There Are Two of Them and Two of Us, so Why do we Feel Outnumbered?
December 24, 2012 7:37 AM   Subscribe

Parents of Metafilter: All I want for Christmas are your tips, advice, dark humor, commiserations, stories of hope, etc. for surviving the transition from 1 to 2 children.

You can see from my previous questions that we have been through a lot of changes over the last few months including the birth of our daughter who joins our 2 3/4 year old son. We're surviving now that the parental assistance has left, but it's not easy. Looking to the hive mind for a little pick me up or practical tips for dealing with the crazy!
posted by Leezie to Human Relations (8 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Hugs. It gets easier. You are still in the 4th trimester, from what I can tell by your previous posts. Once the baby is a little more used to being on the outside, and more familiar with rhythms/routines of how the day goes, it will get better.

For now, strap that baby to you using your preferred method (wrap, ergo, bjorn, whatevs) and you magically have two hands to deal with the toddler.
posted by fancyoats at 7:48 AM on December 24, 2012

Hang in there -- it ends up being way easier to have two (or even three) than one, because they will eventually entertain one another.

When our second came along, I noticed that I was always saying to the first, "Not now, the baby needs me," so I made a point to turn that around whenever possible. For instance, if the baby was crying but not in dire need, I'd say for my older kid's benefit, "Sorry, baby, I'll be with you in a minute. First I have to get your big sister a drink." or "Just a minute, baby, I'm busy with your sister right now." That way I didn't feel as bad saying to her, "Hang on, honey, I'm changing the baby's diaper" as often as I did!

Obviously, the more sleep you can get, the better, but that isn't always within your control. Once you start getting a reliable chunk of sleep every night, the days will seem much easier.

Good luck!
posted by wisekaren at 7:55 AM on December 24, 2012 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I have two kids. They are 2.5 years apart. It was rough in the first few weeks and beyond.

I agree with fancy oats. Wear your baby. It makes things much easier and it soothes the kid.

If the weather permits go for walks with the kids. Fresh air and exercise helps everybody.

I think the best thing you can do is remember that you are in a beautiful situation. You have two beautiful kids. These are very precious years that will go by in a flash. So many times I viewed parenting as a struggle, rather than the joy that it is. Parenting wee kids can be stressful but your frame of mind and attitude is very important. Take it day by day.
posted by Fairchild at 7:56 AM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is where you call in the reserves.

What you want is people who will wrangle your kids for an hour or two, in the house with you, so you can get other things done.

Perhaps you can get a high school kid to come over after school until dinner time, to amuse the kiddos while you nap, shower, cook dinner, etc.

Ask your friends to help out with a couple of hours of their time.

Work out an exchange where you watch another families kids with your own for an afternoon, while they watch yours for another.

The idea is to carve out time for yourself, away from the kiddos, so you can take care of the household business, and your marriage.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:11 AM on December 24, 2012

Best answer: Position their relationship with each other as paramount as soon as you can.

Tell the older one often that his little sister needs him and thinks he's wonderful. Suggest to the little one that she get advice and ideas from the older one. "Gentle and kind" is the instruction I always give them in dealing with each other. When either one is upset with me (having been reprimanded or sent to her room or whatever), I tell the other one to go comfort her sister. And when explaining to my older one that the little one needs something, I say "we" (like "We can deal with sandwiches in a moment - we need to make sure baby has her milk") rather than "I"; I think this emotionally makes it more like we're all invested in the baby's welfare, it's not just mom's focus.

The better their relationship is, the easier your home life will be. They will entertain each other instead of bugging each other.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:22 AM on December 24, 2012 [12 favorites]

Yes, the big thing is 2 is not twice as hard as 1. Though 3 is geometrically harder than 2.

The hardest part is not worrying about the first one 'hurting' the 2nd accidentally. I've watch parents so worried something was going to happen "Be careful!" "Don't touch her" etc etc, the first kid becomes shell-shocked and timid.

Let the kids play and be involved in the care.. and things will be messy, someone will get hurt, but that's all normal.
posted by rich at 12:32 PM on December 24, 2012

Going from one to 2 is a big step but I agree with rich on over cautioning the older one to the point where he's afraid (and I think more competitive) with your daughter. The sling was invaluable to us as our family grew. I totally loved it and at least you could wear the baby when doing other stuff with your son. I had an older girl from our neighbourhood as a mother's helper a couple afternoons. It was ok although when my older one was sad - he totally came to me and we traded off kids. The bigger thing is that 2 kids even from the same family are sometimes totally opposite in temperament so remember just because one did something at one age, doesn't mean the next one will do the same. My biggest thing is relax, if you overthink it, I feel you get anxious kids. There will be fights and there will be times when your older kid hates the baby, that's cool. BTW I have 4 kids all within 5 years. I have always found that the little guys love the older ones and will watch them and try to copy them as they get older.
posted by lasamana at 8:13 PM on December 24, 2012

I only have one, but as my friends tell me and as I see for myself: The first one is made out of china; the second out of rubber.

You simply will not worry so much about the little things with the second. That will free up a lot of mental space, time and energy.
posted by peagood at 10:13 AM on December 25, 2012

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