2 Under 2


*This post is about having two kids under two. I also want to write a post about motherhood the second time around, which is a related but entirely different topic of its own. Just one of the many post ideas I have floating around my brain that I'd like to hopefully find time to write about!

A few days after J was born, Jordan looked at me and said, "So.... we have 2 under 2. That's, like, a thing."

I was like, "Um, yeah... this has just now occurred to you?" I don't know how he hadn't done the math on the age gap between our kids until after the second was born, but whatever.

The first two nights after bringing J home from the hospital, R woke up crying in the night every time J woke up crying. At one point Jordan said he was literally standing in the middle of hallway unsure if he was hearing crying coming from the left or the right. The next morning we looked at each other and said, "This is going to be a problem." Thankfully, as R has gotten used to J, she only wakes up occasionally now, and sometimes she sleeps straight through the night.

It took her a few days to get the hang of phrases like "soft touches" and "be gentle" and "don't push on his head" and "don't yell in his ear." She was really intense at first with him, but she is so gentle and sweet now. She loves to give him kisses, and the first thing she does in the morning after waking up is run out into the living room looking for "Bee Bee J."

When she sees him lying on a blanket on the floor, she runs over and lays down next to him and pats his stomach and kisses his head. And I die a little. It's every bit as adorable as I thought it would be, and so far she has proven me right in not feeling anxiety during my pregnancy about how she would transition to her role as big sister. 

She always wants to be helpful, bringing diapers and clothes for J and burp cloths for me, and throughout the day she will randomly grab the boppy pillow, climb up on the couch, and hold out her hands and ask to hold him.

All of that is so, so good.

But it has also been a challenge in many ways. Having one newborn is exhausting and stressful, so I don't at all want to sound like people who "only" have one baby to take care of don't have their hands full, but having a newborn and a toddler running around is just totally nuts, and I kind of wonder how I ever felt like I was tired when I had just R to take care of. (More on that in my post about motherhood the second time around, because there is something to be said for being used to operating on less sleep!)

There have been multiple times when both kids are crying at the same time for different reasons, and I can only help one at a time, so I have to choose the more urgent need, and the other just has to deal with it for five minutes. And breastfeeding? Something I never thought about until now, but what am I supposed to do with R while I'm nursing J? She either tries to climb on us and I get scared she will squash his head, or she is carrying the stool around to climb up on the bathroom counter and squeeze the toothpaste all over the place, and I am mostly helpless to do anything about it. What's worked so far is to lock the three of us in her room while I nurse so at least she is contained to destroying only one area of the house at a time.

There's also the sleeping thing. I've been mostly successful at getting them to nap at the same time in the middle of the day, which means a nap for mama, but that's really only because J is still in that newborn slumberland where he sleeps 90% of the time. I know the day is coming where I can't take daily afternoon naps, and I'm already sad about it.

I know a lot of it has to do with her age and not necessarily J's arrival, but I feel like I'm constantly telling R no. No, don't climb in the bassinet. No, don't pull all of the burb rags out of that drawer. No, don't steal J's paci. No, don't poke his head when he's sleeping. I don't at all want J to be associated with negativity, but she has to learn boundaries. Except she's at an age now where telling her no equals a giant meltdown, so that's loads of fun.

There has definitely been a learning curve, and we are only just beginning to figure out how best to parent our bright, inquisitive, hilarious, strong-willed firstborn while also learning more every day about our sweet baby boy. 

It's hard, no doubt, but I am also aware that these are some of the best days, and I can honestly say I'm enjoying this stage of motherhood, tiring and sometimes frustrating though it is at times. 

I'm thankful J is here healthy and happy, and I am excited to see their sibling relationship grow over the coming months and years. I pray we can nurture their friendship and parent them well and be good stewards of the lives God has given us to raise for however long we have them.

Unknown said...

Sounds like the same over here! I do hate how much I tell A no but it has to be told so she learns. I actually have a post like this drafted and just haven't published yet. Sounds like things are going well, though! Soak up the afternoon nap times!

Kaity B. said...

I wish we lived closer so I could just give you a big hug because all of this is so SPOT ON. The sleep thing is so, so hard. I still try and take naps at naptime and Crosby is 10 months lol When their Nap schedules don't line up, those are the hardest days. But the silver lining is, you will become so impressed with the amount you can accomplish on 0 hours of sleep! Haha

Sending all the love your way ❤️

Kari said...

Definitely how my life is! Mine are 11 months apart and it's.so.hard but oh so rewarding! Mine main goal was to have them nap at the same time and it is still working for us! Granted there are days it does not happen but those are few and far between. Love your pictures and your beautiful family!

Amie said...

I love how sweet she is with him kind of makes me want another BUT the climbing on stuff thing while nursing the other makes me re-think..haha I have no doubt Bowen would likely be trying to climb on the roof while I tended to another. I love all of the picture as well, what a beautiful family.

erinhzauner said...

yep! I didn't have two UNDER two, but not too far off. and you know what? we had the same exact things. when Amelia would wake up whenever the baby did before she kind of figured out how to sleep through, I was like, WHAT HAVE WE DONE?! but it gets easier, although for me, not more restful haha.

Kristen Skelton said...

