Tag Archives: 2 under 2

Months 6-12 Of the 16 Month Age Gap

Well I wanted to write about each quarter from my first year with Lennon. But as you may have gathered from posts one and two…. I have had my hands full. So here’s a quick recap of the last half of Lennon’s first year:

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I’m A Big Boy Now

Lennon’s first 6 months of life I felt like he was reaching milestones and developing slower than his sister. It don’t concern me at all, she always seemed a little ahead of the curve. Well, his last 6 months I felt quite differently.

With a big sister to look up to, Lennon was always motivated to get moving: crawling, climbing and walking. He excelled at all these things at a younger age than Lucille, leaving me totally shocked and unprepared. We always joked about Lucille being part monkey the way she climbed. Lennon has proven to be even more skilled at climbing.

Besides exploring at a young age, Lennon wants to interact and play at an advanced level. For months he has copied everything his sister has done. He wants to play with every toy his sister has. He’s her little shadow.

And how is Lucille reacting to all this? Quite well, actually. 95% of the time she graciously shares her toys with Lennon and finds joy in the fact that he is copying her every move. Once in awhile he will try to play with the wrong toy and she’ll get angry, but it really is quite rare.

However, thought she’s very happy to play with her brother, she still does not fully grasp the fact that he is younger than her and she continues to encourage him to play in ways that are not safe for a baby. This just means I have to keep a very close eye on them at all times.

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How are those nights?

The sleep situation seemed to get worse before it got better. Because I was too afraid of Lennon’s crying waking Lucille up Lennon was sleeping in our bed all night, every night. By 6 months when he should have been waking up less, he was waking up more. He wanted to be fed back to sleep probably 10 times throughout the night. I wasn’t getting enough sleep, and he certainly wasn’t getting enough sleep because he wasn’t going to bed until I was ready to go bed and would wake up as soon as his sister did in the morning. This usually meant 8 hours, factor in the frequent nursing sessions and I’m sure it was more like 4.

Eventually, we couldn’t take it any more. One night Lucille spent the night with Peter’s Mom and we decided to put Lennon in his crib and let him cry. He didn’t cry nearly as long as I thought he would. Maybe 15 minutes? (Though my heart was breaking and it felt longer.) And after we let him cry for 2 or 3 nights, he understood that this was what happens at night and would go to sleep with little or no tears. And Lucille, having missed night number one with the most tears didn’t seem to mind the other nights as he got used to putting himself to sleep.

He still wakes up throughout the night. For a couple months he wouldn’t go back in his crib after the first time he woke up. But I continued to walk him back to his crib and place him in it after every feeding thinking eventually he’ll lay down and accept that he needs to stay there. Finally, one night, he just let it happen. And now he goes back to his crib after almost every feeding with no whining.

He sleeps in his crib until about 5 or 6 am, waking up usually 2 or 3 times throughout the night still. (He goes down between 8:30 and 9.) And as for day time naps, he still needs to be held. I think I’ve successfully transferred him from his naps twice in his life. So… we still have work to do. But, it’s progress.

I don’t know if Lucille is old enough to understand that Lennon isn’t hurt when he’s crying at night, or if the novelty of Lennon has worn off and she doesn’t care. Or if she’s too tired at bedtime to care. It’s likely the last one because if I try to transfer him for a nap and he cries, it still makes her cry for her brother. Certainly she’s part of the reason sleep has been such a struggle with Lennon.

Meal Times

Working from home, I made breastfeeding a very high priority for Lennon. I think when Lennon was born I was still feeling guilty that Lucille was only breastfed for 8 months, and many of those 8 months we supplemented with formula. Breastfeeding him the first 6 months provided many challenges. Some because of the time and attention that was being taken away from Lucille. Others just normal latch and supply issues.

Lennon wanted to breastfeed constantly the first 6 months. Very often I felt like my title was milk machine rather than Mom. He seemed to enjoy eating so much I worried about him starting solids. I was afraid he would eat too much and get to be a chunk. But I was also excited for solids since at least it would mean I could breastfeed a little less frequently. Everything I thought was wrong.

As it turns out Lennon loves breast milk but hates everything else: purees, finger foods, everything. I have been trying to be consistent with attempting to feed him every time I feed Lucille but 9/10 times it just results in food everywhere. Meanwhile, he is breastfeeding even more than he used to because, obviously, he’s older now and needs even more nutrients throughout the day.

