2 under Two: More than surviving

We've survived 3 months and there's still no routine. Ok so maybe we kind of have a routine.. but phew it changes daily. Surviving is exactly what it feels like most days. Between breastfeeding every 2 hours and resolving tantrums every 10 minutes the days go by quick although they start at 6 am most days. I took both my girls to Barnes and Noble for storytime yesterday and I saw a woman with two little boys, one about 4 the other almost 2. They say contently listening to "koala's love cookies" or whatever the hell the book was entitled. She must have witnessed me and my two kiddos giving this outing our best shot. It started out decent, a few songs kept my toddler's attention but the stories, not so much. I had Amelia strapped to me and Lucy within arms reach (most minutes). After Lucy decided to slap me for an unknown reason I promptly scooped her up and plopped her in time out.. in the middle of Barnes and Noble. A few tears and hugs later we were back to story time. The mother of the two boys gave me a smirk and said, "don't worry, it gets easier." I guess it was quite obvious that I didn't have it all together. 

I often read those uplifting blog posts moms write. My good friend recently tagged me in a post entitled "you just had a baby." It truthfully made me tear up and put things in perspective. So here is my own version of one of those blog posts let's entitle it: 

Two Under Two: More than Survival

Breastfeeding: so long to relaxing.. You now feel like a prisoner to your couch as your toddler is screaming because the dog ate her string cheese, or better yet she can't get her fairy wings on without your help. Take a breath, learn to nurse while walking.. sounds impossible, I mean it kinda is. Relish in that last feeding of the day, once your toddler is tucked in and you can stare lovingly at your newborn without any distractions. It makes you appreciate those bonding moments even more.

Sleeping: There is none. Ha. joking.. well sort of. I imagine that one day 8 o'clock will roll around and they will both be tucked safely in their own cribs and I will enjoy my glass of wine as well as a full 8 hours of sleep, until then just keep in mind "this too shall pass." One day you'll be dragging their butts out of bed so they don't miss the school bus. 

You can't clone yourself: no matter how many times you wish you could be two places at once, it is not possible. When your cuddling your newborn you wish you could be tickling your toddler. Your love is infinite for both but now split in half. Your toddler needs you to go go go, while your newborn needs you to sit sit sit. The polar opposite needs of your little ones is incredibly difficult. You need help but want to do it all. Neither one of them is suffering, although like my sister said, you can only give them each 100% not 200%.. so do what you can, they are just fine. 

Get up, get dressed: Although this may seem unnecessary, believe me it helps. Put real (or real-ish) clothes on and start the day, head on. You certainly don't need to be photo-shoot ready, but slap on a little blush, some mascara, and yoga pants. Every day this may not happen, and that's ok, but most days try it, I swear it helps wake you up.. or at least make you feel human.

Chaos is your home: I have a rule, don't clean up the mess more than twice a day. Pick up once your older child takes a nap then again at night. It may feel counterproductive to clean up when your crazy little human goes down for the night. I mean she will just make the same mess 8 hours from bed time, but clean up anyway, it will keep you sane and makes you feel as if you are starting fresh each day. And I hope to God you have dogs to clean up the breakfast, lunch, and dinner mess your toddler somehow managed to track in every corner, surface and wall of your home. (Yes my dogs lick the walls)

They need you the most at the exact same times: Sh*t hits the fan at the exact same moment when you have two under two. I'm convinced they feed off one another. The moment Amelia is starving and needs to nurse, Lucy is yelling "up Mama, up!" If at all possible I suggest attending to your toddler as quick as you can, then rush to give your newborn attention. Lucy's needs are ridiculous.. but incredibly demanding. For example, today she needed me to desperately find her baby doll while I was of course nursing Amelia. So I stopped, ran upstairs, only to apparently grab the WRONG baby doll. Phew. 

Freetime is used for basic hygienic needs, and that's Ok: Take a shower every day.. just do it. One, or both may be screaming through it but hop in, rinse off, you'll feel like a new woman.

The feeling of guilt.. Followed by the overwhelming feeling of happiness: Each day is filled with so much emotion during those first few weeks. Hell, it still is. One moment I have so much joy in my heart it could burst, the next my head could explode from a dual meltdown. The guilt stems from not giving your toddler every ounce of love you have, because now your newborn also occupies an incredible large portion of your heart. It's ok your heart can handle both and nothing will explode. Three months later it already feels easier and I truthfully don't have the feeling of guilt anymore. I know that my heart can love and care for both of these amazing babies.

