Our Morning Routine With Two Under Two

Morning pyjama buddies.

I’ve mentioned before we don’t have a strict routine for our toddler and that’s been the case for the baby too. If we end up going to bed half an hour late (or half an hour early!) it’s fine. We’re fairly flexible about all elements of the day but I guess over time you realise what works and what doesn’t work for your family and you loosely structure your day according to that. So while it’s not an exact timetable, I thought I’d share our 2 under 2 daily routine.

[I was going to write this as one post about our entire day but I realised there was quite a lot to say so I’m going to split it up into our morning routine, daytime routine and evening routine so no one goes blind trying to read it all in one go.]

So let’s start at the beginning (because it’s a very good place to start). Our mornings:

Tuesdays and Thursdays:

These are the days she goes to nursery and Alexandra has to be there for 8am so we tend to focus on getting her ready and Max will be sorted afterwards. I find it helpful to get up and ready while Alex is still sleeping if possible – and she does tend to need to be woken up on nursery days. Her outfit is normally left on the spare bed and the bag packed the night before (extra leggings, top and socks, sudocrem and either a sun hat and sun cream or a coat depending on the weather). It’s then left by the front door alongside her shoes to make it easier to get out.

Because she has breakfast at nursery and it’s only about four minutes away in the car we can get away with getting her up as late as 7.40am.

Wednesdays:

During term time, Alexandra does Tumble Tots which involves getting all three of us out of the house for 9.10am to be there ready to start at half past. Again I find it really useful to pack the changing bag the night before (if I was just going to TT and coming straight home then two nappies each, wipes, couple of nappy sacks and then just before we left water and a snack for Alex and milk for Max) and to get myself ready beforehand.

Then it’s downstairs for breakfast for Alexandra and I’ll feed and change Max while that’s taking place. Then change Alex and run around tidying up (if we were running late I’d leave this til after) and making sure I’d got everything before leaving.

Other days:

On days when we don’t have any commitments, it’s a much more laid back affair which can see us take a few hours to get ready. The priority is always changing Max’s nappy, even if he stays in his babygrow for a while, and giving Alex breakfast. She sits on a plastic mat in our lounge watching CBeebies for breakfast – which is something my husband Dylan started but it works really well in keeping her occupied until she’s finished and I’m ready to change her. Alex has cereal and/or toast with fruit and milk and/or water to drink every morning.

Max likes to have his first bottle of the day at 8/8.30am but is generally happy to wait even if he’s been up since 7ish (which is the earliest he wakes) so it’s a good opportunity to change the water and Milton tablets in the sterilising tub, do any leftover washing up from the previous day and get ready myself.

I try to bring down a stack of nappies and bibs plus a muslin cloth and we also keep our changing mat, nappy bags and wipes downstairs so that I don’t have to run up and downstairs too many times in the day. Once Max is changed I’ll turn my attention to Alex and then clear up her breakfast things.

Phew! It’s not until you write it all down that you realise there are a lot of things involved in getting two under two ready for the day! I imagine things will get harder once Max is weaning then easier once they’re both able to feed and dress themselves. Although then the nagging about getting shoes on and brushing teeth will amplify!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

23 Months and 4 Months

This is the penultimate month of joint updates! I’ll carry on updating you on Max every month but I’ll revert to twice a year for Alexandra (otherwise I’ll end up being one of those moms ‘oh yes she’s 628 months old’).

Alexandra:

We’re still getting new words pretty much every day. In fact we totalled up how many words she knows (ones she’s used multiple times) and it came to around 90 which we were surprised by! She’s still not attempting many two-word sentences aside from ‘mommy do’ but she manages to make her meaning known with the vocal she has so I don’t think she’s that fussed about putting words together.

Talking of words, ‘no’ is still a firm favourite and we’re getting a lot of strops and tantrums. Alexandra is the most pleasant, cheerful child most of the time but she likes to decide what she’s doing and eating 100 per cent of the time so trying to change her nappy at the wrong time or get her in the car if she doesn’t want to go is met with strong resistance to say the least!

