Thinking about Adding Baby #2…Here are Some Things to Know

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Nola is approaching her first birthday and I cannot believe how fast this time went. Nola didn’t really spend a lot of time in the “baby” phase, but to think that Dominique and I have been navigating life with two kids for a year is pretty crazy. I felt like we picked up on the whole Baby #1 thing relatively fast, but nearly 12 months later of being a parent to two kids, 17ish months apart, I think we are still trying to catch our breath and find a balance. Going to a family of four was also accompanied by so many other changes for us – moving back to Philly, leaving our life in Nashville, me transitioning to staying at home and Dominique transitioning from head high school coach who made the schedule to assistant collegiate coach who follows the schedule to name a few. That being said there are a few things I’d like to share about adding Baby #2. Don’t say no one warned ya 🙂

1. You are not a parenting expert. By now, you are probably the parenting expert on your first kid. Sadly, that will not transfer to this second bundle of joy. You got the swaddle down pat for Baby #1. Sorry Baby #2 hates swaddles. And that easy napper you had the first time around, has now been joined by a child who sits around with toothpicks in her eyes all day. Accept it now. It will make your life easier.

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2. You and your husband will become two ships passing in the night. Sorry it’s true. For how long…that depends, but don’t say no one warned you. Maybe you will say a quick hello as you two separate to give one kid a bath and feed the other. If you’re lucky maybe you will share a few words* while you stand bouncing crying Baby #2 and the hubs is trying to convince Baby #1 to eat some dinner. *Those words may at times be profanity laced rant about Babes #1 peeing in the A/C vent, but words none the less*

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3. About food… This baby will most likely not eat like Baby #1. Baby 1 tolerated bottles. Baby 2 will hate them. Baby 1 would breastfeed discreetly. Baby 2 will pull your shirt up whenever your husband’s friends or a strange male are around. Things went well feeding the first kid…may not have the same luck the second time. Homemade purees were your jam. Baby #2 will hate spoons. On the positive note, if Baby #1 was a really awful eater who hates vegetables, perhaps Baby #2 will be the little vegetarian you always hoped me.

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4. More about food. Your perfect eater kid number one will now use food as a way to let you know that the baby is hogging all your attention. Food wars may happen. Thankfully, in the world of toddler food wars no one really starves. Stares yes. Starves no.

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5. Your first kid isn’t going to think this is all that great…most of the time. Sure, the first kid will love the baby and kiss the new babes. They will be so excited. They also will throw a shoe a little too close to where the baby is a few too many times to call it an accident. Don’t worry Baby #1 is not a monster or future Ted Bundy. They will eventually accept Baby #2 isn’t leaving and even better at some point will truly enjoy the new babe.

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Excuse me…he thinks what?

 

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Hold on she is staying?!

6. Your husband isn’t you. Repeat your husband isn’t you. Some of the jobs that you managed before will now become your husbands. Maybe now he will do the bath/bedtime alone for the first time. Or maybe he will be holding new babes while you try to spend 30 seconds with the original babes. Either way, he isn’t you and it won’t be done the way you do it. Accept it. You can’t do it all and are going to have to accept some help and let the hubs put your first kid to bed in pajamas from two seasons ago.

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Say what, Mom?

7. I hope you love the game of Whac-a-mole because that will become your new life. In the beginning, new babes will sleep a lot and anywhere. In the car, in the carrier, in the bed, on the floor. However, as time goes on Baby #1 will start sleeping in some sort of nap pattern and they probably will happen right before and right after Baby #2. I’m sure a much more dedicated parent could get the kids all synced up, but if I am going with the kiddos cycles I have often have one kid sleeping from 9-5. Sounds great, but for this former “I cannot be in the house” mother the nap trap house arrest really is quite annoying. Like really annoying. Like I read a lot of kid books to babe #1 OVER and OVER annoying.

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Let’s see how loud I can yell to wake her?

8. As cliche as it sounds, giving Babes #1 a sibling is the best gift you can ever give them. At some point (like when your kids are done high school, but don’t yet have kids of their own), you and your husband will enjoy a nice conversation together that doesn’t center around your child’s bowel/eating/tantrum habits. At some point, Babes #1 will stop throwing shoes to get your attention and will just throw shoes because Babes #2 stole their game/clothes/friends. At some point, you’ll stop begging your kids to go to sleep and you’ll beg them to wake the heck up. So go ahead and join the club because despite the long nights, and even longer days, watching your kiddos become each others best friends is a pretty amazing experience.