They both wake up.. Early: I kid you not my child slept until 8:30/9:00 each morning prior to her little sister's arrival. We've now seen 6 am on a regular basis.. just roll with it, your newborn is likely up anyway. Throw on 'Frozen', nurse the baby in your bed and eventually make it downstairs for breakfast.

Your Miss independent toddler will regress: Anyone who knows my Lucy understands that she wants to do it all by her big self. All of a sudden I pick up Millie and Lucy dramatically needs a pick me up. The good news is I'm getting many more snuggles from Lucy than ever before. Soak in the toddler rocking sessions.. accompanied with a desperate need to be swaddled. Yes my almost 2 year old throws tantrums because she wants to be swaddled.. just like her baby sister. 

Take pride in the small accomplishments: You got your toddler to eat peas, jump for joy! You successfully put her in time out and didn't tear up.. good for you. You dodged 1 of 4 projectile vomit sessions from your youngest. Seriously the little things mean the world. Relish in that moment.

The crazy chaotic intervals will pass. Like contractions, take each one as they come: You can handle it... period.

One word: baby carrying. Strap that newbie to ya and chase after the next: Basically from 5 pm until just before Lucy's bath at 7:15, Amelia is attached to me. The witching hour is no joke.. and it continues through the toddler days. 

You'll want to cry and laugh all at the same time: The unbelievable reasons as to why your 2 year old is crying is complete insanity. I've found it helpful to document these moments.. with photos and captions. 

Accept the help, you can't do it all at first: I truthfully wanted to be able to take care of every minuscule need that each one of my children.. in the beginning it's kind of impossible. Welcome family with open arms and accept their help. 

Involve your toddler, even if she can't understand, she will: My 20 month old loves when you ad-lib your life. Same goes for what you are doing with the new baby. Tell her how you burp the baby, change the baby, feed the baby. Then take the time to burst out laughing when she cries and throws a fit while lifting up your shirt screaming "boobie, boobie" because you put your breast away. (I can't make this up even if I tried) 

Remember she's just a newborn: Have patience.
Remember she's not even 2: Have even more patience.

Put them in the car and drive to Starbucks. Caffeine and motherhood go hand in hand. Get out of the house for God's sake, even if it's just to Target or the Starbucks drive through.. you won't even need to get out of the car for that one.

Don't feel bad for putting on Cinderella for the 10th time that week. I used to feel so guilty when I put the TV on for Lucy. I've come to terms with the fact that TV isn't all bad, in fact in can be quite helpful. Don't overuse, but don't beat yourself up when you need 5 minutes to breathe, Cinderella never hurt ;-) And the moment when your toddler turns to you and asks to dance, you drop everything, pick her up and ballroom dance, just like Cinderella and her Prince Charming.

It's totally OK to completely lose it. I try to keep a positive attitude, but man is it hard some days. I'm so blessed to call these little humans my own, I look into their eyes each day and my heart could burst from the amount of love I feel. But sheesh! This age gap is so close.. In reality I still have two babies. I've had moments of utter panic feeling as if I'm drowning, wondering how I'm going to do this. I'm talking, full on tears, exhaustion induced panic. Some days it feels as if there's absolutely no way I can keep everyone happy. I often feel as if I robbed Lucy of her last days of being a baby, she's growing up so fast before my eyes. In the same breath I feel as if I'm robbing Amelia because I can't hold her at every moment and stare lovingly into her eyes all day long. The truth is they both are happy, healthy, amazing babies, and it's all good.

Remember the positives of them being so close in age: Your toddler will never remember a time without their sibling. They will certainly be the best of friends (or so we hope) and will enjoy the same activities in so many scenarios. Think of the benefits when they start school. You'll always have them looking out for one another. 

Give yourself a hell of a lot of credit.. You are doing more than surviving, you're enjoying every giggle, every tickle, every adorably hilarious temper tantrum where you have to hide your smiles because she's so darn stubborn. Getting the both of them downstairs, dressed, and fed is amazing. Go ahead and accomplish zero house work while your toddler sleeps and enjoy baby snuggles. Then jump in your toddler's crib after she wakes from even a measly 30 minute nap. Relish in the fact that they need you, so much, right now. It certainly won't be like this for long.

I hear it will get easier, and I'm sure it will, but for now I'm riding this crazy roller coaster with two under the age of two.. I sure as hell am going to enjoy every chaotic minute.  God does not give you more than you can handle, and I truly believe that. So thank you God for my two beautiful healthy little girls, I am so incredibly blessed, and I know that. 

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