Animals are still a firm love and they capture her attention all the time. She went on a donkey ride recently which she loved and she also loves picking out stories featuring animals (if they have moons and stars in too then double bonus!).

Alex has now had all her settling in sessions in the toddler room at nursery and moves up next Tuesday. She’s not in the least bit bothered about the change!

Max:

Max hasn’t actually been weighed since the last update as he’s allowed monthly weigh ins now so that’ll happen when we go and see his paediatrician next week. I estimate he’s at least the heavy end of 11lbs if not 12lbs. He’s now mostly wearing 0-3m clothes but he does now fit into some of his 3-6m stuff which is good as we had lots of dungaree shorts and rompers in that size so it’s nice to get some use out of them before the summer ends!

The doctors are fairly confident that the anomaly in Max’s brain is just that rather than a bleed so they’re not too concerned about its effects and will rescan him in six months to get another look at the affected blood vessel. However there is worry about his diaphragm, with an X-ray showing it’s moved back up on the right side. Again he’ll be checked in six months to see what’s happening with his lung then but we have to keep an eye on his breathing in the meantime.

Most people say you’d never have any idea of the health issues he’s had. Max is the happiest, smiliest little boy and chats away all the time! We honestly couldn’t ask for a more good-natured baby (although today’s he’s been grumpy but that’s because he had his jabs yesterday so I can understand that).

He’s now having 5oz bottles at 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm and 8pm with the first four being expressed milk and the last one being Neocate formula. For the last two weeks he’s been sleeping through the night which is absolutely lovely. I don’t want to say he’s cracked sleeping through in case he goes back to waking up but actually when he wakes he’s not crying for food and will happily lie in his Moses basket for a bit. Or sometimes he doesn’t get up til about half 8 so it’s not as if he’s starving in the morning!

See you next month when the big one will be 2!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Babies At Weddings

A few weeks ago we were invited to the first wedding we’d attended since having two children. In fact, the last wedding we’d been to before that was our own way back in September. In terms of kids, that one was a breeze because my parents were in charge of Alexandra pretty much all day and of course everyone wanted to cuddle her and spend time with her. In fact, I remember a few people commenting in the following weeks how quickly she’d got up on her feet when they saw her toddling round – she’d actually been walking by the time we got married but hadn’t had the chance to show off cause she was being cuddled so much!

Fast forward to this June and we had a toddler and a newborn to contend with. At the church, we decided to take one child each and I’d packed a big bag full of toys and snacks to keep Alex occupied. While we waited for the bride she was golden and I thought we’d done really well until the second after the bridal party had arrived when Alexandra suddenly decided she didn’t want to be in there anymore. That meant I missed the entire ceremony while walking around the grounds with her. Dylan reported Max had also been a little unsettled inside.

Later at the hotel we missed some of the drinks reception as I was expressing and we needed to feed Max and change nappies etc. At the meal, I watched as my starter was taken away uneaten as I’d been feeding the baby while everyone else ate. Alex had become restless at times but luckily the bride’s uni friends were on our table and were fab with her, she played games with them all and watched Peppa Pig on one of their phones.

So altogether while we’d had a lovely day, it was pretty full on! We were wondering what the evening would bring but luckily Max slept in between feeds and Alexandra LOVED it. She danced until 11.15pm bless her. We then had to contend with both of them in the same room which had never happened before so baby woke toddler who ended up in our bed for the first time ever. I expressed late in the evening and decided not to overnight due to the possibility of waking everyone up but ended up sat on the bathroom floor early morning as I was about to explode!

The next day was much easier, Alex seemed fairly well rested considering she’d had nowhere near enough sleep and enjoyed a big breakfast and a swim. As I recall there was a bit of crying as we got into the car but both babies soon zonked out as soon as we started the journey home.

