After sending the kids out to play in the rain, while the baby napped, so I could finish scrubbing some dishes… this is what happened. … I was asking for too much, wasn’t I?
When I had my first baby, I had no idea the challenges awaiting me. One particular time, I just wanted my baby boy to stop crying so I could get a load of laundry into the wash. I tried everything in the little booklet the hospital gave me, to quiet him down. Nothing worked. I remember feeling my pulse race, my skin getting red and hot, and this new and unexpected anger coming up as my baby cried and cried.
I gently put the screaming baby down. Walked over to the garbage can. Kicked it clear across the room. … did it solve anything? …. no. Did I feel better? A little…. but not much.
I’ve since gotten a lot more comfortable with the unpredictability of newborns. I have also since read about how when you react with anger (or any emotion) consistently, you train your brain to continue to react with anger to similar stimuli. This is called neuroplasticity. So the more I practice reacting gracefully to the dumped cup of juice, pulled hair, interrupted nap time, the more naturally a graceful reaction will come.
Around this time, it so happened that in a mother’s group I was attending, we did a book study on the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. My chapter was “Keeping a contented heart”. There were 2 parts that impacted me profoundly. The first, was when the writer tried to play the “glad game”, where she tried to be glad about everything for a whole week. I love the glad game, because everyone has their moments where they want to kick a trash can across the room. But, I’ve noticed the kids are much more cheerful when mom is glad. Since reading this book, I have actually woken the kids up to my singing… (feel free to call children’s services). Moms really do have an amazing power to make a moment good or bad. Yesterday, Elise was trying to help me by collecting the cups that are often left everywhere on the main floor. She unknowingly grabbed my jumbo sized full coffee cup and spilled it everywhere. She looked up at me, about to burst into tears. I gave her a big goofy grin and scooped her up. We grabbed the paper towels and cleaned it all up together. I thanked her a bunch of times for helping, and now she begs for paper towels to help clean everything (even imaginary messes).
The second part I loved was a prayer to “shield the joyous ones”. I loved the prayer to shield the joyous, because although you want to treasure every moment with your little circus, there are moments that can potentially take away that pure joy. For example, when you go to the grocery store, if you have more than one or two little kids following you, people are staring… (and apparently feel strong urges to score your parenting abilities). It can be a little tough keeping your sunny disposition when one of your kids decides it would be a good time to have a huge fit. *Cough Caleb *. But I’ll keep praying that these little bumps along the road don’t change that feeling of amazement that the hospital let me take these little bundles home with me… for keeps!
This post is best read while listening to, Keep on the sunny side by the Whites.
2 Weeks left, which in the grand scheme of things does not seem like much. But in the last few days, I’ve been noticing that somehow time has slowed to an almost stand still.
I’m definitely waddling now. And, I’m in the new and exciting stage of I-hurt-my-back-putting-on-shorts. So, I will definitely be finding time to see my chiropractor this week. Unless my prayers are answered and labour comes….. Feel free to pray this baby comes asap!
Also, we’ve been working on getting through all the available viruses here. Just as all the little noses stopped running, little man started having a wicked case of the runs, and lost all desire to eat and drink.
So we’ve been doing the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, apples and toast) … with a little dry cereal when he’s been interested, and let him try gatorade for the first time when he didn’t pee in 16 hours. I’m thanking my lucky stars today that we potty trained already!
Really other than a sleepy boy, this really was no biggie.
….However, right after changing little man’s sheets today for laundry day, little girl climbed into his bed and threw up everywhere.
Caleb, “I don’t want Elise’s barf in my bed”,
Just in case I was starting to get lazy, I got the opportunity to re-wash all the bedding, girly’s clothes and girly’s hair… and little man too. What can I say, she’s got good aim?!
Don’t get too worried though, after getting cleaned up and lots of cuddles, they both started feeling better. They
shared fought over the last pack of mum mums.
Had a little rest, so mom could make sure no one “refunded” any of that snack.
… and then, off they went, back outside to play. … Yes, Elise went outside to play in her jammies… But, I put shoes over the footie pj’s though… so that should count for something.
I’m hoping that the next two weeks are a little less dramatic than our little adventure into hurl-land… and that we’ve seen the last of it.
In some ways, I found 2 kids much easier than just one baby. With 2 kids, the days go by much faster, and there’s always something “interesting” that happens. However, it took a little research and practice for me to get into a groove. Where our family might differ from some, is that while I have an amazingly supportive and generous husband, his career requires him to work long hours. This means, during the majority of week days, and some week end days, I am on my own with the little circus, from when they get up, to when they go to bed at night. I have collected my favourite ideas, and they may not work for everyone. Feel free to use or discard as it applies to your situation. Also, I’m always eager to hear what others are doing, so feel free to share.
1. To decrease the chances you look and smell like a bag lady, take 5 seconds, and pick out your underclothes, sweat pants and t shirt the night before.
2. There is no rule that your kids need to change clothes every day, or that they need to wear pajamas to sleep. Pick a comfy outfit for each, and let them keep wearing it until it’s gross, or you have to leave the house.
