyday Monday - Sunday, screaming, mess, noise and constant lifting carrying wiping bums etc... with lack of sleep (lack of sleep being KEY here) it is enough to make you loose your marbles... I actually didn't realize I was exhausted until I got the flue and slept for 3 days (what a luxury but I had actually made myself so over tired my body just switched off).

So now fully aware of getting enough continuous sleep (not interrupted sleep ) I am allot calmer and feel I can cope again... I now feel I have the conscious mind and energy to deal with my very needy overly clever little girl, and my super active little boy... When you are so tired you cant think or do - its time for serious time out and sleep for Mommy...

 Having 2 children under 2 is crazy... You are basically raising 2 babies but not 2 babies at the same developmental stage (like everyone seems to think). They are not twins especially when its a girl and a boy - they have vastly different needs - one has physical and the other has cognitive and making time for both is a challenge. Yes I'm sure its true when they older they will be best friends but first they have to survive childhood and so do you ...

Having twins envolves 2 of everything and doing the same routines together interchangeably (I have not ever raised twins so I dont want to take anything away from the difficulty of having twins - I take my hat off to parents of twins - it looks painfully difficult) . But 2 under 2 requires you dealing with 2 babies essentially - at 2 different stages both being very demanding. Like sleeping in the afternoon - My poor baby would often not make it to Michaela's nap time and would fall asleep before hand and hence not nap at lunch when my daughter napped - so I would have one awake and one asleep and not break in between. This did eventually resolve itself but those few months of absolutely no break was tuff.

My baby is 18months now and my little girl is 3 now - I only now feel that we have finally come out the other side about a month ago... it was 17 months of really hard work - early mornings, interrupted sleep, day time physical exertion - lifting into and out of buggies, cars,  jungle gyms, kitchen counters, top of cupboards and every where they not meant to be...

Tips on Two under Two

GET HELP - as much as you can - I had a cleaner once a week and a nanny 2 afternoons a week. You cannot do everything (well some super mom's can - i'm no super mom) Nanny gave me time to myself and gave me time to sleep when I was sleep deprived, my cleaner gave me a clean slate to work from every week when I felt the world was collapsing on me (or the washing pile was mounting over my head).

Michaela snacking out and about even in the snow
GO OUT - play groups or friends are great - your kids playing with other kids and you having a chat with other moms is so wonderful for the soul... Helps time go by and makes your kids tired... In the UK we have a great organisation called NCT - NCT link. NCT is a great way to meet mom's going through the same thing in your area - they also have great support lines... Contact your local council for a print of playgroups and organisations ( they all have to register with the local council) - this was a great resource when I moved to a new area when my son was born and I needed to meet new mom's. I met some wonderful mom's going to play groups and our kids still play together... Its so important for yourself and your kids to socialise in your own area... Sure start centres are wonderful places with lots of free activities...Sure start centres , such as messy play, dance classes and advice groups or forums... Follow the link to find one in your area.

Good book to read - A really good book I read when my son was born was -  The second baby survival guide

Organisations to contact if you need help Home start Link - this is a wonderful charitable / volunteer based organisation that helps out families that need help and feel overwhelmed or are going through a difficult time... I had a wonderful lady come in once a week for 2 hours so I could spend time with daughter alone (this helped with her attention seeking behaviour - because she need my undivided attention which i couldn't give her because I had another monkey to deal with). 
Others Sure Start Centres, call your local council and ask about a list of play groups. 

Get 2 of everything - they will always want each others stuff - especially bottles, sip cups, bowls, cutlery etc... you don't want unnecessary stress over silly things. 

Tristans snuggled up in the buggy - fast asleep
Make them tired - walks in the park or even to the  shops are great - fresh air for both makes them really tired - make your toddler walk or scoot or bush a doll buggy ( doll buggy's are great it makes them want to walk )... I used to walk them in the mornings and late afternoons... it takes the edge off the toddler and makes the baby sleep.

Tristan at 3 months - His favourite spot 
Wear your baby - I used a moby wrap and literally wore my son for 6 months after he was born as he used to sleep in the wrap and not when he was laid down. Wearing him would free up my hands so I could attend to my daughter and do house hold stuff... There is nothing worse than a tired baby that wont sleep and an attention seeking toddler and you not having any hands free to do anything other than hold the baby... Baby wearing also has many other advantages - it is a practise as hold as the hills in some cultures and is highly revered and beneficial on so many levels especially on a comforting and adjustment to life out side of the womb... Good baby wearing link

The second child sleeps less than the first - I have heard this from a lot of mothers and experienced this with Tristan - It is clearly due to the fact that they have this other little monkey and you about the house making noise - way to much excitement going on to sleep - and the second just has to slot in with the first child's routines and activities... Tristan did most of his sleeping in the buggy or strapped on me, otherwise he couldn't chill out... this all subsided as he got older and could fit in with Michaelas nap time - he is now happy to go for a nap with out much fuss - I just pop a bottle in his cot with him and he is lights out in minutes - so dont worry about sleep problems from carrying your baby or letting them sleep in the buggy - babies grow when they sleep - so as much sleep as possible is good for them - it really doesn't matter where they sleep as long as they get sleep.

Share your Views, tips and tricks, on raising 2 under 2
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