How am I going to cope with a toddler and a baby? A question I often asked myself when I was pregnant with Flixster. With the boy still in nappies and not quite in a toddler bed yet I wasn’t sure how I was going to cope. I would reason with myself that many millions of people had survived before me so surely I could…maybe….right? Flixster is now almost 8 months old and so far I’ve survived, ok it’s on very little sleep but I’m here, I’m still standing (sort of!) So without further ado I’ll let you know my top tips for surviving!
1) Alcohol – start drinking, anytime, anywhere!
2) Lower your standards – your appearance, your expectations of food, your hopes for a tidy home etc
Now of course I’m joking about the above, although there have been times I’ve looked longingly at my open bottle of red on the top of the fridge, wondering if a small glass at 2pm would see me through until Daddy gets home! In reality though I only have the odd glass once the babies are in bed on a Saturday night.
What follows below is my serious list of hints and tips!
Organisation – now you’re probably thinking that of course I’m talking about being generally organised and although many of us would love to be organised in all aspects of life it’s just never going to happen! I’m talking specifically about getting yourself organised each night just for the next day.
1) So first and foremost if you’re going to be leaving the house the next day get your bag and the car packed. If you’re going to need the pushchair or pram then put it in the boot ready. Don’t think that it doesn’t matter and you can do it in the morning, good luck with that! Trying to juggle a baby and wrangle a toddler whilst folding a pushchair and ensuring no one accidentally ends up in the road is nearly impossible, you only have two hands – take it from me!
2) Make sure your changing bag is packed, be sure to remember everything you might need, drinks for toddler, nappies, wipes etc. In the early days of having two I used to really enjoy watching “What’s in my diaper bag” videos on YouTube. They would give me an idea of what I would need to pack and how to organise the bag. If you’re going to be staying at home, then make sure you have everything you need downstairs so that you’re not running up and down,holding a baby, or having to leave the two alone. The first time I did this for 20 seconds I came back to the boy trying to share his banana with Flixster who was only a week old!
3) Sling – This should probably be top tip number 1, it wasn’t until I had two children that I realised how valuable having a sling/baby carrier would be. You can get far more done with the toddler if the baby is in a carrier close to mummy. Be sure to buy a good one though and I highly recommend hiring one from a local sling library (if your lucky enough to live near one) before you invest your hard-earned money. There is a sling/carrier out there to suit everyone but not all types will suit you. Finding the one that suits you and your lifestyle well will bring you the joy of being hands free to deal with a toddler. I started out with a stretchy wrap for Flixster and now I have a material wrap alongside a ring sling for quick up and downs and a mei-tai style one for daddy to use. They get used multiple times a day and I’m not sure how I would have survived without them. There are lots of cheaper baby carriers out there on the market but most are not recommended as the baby hips aren’t kept in the correct ‘M’ position. A good place to check if the carrier is suitable is to have a look at the TICKS baby carrier list which you can view here.
4) Toilet – No nobody likes toilet talk but it is a part of everyone’s life. What if you need to go when you have sole charge of two small people? If you have a downstairs toilet then you’re probably ok, but what if you don’t? I take both children with me, place Flixster on the floor and get a book for the boy to look at. I have stair gates so I know if he leaves the bathroom he’ll be ok. What if you’re out in public? Try and find a disabled toilet so that you can all fit in together. If you have a double pushchair then strap the little ones in so that the toddler doesn’t go around touching everything while you have a wee! Yuck!
5) Feeding – Being a breastfeeder it’s a little harder to control a toddler while I’m feeding Flixster as I need both my hands for feeding. So if you can find a corner of a coffee shop and block the toddler in while you feed then great but what if you can’t? Do you have a pushchair where you could strap the toddler in safely while you feed? Perhaps the toddler could look at a toy, phone or book for distraction? Is there a feeding room where you are that you could go to in order to keep the toddler contained? Many large shopping centres have them now so just ask to see if the one you are in has one.