3. Get up before the kids, have a quick shower, and do your morning routine. Lay it out so it’s fast and your not searching for things. Streamline this, but don’t skip something that’s important, like flossing… or it’ll be 3 months later, and you’ll realize you haven’t yet had a chance.
4. Work on getting your kids into a good sleep routine. We sleep train ours at 4-5 months, and they sleep 7pm to 7am, with a couple naps a day, depending on age. Read this if you want to know more about sleeping.
5. I have conflicting advice: a) early on, (first 6 weeks) try to avoid leaving your house as much as humanly possible. If you’re losing it, alternate going out front and going out back. This will decrease your stress levels, and give you a chance to recover (I’m a serial c-sectioner).
5. b) when your baby is settled into a routine, try to get out every single day. We used to live close to a grocery store, and we walked there almost every day, even just to grab one or two items. Now we’re close to great trail, we use it all the time. You’ll want to make sure you have a great stroller, doesn’t have to be pricey (ours was $20), but you should love it.
6. Find a mom’s group, and make yourself go, no matter what. Especially in the early days. You won’t be the only one that hasn’t slept in a month, and can’t remember when they last showered.
7. Pick an area of your house that you use most to be your “day area”. It should include a play area, a kitchen (but you could stock a cooler), and if you’re me, something to play audiobooks and talk radio. Use baby gates, and block off everything else. This will decrease the amount of picking up, toddler chasing/destruction, and keep everyone in eye sight while you’re nursing or otherwise busy.
8. Within your “day area”, get rid of as much as you can. Make use of toy rotation ideas that can be found on pinterest. Try to get it so you can pick up the toys in that area in 5 minutes or less, and use baskets for this.
9. Aim to do 1 to 2 regular pick up times a day, and make it a routine. We try to pick up toys before lunch and after dinner. (Still very much a work in progress). Also, be sure to include those little hands. They can help with picking up as soon as they can walk.
10. Create a simple routine that you follow each day. Work your routine around wake/sleep times and meals.
11. Try to have a major home management goal for each day of the week, for example: Monday, Laundry; Tuesday, Ironing and floors; Wednesday, Bathrooms, bills, mail, phone calls; Thursday, bigger outings, and repeat floors as needed; Friday, kitchen; Saturday, gardening. If you aim to do things on a specific day of the week, if something comes up and you don’t do it, you’ll just catch up the next week.
12. Plan your family’s meals. Try to pick a meal rotation your family can live with (maybe 2 weeks worth, for each season). Shop and cook according to your plan. This will cut your costs and save you time thinking about what you should make. We love Onceamonthmeals.com freezer cooking, and if you can afford it, give it a try.
13. Begin preparing dinner as soon as you’ve finished cleaning up after breakfast. If you aim to start at 4 pm… you’re eating a bowl of cereal for dinner.
14. Find another couple who have kids that sleep the same hours yours do. Alternate taking date nights. One parent comes over to your house, and watches some tv while you and hubby are out having fun, and next week you’ll go over to their house to watch some tv while they are out having fun.
15. Figure out what makes you happy. For me it’s reading. Be sure to make time to do the thing you love. In this short season, it does not have to be elaborate, but it is necessary to keep yourself happy.
… and if all else fails, whip up a batch of cookies, and put the raw cookie dough bowl on the floor for the kids to eat.
I actually really like doing laundry. I remember in university, about 6 weeks into classes, the dorm laundromat would offer to use the machines free, for a whole weekend. Is it weird I looked forward to this?
Fast forward to having potty training, rookie self feeders, spit up messes daily… I’m getting a little more particular about which parts of laundry I love. I do not love lugging baskets and baskets of laundry up to each person’s room, and then having little ones play at unfolding and throwing clean clothes everywhere (sometimes back down the stairs). I especially don’t love this at 8 months pregnant!
A few mom friends have given me a few laundry ideas for little kids that are blowing my mind.
1. Minimize the clothing for the kids. So I’ve gone through the kids clothes, set aside anything out of season, thrown out stained clothes, and donated things they just never wear.
2. Keep the clothes as close as you can to the laundry area. This may not be a big deal if you’re in a small home or condo, but we’ve got a decent-sized home, so minimizing back and forth is really helpful.
3. Keep clothing as accessible as you can to the door where you exit. We have now moved a dresser to the main floor (currently it’s in the foyer, let’s hope it one day it finds a home in hubby’s office). Each kid currently has one little drawer, and one big drawer. This houses their socks, undies (if we’re feeling optimistic that day), bottoms and tops.
4. Have one big laundry day a week, where everyone’s clothes is washed, and do 1-3 loads a day on week days, as needed. This way you’re never so behind it takes you a week to catch up.
5. Get them to help loading/unloading laundry, and if they can help with folding great (not even a sign of that here yet). As young as 2 (earlier if really coordinated), they can help put folded items into their drawer. If you’re having “it’s my turn to push the button” discussions, one way to handle that is assign each kid to one day a week as your official helper, for buttons, cracking eggs, getting first dessert pick, etc.