2 Vs. 1: Playing The 2 Under 2 Game

Hello, my Gals! It’s been a minute, or two!

Potty training, bed training, teething, and just generally trying to keep the house in a state of somewhat organized chaos keeps me busy. I’m sure you understand.

A lot of people told me that having 2 under 2 would be hard, but honestly, it’s not quite as difficult as I’d worried it would be! It’s busy, that’s for dang sure. I’m twice as tired, but my heart is twice as full. ❤ And so far (for me, at least), it’s been pretty manageable!

Of course as with all things babies and kids, it’s all subject to change! But for now I’m taking what I can get!

When I was still pregnant with Mikey I tried reading all sorts of material on how to handle 2 under 2, and there’s some good stuff out there! So I thought I might throw in my two cents into the two-under-two tip jar and tell you all how I personally have been doing with this crazy beautiful little adventure.

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A fairly recent picture of Vinny saying “Good Night” to his little brother ❤

Pregnancy

So here’s something I didn’t find much information on: How to be pregnant with a baby under 12-18 months!

Let me just tell you, it’s  e x h a u s t i n g.

A good friend of mine online who also has two under two said that she was much more tired while pregnant while caring for a toddler than she was with a newborn waking up every few hours and a toddler. The same was true for me! So if you’re in that boat right now worrying about how you’re going to tread water once baby number two comes, rest assured after a while it feels like smooth sailing in comparison.

What really helped me out was having Vinny in a good routine. At the time he was taking two naps a day for at least 2 hours at a time, so I was able to rest when I was feeling sick and when I was generally exhausted later on. Having a “First (Trimester) Aid Kit” by my side with some gin-gins, saltines, ginger ale, etc was also helpful while I was playing with him so when I was feeling ill I could grab something without having to leave him unattended.

And of course my village came in clutch a bunch of times to get supplies, help with Vinny, and help me clean up every now and then.

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“Hello in there!”

As far as preparing him for his soon-to-be sibling, Vinny was only about 10 months old when we found out we were going to have another baby. I can’t say for sure how much he understood about the situation, if anything at all at the time, but regardless, I would show him my app with “pictures” of the baby, point at my belly and tell him his little sister or brother was in there.

I also brought him to a few of my OB appointments, in particular the first Doppler appointment, the first ultrasound screening, and the anatomy/gender reveal ultrasound. Again, I’m not sure what he got from that exactly, but I like to think it helped start some kind of bond beforehand.

I brought him to a few bonus appointments towards the end of the pregnancy, where he would “help” the doctors measure my belly and watch them in awe as they ran the Doppler over it, listening to baby’s heartbeat.

First Meeting

Vinny was 18 months and 2 days old when Mikey was born, so he was still practically a baby himself. But I have to say, I think he took to his new sibling fairly well.

My in-laws graciously agreed to look after him at their house while we were at the hospital, and for one additional day after. The day after Mikey was born, his Gram and Pop brought him to see us, and his new brother.

This visit wasn’t very long, as Vinny quickly became overwhelmed, so it was kind of a “Hi/Bye” thing.

Then when he got home, we made sure to go to him and give him lots of hugs and kisses. Instead of “forcing” Mikey on him, for lack of a better word, we kept him in a cot in the living room for Vinny to interact with him on his own terms.

I feel like this slow approach really helped in giving Vinny more of a sense of “control” over the situation, if that makes sense. Over time, Vinny began to seek out Mikey and want to interact with him, and occasionally he would share my lap with him.

I also tried to include Vinny in as much to do with caring for Mikey as possible, so he didn’t feel slighted that Mikey was getting so much more attention.

For instance, if Mikey needed his diaper changed, I would ask Vinny to “help” me by taking wipes out of the container (one of his favorite forbidden activities) and hand them to me so I could clean Mikey up. Then we would walk to the trash bin together and I’d have Vinny lift the top so I could throw the dirty diaper away.

I can’t say for sure, but I think he liked the feeling of taking charge in a way, and to this day if we’re in the other room and Mikey fusses, I can say to Vinny, “Mikey needs our help, let’s go help him!” and he will lead the way to the rescue.

Of course, he still had his jealous moments, and he still does once in a while, but generally he seems to adore his little brother.

The Fourth Trimester And Beyond

My three biggest tips for anyone considering or about to embark on 2 under 2 life are try to get on a schedule, get your little one comfortable with independent play, and learn to read a book one-handed.

