Two Under Two: Real Survival Tips Part Two

I’m back after a small hiatus during which I was in sole charge of two tiny beings for eight days. I’ll talk more about that soon but for now I’d like to share the second half of my survival tips for two under two (first part here):

– Be proud. It’s so easy to beat yourself up because your oldest ate something that wasn’t organically grown and picked by monks singing Mozart, or whatever it is that we’re meant to be doing with our food these days, or the baby has watched more television in one day than your toddler was allowed to watch in their entire first year on earth. But having two children, especially two so close together, is really tough. So try (and the irony of this advice is that I find it ridiculously tough to actually do this) to feel proud when you get to bedtime and you haven’t sold, broken or dropped either of them. Whether it’s getting out for an hour, teaching one of them something new or simply just remembering to feed and change them – there will be something positive that you’ve done that day if you think about it hard enough!

– Be your kind of mom. Basically do it your way. If you want to hire a nanny, babywear, helicopter parent, attachment parent, send them off to boarding school the second they’re old enough, never let them out your site, as long as you’re not harming them in any way (kind of goes without saying) then it’s all good. Having your first baby is a steep learning curve and you generally get advice from every person in your life. By the time that baby becomes a toddler you’ve probably sifted out the bad and ugly advice and only taken on the good. So when you’re doing it second time around – and so soon after the first! – you should absolutely own it and just go with your own flow. Certain things my friends, family and random strangers I follow on social media (creepy) do aren’t for me; I’m sure those people are looking at what I’m doing being all HOW MANY times has she taken them to soft play this week? WHY won’t she let the baby go to nana and Grandad’s on his own yet? WHY do the kids not go to bed at 6pm? But you know what, it’s working for us right now. That’s all that matters.

– Last piece of advice: enjoy it. Look at the two humans you created laughing and smiling at each other and savour the moment. I’m not going to get all hashtag blessed on you but despite its many, many difficulties, rearing two monkeys is incredible because you get to watch their relationship bloom and blossom. Yes sometimes they might be smacking the shit out of each other or trying to roll the baby off the sofa – a new trick in our house – but sometimes you’ll watch them giggling together and your heart will be so incredibly full.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Rejecting Advice

I’ve written before, way back when I was pregnant with Alexandra, about the kinds of advice you get when you’re having a baby/a parent and how ridiculous some of it can be. Clearly if your mother/neighbour/another mom at a baby group gives you some advice you can decide for yourself if it’s useful or not, thank them and politely move on with your day. It’s your choice whether to accept and implement what they say or completely ignore it. However, one thing I’m finding myself baffled by is some people’s attitudes about rejecting advice which comes from experts (when I say experts, I mean proper trained health professionals, not people who went to a baby class once and now think they’re Supernanny).

Time and time again I’m seeing women calling into question every little thing their doctor, midwife or health visitor has said. Now clearly, you shouldn’t blindly accept what someone says just because they’ve got a piece of paper saying they know what they’re doing. If they suggest something which seems absurd, unsafe or just plain wrong then you have every right to question it with them, perhaps get a second opinion. But what riles me is when people just seem to have a ‘thing’ about saying no just because doctors/midwives are seen as a sort of authority figure.

‘I’m not going to have an induction because I don’t want one’ – now it’s one thing to do your research and decide that you’d rather opt for daily monitor than an induction just because you’re overdue if baby/placenta etc seem fine. It’s quite another to just blindly say you won’t be induced at any point. Surely it’s obvious no doctor is going to suggest inducing just because they feel like it? There’s always going to be a sound medical reason for it if that’s what they’d like you to do.

‘I’m so annoyed because my midwife/health visitor was ten minutes late. I don’t want to see her again’ – well I really hope you’re the person asking for help because your baby won’t feed or your stitches are infected or you just need to cry at someone for five minutes and she says ‘oh sorry, got to go to see someone else now’.

‘My midwife thinks I’m measuring small and wants to send me for a growth scan. I can’t be bothered to go to the hospital, what a waste of time’ – excellent. Going and finding out your baby is absolutely fine and feeling slightly aggrieved cause you’ve probably spent a fair few hours at the hospital is the BEST case scenario here. You just know these would be the same people complaining if a potential problem with their child wasn’t picked up.

‘My doctor says I need to be on these meds but I don’t want to take them’ – you know, cause doctors love handing out pills to pregnant ladies just for the absolute sheer fun of it.

I can’t even go into anti-vaxxers on this post because they deserve a whole post of their own quite frankly! I for one am super glad there are people in this world who spend their life looking after pregnant ladies, helping people give birth and offering advice in the newborn days. I am very glad there are people who know how to keep me and my children safe. I don’t blindly accept what they say but I do know that 99.9999 per cent of the time they are going to be far more knowledgeable than I am and, just because I have access to Google, that does make me a doctor.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

 

Best Advice Ever

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I figured as I’d done a post last week about the Worst Advice Ever (here), it was only fair to have a think about what kind of excellent advice I’d heard. Some of it hasn’t been given directly to me, some of it is paraphrased but all of us is top notch advice from my point of view.

