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Thread: Mums - I Need Your Advice! How Did You Handle Two Babies/Toddlers?

  1. #21
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    Originally Posted by mylolita
    Itsallgrand!

    So nice to hear from you!

    Well, I am scared because, I guess, the unknown? And, the idea of this struggle that I think most other people and our western culture perpetuates about more children.

    My millennial generation are, I think, generally very pessimistic about children. Why have them? Waste of resources! I'm not ready yet. Always not ready, which makes everyone else think you have to have this somehow perfect situation of total perfection in order to even THINK about it! So, people I know look at me like I'm crazy when my situation is probably quite common, just not in my circle.

    I think it's lovely that you say I have taken to it like a duck to water - I really hope that is true. I struggle almost daily inside my own mind sometimes about little silly things and I beat myself up often too, about how I could've gone the extra mile here or, I could've done more housework there etc but I guess that's my personality talking.

    Do you have any practical advice on schedule when dealing with more than 1, especially young? Newborn stage! Lack of sleep all over again plus a near 2 year old is giving me the fear, not going to lie.

    Lo x
    Can you do a mother's helper? I'm not sure why you are focused on millenials. Many people of all ages have and adopt children -not just people in their 20s. I was 42 when I had my son, so was my husband. My sister had kids from mid 20s to mid 30s, many people have kids well into their 40s, and several of my friends had their first children in their 40s so I wouldn't focus on what seems to be some trend among "millenials". I'd focus on practicalities only.

  2. #22
    Platinum Member IAmFCA's Avatar
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    Life's journey is beautiful in part because we learn new ways to look at life along the way.

    Think of what's important: you want your toddler to be comfortable emptying cabinets to play with the pots and pans. You want your kids to feel comfortable playing in their home (and your home). Start to define perfection differently.

    Mothering both will be fun! When the newborn is new, you will be tuning your ears to understand Baby's cues. I had the grandparents around for help, but toddler wanted to stay with me all the time. The biggest help was having someone else make sure I ate three meals a day. You must take care of yourself!

    As soon as you are able, put baby in a sling and hold toddlers hand, and go on a walk. Do this as often as you can stand it. Go to sleep when toddler does. Have someone else do as much of the housework as possible. You focus on bonding with these two sweet bundles of love.

  3. #23
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    Originally Posted by IAmFCA
    Life's journey is beautiful in part because we learn new ways to look at life along the way.

    Think of what's important: you want your toddler to be comfortable emptying cabinets to play with the pots and pans. You want your kids to feel comfortable playing in their home (and your home). Start to define perfection differently.

    Mothering both will be fun! When the newborn is new, you will be tuning your ears to understand Baby's cues. I had the grandparents around for help, but toddler wanted to stay with me all the time. The biggest help was having someone else make sure I ate three meals a day. You must take care of yourself!

    As soon as you are able, put baby in a sling and hold toddlers hand, and go on a walk. Do this as often as you can stand it. Go to sleep when toddler does. Have someone else do as much of the housework as possible. You focus on bonding with these two sweet bundles of love.
    OP and IamFCA: her suggestions remind me of a mom I knew when I gave birth. She'd been single and partly homeless and a teenager when baby 1 was born and a little older but unhappily married when 2 was born. She'd persevered and was so successful in every way. I panicked because I knew I'd be alone with my newborn starting when he was 2 weeks old, 2-3 days a week when my husband had to travel, no help from family (loved me and the baby and all but could not help due to age/disabilities). Yes I could have hired someone but I was afraid to. My friend had the same tone and advice as IamFCA did in her post and offered to come hang out with me at night but offered "look night and day are the same with a newborn - it's no harder at night in a way". So I didn't take her up on her generous offer BUT it was her positive "you got this!!" that really really resonated with me. She was right; IamFCA is also right IMHO -both attitude plus practical advice.

    (Oh and another mom told me which is so right - get out every single day even if just for a walk around the block or to a coffee shop -with the kids, yes, but for your sanity!)