I breast-fed for about 3 months, until the well ran dry due to the flu and a stomach bug not long after. Vinny has always loved and still loves sitting on my lap and being read to, and while I was nursing was no exception.

The cross-cradle hold was my breastfeeding position of choice before, as it’s the most comfortable for me, and it kept one hand/arm relatively free, which helped me be able to read to Vinny while feeding his brother. Vinny could sit snuggled up to me, or even on half of my lap, and I would hold the book with one hand and hold Mikey to me with the other. I quickly got good at turning pages one-handed, when Vinny didn’t feel like turning them for me.

This skill also came in handy when Vinny didn’t feel like helping with diaper duty because he had only heard “Giraffes Can’t Dance” three times that morning and he was wayyy overdue for a fourth and fifth reading.

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Sometimes it’s so chill being in the #2under2club

If your little one doesn’t love reading already, I recommend helping them fall in love with it as soon as possible! I feel Vinny’s love of reading was pivotal in helping us survive those early days after Dad went back to work and Mikey was constantly feeding. While he was listening, he wasn’t getting up and getting into trouble.

As I was saying about schedules, having Vinny in a routine was also wicked helpful. When Mikey came, Vinny was waking up at 8, napping from 12-3, and going to bed at 7, and eating at the same times each day.

Because of this rhythm, I even think I was able to get Mikey on some kind of loose schedule without even trying.

At one point, he and Mikey even started napping at the same time each day! I’m going to chalk that up to luck to be perfectly honest, but if you can somehow manage it, it’s awesome! This was how I was able to get a load of laundry and the daily dishes done lol!

It didn’t go a hundred percent smoothly all of the time, but most of the time I was able to tend to Vinny when he needed food, nap, etc and get to Mikey before he got too upset because Vinny was used to doing things at a certain time.

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besos ❤

While I was still pregnant, I soaked up as much one-on-one time with Vinny as I could. Those days were really special to me, and I’ll cherish them forever.

However, I also knew that he was soon going to go through a major life change, and he would have to learn to share me. To make this transition easier on him, I tried to get him used to playing by himself as much as I could.

I would give him his own space with his own toys and encourage him to play with them. At first, he only wanted to interact with me, but eventually he would stack his blocks, use his shape-sorters, and attempt puzzles on his own. These would keep him happy for a good half hour at a time, which was enough time to get Mikey through one feeding before Vinny wanted something more or it was time for his own feeding.

I would also try to give Mikey tummy time each time I needed to tend to Vinny, whether it was to set him up with his lunch, snack, naptime, etc. Because it would take about a minute or two each time, it was the perfect amount of time to let Mikey work it out and I was able to get back to him before he got too too upset.

One quick side note: I highly recommend meal-prepping if you can! Starting while pregnant. I made several freezer meals in my third trimester from my Pinterest List, and would prep ingredients and quick snacks once a week after Mikey was born, and it made a tremendous difference in getting everyone fed quickly and efficiently.

Crock Pots are also a beautiful thing. Just saying!

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Bouncing’s Always Better With A Buddy And Your Big Brother ❤

So that’s more or less my advice on how to navigate all this wonderful madness! Of course there are good days and bad days, and lately it’s been more challenging with all of the training and teething, but you just need to roll with the punches and soak up all the preciousness.

Because with all of the rough moments, there are plenty of Kodak ones as well.

And as we all know, the days are long, but the years are short. Someday we’ll miss this.

What are your biggest fears about having 2 under 2? Any moms happen to be reading this who already have 2 under 2? If so, what are your words of wisdom? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks for reading, my gals! 😘😘

👀If you’re new here, and this content or any of my upcoming content interests you, make sure you add your email and follow so you don’t miss any updates! 😁😁 And if you’re already following, thank you and bless your heart and soul! 🙏🏼🥰🤗

📋 Upcoming Content: Battling Body Dysmorphia As A Mom and The Boys Finally Share A Room!

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How I’ve Stopped Marriage Burnout Before It Started, With 2 Babies And A Business

When you first realize you love someone romantically, it’s like a spark has been lit in your heart. The more time you spend with that someone, the more this spark is fueled, and before long your whole heart is set ablaze with love.

I tried coming up with a more original reference than fire, but honestly, it’s just so fitting.

