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how do you deal with two?

I had an emotional panic attack that had me crying in a closet this morning so my 2yo wouldn't see. 8 days til my due date with the second kid and i just don't know how I'm going to cope.

My husband came home from work today and my son wanted nothing to do with him, wouldn't accept his help, refused to ask him to get him snacks/books/other things his father is completely capable of, and only wanted *me* to do things.

My husband also has only one week leave when the baby comes, and my mum will have the week off after that to help. After that, it's all me. How will I deal with my toddler requesting attention all the time? How will I assuage my guilt that I cannot give both of them my full attention?

So I'm asking for a plan of attack for those of you who have had a newborn + toddler before. Any tips, hints, tricks?

If anything, some words of encouragement would be much appreciated too.


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 19th, 2012 11:00 am (UTC)
I completely know where you are coming from as I was in a very similar position not 3 months ago. My son was really acting up and I was weeks away from giving birth.

I now have two, an 11 week old and a 2 year old and although it has not always been plain sailing it has gone SO much better than I could ever have anticipated. He loves his little sister to bits and while still showing the usual toddler-isms he really is doing very well, as are we.

Take it easy on yourself, you are not yourself this close to giving birth and kids sense it I think. We had an adjustment period of about 1.5 weeks and then things settled down. I remember posting an entry here or in another parenting community for tips, I will look up the entry and post a link, there were some helpful comments there.

You can do this!
Nov. 19th, 2012 12:16 pm (UTC)
I had baby number two six weeks ago. My older son will be two n Saturday. My husband also had one week off, then my mom was here for a week after that. Not going to lie, it is really hard at first. My biggest tip is to keep a box or bag or container of snacks next to where you'll sit to nurse baby. And books or puzzles or toys that you can play together easily. Also, know that your newborn will cry more than your older son did as a baby. You have to sometimes choose whose needs to take care of first, because there will be times when they both need you.

If you don't already have a wrap, sling or carrier of some sort, get one NOW. use it often. You'll keep new baby content being held while also being able to do things with the toddler, or clean or whatever. </p>

Don't worry about chores for a while. I promise in a few weeks you'll be able to clean and cook again, but don't push yourself to do everything right away. Just do the bare minimum until you feel you can do more.

Some days will suck. Two year olds are tough. But it's totally doable. I felt so overwhelmed whenever I thought about the logistics of doing stuff, but the reality is a lot less scary. And I love my two boys. Our good days far outnumber our bad days. :)

Nov. 19th, 2012 01:02 pm (UTC)
I am due soon with #2, but we have begun dealing with this in preparation. My son still defaults to me for his requests, but if I tell him to go ask Dada he does... however, in order to get to that point we have a lot of tantrums because mama stopped being his sole waitress. It took me pretty much cutting him off and forcing him to go ask Dada in order to break that routine. I think for us the transition will be... not easier, but different... because my son will still go to daycare while I am on maternity leave, so his routine wont be quite as disrupted as it would be if I were a SAHM.
Nov. 19th, 2012 01:39 pm (UTC)
I had a C-section that also ended up having serious complications after, so I was very relieved my husband had a 3 week leave. But if not for that, I think I would've been fine. Not that there hasn't been any jealousy since, but my toddler was also very much in love so the competing needs weren't quite as marked as they feel like they might be (of course even with that, you need to watch for too tight hugs). Play it by ear that way--if you do end up with surgery you may need to call on friends or something--but otherwise the change probably won't be quite as dramatic as you fear.

Best wishes and congrats to all!
Nov. 19th, 2012 01:53 pm (UTC)
Well, you need to come to grips that your older child can't have everything he wants. And up to this point, he probably shouldn't have anyway, but that's neither here nor there at this point....

