Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Reflections on having a second child...

Here are my "reflections" to date about having a second child. I would love to hear any other advice/tips other moms have as well. Please feel free to comment.

- Two babies means I'm outnumbered and I'm pretty sure I could use a second set of arms. Why is it that both babies think they need to cry at the same time or they both need to be held at the same time? I agree with Mindi Greene when she told me one day that moms should be given additional arms when a new little one is born and they could just fall off at some point during their second year of life. But, I'm pretty sure Mindi needs about 10 arms with all her kiddos!

- All babies are certainly different. I remember when Taylor Joy was born coercing her to take the pacifier. She caught on pretty easily and enjoyed it. We enjoyed the silence. When other moms would talk about their baby not liking the pacifier I thought maybe they just hadn't been diligent enough with it. Not so. As diligent as I have been Beckett he still isn't a fan of the plug. He enjoys the funny-looking hospital one sometimes, but other times acts like he just tasted a sour pickle or like he's going to gag. Not just that, but many other things have reminded us that babies are certainly individuals.

- Child # 1 should have a good grasp on entertaining herself. When it comes time to feed the new baby this is key. If you are soon welcoming your second child into the world, you could encourage this by having playtime in her room at certain times in the day where she stays in there until you come get her. Taylor isn't horrible at this but I feel like we could have been way more prepared.

- Child # 1 will want to be your big helper, especially in regards to the new baby. Think of ways and create ways for her to help. It will make whatever you are doing take longer and the job may not get done perfectly, but she will feel like she has helped and begin to learn how things are done. After she has helped let her know what a blessing it is to you and how much you appreciate her. Some things Taylor helps with are: going to get diapers or wipes, putting the diaper away, putting things in the hamper or trashcan, getting a blanket or burp rag, helping to burp the baby, getting his pacifier, etc.

- I often have to remind myself that a clean house and gourmet dinner just aren't a possibility these days. I need to nap when they nap because most of the time I'm exhausted from having a broken up night of rest in addition to them wearing me out during the day. It makes me sad sometimes (because I absolutely LOVE it when my house is clean), but I know that this phase won't last forever. Soon Taylor Joy will be helping me cook and do things around the house and I have an amazing husband who endures (really, enjoys!) mac and cheese dinners and leftovers many nights.

- When both kiddos are crying and I'm doing what I can to the best of my ability it really helps to just start singing. Seriously. They at least both stop crying for a second and then it gives me a peaceful state of mind to deal with them. A favorite this week is "Holy Holy Holy", a wonderful hymn with powerful words.

Okay, I know this post is getting long. I'm proud of you if you made it this far. I'm sure if you made it this far you are either a mommy or a mommy-to-be! I know I did this when Taylor Joy was born, but I want to do it again now that I have more perspective with two children. Here are some products that I totally recommend. Some have changed from when Taylor Joy was born and some are definitely still my favorite. Moms feel free to comment on your favorites...I really want to hear and I know other do too!

Here they are in no particular order:

OxiClean Spray - to get out poop stains, spit up stains and breast milk stains. Gets the job done. This is probably the only product that is MUST have. The others go in the "really nice to have" category.

Ultimate Crib Sheet - we now have two and Taylor Joy still uses hers. I have it attached to her toddler bed even though it doesn't fit as perfectly as the crib. This is key for middle of the night leaks. I can't tell you how much time this has saved me.

Huggies Supreme diapers for the first few weeks- they have a little cutout for the umbilical cord. It's wonderful! Instead of having to fold it down or have it rub on the stump, you're good to go. How thoughtful. Thanks, Huggies.

Super Sling - I have to give props to Rachel who made my sling for me. Not only is it so hip, but Beckett loves it in there. When he is fussy and I've tried everything else, popping him in that sling does wonders. The baby Bjorn also has a similar effect, it's just not as hip.

Nursing cover - Rachel makes these too! I love mine and especially loved it when he was first born and we were having all sorts of family and visitors at our house. I didn't have to leave the room to nurse or feel ackward trying to cover myself with a little blanket. It worked wonderfully for that and if I ever leave the house and have to nurse it will be perfect.

Womb sounds bear - Beckett seems to love this thing. I'm sure it reminds him of the womb and of my heartbeat. It stays on for 30 minutes and then cuts off while he's already asleep. It's really soft too and has velcro to attach to the crib.

Miracle blanket - This is really cool. Taylor Joy always wiggled out of a swaddle but this is pretty much like a straight jacket. I would absolutely hate it, but babies seem to love it. Beckett does. It often calms him down when he's fussy and he sleeps on his back in it without startling himself and waking up.

Okay moms, jump in! What does it for your baby? What things can you not live without? I want some comments from those wise mommies out there!


  1. This is all such good stuff!

    What a beautiful mommy you are, Kendra!

    You bring such joy to me!

    You are right...let me encourage you...the house can wait. I LOVE my house getting to be clean, and making yummy, make people rave meals...but that hasn't always been a possibility.

    That time will come again...SOONER, believe it or not, than you will even like!

    Allen and your kids will enjoy having a rested, loving, patient wife and mom MORE than a yummy meal and clean house with a grumpy wife and mother.

    You are doing so well!

  2. Thanks for the reality check about having two! I need to work on the whole "playing by yourself" thing for Josiah.

    I'm really glad you are enjoying the sling! I saw you wearing it a church a few weeks ago and hoped it was working well for you.

  3. I want to echo your love for the Miracle Blanket and slings! I did both of these with both of my girls. I will say that there isn't anything that compares to the actual miracle blanket. Other swaddling devices don't hold a candle to how good the Miracle Blanket is.

