Managing Mr Mischief – dealing with 2 children under 2
It seemed like such a good idea at the time – have two kids close together. “We don’t want Conor to be lonely”, we said. “We have already raised two only children(one each)”, we said. “And besides we grew up that way!”, we said. And while deep down I believe having two children close together is the thing to do, the reality can be nothing short of daunting at times. I am constantly worrying that one child or other is not getting enough attention and feeling guilty about it!
Poor Selene, literally has to feed when she can, between being woken and plonked in the car to take her older brothers to school, and being taken off breast mid-feed as I stop young Conor doing the latest naughty thing in his evergrowing arsenal. It is not any better from Conor’s side – 13 short weeks ago he was the adored baby and now he has to wait, and then there is homework time when his brothers are doing REALLY interesting stuff with pens and paper (he thinks) or playing the guitar (he really wants to get his hands on that one!).Besides everyone wants to cuddle the baby and his brothers just shout “Stop it Conor!” whenever he tries to do anything. We also have to limit him to one area of house as it is near impossible to keep whole house baby proof (like I could when I only had one!)
Here’s what works for me (sometimes!!)
1. Get help from someone else. Have had varying degrees of success with this one – quite frankly my older boys (10 & 12) while keen are not great, they tend to hype up the toddler, then fight with him! Consequently I leave the baby with them. And then there’s hubby who (bless him) will always offer but works nights and consequently is often asleep.
2. Read a story to toddler while feeding baby. This one is good for about one feed a day. 🙂
3. Start an activity (like playdough or craft) just before you feed baby then leave him to get on with it. Works pretty well most times, of course this is no good if you can’t deal with mess. We have a craft table set up in the corner and the playdough ready to go in fridge at all times. Click here for recipes for playdough and chemical free finger paint. Click here for best ever playdough activities
4. Set aside times of day to play with each child on their own. I usually do this while other one is sleeping and I also take kids to playgroup and Kindermusik, which breaks up their day nicely as I think my toddler was often naughty because he was tired of being limited to the one play space. Have also made safe play area outside near clothesline, which has helped heaps! This is also great time to play with playdough & do craft, so they can do on their own (toddlers) another time. Baby has floor time…while her brother is sleeping she won’t get stepped on.
5. Keep your kids safe. “Do not ever leave your infant alone in the room with the older child unattended. Children under the age of 3 do not understand that a baby is not a doll. They could unknowingly harm the infant in play or even on purpose. If you have to go to the bathroom, bring one child with you. “ (source http://www.essortment.com) I take the older one because he climbs stuff. I also find baby in playpen means her brother doesn’t sit on her/ love her to death etc.
I am sure there are lots of other mums out there who face the same challenges and yes we will get through it, but to my mind any suggestions from others are worth a try. Please add your comments as I need all the help I can get this week!!