Just as this love-fire is fueled by every little thing your someone does at first, so too is it dampened by the strains of responsibility and stress.

I’ve been finding myself missing my old fire more and more, lately.

My husband and I first officially got together when we were 19, just a month shy of his 20th birthday. That will make an entire decade next year from when my life was first changed forever.

Just like any fresh young couple, we couldn’t get enough of each other back then. We both lived with our parents at the time, so we jumped at each and every opportunity to be together. We grossed out all of our friends with our syrupy sweet PDA.

Those were the five alarm blaze days.

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First kiss as Mr & Mrs What are we doing with our arms, tho?

Then just a little over 4 years after we first got together, after a year-long engagement, we got married. We spent our newlywed years working and putting away money, throwing parties with our friends at our apartment, and drinking Bud Light Platnium and playing Gamecube on Saturdays.

Of course there were challenges to being around one another all the time. We quickly learned which quirks and eccentricies we didn’t care for in each other, and with the pressure of mortgage and career changes on us, we began to have more disagreements. But with relatively few pressures aside from that, we were still very much on fire.

And then, not even two years after we said “I Do,” we said hello to our first son, and not even two years after that, we welcomed his baby brother. While it was terrifying getting used to being responsible for a tiny human being, these two have added a beautiful, loving dynamic to our relationship that we wouldn’t change for the world.

In the midst of all of this, my husband has been a business owner, and recently has taken on the role full time.

And although we are humbled by the blessings that are our sons and his business, I won’t lie, it’s been rough on our relationship.

It scares me to say that for a while there, I’d felt my fire start to turn to embers.

What Happened?

Handling two under two has been relatively easy for me, with the exception of some bad days here and there. But, as you can imagine, it takes up all of my time. I’ve touched on how I’ve struggled to maintain my own identity outside of motherhood in a previous post, but I feel it’s just as important to hang on to who you and your significant other were before children. While Mom and Dad are incredibly significant roles, Husband and Wife are just as much so.

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Not a very flattering shot of me, but a great one that shows how much of a loveable goofball my man is.

I read somewhere that tragically 2/3 of couples report significant unhappiness in their relationships within 18 months to three years of the birth of their first children. And even more tragic, many of these relationships ultimately end in divorce.

And as much as I hate to say it, I get it.

Between doing all you can to keep your child(ren) alive and well, keeping up whatever household tasks you can, making sure bills get paid and rent/mortgage is good for the month, performing at your job, and trying desperately to keep up with friends and family and their needs, marriage/relationships often fall in the cracks.

If you think of these things in terms of the analogy we used earlier, it’s almost like each of these things are like heavy wet leaves, dampening the flame that was burning so strong before. And if you’re not careful, the flame can go out altogether.

Like I mentioned before, I had been seeing these things in my own relationship with my husband. Not too long ago, we were going through a rough patch where we got into arguments almost daily, and while I can’t speak for him entirely, I think we both got a little bit resentful of each other.

I know the pressure has been real for my husband with his business. And though he works so hard each and every day, he still takes time to be an amazing Dad.

But I won’t lie, I had been feeling just a little bit neglected.

I know there’s a ton of articles and blogs on how to keep a healthy marriage, and I may duplicate some of these points, but here are some “Best Practices” I had been trying to get over this turbulence and reignite my flame.

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Almost 5 years into our marriage and almost 10 years together and he’s still every bit a loveable goofball as ever. Never change!

Talk It Out

It’s been said time and time again, but it’s worth mentioning once more–communication is key.

And not just when you have a disagreement. I mean conversation, like you used to have when you were dating. I’m talking those deep conversations you used to have in your significant other’s car until 6AM that made you fall ass over tea kettle in love.

We would talk about the house, the kids, the business plenty. All important things. But I’ve come to realize that we were starving for those old talks.

I’m trying to make it a point to talk with my husband about anything other than our daily work, even if I have to find a prompt online. Just talking has done wonders for us so far.

Put A Pin In It

I’m not proud of it, but I had gotten into the habit of saying some pretty mean things to my husband when we would argue. I would just get so aggravated and felt like I wasn’t being heard. And with Mom Brain in full force, I would have a hard time articulating what I wanted to say. So I would lash out.

I recognized this after a while and knew it wasn’t healthy for either of us. So now when we have a disagreement, I’ll let him know when I need a minute to collect my thoughts, and to walk away before I say something mean.

