Moving from one to two children was a big adjustment for me. It brought on a whole other world of challenges, the worst of which was the 3am feed. Here’s how I hacked it.
At the time, I was sleeping in our spare bed, which was in Baby G’s room, along with his crib. I would get up, go downstairs, take the bottle out of the fridge, heat up the bottle, go back upstairs and feed. B would hear all this and get up as well. Now I’m trying to feed a newborn at 3am, with a three year old tugging at my leg wanting another story. Who the hell has the will power to argue about going back to bed at 3am?!?!
So I’d finish feeding him, put him down, and she and I would toss and turn in the spare bed, trying to get some form of sleep, or I’d argue with her, or I’d lay with her in her bed until she fell asleep and I would creep downstairs to crash on the couch.
There had to be an easier way.
We had two bottle warmers, in my mind, one of the most indespensible baby products out there. I decided to put one in his room. Then I thought, well, she’s still going to wake up when I go and get the bottle out of the fridge.
Solution: a cooler.
Before bed, put the 3am feed in the cooler with plenty of ice. Put the cooler in the room with the bottle warmer. Sleep on the spare bed in his room. I never had to leave his room!
It totally worked! I could feed him peacefully, burp him, put him down, turn on that mobile and crawl back to bed. No interruptions, no arguments, no tugging or whining. It was glorious!
Once again, I am a genius. A rockstar mom and proud of it! Do you have any to share? I’d love to hear about them.😊
As moms, especially new moms, our emotions can take over, reducing us to blubbering heaps of squishy, stretched out goo. Today I was reminded how big these same emotions are to my daughter.
Case in point, anger. When she’s overtired, hungry, or suffering from a “baby hangover” (baby jet lag essentially, lasting a day or two after a long trip), her anger can get the best of her when she doesn’t get what she wants. And while a tantrum is no doubt my absolute least favourite thing to deal with, I have to remind myself that anger for a four year old is a monumental emotion.
Kicking, flailing and screaming to the point of hoarseness is the only way she knows at this point to get out all that frustration. I think it’s time I introduce to punching pillow to her or something. But it’s important for me to stay calmer than her in these situations, recognize her anger, and try to guide her through the tantrum calmly, and most importantly safely.
Sure, she says “YOU’RE SO MEAN TO ME!”, “YOU’RE A BAD MOMMY!”, and the like. I’ve heard a lot of that, and I’m pretty good at removing myself from my responses now. “I’m sorry you feel that way, sweetheart,” I’ll say. And I’ll keep repeating that to her, acknowledging how she feels, but not apologizing for punishing her bad behavior. I’m her mother, not her friend. And I’m the adult, I have more patience than her…well, most of the time.
It’s important to pick your battles too. If she wants a third book at night, I’ll probably cave, but if it’s ten o’clock, pffffhhh, not on your life kid. Nice try.
I thought to myself today, driving her home while she’s kicking the back of my seat in a full on melt down, if I have trouble handling my emotions, how much can I really expect of my four year old daughter?
There are times when I’m tired right along with her and I just don’t have it in me, and I’ll yell for her to stop. Getting my frustration out feels good for me, feels even worse for her, and so round and round we go. Frankly, I amazed my husband has lasted this long.
I guess this post is really about both her and I dealing with big emotions when we’re not at our best. Maybe we can learn from each other and find better ways to keep our cool. How do you handle your kids’ melt downs? How about your own? Come up with any mommy hacks in your tantrum travels? I’d love to hear about them.
Motherhood is hard, stressful, draining, and makes you want to laugh maniacally and sob uncontrollably at the same time. But every so often, there are those moments where something happens and you’re like, OH HELL YA!!! I totally got this mom thing!
I woke up late to feed Baby G, and I had booked a massage that day. I had already rescheduled the appointment twice, so I really didn’t want to miss it, so I fed him as much as I could and took a new bottle with me to finish up afterwards.
I went into the room, got undressed and lie face-down on the massage table, ensuring my face was just right in the cradle. Baby G was sitting quietly in his car seat. The bottle was in the diaper bag. My masseuse began, and I started to relax, the knots in my upper back slowly loosening, after three months of hauling G around.
Then, you guessed it, he started to fuss. Ok, what was I going to do? My masseuse started rocking the car seat with her foot. She moved it for me, so it was directly under my face, and I started rocking him, but it was no good, he wanted the rest of the feed. It had only been twenty minutes since I started the feed at the house, so I still had time to use what I brought with me.
So, my masseuse got the bottle for me, and do you know what I did?
I FED THAT BABY WHILE GETTING A MASSAGE!
Oh, even better? After he’d finished, I rocked that kid to sleep!
That’s right. I did that, and it felt fucking great. I am a rock star, and I bet if you think about it, you are too! Have you ever rocked a mommy hack so hard you should get an award? I’d love to hear about it!
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Tantrums are the worst. Honestly, I’d rather listen to a symphony of nails on a chalkboard than deal with a temper tantrum. There’s no reasoning, no logic, no common sense and most of all no filter when your kid is flailing on the floor, screaming, crying and telling you you’re the shittiest mommy ever.