Once you're on your own, you can offer alternatives. You need to nurse the baby and he wants you to play trucks. "Well, I need to feed your baby sister/brother so I can't do that right now, but I can read you a book if you choose one and come sit quietly next to us on the couch." Etc. And offer snacks and drinks when you're already up and in the kitchen rather than waiting for him to ask for him when you're in a position of not being able to do them right now. Nap whenever you can.

You'll get through it. It's just a period of transition.
Nov. 19th, 2012 01:54 pm (UTC)
I have a 3yo and a 1yo. Been there, done that, and survived. You will too. :D

I liked reading books to DS while nursing the baby. He thought that was fun too.
And I loved my Boba Wrap, it's like a Moby.

My mother (she has 5 kids) gave me this advice: if both kids are crying for you, help the older one first. The baby can cry for another few minutes while waiting and forget about it later. But if you always choose the baby first, your toddler will see that and remember that you chose the baby over him.

Of course now BOTH of mine can get upset while I'm give attention to the other ... ;)
Nov. 19th, 2012 01:58 pm (UTC)
I had twins who were not quite 11 months old when their little sister arrived. They're now 5 & 4 years old, so there's proof that it's possible to survive. :-)

Wearing the little one helped a lot, I got pretty good at playing with the older two while she watched, slept, and sometimes even when she was nursing.

As for not giving both your entire attention, put your guilt away with the knowledge that bazillions of kids have siblings, often more than one, and they don't get Mommy's full attention either. You can make sure you spend special time alone with each of them, especially as they get older. For example, put the baby down for a nap during the day and give your son your undivided attention. Later, when your husband is home, turn the toddler over to him and take the baby into another room for some uninterrupted cuddling. Your toddler may have some tantrums, but that's what toddlers do, new sibling or no.

The best thing I did, and still do now that we're homeschooling, has been to find friends in the same boat. Find other moms, through a play group, prescool, or whatever, who have more than one child (in my case, my saviors were - and still are - my triplet mommy friends, plus a few others who also have twins + siblings close in age, some with 5 or 6 in all). Watch them, ask them what they do when you run into specific problems, and just know that if they're doing it, you can do it too.
Nov. 21st, 2012 04:11 pm (UTC)
Wait... you had 3 kids under the age of 1?! I can't even IMAGINE!
Nov. 21st, 2012 04:35 pm (UTC)
The under-1 stage wasn't so bad. Three 2-3 year olds nearly did me in, though.
Nov. 19th, 2012 01:59 pm (UTC)
No advice, as I only have one child so far (almost a year old, also a November baby), but we are trying for #2, so I will be following this post for inspiration. This community is very helpful!

Btw, would you mind if I added you? I have been following your recent posts and it seems like we've had some similar concerns, and I'm also a teacher and hoping to have kids with a similar age gap, so I think we would have lots to talk about.
Nov. 19th, 2012 02:16 pm (UTC)
Everyone has good advice, which I second. I'll also remind you that newborns sleep A LOT!, and that you will have that time to do special activities with your toddler. Let him help you with things you have to do anyway; Give him diapers, facecloths, etc to fold while you deal with laundry, let him set the table with plastic plates, etc. You will be getting chores done and complimenting him (Lay it on thick!) about how happy you are to have a big helper and how much work little babies are!! I've had seven, with an average space of 18 mo. to 2 yrs. between and can assure you, you can do this!!
Nov. 19th, 2012 02:25 pm (UTC)
things will definitely change when the baby comes, I found my toddler gravitated towards other adults quite a bit, I also made sure she knew that it was her job to "help" with the baby (my older two are 26 months apart) bring me diapers, clothes and burp cloths, just little "chores" to "help with her baby". Honestly you will manage! It gets easier every day, I thought I would lose my mind and somedays I almost did, but now that they're bigger I'm so glad I had them close, they're best friends. and worst enemies all at once lol
Nov. 19th, 2012 02:43 pm (UTC)
I have a three year old and a four month old, and I totally get your anxiety. Although honestly, I found the second time around to be MUCH easier to deal with, just because you are more ready, you know what to expect, and more comfortable with decisions and things. I forgot how much newborns slept! I was lucky to have a really easygoing newborn, but still, they sleep for long stretches, eat, poop, and sleep some more. You will still have a lot of opportunities to spend time with your eldest.