The good thing is Lucille is now more understanding of me taking the time to breastfeed Lennon. She no longer climbs me like a jungle gym while I’m feeding her brother. In fact, sometimes when Lennon wants to be fed and I have not yet tended to his desire Lucille will tell me “Momma, Lennon boo-boo milk!”

What Now?

While pregnant my go to response when people told me how full my hands would be was “I just need to get through the first year, that’ll be the toughest!” So is it true? I’ll post an update soon. Wish me luck!




16 Month Age Gap: Months 3-6

These past 3 months have brought many new joys and many new struggles into our lives. (To read about my journey up to this point click here for my pregnancy recap and here for Lennon’s first 3 months.)Let’s get the struggles out of the way first…

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Jealousy Crept In

That’s right. My biggest joy in raising 2 babies so close in age was that Lucille was not at a jealous age. Well, at about 19 months old Lucille got a terrible cold. In fact, Mommy, Daddy, Lucille and Lennon all got terrible colds. The babies needed extra snuggles and as I’m usually the only one home with them, it was hard to distribute snuggles in the desired amount.

When I would go to pick Lennon up, Lucille would start to scream, she didn’t use words just shrieked at the top of her lungs, and sometimes even hit me! Though I didn’t like this behavior, I understand that kids tend to not act like themselves when sick. Unfortunately, once the cold symptoms were gone, this behavior didn’t leave with them. When Lucille wanted my attention and she saw me going towards the baby, she would freak out. Sometimes, even if she was playing independently she would get upset when she noticed me approaching him.

Though this behavior broke my heart, it could have been much worse. She thankfully never took these frustrations out on the baby and still acted only lovingly to him directly. (Don’t ask me why, it seems strange.) And though this phase lasted longer than I would have liked, it has proven to be a phase. The past couple weeks she has been understanding of the time mommy spends with Lennon once again.

Let The Playing Begin

Now that Lennon isn’t quite the newborn he used to be, Lucille has decided he is the perfect playmate. But she lacks the ability to determine what games and toys are appropriate for him. This is how Lennon almost got his eye gouged out by a play fork. Toys not safe for Lennon are not currently in Lucille’s possession.

Over all this is an exciting development. Lucille is very good at sharing, she even shares her baby dolls with Lennon, which warms my heart. She tries feeding him her toy food, which he finds hilarious.

Even without toys, they play together excellently. Lucille loves to tickle him, and Lennon loves to poke at her. And the cutest part of all is they seem to have their own language. Lennon will jabber at her and she will jabber nonsense right back at him. And they’ll laugh!

Sleeping Arrangements

Now that Lennon is a bit older I really wanted him to learn to put himself to sleep. Lucille will not allow this! If I put Lennon in his swing or crib to relax Lucille gets terribly distraught. When she hears him talk to himself she seems to think he’s upset and cries until I get him. Even if he is actually asleep and not talking, she gets upset not knowing where he is. I have to show her that he’s asleep to calm her down. If he’s awake, he must be in the same room as us!

Eager To Help

Occasionally Lucille still tries to help in ways that she cannot. But for the most part she understands her limitations. Sometimes when he’s fussy she’ll shout “I got him!” But she just goes to play with him and make him happy rather than trying to pick him up like she used to.

Besides entertaining Lennon, Lucille now helps me by bringing me things. Most commonly when Lennon projectile pukes all over and moving will spread the mess, I’m very grateful when she brings me wipes and a burp cloth.

Raising my 2 under 2 has continued to be exhausting, but overall these past 3 months have been more joyful than I could have ever imagined. They are both growing and changing so much every day and I’m glad they can experience everything together. And more than anything I’m so grateful I get to watch these developments.


16 Month Age Gap: The First 3 Months

When I was pregnant with Lennon (read more about that experience here) people constantly commented on how unmanageable life would be with my kids so close in age to each other. I told them I suspected the 1st year would be the hardest, as Lucille would be too young to understand the baby’s needs and would still be very dependent on me herself. I’ve decided to document the 1st year of my journey, broken into 4 quarters. Perhaps this will help other mothers who have families similar to my own. At the very least it’ll remind me of this year in our lives. It’s all going so fast right now I imagine I’ll look back one day and it’ll all be a blur.