I think my summary is that toddlers don’t like behaving themselves by sitting in churches or waiting for meals – but they do love running around like a lunatic chasing lights on the dance floor at the evening reception!

Congratulations Jordan and Tom and thanks for having all of us at your special day!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Joie Twin Aire Review

I’ve never been keen on the idea of spending a lot of money on prams. The idea of shelling out nearly £1,000 for a travel system makes me feel a little bit ill – although I appreciate for some people the pram is a massive deal. For me I’d rather spend that on, well, everything. If you take into account £300 odd on a car seat you can get most if not all the other things you need with the rest of that grand.

So when it came to choosing a pram for Alexandra we firstly used a second hand Hauck system (from good friends so we knew it was fine!) and then we purchased a Joie Nitro which has never let us down. It’s still going strong, we use it now if we only need a single and we’ll be buying Max one once Alexandra is too old for a pushchair.

So when my nephew Zachary was born and we decided to buy a double pram for Alexandra and him, I was won over by the Joie Twin Aire which Max now uses as well. It’s essentially two Nitros stuck together with some nifty reversible blue and pink inserts (I’m not bothered about gender colours and will happily reverse them if the kids want a different colour when they’re old enough to choose – you’d be amazed how often people still ask what gender the kid is though as if the blue pram insert and blue outfit isn’t giving the game away).

I’ll start with the cons because there are so few:
– It’s quite wide so often you’ll find doorways and shop aisles a little bit of a challenge. If you’re really worried about that then you might want to look at a different option which isn’t side by side.
– When you fold it down it needs to be lifted rather than dragged along because of the positioning of the basket. A minor point but at first we thought the basket was faulty because it sits so low and drags along the ground in the folded down position.

The pros:
– Each seat lies completely flat so it’s suitable from birth. We bought an insert off Amazon for Max just so it’d feel a little bit less roomy in there but I haven’t been using it when it’s been super warm. I’ve also slightly inclined him because of his reflux which works really well to allow him a comfortable sleep.
– It is so light weight. Once you add two children and all their stuff, it’s obviously fairly heavy but the pram itself isn’t bulky so it pushes and corners beautifully.
– The basket is massive. I can fit everything I need in it. The only slight drawback is if I pop the entire changing bag in there I need to have the seats upright to get it back out but I just take Max out first to save having to move his seat while he’s in it.
– The price. Lots of places do it for £120 but if you shop around some do it for £99 which is the price we got it for doing a price match at Mothercare. You can’t really complain about getting a double for less than £100!

Have you used a Joie? What do you think?

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Taking Two Under Two Out

Getting ready to leave the house is a day’s work in itself.

When Alexandra was tiny, leaving the house seemed like a massive feat, like a trauma that would surely involve tears (from both of us) and probably a poonami or two (hopefully just from her). Over time I gradually learned to become more confident about taking a tiny human being everywhere with me.

As most the time I’m going to fairly busy civilised places rather than travelling to the jungle or desert, I’ve learned you can pretty much always buy whatever you’ve forgotten or the baby’s ruined. Yes sometimes that’s meant buying an emergency pair of leggings from the supermarket or borrowing a nappy from a friend but clearly neither of those options are the end of the world.

What do you do if the baby cries? Well the simple answer is to have enough food on you to rule that out as the cause any time they cry and then to carry on like you would at home. Work your way through the list of possibilities until you stumble upon the correct one.

I quickly realised that everyone has run home in the rain having forgotten the pram cover, everyone has left a bottle top open and leaked liquid all over the change back, everyone has coped with a baby meltdown so bad they’ve just had to give the sorry eyes to anyone passing.

And then the game changed. I fell pregnant with number two. I then spent a lot of time worrying about how you could possibly take two out when there’s only one of you.

But just as I did with my first, you learn to adapt and you pick up tips along the way. Things like always ensuring you’ve got a snack for the toddler to have during baby’s feeds, even if they wouldn’t normally eat at that time, because they will get bored being strapped into the pushchair not moving for that length of time. Things like taking a blanket for the toddler so they don’t steal the baby’s because they will even if they don’t normally have one anymore. Things like what order to put them in and out of the car to avoid any issues.