What has helped me the most has been showing my oldest how to help more, with the baby (go get diapers, get a blanket, sing her a song) and around the house (put things in the garbage when done, pick up toys, snacks in easy to reach areas). And also, having specific times to spend with the oldest. Whenever baby would nap in the mornings we would go outside or do a craft, in the afternoons during baby's nap we would play blocks, etc. Using a wrap/sling helps a lot too. Someone else mentioned that if both kids are crying, deal with the oldest first, and I totally agree.

You'll get through it! Of course there will be stressful days, but just take things as they come. Good luck!
Nov. 19th, 2012 02:55 pm (UTC)
I don't have any advice, since it was touch and go for a while when I was in your shoes.

But I can tell you, it will pass. Once you settle into a routine and the baby has certain sleep times down, you can spend uninterrupted time with your toddler. Just remember to breathe and take it easy :-)
Nov. 19th, 2012 04:32 pm (UTC)
learn to do things one-handed.. fix snacks, etc. and make story time cuddle-with-both-kids time. toddler-proof everything and let him do his own thing if he will. if not, well, you have two arms, two hips, etc. it's totally possible to pull this off. I've carried two at once if I had to. i have pics of me rocking in the rocking chair with a toddler and a newborn.
Nov. 19th, 2012 05:02 pm (UTC)
It will come, either right away or with time, you will adjust. We all do. I cried for weeks when I was pregnant with my second because with my husband being military, it had been just me and my oldest for almost three years. I felt like I was ruining his life bringing a new baby in, that he would feel unwanted, on top of me not knowing how I would handle both on my own post c-section. But it's the same as everything else with parenting: this too shall pass. And someday you look back on it and wonder why you were worried, it was just a stage, now you're passed it.

You will learn how to do things one handed. You will learn how to comfort a crying baby in ways that allow you to talk and tend to your older child at the same time. It is inevitable that things will be okay, because if they weren't, no one would have more than one kid. You will be just fine and so will your kids :)
Nov. 19th, 2012 06:17 pm (UTC)
I only have one child but most of my friends with two kids really used the "babywearing" tactic constantly. Also, newborns sleep a lot so it won't be like having two 2 year olds it will be like having a sleeping nursing baby and a toddler. I know from having my 2.75 year old that I often have to be reminded that babies sleep and snuggle and don't run around wreaking havoc on their surroundings like toddlers do. I have forgotten that part since its been so long since having a little baby :)

Nov. 19th, 2012 08:38 pm (UTC)
I was really really worried too, and it turned out it was easier than I expected UNTIL the baby became mobile. It might not be like that for you, but it also might not be as hard as everyone says either. And it's ok to cry, and I wouldn't worry about letting your older child see you. You can just tell him that even grown ups have big feelings and cry sometimes, and after you're done crying, you're going to feel a lot better. Then ask for a hug, thank him for the hug/support, dry your tears, and tell him that you're feeling better. Basically, model the behavior you'd like him to do, and how you'd like to see him react to a crying loved one when he is a boy/young man/adult.

I went back to work, with the baby at the office, at 3 weeks post partum, so I didn't get help or time off either, but we survived! To help with the newborn stuff, I echo previous commenters who have said to make sure your son thinks of the baby as his baby. Find things he can do to help, ask him to do them, and point out how happy it made the baby, or mention how much it helped you, to make him feel like he has a role to play. My older daughter (who was 2.5 when her little sister was born) loved to tuck in the baby, so I'd lay the baby down and big sis would come with a dish towel (because we had them in a drawer where she could reach them, so they were the "blankets" that were always available) and lay it over her sister.