This morning I played dragons with B, (she’s a fan of How To Train Your Dragon) and, as usual, I was the bad guy, sneaking up on the good guys and kidnapping Toothless. I then had a meeting with my henchmen, while the good guys rescued Toothless from right under my nose. Rats, foiled again. It’s the same scenario, over and over again.
Later on, she wanted me to play again. I told her no, that Daddy will play while Mommy takes a nap.
Well, shit. I got knocked off my feet by the barrage of “PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE”‘s firing out of her mouth like bullets. I told her again, the answer is no, Mommy is going for a nap.
Again, with the pleases. I turned off the cartoons, told her that her whining was unacceptable. “I wanna watch my cartoons!!!!”, she yelled. “Just go to bed, Mommy!” I was like, “The fuck did you say?!” I sent her to her room for talking back to me, where she proceeded to throw an epic temper tantrum.
Holy shit, child! I mean, do you think your whining is going to make me change my mind? It only solidifies my resolve to tell you no again. What’s wrong with playing by yourself? You can do that. What’s wrong with playing with Daddy? You can do that too. He’s the one who can always get you to smile. And you don’t get to spend as much time with him.
Why am I the end-all, be-all when it comes to entertaining you?!
What kills me is that this little girl, with her cute curls and bright eyes, knows damn well what she’s doing. She’s pushing and pushing and pushing until she gets her way, with the added side bonus of making me feel like the worst mom E.V.E.R for not playing with her. I swear, at this point I’m like, “She’s gonna write a book at the age of six and tell the world that I never played with her. And I’ll end up on bloody Maury Povich, watching as she storms off stage to throw another tantrum because I wouldn’t let her wear make up at the age of ten.”
Well, fuck that, ladies.
As mothers, we want to sleep. We want to sit and drink our coffee in peace. We want to finish the mountain of dishes in the sink. We want to use the bathroom and take a shower by ourselves. We want to put make-up on and feel pretty again. We want to do general grown up things, anything but play with you.
My name is Mommy and I don’t want to play today.
But we’re teaching them boundaries right? Right. We’re not a selfish bitches, right? Right. We’re human beings, right?
Pfffhh, nope. We’re mommies.
We’re always there. We’re always with them. We love them with every fibre of our being…
but baby…sweetheart please, I just don’t want to play today.
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Kids are much more resilient little critters than we give them credit for, but when it comes to a new addition to your family of three, you might be worried about how your first will react to not being an only child anymore. You’re definitely not alone in that. During my pregnancy with Baby G, I worried a lot about B and her transition. What if she hated her new baby brother? What if she bullied him, or was jealous of all the attention he was getting?
I went in search of help from other two-kid moms I knew. Here are four strategies I used to ease the transition and help B understand how her life was about to change:
Four Strategies for Transitioning to Two Children
1. Have a big brother/sister party: I’ll admit it didn’t have the earth-shattering impact I thought it would, but still, she got a couple of presents and ate cake and ice cream. I think she’d call it a win. Just grandparents and mommy and daddy, no need to make a huge production of it. I ordered a cake and had them put blue icing in the middle, so this made it even more fun for her. She was hoping for pink, but still seemed happy with blue, and like I said, it was cake!
2. Shop for a special toy together: Baby G was entering the world in December, so it made sense for B and I to shop for his very first Christmas present together. She spent most of her time playing with the baby toys on the shelf, but finally settled on one. We took it home and she helped me wrap it up and she placed it neatly under the tree. The idea of her baby brother to opening HER present on Christmas morning was very exciting.
3. Talk openly about the new arrival: It sounds obvious, I know. This pregnancy made me want to crawl under my desk and have a nap, and be quite ok with the filthy 20-year-old carpet under my head. So, engaging my three-year old about how she was feeling about having a new baby brother in her life just seemed like another thing that would keep me from my bed. But I did talk to her, and she talked to me. I asked her questions and she asked me questions. When will the baby come? Mommy’s getting bigger, that means Baby G is growing too. Daily conversations like this became as regular as if he were already there. We even talked to other big sisters we knew and asked them questions. She felt secure about it when he did come, with no big surprises.
4. How Many Mommies Do You Have?: Probably the best “Mommy Hack” my mind has come up with. During one of our conversations, I asked her “How many mommies do you have?” She said “One.” “Right, and how many kids will there be?” “Two,” she said. “Right, so Baby G will need a mommy too. Do you think you can share your mommy with him?” The answer was yes.
*VICTORY DANCE* I am a parenting GENIUS!!!, Right here, that’s right, I’ll be here all week, pick up your autographed copy of my book at the door on your way out. Thank you, goodnight!
Ok, so I’m not a parenting guru, but man, I still felt like a genius. It was something that made sense to her, it was logical, and she could get her head around it. I still use it today, when I’m feeding him and she wants her snack, or whatever. Other factors that made it easier were things like her age. She was three and a half when G was born, so she had a great concept of sharing and boundaries. Now that he’s here, I couldn’t be luckier. She’s so great with him, and as he reaches each milestone, we talk about how he got there and how she’s helped him.
I’m still holding my breath though. He’s not crawling yet. *cringe*
Hope this helps some expectant moms out there, it sure worked with B. Best of luck for a smooth transition!
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