Clearly I’m not perfect, I don’t have this parenting thing sorted just yet (does anyone?), mostly I’m just winging two under two. But my point is there is absolutely no need to worry. Parenting is suffocating at first but if you try to remain as calm as possible and not let the fear take over, you CAN get out of the house on your own. There is no need to be trapped. One day everything will click and you’ll look back and wonder why you worried. You got this!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Mother Of Two

The cutest little monkeys.

Being a mother of two is…
– Spending weeks thinking about what you’ll do when they both nap at the same time and then wasting it looking at instagram when it finally happens.
– Sometimes counting the ‘high point’ of your day as the time when the babies poo at the same time so you can use one nappy bag for both. Economic!
– Nodding and smiling nicely about 58 times a day when people tell you you’ve got your hands full.
– Trying to ram the double buggy through doors that aren’t wide enough, down aisles that it clearly doesn’t fit down and around people who have no concept of where it’s appropriate to stand and have a chat.
– Attempting to make important phone calls while feeding the baby, helping the toddler create a crayon masterpiece, eat your breakfast (at 2pm) and change somebody’s nappy.
– Wondering if you could squeeze into a nappy yourself so you save time having to go to the toilet.
– Being more tired than you ever knew possible but also more happy (had to throw a nice one in there cause I do really like my children!).
– Wondering if it looks twee or cute if you’ve accidentally matched the kids’ clothes but going with it anyway because changing one would be more hassle.
– Deciding if going to the loo, eating or sitting down for two minutes are the priorities. Deciding you can actually combine all three!
– Trying to stop the big one squashing the small one.
– Being tempted to write a Facebook bragging status when you get to the bottom of the laundry basket.
– Wondering how baby always has a bigger pile of clean clothing in each load than anyone else despite being much smaller than everyone.
– Deciding you’ll have bulging biceps in no time when you’re carrying round baby in his car seat and toddler at the same time.
– Trying to get both of them to look at the camera simultaneously just once.
– Feeling really responsible when you realise you’re in charge of two human beings.
– Giving yourself a mental high five when you get to the end of every day and they’re both still alive, fed and changed, even if they (and you and the house) are covered in sick, bogeys and food.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

21 Months and 2 Months Old

I thought I’d combine a monthly update for both children, mostly as Max turned two months on the 26th and Alexandra turned 21 months on the 29th so we’d have two similar posts on the trot otherwise. Also because once she turns two I’ll probably do less frequent updates about Alex so it seemed to make sense to do it this way.

Alexandra:

This little one’s personality seems to be growing every day, she’s full of sass and is much too smart for her own good. We’re definitely experiencing the full force of tantrums now but on the flip side she’s also very loving and caring. She’s delightful with her brother and loves giving kisses to everyone, whether it’s us or her teddies.

Her vocabulary is expanding daily with new words including star, heart and circle (there’s been a new focus on shapes in our house!), blue, spoon and efforts to say Max, car (sounds like dar) and moo (she says boo instead!). We’ve been doing a lot of counting but that mainly involves shouting the number two which is her favourite number by far.

Alex is excellent at pointing out different objects, animals and people in her books and particularly enjoys playing with her farmyard animal matching game (they played something similar at nursery and the staff were very impressed with what a whizz she was at it).

She’s getting much better at feeding herself and eats 95 per cent of her meals without assistance. Fruit is still one of her favourite things, although strawberries have overtaken bananas this month as her ultimate fave. Alexandra had her first proper fringe trim at the hairdressers this month, has spent loads of time in the garden and at the park, has lots of new books thanks to both nans and is still obsessed with stars, flowers, playing boo and saying hello into the phone (or any object she wants to pretend is a phone).