When nursing, that was when the jealousy would really crop up. She'd only been weaned for 9 months (I found out I was pregnant the week after her last nursing) so I think she still remembered, and if nothing else, she knew I couldn't nurse the new baby and hold her at the same time. When I could, I would set the baby down, play a game for 3-4 minutes with my older daughter, then ask her to wait while I nursed the baby. Then, when the baby was done, or done enough for the time being, I'd set her down again and hug and tickle and kiss big sis. It only took a few weeks of that before she wasn't so jealous anymore. I didn't LIKE ending nursing sessions by setting the baby down every time, but the baby didn't mind and it made the world of difference to my older child. She knew I would get back to her, and it would be fun.

Finally, I wore the baby in a sling/mei tai carrier a lot. That was useful when I was in the office with the baby too, so I could type with both hands, or answer the phone, take a message, and hold the baby, but it was also helpful so I could still hold my older child's hand, or show her stuff, or whatever else. I also made her a mei tai carrier for her stuffed animals, so we could both wear our babies together. She loved that. It made her feel like she and I were a team, and the babies were what we were taking care of together.

Nov. 19th, 2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
Just had number two four months ago. And yup, it was hard, and the first week or so when I was really hormonal, I felt really guilty about the time I wasn't spending with my eldest. But when Dad is the only option, he'll deal. Or he won't get what he wants. They're smart at figuring that out. You'll discover that a newborn is a lot easier to take care of than a toddler, and you'll learn how to juggle. Just be gentle with yourself, and know that it WILL be a hard adjustment, but at least for me, the adjustment to two was SO MUCH EASIER than the adjustment to one that it was far less bad than I feared it would be.
Nov. 19th, 2012 09:26 pm (UTC)
#2 was born on Thursday, DH worked Friday, I went home on Saturday, he was off on Monday, my mom went home on Tuesday. So Wednesday I was all alone...

While I was pregnant, I made a habit of trying to get #2 to figure out "just a minute" meaning I could tell him just a minute, and he would know that I'd do whatever it was he wanted in a bit. I used it sparingly after the baby came, but sometimes it was necessary. But by then he'd come to trust that his needs would be met in a timely manner, but not immediately.

We would make snacks the night before, so they were ready to go when we were hungry. I stuck as closely as possible to his schedule, even if that meant trying to put the baby off a few minutes to get him into his bed for nap time, getting his lunch on time, etc. When #2 was brand new, we spent a lot of time sitting on his bedroom floor playing with him. It was after my kids were bigger that someone said "The baby doesn't know he's getting the shaft, but your big kid does..." And it's true. #2 has no clue that I didn't spend the countless hours just staring at her in amazement like I did him. Meet your baby's needs, but strive to meet and exceed your older one's needs.

We put a lot of books by the couch, so they were there when I was nursing. We put changing stations on both floors of our home. We had a sleeping place on both floors of our home as well, so if the baby would let me put her down when she was asleep, I would.

And for the first few months, DH did all of the cooking for dinner. #2 was only happy if she was being held, and she hated the baby carriers we had. And when dinner time came around it was the time she decided to eat for hours. So it just kind of fell into him doing it. He'd come home from work, spend about 30-45 minutes one on one with #1, and then start dinner.

There was no way I was going to be able to do the kids, the house and the food. So I didn't. And he stepped up and did it for us. He turned out to be a way better cook than I am, more adventurous, and more talented. He also discovered it was something he loved to do. You can't do it all either, so just take a deep breath and let some of it go.
Nov. 19th, 2012 10:28 pm (UTC)
man I have a 4yr old and a 2 yr old, so I have gone through what you are dealing with. And honestly... some days I still have no idea what the hell I am doing.
But... you just kind of adjust. I know you are freaked out right now, and you all will take time to settle into a comfortable routine, but it will happen - just like you changed your life when you brought your first baby home.
It's hard and scary but you will be fine. I'm sure of it!
Hang in there!
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )


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