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Recovery

Like Lucille, Lennon came into the world via c-section. This made the transition from 1 kids to 2 kids particularly interesting. 1st, it meant that I had to stay in the hospital longer and 2nd it meant that I had a longer recovery ahead.

I can honestly say that the emotional aspect of this recovery was worse for me than the physical aspect. Every day that I was in the hospital Lucille came to visit me. I am very grateful for that. But a 20 minute visit from my darling daughter hardly seemed enough, I missed her so much!

Worse than that was the fact that I could barely care for her. For 2 weeks after my c-section I was instructed not to lift my other child. I was very lucky to have family that was able to help me care for Lucille during this time so that I could (usually) follow this rule. Some days Peter stayed home from work, one day my Mom came and stayed with me while he worked, and several times Lucille went and spent the day with family members while Peter worked. Though I appreciate everyone chipping in and caring for my daughter for me in these weeks, I must admit, I hated having to depend on them. Partially because I’m an independent person who doesn’t like to depend on people for help, ever. But more so because I just felt like a terrible Mom. I felt like Lucille might think she was being replaced. Now that I had the baby I wouldn’t have time for her. I even worried that now that I had the baby I wouldn’t have time for her.

This recovery phase was short. I believe Lucille was too young to feel that she had been replaced, and honestly I think she liked having extra time with her family! It was definitely harder on me than her. There were times she’d get upset that I wasn’t holding her and snuggling her like normal, but with distractions from Daddy or other loved ones, she would forget she was upset quickly.

Though this phase was hard I knew it was important to take this 2 week recovery time seriously. If I had not I likely would have hurt myself. And then I would be struggling to take care of my kids for much longer than the 2 weeks. Because I found the help I needed in the 2 weeks following my surgery, I was able to go back to life as normal by Lennon’s 15th day with us.

Sleeping Arrangements

If you read my pregnancy post you know Lucille slept with us until the day Lennon was born. The day we brought Lennon home we decided to try setting up an adult, full size bed in her room. We called it her princess bed and she fell in love with it. One of us still needs to lay with her to get her to fall asleep. But, it’s still a big win for us.

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The hard part about our sleeping arrangements is that our rooms are all super close. So when Lennon cries, it wakes Lucille up. Most of the first three months, every time Lennon woke up to eat, Peter had to go snuggle Lucille back to sleep.

Climbing

Once we got past the emotional first couple weeks the biggest challenge was definitely Lucille’s climbing. I had Lennon’s baby swing downstairs in the living room so he could nap in it and still be in the same room as us. Whenever he wasn’t in it she climbed it. I could NOT get her to stop. Several times she climbed into it and fell out and hurt herself. And even then, she still continued to do it.

Our couch in our living room is right next to a bay window. Towards the end of my pregnancy with Lennon Lucille kept climbing the couch and hanging out in the bay window. Then she started banging on the glass and dancing in the window. Obviously, she was always taken out of the window immediately. However, once Lennon came along it was harder to get her out of the window quick enough.

These are just 2 examples of dangerous climbing situations my daughter landed herself in repeatedly. I could go on, but you get the picture. I wish I had some great advice on how to stop this behavior. But, at 16 months old, there isn’t much I could do to make her understand why she needed to stop. She was too young to grasp the concept of consequences. Our couch was moved to the opposite side of the living room and Lennon’s swing was moved up to his room.

Eager to Help

Lucille is a born mother. She loves babies and animals and anything little and cute! From the moment she met Lennon all she’s wanted to do is take care of him. She tried picking him up the day we came home. She often tries sharing her water with him. She even wants to help change his diaper! If there was someone over the age of 5 around that was as eager to help as her, I’d be in heaven. But her help was frightening at first.

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Instead of scolding her for trying to help, however, I’ve always praised her. After all, her intentions are good. Usually I say something like “thank you so much, but mommy can get brother. He’s too heavy for you. Why don’t you get Baby Bugsy?” (Bugsy is the name of her doll, featured in the picture below.)  By redirecting her attention to her baby dolls, Lucille felt she was still helping. It wasn’t long before she started getting a baby doll on her own to change it’s diaper, feed it, etc. right beside Lennon. (Peter loved coming home to me breastfeeding Lennon and Lucille sitting next to us with her shirt up feeding one of her dolls.)

