Life after two under two

Have you followed my article series “Two under two”? It’s awfully quiet in that department at the moment, isn’t it?

Yes, it is. And you know why? Because our toddler is two years old now – and we simply don’t have two kids under two any more. However, life is pretty busy and loads of fun with a toddler and baby, even though they grow up.

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So don’t worry, I will keep you posted about our family life, our kids who are growing up right before our very eyes and about learning processes, child development, milestones and changes.

So what actually has changed the past few months?

I’d say it’s gotten easier, more peaceful, calmer. I mean, it’s not really calm around here with the little ones playing, learning and working. But I guess we have grown into all this. We have grown into our noisy and chaotic family life – and it really is a lot of fun.

We’re looking forward to future milestones! How are you doing?

Two under two – Blogging

Are you curious how blogging with two kids under two works? Does it work at all?

Well, obviously it does. Or at least: Most times it does.

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Like we pointed out in one earlier post you need both a lot of structure and flexibility to get anything done. There are really tons of things that need to be done! Cooking, laundry, cleaning, putting away things, grocery shopping – you name it. And not to forget playing, singing, cuddling, book reading, painting, crafting – let’s just say Mom is never bored in our family!

So how do you schedule all that plus blogging?

Actually Mom basically uses the time when both kids are asleep to blog. It strongly depends on how long both little ones nap how much she can get done. Since Mom really loves to write, she can write a lot in just a very short amount of time. Somehow it works and most time it isn’t even that hard.

Two under two – Doing housework

Obviously there is a lot of housework to do if you have to kids under two. But how do you do that? Well, that’s a legitimate question…

However, in our family it kind of works. Somehow. Sometimes it works really well, sometimes it doesn’t work at all. And that’s just how life is with two really little little ones. And that’s OK.

However, Mom has found some tricks that help her a lot throughout the day – and maybe there is something in for you, too? Let’s see.

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The toddler actually loves to watch Mom do her housework. Actually she not only loves to watch Mom being busy, she also loves to help her. And why not? Itsure can get a little messy, but the toddler is busy, entertained and happy. And that’s worth it.

However, with the baby it’s not as simple as with the toddler. The baby is not as interested in housework as her sibling and she is too small to help, so she easily gets frustrated. Maybe you know that situation, too? What do you do?

Often Mom takes the baby sling and puts the baby on her back. Usually she does that when she needs to do something that keeps her in motion most of the time. The baby loves to be rocked like this on Mom’s back and often even falls asleep. Sometimes Mom uses the baby hammock and tries to keep up with her chores while rocking the baby in her hammock.

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However, the baby often starts to complain in her hammock because she feels she just doesn’t see enough from there. Sometimes Mom puts the baby on a blanket on the floor and hopes the toddler will entertain her or she puts her in her bassinet and hopes she will be happy there. Or she carries the baby in her arm doing her work with just one hand.

You’d be surprised how many things you can do using just one hand!

Occasionally, however, there is just no solution that works. Those are the times when Mom takes both kids for a walk to the playground or to park although the home is really really messy. Or she takes some time to just sit on the sofa in the middle of that chaos that she hopes to transform into a cozy home sometime again.

And you know what? Those can be really precious times.

 

 

Two under two – What we can learn from our children

Usually we tend to talk and think about what our children have to learn from us – today we want to turn tables: We want to ponder on what we can learn from our children. And let’s just say, there is a lot we can learn from them, even if we have two kids under two!

How much time to you spend watching your children? I mean just watching, not looking after them, just watching what they are doing and how they are doing it.

It’s amazing!

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In our family Mom tries to regularly take some time to just watch her little ones playing, learning and interacting with each other. She gets deeply impressed observing how concentrated the toddler arranges her own learning environment. She puts so much effort and passion in achieving her own learning targets! She doesn’t need a teacher, though…

So Mom learned a lot about consistency and patience from the toddler.

But that’s not all there is to it. Mom also learned so much about creativity, forgiveness, good will, fairness and trust from both the baby and the toddler that it is somehow humbling.

God gave us the opportunity to teach our children lots of things, but he also gave us the to learn from them and with them. Take that opportunity, it’s definitely worth it!

