Laura M. recently left a comment asking me to share about my experience adjusting to two kids and caring for both an infant and a toddler, so in no particular order, here are some of my random thoughts on that subject:
*Since having two kids (and obviously this would be emphasized with additional family members), I have been amazed how often I experience "extremes" in my day. Either we're running late, Nathan needs to go potty, the dog is barking, the phone is ringing and Natalie spit up all over my clothes or--a big or--everything is fairly calm and quiet. In those chaotic moments, it's difficult for me to figure out what to do first, but somehow we all survive. (I suppose these occurrences shouldn't be so surprising to me--much of life seems to be either feast or famine!)
*I am still grateful for the awesome advice I received when asking for input on adjusting to two kids. These are some of the tips I found most helpful:
--When nursing Natalie, I make sure Nathan is taken care of first. Early on, we read books together--now he prefers to watch part of a movie, and I sit right next to him. For the mid-morning and late afternoon feedings, I let him have a snack at that time, which of course goes over well!
--I often let Nathan help me with Natalie. He loves to get a diaper or the burpcloth, and now he'll even get toys and play with her a little. That warms this mother's heart, and I pray it will continue!
--A few things for right before/after the birth: *I did follow the advice given and had "Natalie" give Nathan a gift--a train set--at the hospital. This was very successful in him warming up to her! *I also stockpiled more meals than I had last time, and my mom was a huge help in that department as well. I later made an inventory so I knew at a glance what was available. *Lastly, I made myself take naps when the kids were sleeping, even though there were many things I wanted to accomplish. I probably took an afternoon nap every day for the first 2-3 weeks, then tapered off around 6 weeks.
--Tracy said something that I resonate with: "I think you will be a little surprised at how much 'easier' it is. Remember the feeling of your first born and how everything was new and you were stumbling to figure this whole "mom" thing out? With this new baby you'll have to figure out balance but you'll laugh at the memory of yourself as a first timer. The crying won't freak you out as much and monitoring the diapers and the feedings isn't nearly so overwhelming! Not that having two is easy...but at least it's not as scary!"
*I found that one-on-one time has happened pretty naturally with each kid due to their different nap times. Natalie currently takes 3 naps, and Nathan takes a nap in the afternoon, so I feel like I get a lot of time with each of them. I was more intentional about following a schedule with Nathan (a more relaxed version of Babywise), but it's been helpful to me this time around to just roll with each day as it happens. I do maintain a rhythm or pattern--feeding Natalie right after she wakes up (whether the nap lasted 45 minutes or 2 hours), and putting her down for a nap around 2 hours after she gets up.
*I appreciated this insight from my friend Rebecca: "When S was born L all of the sudden became very disobedient. He began showing a side that we very seldom, if ever, saw. I began to think that I needed to figure out ways to discipline and correct this behavior and asked an older, Godly woman for her advice. She stated that his disobedience was just an immature way of responding to this change. And, as a result, he needed more love and gentleness rather than discipline." We definitely went through a stretch (as I'm sure we will again) where Nathan was acting out more with me. He's never given me any cause for concern with Natalie, and is always gentle with her, but he was being very defiant when I asked him to do/not do something.
*I've mentioned before that Nathan was a pretty fussy/discontent baby. Natalie has been much more mellow overall, and that has also made the transition to two more smooth.
Laura (and other new moms), I hope you found this post helpful and encouraging and wish you the best as you embark on the adventure of (two) kids! I just jotted down what came to mind on this topic, but please feel free to ask specific questions if there's something else you're wondering about.