First, thank you for the picture of baby knee wrinkles. Second, it for sure gets better and even though you are having to tell R no all the time, she is learning lessons. When mine were both small (hello, how are they almost 8 and 5.5???) I read something that said that it's good for the older one to learn that their needs will not be met immediately because that's how it will be later in life. It's okay for them to wait 5, 10, 15 minutes to be gotten out of bed, fed, etc. as long as they are safe. You're doing a great job and as you get even more into a routine it will all go even more smoothly.

Anna said...

Two under two is its own kind of beast. I remember thinking the exact same thing, wondering why I thought a newborn was so hard before. Parker acted out more for the first couple months, but he did stop (for the most part... He's still 2...) and now our house is a relative den of sanity, not chaos like a couple months ago. It sounds like you're doing great and R is adjusting we'll, too. Hooray!

Lauren said...

My brother and I are a little less than three years apart. My mom trained my brother to bring her a couple of books to read to him while she nursed. Thus, he was occupied and restrained from causing havoc. However, he was almost three at that point, so I'm not sure how that might work for you.

Audrey Louise said...

The picture of what I assume is you and Jordan greeting R as she entered the hospital room is SO adorable and touching. The bath time picture is also amazing!
You guys are doing a great job! I've watched my bff go from being childless to a mom of 1 to a mom of 2. I seriously think it takes superheroes to raise children!

Laura Morgan said...

💗 Love this!
I'm trying to remember what I did with Ava when Thomas was nursing. I know there was a lot of pleading on my part.
I recall Ava being really into blocks, so I had a simple Duplo set that she only got to play with when I was busy with the baby.
I had also recently done a busy bag swap with friends, and that was a lifesaver. I could potentially try to organize another one if you have any interest.
You're totally rocking it. Way to go!

The Girl who Loved to Write said...

You can just feel her adoration in these pictures!

Maria said...

Oh my gosh. My melted when you said she gets the Boppy because she wants to hold him. Too cute.

I heard a quote once (I'm one those people who just love cliche quotes, so bear with me) that really stuck with me about having children. It said during the frustrating parts tell yourself, "It's not easy being a kid". And I imagine it's not; so much to learn and things you want to communicate but don't know how. So many emotions.

Hang in there! When I'm in the midst of chaos I will just think to myself, well at least I have just one to tend to right now ;)

Amy @ A Desert Girl said...

Such sweet little people you have there! I can only imagine the challenge and I'll get to live it in a few months. Yikes!

You're doing awesome! Take those naps as long as you possibly can!

Torrie said...

Great post! Love all the sweet pictures :) Reading this makes me glad that I agreed to watch my friend's baby for a few months while she finished up her year at her school...even though the days when I watched her son were always harder for me, it gave me some good practice juggling both a baby and a toddler, and I know that experience will help me out down the road!

Jen said...

This is so wonderful! You can tell how much she loves her little brother. It's absolutely precious.

Rach said...

So so sweet! I love that she loves him so much. It's so good that you weren't stressed about her transition from only child to big sister. Obviously that part is going well! So good! It sounds like there are some really tough times right now too, but that all in all life is sweet. I'm happy for you, Amanda!

Jenny Evans said...

How do you have time to post so often? Are you a wizard?

I love love love watching how the kids become the best big brothers and sisters ever when we bring home another baby. (Even though at some points I'm worried that the toddlers are literally going to love the baby to death, which it sounds like you're dealing with, also!)

Allison said...

I didn't quite make the cut off for 2 under 2, but I was nodding along to most of this remembering back to Alder's newborn days. I will tell you 5 months out, watching the sibling relationship truly gets sweeter and sweeter. And while it is hard, these days are just so amazing...what a job we have to raise these little people. Oh and that picture of R with her hand on your husband's back. So adorable!

Reagan Lynch said...

I'm 4.5 months into full-time working mom of 2 kids under 2, and it is a wild and crazy fun ride. I went back to work a month and half ago, and all I can say is that I am learning to give myself a lot of grace. You cannot compare your postpartum experience with the first baby to the second baby. I did that for the first 4 months, and I completely exhausted myself. The last half of the month, I am learning to let go of a lot of the expectations I set for myself, and just go with the flow. My toddler has a box of books to dig through and play with while I feed the baby, and that seems to keep her happy. Anything else I do with the baby, I try to involve my toddler. I've also learned to split my reaction time between who I help first. Half the time, I help the baby first, and half the time I help the toddler. That way, the toddler doesn't feel like the baby is always first. I also have dedicated one-on-one time with the toddler where we do something fun, just the two of us. Its hard while breastfeeding, but even if its a 20 minute chalk-drawing on the sidewalk, we do it! Hang in there, go easy on yourself and just try to enjoy it. I already miss the newborn days!

Kristen @ See You In A Porridge said...

i had to laugh at 'No, don't steal J's paci.' i'm sure i've shared it but i used to hold my little brother's nose so he would spit his dummy/paci out. i was 11 months old when he was born. mum has lots of photos of me doing it haha. but anyway. i'm glad there's good stuff mixed in with the challenging stuff, and i hope it continues that way or gets easier :)

Julie @ Just the Joy's said...

So sweet! As you know, I can totally relate. As sweet as it is to see the sibling love, I feel that it's also sad in a way because it's almost like it makes them grow up quickly. They have to get things themselves or help Mom with the baby, etc. The whole nursing thing with a toddler running around was quite challenging. I don't know how many times a day I had to tell R in the beginning - just a minute. Oh, the Mom guilt! I'm sure you are doing a wonderful job taking care of two young babies! Just keep enjoying those naps and those precious moments! ;)