Two under two – Structuring the day

There are two things that you really need as parents of two kids under two: Structure and flexibility. That may sound contradictory, but actually it’s not. You need enough structure to get everything (or more likely: most things) done and enough flexibility to react to your children’s needs right away no matter what you’re doing.

Both things can get you through the day and both things can make life a lot easier.

So how does our family do it, how does Mom structure the day with enough flexibility to meet the children’s needs?

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Mom actually divides her day into two major parts – before naptime and after naptime. There are so many chores that need to be done and Mom distinguishes between before-naptime-chores and after-naptime-chores and she makes herself promise that she will only do as much as possible and to leave everything else half-done or even  undone. This seems to be a continuing learning process: Leaving things undone in order to not get bogged down with details.

So Mom found out she is able to neaten the kitchen, the bathroom and the bedroom before naptime. She does laundry right before she puts the toddler to bed for her nap. Then she has a little time to herself – that is: if the baby takes a nap, too…

After naptime Mom and the toddler have lunch, hang out the laundry, neaten the living room, go out for a walk or to the playground and do a lot of other neat things.

That sounds to easy to be true? Well, you’re right. Remember the part about leaving things undone? That is actually a huge part of everyday life with two kids under two…

But you know what? You can’t turn back time, so why don’t you go for moments that are worth remembering? Children grow up so quickly, so at the end of the day  what do you want to think of? Your neat and clean home or the fantastic afternoon on the playground with your little ones?

Two under two – No-Cry-Solutions…

As a young Mom of two kids under two you are in special need of No-Cry-Solutions – and they are not always easy to find…

Children are so precious, they are always honest, they are generous, they gracious, they are funny and sometimes they are even wise. We can learn a lot from them – mostly about ourselves. And mostly in situations that are very demanding.

As a parent of two kids under two you will maybe face situations like that more frequently than other parents, e.g. in moments when both kids are crying. And how do you find a No-Cry-Solution after all?

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Well, sometimes you won’t, that’s a fact. But most times you will, so there’s no need to get demoralized. What about leaving the room for just two minutes for a quick prayer? What about singing a song you and your children enjoy – not just to calm them down but also for you to cool off?

In our family Mom had  to (and sometimes still has to) learn to ask herself a real basic question: “Is it really necessary for the children to do as I say right now?” That may sound too simple, but it sure is very effective: Does the toddler really need take a nap right now? What about a quick family hug first, or another song, another story or just another five minutes time to play or do whatever the toddler needs to do.

Will the world really fall apart if the toddler takes her nap half an hour or an hour later? The secret to Mom’s No-Cry-Solutions is to cool things down by slowing them down. Slowing down things helps to not getting to excited about things.

And one thing that never hurts and always helps is a quick prayer.

 

Two under two – Mealtimes…

Are you looking challenging experiences that are demanding, funny and exciting at the same time? Are you looking for little adventures in your everyday life?

Well, try mealtimes with two kids under two…

Just imagine: You prepared an outstanding meal, set the table, lit a candle, sat down with your loved ones to say grace and to just have a wonderful time together, have a good talk about everything that’s on your mind and enjoy the cozy atmosphere.

Got it?

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OK, that’s not a meal with two kids under two. Let’s just correct the picture:

You prepared a simple meal, because you just don’t have the time to cook something extravagant. There is just so many other things to do.

You set the table – well, actually you set it once, twice … let’s just say several times because your toddler tries to help you and explore the dishware in her very own way…

You lit a candle praying your toddler’s arms wouldn’t be long enough to explore the candle, too.

You sat down with your loved ones. Actually you sat down with the toddler to say grace, but then the baby started crying. So you stood up again to calm her down. And the toddler stood up to do something really funny. Then you sat down again with the baby in your arms to say grace with the toddler. The toddler started to eat. You started to breastfeed the baby. Then you stood up again because the baby needed to get diapered. When you came back the toddler needed to get diapered.

Mealtimes can be really stressful! But you know what? They can also be very precious. Just imagine the toddler jumping for joy about a simple  glass of water. Or imagine the baby being all smiles after breastfeeding her because she is full and happy. Doesn’t that set the record straight somehow? Doesn’t that remind you how precious food and drinkable water is and that we take it for granted way too often although it’s not?

Try mealtimes with two kids under two – it’s worth it!