Believe me it’s not easy looking after a baby and toddler at the same time, there have been times in the early days where all three of us have been crying at the same time, but you live and learn and hopefully my tips will help. Good luck mummies and daddies, if there are any tips I’ve missed please feel free to let me know and I can add them on!
So it begins, my need to learn to fake laugh. The boy has started to tell jokes. Here are the two he told me this week.
Why did the eggs have fun?
Because they love the shop!
Why did the Pirates love the shop?
Because it ‘selled’ food!
I actually did laugh at these because they were so cute and I was laughing at him not with him.
He thought he was hilarious though.
I love that boy!
Now if you can explain these to me please do!
I love lists, I’m definitely a list maker. I have lists for everything all over the house, as well as on my iPhone & iPad. I’m constantly ticking off and rewriting lists. If I have a list to work from or towards I feel complete. Please don’t ask me how often I complete a whole list though! I’ve not really written many lists for my blog yet but inspired by the list link up here’s a list I’ve thought about writing for a while. So here it is, a list of things I’d love to do in my lifetime if I get the chance. Purely a self indulgent list of luxury things that I’d love to try!
– Stay in a 5* hotel with hubby
– Go on a skiing holiday
– Take my mum with us to Walt Disney World
– Visit Australia
– Have afternoon tea in the Shard and then stay there
– Eat in a Michelin starred restaurant
– Go down that super long zip wire in Wales
– Go on a cruise with the boys (and hubby of course!)
– Travel first class on an aeroplane
Well there it is my fantasy indulgent lifetime wish list.
What would be on your ultimate list?
I’m so excited about Christmas, I really am. Flixster it’s your first Christmas on earth and boy it’s your 4th. This year will be even more magical because you’re really talkative now and understanding of things. I’ve started to talk about Christmas in front of you now. I didn’t want to mention it to early but I do you want to have a great buildup. We have beautiful wooden countdown sign up in their lounge already made by Grandad. I’m hoping as well as getting a good countdown you’re also practising your numbers.
I’ve just ordered and picked up new artificial slimline Christmas tree and can’t wait to get it up. We normally wait till after daddy’s birthday but I have a feeling it will be earlier this year. You helped me decorate it last year and I hope we can do the same again this year. I’m really looking forward to seeing your face when you find out that there’s an elf coming to live with us in December. I also can’t wait for a trip to see Father Christmas on Christmas eve with daddy. Although it’s not looking good since you curled up in a ball on the floor the other day in the garden centre when Father Christmas came to give you a badge. Once again this week you have come out with some cracking lines. You’ve started to try to tell jokes, which although not particularly funny make me laugh because of the way you tell them, and the way you laugh at the end. My favourite two were this week on the way home from nursery:
Why did eggs have fun?
Because they love the shop!
Why did the parents love the shop?
Because it ‘selled’ food!
I was also very proud of you this week on the way home from nursery when I asked about the poppy that was sellotaped onto your T-shirt you told me that you’d done a ‘silenced’ to think about the soldiers, I could’ve cried. I was very proud that you’d remembered and understood as best you can being 3.
I also chuckled this week when you are asking me for a biscuit you asked for a rich teabag.
I have looked at another school this week for you and I just don’t know to do for the best. It’s such a big decision that may affect the rest of your life I just want to make sure that I get it right. We still have a couple of months to get the application form in, so more thinking time.
Flixster your learning to sit up for longer and longer each day, you were pretty wobbly at the start of last week but you stayed upright for a couple of minutes today. You still prefer standing up given the opportunity but I can’t hold you all the time! We’ve started a few finger food this week you seem to be getting on really well with them. I’ve spoon-fed you a couple of things as well and you really loved them.
