What is the secret to looking after a toddler and a baby???!(12 Posts)
I have an almost-3 DS1 who is strong willed and a 'typical' boy in the sense of being loud, boisterous and destructive. He's in nursery but is at home 2 days a week.
I've also got a 6wk old DS2 who is just being a baby in the sense of not letting me get much done!
I naively thought second time parenting would be easier as i would be less clueless, but I'm finding it much harder than expected. I feel like I need to be in 5 places at once and with eyes in the back of my head. Entertaining a toddler with a crying baby is hard and I find it stressful going out as it takes 30mins to get out the door ("Wah Wah Wah" "come here and put your shoes on please" "get out from under the table and put your shoes on NOW please!!" Etc). Then when we're out DS1 likes to run away from me or walk in the opposite direction or just whinge about being out. He also has a bad habit of randomly shouting or screaming out which startles the baby. At first I wasn't bothered and thought "well baby will just have to get used to the toddler noise". But it's evident that baby is not and is quite often disturbed by it.
Baby is a little bit high maintenance and fights naps and so needs a lot of holding, and doesn't sleep for long. I have a sling but he doesn't always take to it.
There always seems to be 10 things needing done at once; the house is a tip; i'm fed up of being in pjs until closer to lunch time; fed up of having no evening due to DS2 not settling; and fed up of not even getting 20mins to myself during the day to regroup. I'm afraid to say that I have lost my shit a ridiculous number of times in the last few weeks too. Over DS1 making excessive noise when specifically told not to; DS1 continually disobeying me or hitting; DS1's inability to play with the myriad of toys he got at Christmas for even 10minutes; DS2's difficulty in settling etc etc
I do have a DH who is a great dad to be fair, but sometimes I find it all a bit shit and just want to say so but DH's lack of understanding then just makes me feel like a moaning minnie.
How do I do this?? It would nice to feel like I'm winning at this 2-child parenting malarkey for even 70% of the time!
It can be really hard when they're so young but I promise it gets much better as they get older and can play together/keep each other busy while you get on with other things. Until then lots of distractions and remember that the occasional bit of tv for the older one can be a blessing!
It's really shit in the beginning but to coin an old phrase this, too, shall pass
Also a sling for the baby so you can clean up while the older DC is at nursery will help
I would try and get eldest to do more things himself. So shoes get easy Velcro and get him to put them on himself, same with coat etc. You can race him with you if he likes a challenge
Baby, try with sling again.
With eldest I would be encouraging him to play more alone and quieter. Start with 5 minute intervals. So 5 mins you start helping him set up something like a train track, then get him to play alone 5 mins. Then you join him for 5 mins again. And repeat. So he learns that he can play alone and you you will join later. After a few days increase to 10 mins alone, 5 mins joining, repeat. Until he's happy to play 30 mins alone at times.
You can also get eldest to help throughout the day and Dh more. Keep everything like laundry organised into whites/ darks in each room so even 3 year old takes his clothes off and puts in correct basket. Making it easier later on.
It will take more time letting 3 year old do things himself at the moment, but in the long run will make him more self sufficient so easier for everyone. Things like tidying own toys, getting dressed and undressed mainly alone, getting own drink etc, toilet alone, will all help. Obviously some things he will need help and guidance still but it's a process of learning.
Oh it is such early days, your baby is only 6 weeks. It does get better!
At this stage just get done what you can. Your toddler is also reacting against the new baby still too.
30 minutes to leave the house is about right (not sure that gets better). If he is running off, then you need reins. Try one of those backpack ones, so it doesn't feel like a dog lead.
Sympathies op, I never found out the secret either, just made it through day by day with lots of telly and bribing (would have needed less of both if it hadn't been winter, I think) and lots of tea for me. Definitely a sling. A dummy would help a LOT if you don't mind them (in hindsight I should have used one much more than I did).
It will get better and you're doing everything you can.
Big sympathies here as well. My gap was smaller so had a double buggy for a while but echo the sling. Get to a sling library if you can so you can try out different styles etc. A sling really really helped me!
Other things I found that helped were - dp getting oldest child before went to work. Wellies for 3 year old - (almost) whatever the weather- much easier than shoes. Using an app for grocery shopping - I used ocado but obviously other brands available. Being able to just add something to the list when I thought of it was great.