Do your research:
I’m astounded by the number of times I’ve seen/heard (mostly read on the internet to be honest) people asking questions it would be simple to find the answer to, or accepting ridiculous advice off strangers on the internet because they somehow think that’s going to be the best advice they can find? Not everyone wants to spend hours trawling the web for every expert’s opinion on weaning or bedtime routines, but there is SO much information out there that it’s very simple to educate yourself. I find the NHS a good place to start when looking for guidelines, seen as they actually know a thing or two about keeping a baby safe!

Know about the risks:
This kind of links in to the point above, but I have seen so many people celebrating the fact their child has got to the minimum legal weight they can be to forward face their car seat, as if it’s a right of passage? When if they educated themselves a little bit they’d know it’s far safer to keep them rear facing for as long as possible. If they know the risks and still choose to forward face then that’s their own decision (I strongly disagree with it but they’re entitled to do what the hell they like!) but there’s no excuse for being ignorant. Same with cot death, if you still want to put them in their own room before six months or do anything else linked to a higher risk, then go ahead but don’t do it because you ‘didn’t know any better’.

Use their sleep time however you want to:
I wrote in my Worst Advice Ever post about sleeping when the baby sleeps and how ridiculous that concept was. Really I think the most important thing is using any time your baby sleeps for (ie about 20 minutes twice a day for us at the moment!) in whatever way you prefer. If you want to do the dusting or ironing because it’s important to you to keep up to date on the household chores, go for it. If you want to sit scrolling through Facebook on your own, don’t feel guilty because believe it or not as a mom you’re still allowed some time for yourself.

Don’t drop the baby:
I’ve spoken about this one before – it’s our NCT group’s main bit of advice and I think we’ve all managed it successfully so far. Not dropping or breaking your baby (if you can try not to lose them too, that’s also a winner) is one of the most important aspects of parenting.

Remember you love each other:
This was a piece of advice given to us by our NCT tutor and it’s so true. In the hardest, most exhausting, most exasperating times you will need to remember you’re a team and that you really, really like your other half – to the point where you chose to have a baby with them. You are allowed to like them a little bit less when the baby decides they’re her favourite though! 🙂

Harriet and Alexandra x

Worst Advice Ever

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When you become a mom (or even if you’ve been doing it a long time), people seem to line up to give you all sorts of advice. This applies whether they’ve had ten kids or none. The advice ranges from excellent to downright ridiculous so I thought I’d share a few bits of absolutely terrible advice. If someone tells you these things then feel free to punch them (or, you know, just walk away and not ever listen to anything they say again. Up to you).

Sleep when the baby sleeps:
A fine idea in theory but let’s try something. Right this second I want you to run to your sofa or bed, shut your eyes, immediately drop to sleep and then wake up again in approximately 16 minutes. Even if you did manage to get to sleep in the middle of the day at a time randomly decided by your baby as nap time, you’re hardly going to feel radically different when you wake up to the sound of crying. Also, you just can’t eat when the baby eats, wash your hair when your baby washes their hair or pop a load in the washing machine when the baby does. Apparently these little beings need quite a lot of attention, who knew? So sleeping when they nap might work as an idea but in reality you will have about 67 billion other things to do with your time.

Treasure every moment:
Yeah I’ve spoken about this one before. So unnecessary. (There’s a rant about it here). Also sometimes the baby’s just shat everywhere and then mushed their foot in it and your hand has poo on it and then you accidentally touch your face so EVERYONE has poo on them. You just can’t like every second of your baby’s existence.

Never did me any harm:
This advice usually comes from the older generation. Usually it’s something about leaving your child in a pram outside your shop while you pop in for some groceries, giving them biscuits from six weeks or lying them on their front. This advice is doubly annoying because not only are they invariably telling you to do something the guidelines written by the experts who know about this kind of shit explicitly say is likely to harm your baby, but they also seem to want some kind of medal for keeping their baby alive despite being a dumbass.

Ooh she’s hungry/tired:
The joy that fills me when someone else tells me why my child might be grizzling. Yes I appreciate some of these people might just be trying to help. But it does take quite a lot of restraint for me not to tell them that as I spend my whole entire life with the baby I might just have grasped by now, ten months down the line, what she wants or why she’s crying. The other temptation is to tell them she’s crying because they’re an arsehole.

Enjoy your pregnancy:
Harking back to the bump days here but I did used to laugh when people gave me this ‘advice’. Yeah, I had a super time for just shy of 38 weeks firstly throwing up continually then being TIRED like I never knew could be possible then being fat (really fat) and hormonal and swollen and stretch marked and did I mention fat? I enjoy the fact that my pregnancy led to being Alexandra’s mom but other than that, nope!

Harriet and Alexandra x