Embracing the mess

 
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How we spent much of our Wednesday

So I’m officially on day 3 of solo parenting two under two and the good news is that everyone is still alive, fed and washed.

Yesterday was my first 100% on my own day with no visit from my mom, and I’m not going to lie, parts were really tough. The trickiest parts of our days so far are the beginning and end, mostly because at these times both of the babies need things and need me.

In the morning it’s trying to navigate how to wake up, do two diaper changes (and often clothing changes as well since one or both has inevitably peed or pooed on his or her pajamas) and feed Bobby while also getting Ryland breakfast (one might think the toddler could wait to eat until after the baby but you have never met my toddler). There’s a lot of going back and forth, a lot of trading off who is complaining the loudest, and I’ve realized that second children are just going to be slightly neglected compared to first (which probably makes them slightly more mellow and easy going for life). Sometimes the baby just has to be put down even if that’s not what he wants, and unlike when Ryland was a newborn, even though I don’t like him to cry, I know it’s okay if he has to for few minutes while I put peanut butter on an English muffin.

I knew evenings would be hardest because they were already hard just with Ryland, and they definitely have been tough. Yesterday especially both babies were cranky from like 3 onward. Bobby wanted to cluster feed and unlike when Ryland was a baby I can’t just camp out in a comfy chair with the TV on and nurse for hours, unless I want to teach Ryland how to use the oven and give herself a bath (I’ll wait until she’s at least 2 for that).

We managed to get through it but both kiddos definitely just had to take turns fussing (or screaming occasionally) while I tended to the other one. Thankfully the sling helps out in these moments, especially for things like bath time.

There may have also been a lot of TV time involved. And I am all for limiting screen time, but that’s a nice thing to say in hypothetical terms and another to actually do when it’s winter and you have a newborn and a toddler and can’t really leave your house. So for now we’re just going to need a little Peppa Pig and Moana in our lives to all stay sane.

But even though there have been tricky moments, it is nice in some ways to start to find a new routine, and some things haven’t been as hard as I feared. Ryland overall has done pretty well, even cooped up inside. There have been some casualties due to the times when I’m nursing and can’t follow her around to monitor every move.

Our once fully decorated Christmas tree now looks like this:

And this morning Ryland decided to decapitate a shepherd.
She also drew a mural on one of walls with black pen. And random things keep going missing from our room or bathroom whenever she’s in there alone (I’m convinced one day we will find a giant stash of moisturizer bottles and ties in some secret lair of hers).

Parenting two under two isn’t easy. There are a lot of moments where it can feel impossible. Like when I had to chase Ryland around the house while nursing simultaneously because she decided to chew on a rock. Or the ten (TEN) stinky diapers I changed yesterday in the span of 12 hours. Or the moments when my toddler randomly decides to throw things at her baby brother (water bottles, pennies, my phone) when she gets frustrated at his crying. Or all the times I feel that good old intense mom guilt because I can’t be 100% there for either baby, always having to divide my attention in two now.

It’s an adjustment. And we’re all doing our best. And sometimes our best means we don’t wear real pants all day (or any pants) and watch Moana on a loop and eat ritz crackers with peanut butter for lunch and pancakes for dinner. And that’s okay. It’s freeing in some ways, to be forced to let go of any attempt at perfectionism, to have no choice but to embrace chaos.

There’s a whole lot of beauty and love in this mess we’ve created. This mess is mine and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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