  4. #24
    Platinum Member IAmFCA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Batya33
    OP and IamFCA: her suggestions remind me of a mom I knew when I gave birth. She'd been single and partly homeless and a teenager when baby 1 was born and a little older but unhappily married when 2 was born. She'd persevered and was so successful in every way. I panicked because I knew I'd be alone with my newborn starting when he was 2 weeks old, 2-3 days a week when my husband had to travel, no help from family (loved me and the baby and all but could not help due to age/disabilities). Yes I could have hired someone but I was afraid to. My friend had the same tone and advice as IamFCA did in her post and offered to come hang out with me at night but offered "look night and day are the same with a newborn - it's no harder at night in a way". So I didn't take her up on her generous offer BUT it was her positive "you got this!!" that really really resonated with me. She was right; IamFCA is also right IMHO -both attitude plus practical advice.

    (Oh and another mom told me which is so right - get out every single day even if just for a walk around the block or to a coffee shop -with the kids, yes, but for your sanity!)
    Thank you and yes -- "you got this" is perhaps - oddly - the most practical advice anyone can offer.

    I will share a story. At nine months my #1 became attached to my hip. A very adaptable and quiet child, she suddenly required this constant attachment. I asked my (top in class, top school, practical) pediatrician, who asked Is something bothering you? Well, no, I said - but I am happily planning to host a large family celebration. That's it, she said. Your baby is picking up on your anxiety (which I didn't know I had), and clinging to you. No kidding: once the party was over, baby went back to her normal independent manner.

    So whatever you do, however you do it, you've got this. Perhaps the biggest gift you can give them is a gift to yourself: accept yourself, accept your limitations, accept your efforts to improve. Do that, and they will learn by your example to love themselves, to accept that they will fail on the way to succeeding at a task, and they will keep striving to improve.

    [Comment after writing: I did go on. Apologies. Is obviously my deepest passion. Ignore if you prefer, of course!]

    It doesn't matter, but in case someone thinks it does: I am lucky to have many privileges. Still, know this: my then-H was absent. My family also was absent and uninvolved. His parents were enthusiastic but 8 hours away. We had almost no practical assistance, social interaction, or emotional support, after the first two months (soon after that, my mom died). Old house had major flood; toddler (once the water was low enough for her to help) and I cleaned it up. Heat busted; gas leaked; roof leaked. We handled it. By toddler-toddler age, exH was more brazen with his mistress; we finally split up and it bankrupted us. I moved us myself, painting and setting up house after kids slept. I am 90% time and money for them and glad of it because I am able to raise them as I intend. I had to give up the dream that the marriage represented (and would have delivered, oh well.) It was hard! And also, a sort of gift.

    My three big lessons. (1) I've got this is perhaps your #1 mantra. (2) They know you before you do. So get yourself right from the inside out, because they will embody your inner character. (3) Respect them, as you expect others to respect you. Respect means they own their bodies, we don't. They own their choices. By 18+ months, they can look at a clock and know what it looks like, if not knowing the time per se. They can see that the clock looks the way it looks when it is time to brush teeth and put on pajamas. So, by two - two! - they can send themselves to prepare for bedtime. Teach them that, and hold them accountable: "Mommy is it time to go wash up?" / "I don't know, honey (but of course you do). Look at the clock and see what it tells you." Give them the tools and the time to figure it out.

    When they get ornery, celebrate. "Sweet son/daughter, you know what? When your mood gets like this, it is because you are growing, and it can be frustrating to have new skills and little opportunity to use them. This is exciting! This means you are ready for more responsibility. Do you know how to clear the table after dinner? I will do the cooking, you clear the table, and then we can both/dad will do the dishes. Teamwork is dreamwork!" Yes its corny. And yes, you can clear the table so much faster. So, deal with it, or pick a different task. But do give them responsibility. It shows respect, it shows you believe in them, it shows them they are important. They value you so highly, they want the compliment of being able to contribute to your team. When your two year old is ready to go diaper-free, back him up. Take the risk with him. Go to the park! Yes you might have to sprint home, but so what. You are showing him he can learn, that it is okay to fail, that success takes practice. (Having a new sibling may delay this step for him... hard for you but its his way of adjusting to a new norm. His body, his timing.)

    Oh - and yes, he can hold baby. He can settle on the floor and if you have that ring shaped cushion we called a boppy (??), put that around him to support baby. Teach him that he will learn from his younger sibling, and that the younger sibling will learn from him. Make them different people but equal in their ability to teach and to learn from each other. Because they will bring different skills and ideas to the family team.