But if I’m mad enough, I’ve managed to change my approach from, “You’re such a (mean word here),” to “Why are you acting like a (mean word here)?”

This change in how I clap back prompts him to respond with, “I’m not,” and he’ll explain where he’s coming from. By doing this, I vent out some of my frustration, and I get to understand how he’s feeling and we are better able to smooth things over.

Get Close

We used to be so affectionate when we were first dating, and physical affection is super important to my husband. I had been feeling a little bit detatched, so I was not reciprocating his attempts at affection, nor going out of my way to give any. Naturally, this put a rift in between us.

I don’t know about you, but being in the trenches with potty training, while caring for an infant and maintaining the organized chaos that is my home, along with my writing “work,” and the pressures of keeping up with a social life burns me out. At the end of the day, the last thing I want is the hand on my knee. You know the one…

I’ve been trying little things to remind my husband, and myself, that I’m still very much attracted to him and want to be close to him. Even if I’m not feeling particularly affectionate, I’ll try to hold his hand for a minute, or run my fingers through his hair. Or better yet, hug him.

Hugging releases oxytocin, a feel-good hormone. It’s good for you, and the person you’re hugging. I highly suggest asking your SO at random if you can give them a hug. It’s kind of like smiling even though you don’t want to.

Studies have shown that if you smile even though you’re not particularly happy, eventually it will actually make you feel happy. I feel like it’s the same thing with hugs and relationships. Even if you don’t feel particularly affectionate or loving, hugging for a little bit might make you actually feel loving. It’s been working for me.

Log Off

Hi, my name is Melissa, and I’m a Social-MediAholic.

I have a social media addiction. My husband has a mobile-gaming addiction. When we’re not caring for children or building estimate for electrical work, you can find us with our noses in our smartphones.

Or at least, you used to.

I’ve recently started a social media fast, and it’s made a difference in the way I feel. It’s been bumming me out subconsciously, and I’ve been carrying it into other aspects of my life. Now that I’m not on it so much, I’m much more aware of what’s going on around me, and it’s made me more open with my husband.

I know social media can be an escape for some, and it’s a great tool in keeping up with relatives and old friends. I suggest limiting its use, though, and if you must be on it, try to involve your partner in what you’re looking at. If you don’t already, make it a conversation.

“Hey, did you see so-and-so is doing this? Maybe we should try that sometime!” Or, “Tell me you’ve seen this meme!”

Never. Stop. Dating.

I know this is easier said than done, especially the more kids you have, but I cannot stress enough the absolute importance of taking time to “date” your significant other.

Even with all that we have going on, my husband and I have agreed to try to carve out a certain time on a certain day each week just for us.

Childcare can be hard to come by, and with our budget a night on the town won’t be in the cards for a while. Regardless, we make our time and make the most of it, usually from the comfort of our own home.

Whether hanging out on our porch for an hour before the sun goes down, or making fun of a bad movie together after the kids are asleep, we use this time to be engaged with each other, with no distractions. It’s made a difference.

Say Thank You

I realize I struck absolute gold when I found my husband. As much as he irritates me sometimes, I really do see that I’ve been blessed with this man. He’s a hard worker, an amazing father, compassionate, funny, and gorgeous.

And I know once in a while he needs to be reminded of that.

I’ve tried to make it a point to thank him each day for something different, whether it’s for changing x amount of diapers that day, washing the dishes, or even for just being patient with me on a bad day. I realize how much he’s expressed his gratitude for me, and I used to thank him a lot more when we were dating and in the early days of our marriage. Now that I’ve brought it back, I see the changes it’s made in both our moods.

I recommend thanking your SO every day, even if it’s just for being them.

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Holy throwback! Us at 19 and 20
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And us at 28

Love is a beautiful, blessed thing. It should never be taken for granted.

Sometimes, yes, it takes a little work. But everything that’s worth anything does.

What have you Mamas done to keep things fresh in your marriage/relationship? Any other words of wisdom? Let us know!

Thanks for reading, my gals! 😘😘

👀If you’re new here, and this content or any of my upcoming content interests you, make sure you add your email and follow so you don’t miss any updates! 😁😁 And if you’re already following, thank you and bless your heart and soul! 🙏🏼🥰🤗

📋 Upcoming Content: Two Vs. One: How To Survive 2 Under 2 and Battling Body Dysmorphia As A Mom

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