Max:

Little Maxi is now two months old although people still think he’s just a few days old when they see him for the first time. He was 7lb 8.5 on the 23rd and is still wearing newborn clothes. He began smiling at seven weeks old which we were really impressed by as we were told it could be six weeks after his due date (which would be when he’s 11 weeks).

He still loves his cuddles and is happy for ages lay on anyone’s chest. He’s also a very hungry boy and has around 120ml every three hours, a mix of expressed milk and Neocate. He now spends time in his bouncer and his baby gym and enjoys having new things to look at.

He adores his sister and spends a lot of time looking at her and listening to her. Max’s eyes are starting to go a lighter blue and his hair is still a mid brown and hasn’t started falling out yet. He’s still got the strong grip so many nurses and doctors commented on when he was first born and he’s much more active now, getting to grips with moving his arms and legs.

All in all, both of them are doing amazingly and we are super proud parents!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

A New Sibling

Alexandra talks Max through how to use his new baby gym.

Bringing a new sibling into the equation is always going to be tough. Whether you’re nine months or 19 years old, you’re going to be affected in some way if there’s suddenly a new tiny thing living in your house that demands attention 24/7 and gets loads of cuddles from not only your mom and dad but from all your visitors too.

But there are ways to minimise the green-eyed monster (although you’re always going to get one or two jealous moments!).

Alexandra was 18 months when her brother was born so her understanding of what was happening was fairly limited, although she obviously knew something was happening.

Before baby’s born:

– Keep them involved is my main advice. Alexandra came to some of my scans to see her brother on screen before his grand entrance. We showed her things we’d bought for baby, talked to her a lot about her brother and she spent a lot of time patting my tummy and talking to him through my belly button.
– Spend time with them. Sounds silly but it’s easy to get caught up in the pregnancy whirlwind and also to want to rest up as much as possible, especially in the third trimester. However I tried to use my pregnancy as a time for Alexandra and I to cement our bond and spend plenty of time playing, knowing my attention and time would be divided very soon.

Once baby arrives:

– Keep the status quo. Don’t switch up the older sibling’s routine to fit in with the baby, do the opposite if you can. For example we’ve incorporated Max into Alexandra’s existing bath and bedtime routine. We still eat meals at the same time, even if it means one of us has to cuddle or feed Max during dinner. We’ve been going out as much as we can and Alex has still been attending nursery even though I’m on maternity leave. So yes things are different now she’s got a brother, but we’ve tried not to turn her whole world upside down.
– Get them involved. Their age will dictate how involved they can be, but simple things like asking them to fetch a nappy and wipes for changing time, or helping them hold the bottle during feeding time, can help them feel like they’re doing a great job supporting you and bringing up their little sibling. Alex is chuffed whenever she gets praised for helping Max.
– Get visitors on board. Luckily our friends and family have been amazing about ensuring they give Alex plenty of fuss (does that phrase make her sound like a puppy?) when they come to our house, and many of them have brought a little something with them for her if they’ve been bringing a gift for Max which is incredibly sweet. Having people pay her plenty of attention means Alexandra doesn’t really get jealous when we have visitors.

I’m not painting the whole two under two, new baby, new sibling scenario out to be amazing and all rainbows and butterflies – but it is working out much better than I envisaged when we found out we were having a second baby. It helps that Alex is incredibly independent and has a good comprehension of lots of things we talk to her about – and that Max is a fairly chilled baby. But it also helps that we work as a team and ensure both of us spend time with both children. We’re getting the odd moment of jealousy but it’s so worth it to see the sweet moments where she holds his hand and kisses him, or the way she now hi fives him before bed as well as her dad and I.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Two Under Two Survival Tips

We’ve now been the owners of two children under the age of two for eight weeks. So far, so good in that all four of us have survived the experience and the children have at least been fed regularly. I’d like to offer up some advice based on the small amount of two under two experience I have under my belt for anyone utterly mad enough to sign up for the crazy experience that is the newborn/toddler combo experience:

– Consider becoming a Pampers shareholder or finding out if Aldi offer staff discount and joining their workforce. The amount of nappies we’ve got through is hideous.
– Save your voice by recording the following phrases and playing them on repeat to your toddler through the day: gentle, careful, no that’s the baby’s, give that back to the baby, please don’t tread on/kick/sit on the baby.
– Accept that everybody leaving the house in some form of clothing is a bonus. If the baby’s in their pyjamas, the toddler has banana in their hair and you have sick down your leggings then it’s fine. You made it out the house and that’s some sort of minor miracle considering the likelihood of someone needing to eat, drink, have their nappy changed, nap, have a tantrum or any combination of the above at any one point in time.
– Just don’t even bother attempting to nap. You probably discovered about a week in to life with baby 1 that sleeping when the baby sleeps is some sort of bullshit advice given to you when you’re pregnant to lull you into a false sense of security about how easy this is going to be. If the planets ever align and you find both of your children are napping at the same time then do not under any circumstances bother closing your eyes (not even a long blink) or, heaven forbid, lying down. They will know. They will both wake up within seven milliseconds even if they’ve only just gone to sleep. They will both begin crying like they’ve never cried before and you will have to choose which one of them to console first while praying the other doesn’t explode they’re crying so hard.
– As above, don’t bother starting to cook some food you intend to eat hot, getting the iron out or dialling someone’s number for a chat. The best you can hope for is you manage to speed eat a packet of crisps and half write a text that you’ve been meaning to send for the last week and will forget all about for at least another month before finally sending.
– Don’t be afraid to let other people do things. With baby 1 you might have been mildly possessive and insisted on doing EVERYTHING. Now you have two, if someone wants to assist in any way then thou shalt bite their hand off and be forever grateful. Whether this comes in the form of occupying toddler while you feed baby, making you a cup of tea or just having a cuddle with baby so you spend some time playing with your firstborn. If you can find someone willing to do nappies (thanks mom!) then consider holding them hostage in your house.
– Pick a child each and sort that one out. Regularly swap which child you each entertain, otherwise one of you will be on a constant feed, wind, nappy change cycle while the other is forced to talk on repeat about dogs, ducks and stars (current favourite in our house – I never noticed how many stars there are on everything until it was pointed out to me every day).
– Let Mr Tumble babysit. There’s no shame in plonking the toddler in front of the TV, having a cuddle with the baby and just not doing much for a while.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

20 Months Old

Alexandra has now reached the grand old age of 20 months old – just four months til the terrible twos arrive (but isn’t it nice that she’s been practising for about a year already!).

The main thing which has developed since her last update (which was actually at 18 months due to the early arrival of her little brother) is her speech. We’re now hearing her say new things every day and just this week examples have included star, Dipsy (while watching Teletubbies) and bubbles. She’s attempting to say brother and now regularly says words in context including night night, hat, hot, nana (for my mom and said more like narna for banana). Animal noises she can do are ack for a duck’s quack, sss for a snake, aaah for a lion and oooo for a cow.

Activities –

She loves her new game which involves matching the baby animal to its parent, is constantly playing hide and seek (with accompanying shouts of boo and giggles while she’s hiding). Alexandra’s favourite thing is being outdoors, whether she’s helping daddy plant flowers in the garden, running round the park or visiting a National Trust place or farm (these are a particular hit given her love of animals).

Other changes including becoming much more aware of when she’s got a dirty nappy (which makes me think I need to do more research about potty training for when the time comes), becoming OBSESSED with bananas (I’m talking up to four a day) and of course the main one has been becoming a big sister. I’m going to talk about that in its own post so I won’t dwell on it here but suffice to say we’ve been very pleasantly surprised at how great she’s been with Max on the whole.

She’s definitely got her own mind and sometimes can be very challenging, like every toddler, but she’s also now becoming much more loving – offering cuddles and kisses more often, she’s very funny and she’s so inquisitive and smart. Aside from the tired tantrums, she’s a delight to have around at the moment!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x