    Find a way to use distance, compassion, and self-care to serve your own needs and make anger unnecessary. This was the biggest gift of my journey. At 6 to 8 years old, they may test you, try to see if you will reject them. Hard! Read up well in advance so you can help them understand their emotions, and help them find a positive way out. It took about a year a piece, in my case. I felt like a clinical psychoanalyst. We implemented all the tools: tell me three things you are grateful for today. Or, Let's sing that hymn together before sleeping. Or, let's go see what its like to be homeless, to be in jail, to be unable to live in communion with others. (Seriously. I was at my wits end.)

    For your son, and your sakes: consider that you will never be able to control them. Not now, not ever. You can not be with them 24/7. They need to learn to control themselves. I told mine that. I said if they can't, the rules change because I will do whatever is necessary to keep us all safe. But if they can control themselves, we can do anything. They did, and we have. Remember they own their lives, not you. When they wanted to quit school I said, OK -- let's talk about your career opportunities and entrepreneurship ideas, and see what interests you. When they didn't get a good test grade, I said, grades don't matter, unless you learn from the experience. What would you do differently? When they didn't get summer jobs; who cares? Oh, but no, I can't give you money for going out. Maybe have dinner here and then don't eat when you are out with your friends? When they wanted a ride to school but were otherwise selfish and surly, they took a bus. I will love them, but I will not violate my own boundaries while doing so. They ended up athletes with A averages, deeply challenging endeavors, strong sleep habits, and the reputation of being the nicest kids on campus. They obviously amaze me; I can talk about them forever (and have here, I am afraid).

    That is how I did it. You do it however works for you. No matter what that is: Love yourself, let them see your limitations, let them see you set boundaries, let them see you fail, learn, try. Let them go. Potty training is theirs, brushing teeth is theirs, school is theirs. Let them fail early; the lessons are less costly than failing later. Believe in them, invest in them. They will deliver. Its the hardest and most rewarding job I have ever done. You will make a thousand mistakes. So what? If you are learning along the way, they will too. Humans are resilient. Let go and enjoy the ride. There is nothing harder nor more rewarding.

    Bringing a baby into the mix is the same as any other challenge. You can even tell your son -- this is new for me too, let's figure this out together. You've got this.

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  6. #25
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    "We implemented all the tools: tell me three things you are grateful for today. Or, Let's sing that hymn together before sleeping. "

    My son is almost 10 -for about the last 5-6 years we do the following every night before bed -we say a humanistic blessing (it's a blessing someone gave me in writing and I say humanistic because it is non-religious no mention of god -we are a religious family but I just loved the wording of this blessing) and we go over the three good things that happened that day -big or small or tiny. Some days it is hard to find three!!

    I am all for resilience and independence - a friend recommended The Blessing of a Skinned Knee - great book for that -and I also recommend How to Talk so Kids Will Listen -never too early to read that. We have not done well with the resilience/independence thing and at the same time I will offer this tip which I think IamFCA gave as well. When your angel is tantruming/meltdown - if you are indoors especially and need to stay indoors -pick that time to have child help you with a task that requires physical energy but also a careful approach. So that is when I say to child in a no nonsense way -and normal volume of voice "ok - come with me-we're going to put away your clean laundry now" -and using that same voice and tone I will say - ok remember pants go in third drawer, underwear in bottom etc. When I first tried that it felt a little crazy -wouldn't a melt down child just throw everything around? Or worse? But if you pretend like you're cool, pulled together, and there is work to be done, so often they will follow suit -and get their energy out in a positive way.

    Also something else I read -maybe by Janet Lansbury who I love - do not let your child's emotions drag you down - if they are sad/mad/frustrated that's ok - you don't have to go there with them. Don't mock them for their feelings but you don't' need to feel sad too. And your composure/positivity might help the child get recentered.

  7. #26
    Platinum Member IAmFCA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Batya33
    "We implemented all the tools: tell me three things you are grateful for today. Or, Let's sing that hymn together before sleeping. "

    My son is almost 10 -for about the last 5-6 years we do the following every night before bed -we say a humanistic blessing (it's a blessing someone gave me in writing and I say humanistic because it is non-religious no mention of god -we are a religious family but I just loved the wording of this blessing) and we go over the three good things that happened that day -big or small or tiny. Some days it is hard to find three!!