And snacks. I always had loads of snacks on me, rice cakes, raisins, fruit, baby crisp things, snack bars etc. Stuff that is easy and you can shove in your coat pocket and doLe out to 3yo as needed.
Sticker books worked for us when for stuck feeding baby and needed toddler to sit still! I also relented and downloaded apps on my phone - duplo ones were good and simple.
Last one cbeebies! A bit of telly isn't going to harm anyone - especially if it gives you a bit of time.
2.8 between my two. It's pretty lovely now DD2 is 8 months - hang in there.
I think DD2 thinks her name is either Quietly or Gently as that's all she heard me say around her for the first few months. I've talked to DD1 about 'walking her voice down the stairs", gradually getting quieter on each syllable and the analogy seems to help.
I know you're probably sleep deprived but getting up first and getting showered makes a huge difference. You can always go back to bed after. If not, at least you're washed and dressed. Gives the toddler a bit of impetus, too, if you can say, "Mummy, Daddy and DS2 are dressed, now it's your turn"
Definitely get your DH to dress one child or the other in the morning. Lay nursery clothes out the night before so there is no arguing.
Agree with letting the toddler do more - build in the time so he can practice, it will get faster.
Mine can't tell the time yet but I've put stickers on the clock at each quarter hour so I can say things like, "You must have your coat on by the time the big hand gets to the fairy" and "When the big hand reaches the mouse we're leaving" which helps give DD1 a reference point.
And use a sling as much as possible. Walk the baby into submission
Also get Dh to wear eldest out a little. We only have 15 month gap but same principle.
When youngest was tiny if I was tired and hadn't huge plans for the day, I would get Dh to get eldest quickly dressed and out for a 30 mins walk so he wasn't so bouncy with energy first thing. So 7.30-8am Dh would take him for a walk the long way around and back to get some milk or something at the shop. Eldest liked helping so liked shop idea, or if nice a quick early play on local swings. It meant when Dh left for office at 8.05am I could then feed eldest and he would happily eat as hungry after walk, then he would settle down with me to play quieter as morning energy worn out. Then we could go back out at 10am or something for another walk/ park/ errands etc, and back for a nap.
Dh would do the same in the evening at 6.30pm. Would take him for an evening swim. Both meant if we didn't get out all at at least I know he had had exercise with Dh and done something.
The key is surviving until the DC are older
Honestly OP the truth is that unless you have a very easy toddler or baby (and ideally both) this stage is going to be Not Fun a lot of the time. But it will get better. In a few more weeks your baby will not need to nap as much, this is bad if you have a good napper but if your baby fights naps then life becomes easier the less naps they need. Also the baby will start to become happy to lay on the playmat or in bouncy chair watching his older brother charging around (find a spot which DS1 doesn't crash into too often!). And feeding becomes easier and quicker, and poos less frequent, and settling better. In the meantime your DS1 will be getting older which means better at self dressing and feeding
unless he decides to regress, and perhaps more importantly better at things like waiting and understanding "if you do x now then we can y later". And hopefully the shock of a sibling will also be wearing off so he won't feel the need to act up as much.
At about 4 months they actually start to interact a bit (DD2 began to laugh at DD1's antics) which is fab
Just keep going...
Practical stuff: Personally I would put the baby for naps in a different room with the door shut and a monitor. I know this is not SIDS advice but I decided it was the only way DD2 would sleep with DD1 around (DD1 is also a typical boy, except she's a girl ). YY to a dummy, I wish I had persevered with one. Involve DS as much as possible in looking after DS2 - eg DD helped with nappy changes by getting wipes out for me. Make him feel like your partner eg "let's see if we can get ds2 to smile" or "let's keep quiet so ds2 stays asleep, otherwise I'll have to go see ds2 and I want to stay here with you". TELEVISION honestly it is necessary especially for tired DS1 moments.
Came on to say Peppa Pig, but I see that's been covered already...
Another tip is prepare, prepare, prepare - have everything you can do in advance done the night before, down to boxing up snacks and putting clothes out, so you can get out of the house quicker. I have to get out twice a day or I get cabin fever - it also helps wearing out the toddler, and cuts down the mess at home.
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