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Remembering They’re Both Little

In Lennon’s first few months I caught both my hubby and I saying to Lucille “you’re not helping!” What a stupid thing to say! Of course she’s not helping, she’s 16 months old. Yes, it’s hard to breastfeed when Lucille is climbing me like a human jungle gym. But she’s a baby too, and I found I need to constantly remind myself of that.

Our babies are only young for a short time. It would break my heart to think that Lennon coming into our lives has forced Lucille to grow up faster. I don’t believe that it has, but it easily could. SO I find reminding myself of this constantly helps.

The Good Stuff

The first three months with 2 under 2 was challenging. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. These babies love each other more than anything! I love,that Lennon has an older sister who has literally made him her whole world! He watches her with such admiration. I think he likes her more than he likes me, and I’m glad for that.

Obviously, Lucille loves him too. And I love that she loves him completely, without jealousy. She will never remember life without him so I don’t think she will ever resent Lennon for coming and changing her life.

I always wanted to be a stay at home mom but after I became a work from home I started to worry. What if Lucille, who’s always been so social, became one of those kids that is shy around everyone other than her mom? How could I make sure her and Lennon would get the socialization they need? Though I do try to make sure they get play dates throughout the week, I love that by simply having each other they are getting used to being around other kids their age. Learning how to share, love, communicate…. more than anything I just love that they’re best friends!

Lennon is learning so much by watching his sister. And she’s learning so much about being a moral and responsible person from having him around. I think these little pals are the best thing that ever happened to each other!




Pregnant Again!?!

I’m part of a Facebook group of Moms. At least once a week I see someone post that they are pregnant again or thinking about becoming pregnant again and they have a baby under a year old. And the idea of being pregnant with such a young child in their care frightens them. And rightfully so. I know I personally didn’t know how I’d survive another 9 months of pregnancy while taking care of my then 8 month old.

Well, the good news is I did in fact survive it. And although everyone’s experience is different I thought I would write about mine to perhaps put other’s minds at ease.

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Telling Others
When women first find that they are pregnant again so quickly they often feel embarrassed to tell others, especially if this was an unplanned pregnancy. I wish that I could write that everyone will be so excited for you and you’ll feel silly for worrying. Unfortunately, this is not the case. I don’t think people intend to rude but I can’t tell you how many times I heard “you didn’t figure out what caused it the first time?” People are hilarious (eye roll).
Everyone who is important to us was happy! We are lucky to have a very supportive family that was nothing but overjoyed. This is not the case for every expecting Mother. Some will have families that worry another child so soon will be too much to handle.
If you’re a working Mom you are probably scared to tell work. For me this was a huge fear. I work at a small company. In the 30 years that my boss had owned this company he had never once had an employee go out on maternity leave. And here I was, 6 months back from maternity leave, pregnant again!
The best advice I have is to prepare yourself for judgement. Have a list ready to rattle off of all the reasons you’re excited to be pregnant again. Your kids will be close in age and be best friends, won’t be jealous of one another, you’re getting the years of dirty diapers and no sleep out of the way. Focus on the positives and don’t let other’s opinions bring you down.
As for handling 2 kids, first off know that you CAN do it. Personally, I decided to make a plan for how we were going to handle 2 before I told those that would question the logistics of having 2 so close together. For me this mainly meant work.

I did the math the day I found out I was pregnant. If I stayed at my job I would be paying just $100 short of my entire check to daycare. Working 40 hours + a week to make $100 would be insane. So my husband and I decided I would be leaving my full time job. I knew when I quit my boss would likely offer to let me keep some clients and work from home on a commission basis. So we weighed the pros and cons and decided if this was offered to me that I would try to make it work. And if it wasn’t offered or I wasn’t able to keep up with the work load from home I would start waitressing 2 or 3 nights. We also decided I wanted to be done before mid June (baby was due the beginning of August) because summer time is really busy at the radio station and I would end up working 50+ hours the last weeks of my pregnancy. In the summer heat. It was not worth sticking around those last weeks.It made me feel better to have this all planned out before I told work I was pregnant. Then I was able to go in, have one conversation regarding me being pregnant and what my expectations are.

Luckily work did offer to let me keep some clients and work from home. It was at this point we began telling others (beside immediate family, they were told about a week after we found out.) This way I could answer when people asked how I would afford 2 in daycare.

Don’t let other people’s uncertainties make you feel any less excited. I repeat you CAN do this!