    I am all for resilience and independence - a friend recommended The Blessing of a Skinned Knee - great book for that -and I also recommend How to Talk so Kids Will Listen -never too early to read that. We have not done well with the resilience/independence thing and at the same time I will offer this tip which I think IamFCA gave as well. When your angel is tantruming/meltdown - if you are indoors especially and need to stay indoors -pick that time to have child help you with a task that requires physical energy but also a careful approach. So that is when I say to child in a no nonsense way -and normal volume of voice "ok - come with me-we're going to put away your clean laundry now" -and using that same voice and tone I will say - ok remember pants go in third drawer, underwear in bottom etc. When I first tried that it felt a little crazy -wouldn't a melt down child just throw everything around? Or worse? But if you pretend like you're cool, pulled together, and there is work to be done, so often they will follow suit -and get their energy out in a positive way.

    Also something else I read -maybe by Janet Lansbury who I love - do not let your child's emotions drag you down - if they are sad/mad/frustrated that's ok - you don't have to go there with them. Don't mock them for their feelings but you don't' need to feel sad too. And your composure/positivity might help the child get recentered.
    Love these pointers, Batya. When your son grows up, I wonder if he will soothe himself by putting things in order. That is a nice benefit from your coping/transition exercise. Nice!

    The bolded part... my forever challenge. Sometimes, I succeed. Sometimes, I lose my patience and my energy. It is a boundary issue, really. I have spent so much energy studying my little lab rats that now one twitch of a whisker and my instincts spring into action. I am learning to stay in my emotional space, and give them room to feel whatever they want to feel. They have not ever asked for more room, but I sometimes wish I weren't so sensitive to them. It is a new skill, for sure.

  8. #27
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    Originally Posted by IAmFCA
    Love these pointers, Batya. When your son grows up, I wonder if he will soothe himself by putting things in order. That is a nice benefit from your coping/transition exercise. Nice!

    The bolded part... my forever challenge. Sometimes, I succeed. Sometimes, I lose my patience and my energy. It is a boundary issue, really. I have spent so much energy studying my little lab rats that now one twitch of a whisker and my instincts spring into action. I am learning to stay in my emotional space, and give them room to feel whatever they want to feel. They have not ever asked for more room, but I sometimes wish I weren't so sensitive to them. It is a new skill, for sure.
    Yes! I just liked that tip about emotions -easier said than done!
    It's funny -my sense was not for him to put things "in order" while mad but rather to get his physical energy out by opening and closing drawers and putting things away which also takes purposeful energy. His drawers are not that orderly! I actually do soothe myself by "angry cleaning" sometimes!

  9. #28
    Platinum Member IAmFCA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Batya33
    Yes! I just liked that tip about emotions -easier said than done!
    It's funny -my sense was not for him to put things "in order" while mad but rather to get his physical energy out by opening and closing drawers and putting things away which also takes purposeful energy. His drawers are not that orderly! I actually do soothe myself by "angry cleaning" sometimes!
    Its funny how my intentions and their take-aways diverge. Ensuring my two learned from one another and became a mutually supportive team definitely did not mean the youngest would spend years making breakfast for the oldest... but she did and nothing I could do would change it. Oldest now out of the nest and proud of her ability to make eggs. Really? Eggs? Its about time! lol

  10. #29
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    IAmFCA,

    Thank you for taking the time out to write that response! Wow, there is a lot of golden advice in there and again, did you struggle and yet come through it all and even sounded like you remained positive through your ordeals? A huge lot of respect to you there because my dear, that is no mean feat. You sound like a mother and a half for what you have done for your children through hard times and good. You have got this is a fantastic mantra and a very uplifting one, thank you - I'll be taking that with me. Today I feel a whole new wave of better and I am in a upward and forward mood! I think your advice has cheered me right up and spurred me on!

    Batya - thank you also for your input. I am less of a reader when it comes to advice for my children and only have one book on the matter which I close, older friend gave me. It is a very old fashioned book, a classic though, especially in British culture. It was wrote originally in the 40s by a paediatrician called Doctor Benjamin Spock and it's title is 'On Baby and Child-rearing' sounds very old-fashioned but it has much advice that all still holds true today. I only scoured through it when I was pregnant but since having little B, I have gone back to it time and time again for support. I find his voice very calm, rational and reassuring. His mantra which was unusual at the time was to mothers - "You know more than you think".

    Lo x

  11. #30
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    Hahahaha Dr Spock was around when Batya and I were born. It was the premier baby raising book. I remember my mom had it . He was a hit in North America too.

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