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Sleep when the baby Sleeps and other Infant Tips that Don’t Work When a Toddler Exists

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Sleep when your baby sleeps. Well, google search results, that is a swell idea. Except I would wake up to a child service officer escorting my older child back in the house after he opened the front door and escaped with a bag full of animal crackers in his hand. So, google search – can you provide me some tips for surviving a nonsleeping infant with a toddler in tow. And not ones that require me magically getting both kids to nap at the same time. That just never happens around here, either. As soon as one kid falls asleep, the other hears the footsteps and smells mom’s impending freedom and pops up yelling “SNNNNAAACKKKS!” (or in nola’s case BOOOBS). So yeah – nap at same time happens rarely. And when it does I am too shocked to do anything. I tend to just sit and wait for the screaming baby. Knowing it will happen at any moment.

So since my friend Google and my good frenemy Dr. Sears got nothing for me, I have decided I would compile my own list of advice for surviving with a newborn when you got a toddler floating around.

Advice #1: Cherish the Moment. No, I don’t mean sit there at 3 AM and think to yourself how beautiful your new baby is. That’s great – I am sure you could cherish the kid at noon and be just fine. I mean cherish that this is the one time in your life it is fully acceptable to watch an entire season of Felicity in 48 hours. When the baby wakes up at 3AM – get excited. You can see what boy Felicity is dating this episode. Ben or Jake from Scandal.

Noel wasn't cute until he became Jake. Duh people.

Noel wasn’t cute until he became Jake. Duh people.

Advice #2: Befriend the dollar store. And Target Dollar bins. Sure you have tons Thomas Trains that used to entertain your kid for hours on end. He also used to love to stick pipe cleaners through a spaghetti strainer too. Enter new baby and new baby’s need to feed. Said toddler just won’t love dropping pom poms through the toilet paper roll day in and day out. Don’t get me wrong those activities do buy you some time, but you need more. You need “new”. Enter dollar store crap. Stash a bag of random dollar store toys and games and pull them out whenever your toddler is clingy and you are trying to feed. No, Flynn, you cannot begin to breastfeed again, but you can play with this plastic, BPA-filled, dinosaur from Dollar Tree while I nurse your sister.

Advice #3: Invest in Baskets. You thought you couldn’t keep up with the housework when you had one kiddo. Or maybe you thought you had it down to a pinterest science. It doesn’t matter. Your house is going to look like a bomb went off no matter how many lists you make or pinterest articles you read. If mess bothers you – and messes up the million of pictures you are trying to instagram – get some baskets. Cute ones that make you happy. Put them in every room or area of the house. Then just throw the Mater trucks, pacis, dirty clothes, BPA-filled dinosaur dollar store finds in the basket. Later that day week month you can sort it out. If you haven’t sorted it out after a month, I would recommend throwing it out. You didn’t need it in a month – so why bother.

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Can cheerios spilt on the floor go in baskets? PS – Yes my child is sleeping on her stomach. On the floor. She liked that. Back then. It worked. Sorry American Academy of Pediatrics.

 

Advice #4: Invest in carrier or two. If you want to get anything done that requires the use of both hands – a carrier is a lifesaver. Strap the baby in and you can maybe, just maybe tackle one of those baskets. At the very least, you can sit and play Thomas Trains with both hands, which is really needed if you want to be Percy and Thomas at the same time. In the beginning, I rarely turned to this and I am not sure why. Now it happens all day everyday. And not just with the baby.

My two favorites are sollybaby wrap and the Ergo carrier. If you want reviews on either I would be happy to share!

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Sometimes he just wants to be the baby for a minute.

