Friday, September 18, 2009

Over the Hump

I'll probably jinx myself for saying this aloud, but I think we are finally out of the weeds with having two small children born 22 months apart. Everyone says that first year is really, really hard. *UNDERSTATEMENT* Our youngest little poobear is 10 months old, which means she is solidly on a good schedule, no longer needing to breastfeed in public, and has enough charism and personality and physical capabilities to entertain and play with her older brother.

All of this is helpful in a million little ways, each of which make the day flow better. I know when each child needs food and sleep, so we avoid most meltdowns by honoring those needs. After a meal at home, the two children play together or are engaged in side-by-side play in the same room while I clean up. With the little one's easing up on breastfeeding, I no longer have to engage in that awkward dance of tending to an active toddler while trying to feed my hungry infant under a sheet while in public.

I've also got the nightly routine down, even when doing it alone while my husband works late or is on travel. After dinner, they both play while I clean up the kitchen table, then we head upstairs for bath. I bathe them both at the same time - partly because it is easier on me and partly because they have fun bathing together. After baths, they lay side-by-side on one of the rugs while I lotion, diaper, and zip up pj's. Then Arlo gets one cartoon or quiet play in his room while I nurse Elsa and put her down for bed. After she's down, Arlo and I have some alone time for reading books, brushing teeth, songs, and then he's down.

And then...ahhhh...

When I see mamas of one child at the grocery store or at the park, they always say things like "wow, and I thought one child was hard" or "my hero! how do you do it?" I usually have to laugh at such comments, because it wasn't but 15 minutes prior that I looked like a big ol' hot mess - toddler who won't put shoes back on, infant needing a snack, my own lips feeling very dry and not being able to find my lip gloss and my remembering that I had been needing to pee for about an hour. The good thing is that with each passing week, it either gets a little easier or I get stronger and more experienced.

If you are in the middle of the craziness right now, with two under age two or simply two or more children whose stages are very high need, my only advice is to just breathe through it. You won't always be a hot mess. Some days/hours/moments you'll rock it, too.

And some day you'll, too, be over the hump.

(Knock on wood.)

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