You’re such a smiley baby and I love carrying you around in the sling but you are getting a bit heavier now. I do wish though that sometimes you’d just nap in your cot rather than in my arms or in the sling. I know you’ll grow soon enough and won’t be able to nap on me anymore so I try to treasure these times with you rather than keep thinking of all the things I need to get done. As I sit here staring at your beautiful peaceful sleepy face I wonder what you are dreaming about and hope I’m doing the best for you. It’s strange to think you may one day read this when you’re older and by then you’ll defiantly be too big to nap on me. I hope by then you’ll be sleeping better at night too, because right now I’m shattered! Getting up every hour or two to feed is very draining, and being up for the day at 4:45am isn’t going down well with daddy or I. It’s a good job you always have a smile on your face in the mornings! You still adore your brother and I love how your eyes light up each time he enters a room. I hope you’ll be great friends. I expect there to be squabbles over the years but as long as you are there for each other when you need to be that’s all I ask.
Please always remember I love you unconditionally ….forever.
Love Mummy x
Well I know it’s a few weeks away yet (5 weeks on Thursday to be precise!) but I feel a bit snowed under thinking about things I’d still like to get done before the big day itself. I feel that writing it down for the world to see will somehow spur me on to complete the tasks. Although I’m not sure when I will find the time but making a list is a start! While the boys (well older boy) believes in the magic of Christmas I want to make it special for him. I want him to carry the memories of Christmas as a child with him for the rest of his life. I want both boys to look back and remember the overwhelming feelings of love and being a family together that we have at Christmas time. I doubt they will remember the individual presents and that’s fine, but as long as they remember the magic and warmth then it’ll all be worth it.
This year I want to start a new tradition, along the lines of the elf of the shelf idea that is very popular in America. Although I don’t want it to be an elf that checks if he’s been good. I want it to just be a little Christmas elf that comes to live with us in December. A little elf that does silly things in the middle of the night. I don’t think we need an elf to check on his behaviour because both boys will be getting gifts from us no matter what. We are blessed that on the whole the boy is really well behaved and I hope that’s a reflection of the way we have brought him up. I don’t want him to feel threatened to behave by an elf for just one day of presents, I want him to behave all the time because that’s what is expected and he knows that. So to start the list of to do’s I need to make an elf door for the elf to travel from the North Pole to our house and most importantly buy or make an elf!
– Make an elf door
– Make an elf to come in through the door!
The next thing I really want to do this year is try and make a reindeer head to put up on the wall, I’ve seen a few in the shops but none have been just perfect yet. Most are too small or don’t look right. I’ve seen some almost perfect ones in a small shop in Lytham but they looked expensive and as I couldn’t see a price tag I didn’t dare ask how much they were and being on maternity pay I’m sure I wouldn’t have liked the answer anyway! So I though perhaps I could try and make one, even if it’s a bit rubbish at least I’ve tried!
– Try and make a reindeer head
The next thing on my list is to use the chalk pens I bought last year to decorate the windows, in order to do this I need to come up with some designs. Last year hubby and I were lucky enough to get a night away child free in London thanks to my lovely mum. She had the boy for one night so we travelled down early on Saturday and back again late Sunday by train. We walked so many miles that weekend and on one particular street I spotted the most amazing christmas window idea. So I took a photograph and once we got home set about doing some research.This was the window…..
I bought some chalk pens that had a good review and set about recreating it on our windows at home, sadly I can’t seem to find a picture of my efforts. I even took them into work to decorate the office door window.
– Look up designs to chalk onto our windows and french doors
Now the next thing that was on my list I’ve actually managed to tick off this weekend. For the first time in my life I’ve made a Christmas cake all by myself! Normally my mum makes me one and I decorate it. Not this year, oh no, its all my own work! I proudly mixed all the ingredients together and baked it in the oven for 3 hours. The house smelt like Christmas, it was wonderful. It’s now all wrapped up and put away in a tin for when I get a chance to decorate it in December!
So the list isn’t that long at the moment but it does only contain the things I needed to do pre-december. I’m sure I’ll be adding other items along the way. But for now I will leave you with this image…