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Advice #5: Drive. Anywhere. Nowhere. Just drive. Sometimes being in the house is maddening. You are holding a baby while pretending to be Sally from the Super Spies book while doing laundry and looking at baskets of mess you need to empty because some lady said that was a good idea. Sometimes you don’t want to hear Cup of Milk or are tired of wearing the baby in a damn carrier all afternoon while reading Llama Llama 15x. Strap the kids in the car and drive. A bonus if you get out of the car, but a drive thru for a midday drink also serves as an “outing”. It also provides you a few minutes to just drive and hey maybe both kids will fall asleep leaving you with pure peace and joy as you drink your starbucks while listening to the Frozen soundtrack long after the kids are asleep. Don’t worry about the lack of makeup, the fact that your stretchy black leggings have not been washed in days or that your mom bun is starting to look more like a rats nest. Just get in the car and GOOOO.

Just a little beverage from a drive.

Just a little beverage from a drive.

Advice #6: Go to bed once the second child falls asleep at night. This is a hard one for me. For a few reasons. First, I often have work to be down for my  work at home gig and I tend to do that late at night once both kids are asleep. Second (and probably the “real” reason) is the nighttime dread. I had this when Flynn was an infant, but I really have it with Nola. You know that shortly after falling asleep, Nola (or Flynn) is going to wake up and ruin your sleep and so you avoid sleeping all together. Waking up at 3 AM  to see what antics Milly from Scandal pulled now seems doable, but waking at 11:30 PM just minutes after you fall asleep (only to have multiple more night wakings to follow) sounds miserable. Just do it. If both kids are asleep by 9:30 GO TO BED. Stop blogging. Stop reading Suri’s Burnbook and go to bed, Theresa.

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Does she really think I am going to sleep that long? I need to see why Felicity cut her hair!

Advice #7 Put a bra on in the morning. My only requirements for leaving the house is wear a bra. And to be honest sometimes Nola won’t stop screaming her head off that I throw both kids in the car and drive around coveting looking at people’s houses braless. However, my recommendations is throw the bra on in the morning. And preferably put the shirt over top. Otherwise, you will end up downstairs yelling at Flynn to stop eating crayons in your bra just as the lawn man shows up to wake up Nola mow the grass. If you have the extra 10 minutes and can throw together an outfit (you know yoga pants and white tee) all the better. But a bra makes leaving the house possible.

Advice #8 Make a list of places to escape to with both kids.and actually write out the list because some days you will forget life exists outside your four walls. For me my list includes places like the library, Barnes and Noble, Please Touch Museum and the zoo. Please Touch is a little harder, but is doable. The others are easy to keep Flynn busy while not being too crowded and allowing me a space to feed Nola without having people freak out or give me the stink eye. My grandmother’s house, Princeton Marketfair and on warm days an easy playground (think fences, not too many open holes for Flynn jump out off). The more you are out of the house, the saner you will feel. It also gives you an excuse for why you didn’t make dinner. Or empty those baskets.

Advice #9 Relax a little. With Flynn I really did not allow much TV watching or screen time in general. I also didn’t let him eat snnnacccks or french fries. However, once Nola arrived Flynn got a few minutes of netflix that now has turned in to long stretches of full length films like Cars and Frozen all while chowing down on some Chick fil A. I am not proud of this, but I am happy that when I need it – he is addicted to Cars and will happily rewatch the same race scene over and over. Forgive yourself. Use it. You can take it away once your life reaches a saner place. Sometimes what you swore you wouldn’t do before you had kids – you didn’t do with your first – but the second will get you. Break you down. And make you eat your words. Relax a little. Bribe with snacks. Turn on the TV. And just take a minute to sit and scroll instagram feeds of people who are doing this parenting thing way better than you are at the current moment. It isn’t a nap, but it is a chance to sit for just one damn minute.

Just deciding between Frozen or Cars

Just deciding between Frozen or Cars in a beautiful self-selected outfit.