Morning Sickness
When I was pregnant with Lucille I was SICK! All day, every day, for 9 months. I tell people it’s lucky I got pregnant with Lennon as a surprise because I was so sick with Lucille that I’m not sure I would have voluntarily put myself through that again.

Luckily for me, I was not nearly as sick the 2nd time around. I honestly believe (I’m not a doctor) that my body was still kind of used to being pregnant so it made round 2 easier.

However, I still did get sick several times. I don’t know how to explain how I got through taking care of baby #1 when baby #2 was making me hurl into a toilet. You just do what you have to do I guess. Sometimes Lucille played on the bathroom floor while I prayed to the porcelain god. Other times my hubby had to hang out with her. Sometimes she was playing or sleeping in a safe place and I just let her be and hoped she stayed entertained until I was better.

It was hard because Lucille was not old enough to understand why mommy was sick. Sometimes it frightened her. But I would just smile and tell her mommy was okay. Once the actual puking subsided I would give her extra snuggles so she knew I was still there for her.

Milk supply

Shortly after I became pregnant with Lennon I lost my milk supply. I was losing it anyways. (I’ll go into more detail of my breastfeeding struggles in another post.) It is certainly possible to keep breastfeeding throughout pregnancy, but many women struggle to keep their supply up. If continuing to breastfeed is a huge priority of yours,  some extra pumping sessions might be in order. If extra pumping sessions aren’t an option (my job made this impossible) you may need to let breastfeeding go.

I made myself feel better about having to give up breastfeeding by reminding myself my goal was to make it to one year and we made it two thirds of the way. Sure it would be good for Lucille to continue to get breast milk for 4 months, but it’s not a necessity. And in the long run I don’t think it’ll have much affect on her. Whereas having a sibling will be a positive influence on her life always.

I’ve also heard that besides pregnancy making it hard to keep your supply up, some women’s milk flavor changes. So again, if the flavor changes and baby no longer wants it, make peace with the fact that you’ve come as far as you have.

Fatigue and Sleeping Arrangements:

Lucille co slept with us until the day Lennon was born. This was not the plan. When I found out in was pregnant I told Peter we had to get her out of our bed. I was worried as I got larger I would suffocate her.

We tried repeatedly to get her in her crib. She wasn’t having it. I said we’d try harder when I got bigger. And we did. And we tried a toddler bed. Still, nothing worked. And by time I got to the point that I had a belly big enough to suffocate her I realized it wasn’t an issue. Because I was not sleeping!! I was more tired than I’d never been in my life, but I could not sleep. I had bad insomnia with Lucille but it was twice as bad with Lennon. And when I did sleep it was very lightly. Every time Lucille or Peter  moved it woke me up.

I’m not saying everyone in my situation should be co sleeping. Obviously if it doesn’t seem safe, I would recommend finding other sleeping arrangements. But even though having Lucille in bed with me may have made me even more tired throughout my pregnancy, I’m glad she was there. It was my last few months of having her as my only child and I wanted to spend every possible moment with her.

Caring for baby with big belly

Just as I was scared to sleep with Lucille with a big baby belly, I didn’t know how I would carry her and chase after her when I got towards the end of my pregnancy. And it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. Sure, it was awkward. Sometimes my back hurt pretty bad. But it was doable.

I need to give my hubby a shout out here for helping me. By time I got to the large part of my pregnancy I was home with Lucille all day, every day. So when hubby was home he went out of his way to do most of the carrying and chasing. Without his help, had I never gotten a break and been the sole caretaker of Lucille, I’m sure my opinion on this issue would be different.

If you don’t have a strong support system in order, you need to find one!

Does soon to be big sibling understand?

Lucille was so young when I got pregnant that I accepted that she’d have no idea what was happening. And she probably didn’t. But she seemed to understand that there was a baby in mommy’s belly. And she loooved babies. Whenever we were around babies she would not leave their sides. And she’d always point to my belly and say baby, like she was announcing to others we were having one soon too. At home she’d lift my shirt and kiss my belly, again saying baby.

Hilarious story: One time she got angry with the baby. She was laying on my belly as I was trying to snuggle her down for a nap when Lennon gave a strong kick. She must have felt it pretty good because she lifted my shirt and hit my belly and said “no baby!” Their very first fight!

 

If you’re reading this in preparation of having Baby #2, CONGRATULATIONS!! Check back soon as I will be posting quarterly updates on the highs and lows of a 16 month age gap!!