Advice #10. Since I need 10 – because every list needs to have 5 of 10. I would say do what works for you. I read a blog last night  – in the midst of a Nola 3 hour middle of the night jam fest. The woman was discussing her schedule with two kids. It was nice and  organized and even included time to workout and I thought wow she is better than me getting that schedule down. Then I read the comments and her replies. She pretty much stated this was her ideal – that a lot of days things go wrong. A kid doesn’t nap. She is out running errands. I didn’t even want to point out that also in a month or two that infant that sleeps all the time – won’t. So the me time scheduled midday – probably won’t happen. As I read the comments though, I realized this woman posted a schedule just like I write out a schedule a lot of nights of how I want my day to go. And in reality that routine happened for her all the three maybe four times being her kid has only been alive for like 10 weeks at this point. And so read blogs, listen to advice, peruse instagram, but realize that these outlets are a way for some moms to show the glory. the beautiful moments. and at that is okay. if you realize that. if you realize that not everyday does their house look like the cover of Coastal Living. if you realize that they sure we all love out husbands, but just last night they told him to go pick up the f’in baby. now. and that didn’t get posted on instagram.  realize that their kid just pooped up that really cute outfit the same way your baby just pooped up his onesie. Their’s is just harder to clean. Relax. Breath. And Remember that this phase will pass and before you know it you will be googling “schedule for two toddlers dr. sears”.

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Right after this picture, Nola dove out of my arms on to the floor and bumped her head. That’s how much we embarrass her. She’s willing to risk her life to not be seen with us.

The Nanny Diaries (The Story of our Thieving Nanny)

I debated writing this. It doesn’t make me look like the best mom. If anything probably one of the Top 5 worst, right after Casey Anthony and Falcon’s mom (you know the one who pretend kid was floating away in hot air balloon). However, this is part of my journey as a mom and learning from my mistakes (no matter how FREAKING HUGE they are). It may make the mom who just fed their kid Coco Puffs for the 8th time today feel better about themselves because at least you didn’t leave your kid with a criminal. Plus, Flynn may need access to this story in the future when he tries to get emancipated from us or is working with his therapist on becoming normal.

It all started out so great. We had just lost our first nanny to an illness and we were looking to find a new nanny to take care of Flynn and my friend/boss’ new baby (a la a Nanny Share). After many interviews at the food court in Whole Foods (and days with no nanny where I pieced together childcare, worked from home, or used sick days) , we found a young, vibrant and (what seemed to be) normal girl to watch our two little ones. It started out so great. She would send cute pictures of the two during the day, take the kids for walks instead of throwing them in front of the TV, and dealt with my cloth diapered, breastfed, clingy baby like a champ. Flynn seemed happy, and I liked that the nanny seemed happy to hold Flynn and get down on the floor to play with the kiddos.

Then the weird set in. It was right after Christmas break, and I was recovering from leaving Flynn again after a two-week break home where I got to play stay-at-home mom. The nanny mentioned that her bank wouldn’t take a check I wrote her before Christmas. I found this odd, but thought maybe it was because it was from a PA bank that had changed names, but the check didn’t reflect the changes. I gave her cash. And from that point on gave her cash every week. A few weeks passed.

Dominique and I had just received a ton of gift cards from our wedding shower and Christmas. I had separated all the cards (to write out thank you’s later) and then put the gift cards in another envelope by our “kitchen desk” area. We had debated how we wanted to spend the money, and one lovely snowday holiday from school, we decided to sit down to order some furniture. Dominique went to grab the giftcards and when he returned there was only one in the envelope. I figured he grabbed the wrong envelope and went looking myself (After yelling and getting annoyed at his lack of finding the “right” things). When I went looking, it was nowhere to be found. I searched high and low. Our house wasn’t big. We didn’t have a TON of stuff. I knew it was gone, but the only person it could have been was the nanny. I texted the nanny asking if she saw them, still not thinking she really could have done it, and she said no. I began blaming random people or thinking it was thrown out by accident. I knew full well that that was not likely, but I also was not willing to accept that the nanny had taken them.

A week passed and I had taken out cash to pay the nanny. I put her money out on the table Friday morning and put next weeks money in our coffee cabinet (don’t ask why I keep things there). Saturday morning, the nanny called out for Monday, and so I was going to have to pay a backup sitter. When I went to check the cabinet for the money to make sure there was enough cash for the backup nanny, it was gone…oh except for $20. I knew Dominique didn’t take it and it became apparent it was the nanny. I held out hope there was a logical explanation. I texted the nanny asking if she saw the cash. She said she didn’t. Well, lady, that was a LIE because you had made yourself a coffee pod (which was next to the cash) and left the mug in the sink (a mug that was also next to the cash). She would have been better off saying she saw it, but didn’t touch it.

So you all think she must have been FIRED her on the spot. And I would like to tell you I did. I would REALLY like to tell you that. But I didn’t. I called the family we shared the nanny with and explained the situation. We alternated houses and they had nothing missing so far. I felt like I looked crazy and I was freaking out because what was I going to do for childcare??  If I fired the nanny, I would have to miss work AGAIN. I had already missed so much work between the nanny calling out, not having a nanny for a period of time, Flynn getting croup. PLUS I had to miss more work for my upcoming wedding. We were on 900 lists for daycare and really had no family close enough to use. Plus, I wasn’t only making life difficult for my boss by missing work, but if we fired the nanny, his wife (or him) would also have to miss work! The nanny called out for a week with a spider-bite (don’t even ask), and I figured that would give me a week to figure out what to do. It didn’t. My boss (and friend) who we did the nanny share with said maybe if we just used their house, things wouldn’t go missing. I didn’t like it, but figured she was still good with the kids, so I can just deal with this until I can come up with another solution! Spring break (and my wedding) were right around the corner.

To be continued…hopefully after I get Flynn to sleep :)

Photo sent from the Nanny (Pre-Stealing)

Photo sent from the Nanny (Pre-Stealing)

Thinking for Two

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You forgot about your future kids, hahaha.

When I was pregnant with Flynn and registering for gifts, I read every review known to man. I read Amazon reviews, Consumer Reports, blogs, Parents Magazines and on and on and on. What one person deemed the greatest thing ever was another person’s waste of money. For every excellent consumer reports rating there were 15 people on Amazon saying it almost killed their child, or at least caused a third eye. Does Flynn really need the organic mattress and what is the difference between the Bjourn and the Ergo? Despite spending hours upon hours, making lists and reading reviews, I never once thought about what products would last not just Flynn, but all the babies we planned on having. Dominique and I always said we wanted a lot of kids, however, we never once factored that in to the decisions about what baby products to buy.

Now that Baby #2 is here I realize that we now need to upgrade to products that can handle a toddler and a newborn. Since many new moms out there are doing just what Dominique and I did for months on end, I figured I would share a few products we wished we would have planned and purchased to prep for the multiple kids we wanted.

The Stroller

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Love this stroller, but where will Nola Go 😦

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The Double

We love our stroller. We also have a decent double stroller that we bought for the nanny back when we did a nanny share. However, I find that double stroller way to big and really wish I would have gone with a convertible stroller like the UppaBaby Vista or the Baby Jogger City Select. We are now debating between the UppaBaby with the Rumble Seat or the City Select with the two. Had I been thinking past our first baby, I would have skipped the Mamas and Papas (as much as I love that stroller) and went for the Uppababy to prevent needing to buy a new stroller so soon.

The Monitor

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Who needs a monitor when we sleep like this?

When we first registered for a baby monitor, I was like I don’t really need one with a camera. That seems a little much. Then the first time I tried to use the monitor, it was impossible to hear Flynn crying. So we returned the monitor to Amazon and then never bought a new one since Flynn found a nice cozy space in my bed and was content to nap in the living room in his little Baby Home.  This past summer when we moved to Philadelphia and started having Flynn nap (and eventually sleep) in his crib, we figured it was time to get a monitor. I picked up a First Years video monitor that was on sale at Target and have had no complaints…until Nola arrived and loves to sleep in while we are all downstairs. Currently, I move the monitor between rooms or use an Ipad app when both are sleeping at the same time. Once again, would have just been easier to think about multiple young kids and ordered a monitor that can easily add a camera.

Cloth Diapers

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Nola can rock a blue cloth diaper that says handsome, right?

This is one area where we thought long term. We figured we would be able to use the diapers for multiple kiddos and therefore were willing to make the investment in Charlie Banana diapers. However, what we didn’t think about was poor Nola having to wear cloth diapers that say Handsome on them or are royal blue with rocketships clearly designed for a boy. Since both kiddos are wearing cloths right now, I did find some gender neutral numbers (and one pink one) on sale at Target to add to the stash. However, poor Nola still has to rock some boy colors and any future baby will inherit whatever diapers survive these two.

I guess one place we lucked out is Flynn loves himself some gender neutral pants so Nola will be set for months to come!

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Yep. Definitely gender-neutral.