    Every new mom should know about swaddling and slinging their babies. It can make a fussy baby less fussy (as in the case with my KK) or an easy baby even easier (as in the case with Laney Rae).

    I use the Hot Sling but I think yours is made very similar in design. These are great when you have another little one out of the sling.

    One thing I love is my Combi Cosmo DX stroller. I needed a full size yet compact stroller for Laney Rae. And I found this one. I absolutely LOVE it. It folds into the size of an umbrella stroller and you can carry it over your shoulder like a purse. I don't have the carrier but I will be investing in this for our next baby since ours will be very old and worn at that point:).

    Thanks for sharing!

    This is posting under Jason, but it's really me!

  4. Kendra,
    I read your post last night - thanks for the great tips! As a mom-to-be, the "must have" suggestions are great! In fact, I'm in the middle of doing my baby registry today, so will be anxiously checking your blog comments today to see what other moms-in-the-know recommend. Post away ladies! :)


  5. You are so amazing Kendra!

  6. If you can get them both to nap at the same time, you got it made.
    When Alex was a baby, I would put him down and then Michael would fight taking his nap for several hours, just as he would doze off...Alex would wake up.
    Oh and by all means, you should nap too.

  7. I love your singing tip! I love to sing and always do but never when I'm stressed. I'm gonna try this!

    I'd have to say the sling or the moby wrap are my absolute favorite baby products and a necessity when you have more than one.

  8. This is one topic I am MOST interested in these days - the transition from one to two! While we have three more months to go, I found that music, and going outside, were always automatic problem solvers when my brain just shut down. Music is so healing to children. And going for walks...I think all our world's problems could be solved if our leaders would go on walks outside together! I'd love to hear your tips about how you encourage TJ to play solo in her room. I guess I need to proactively start doing that now with Dominic. He always wants to be with me, so I'm not sure how to help him with this....

  9. Julia-

    I totally agree about being outside! Something about just stepping out your doors makes babies suddenly peaceful!

    As for Dominic playing on his own...I would recommend telling him to play in his room for a set time everyday, maybe starting with 10 minutes then working up to 30 minutes as he gets more accustomed to it, making sure there is plenty to play with in there. Of course, you have to make it seem fun and he probably won't think it is at first if he's anything like Taylor, but you'll either go through the fussing now or you'll go through it later when the new baby comes along.

    I would also set aside specific "Dominic time" with him now and continue it when the baby comes. Time when it is just the two of you doing something he really enjoys where you can give him undivided attention.

    The one thing that has been a great help with Taylor was getting her a "baby" of her own. When I am rocking Beckett, she rocks her Emmy. When I am burping Beckett, she burps Emmy, etc. I'm not sure if boys would be into this though...Nonetheless, a NEW distraction of some kind when the new baby arrives is a great help while you are trying to nurse, etc.

    I think the MOST important thing is that Dominic feel loved by you. If he is secure in your love then he won't feel he needs to fight for your affections. Julia, you are going to do a WONDERFUL job and if you ever need any help just let me know! Dominic could come over an play with Taylor Joy anytime you need some time alone with the new baby.

  10. Anonymous4:47 PM

    I actually read your blog post a while ago and have just now come back to comment. I LOVE to have a clean house, but I have to had to let go of so much of that and SO much of my pride. College girls from LH have SAVED MY LIFE a hundred times by coming over and doing big cleaning projects for/with me. Think of things that you always WANT to get done, but just can't quite ever seem to get to. Bring in some girls to do that thing. You'll be amazed how wonderful it feels for you and for them. They'll have fun!

    Also, I used to keep a basket of books and a basket of toys that were ONLY used during the times I sat down to nurse a baby. Whatever child was 2 at the time would come and sit by me with their basket of books one time and their basket of toys the next, etc. I was able to read to them while I nursed the baby. With the toys, they were usually excited to see those toys and would play for most of the time close by me. You can switch out the toys once a week or whatever works for you. Just be sure you put those baskets away when you're done, so those are occasional things, not always available.

    My must-have baby item was always the little chair with toys attached. We called it the bouncy seat, but I don't know what they're really called. I loaned it out after Hannah was done with it and have never seen it since. I was so sad I didn't have it with these last two! The chairs I see now aren't quite as bouncy and my kids haven't like the vibrating features on anything.

    It usually takes me about 3 months to get the hang of getting out of the door on time with everything we need. When we made the jump from four to six children suddenly, I had to truly pack everything the night before, fill up sippy cups, lay out clothes, and so forth. Hannah has to have her diabetes bag everywhere we go, so I have two diaper bags and her bag to pack for each church service. Mark and I have always said that the jump from two children to three children was the hardest, but every transition has its major challenges.

    Another thing I've experienced is that having a 14 month age difference between Camille and Andre was the first time I've dealt with the big jealousy issue. Camille did not like sharing me at all for a couple of months. I tried to make sure that it wasn't always me holding the baby and everyone else tending to Camille. I need her to see my empty arms waiting for her at times, too. It sounds like you're doing a fabulous job of making Taylor Joy feel just as loved and special as always.

    Thank you for such a wonderful post!


  11. I have a little different perspective on the 2 children. Mine were at the same time instead of having a little older child and a new baby, but I can see where there are some similarities.

    Products I swear by:

    Miracle Blanket: We used these for about the first month until they could weasel their arms out, but they were wonderful while they lasted. Once they wouldn't swadldle anymore, I figured out they slept like a rock on their stomachs one morning at 2 a.m.! Been doing so ever since, and they turned out okay!

    Gas Drops: The Target brand is much cheaper and works the same as other leading brands. We used these until they were able to sit up.

    Bouncy Seats: These were a lifesaver; I would load them up, turn on the vibrator and place them in the bathroom so Mommy could take a shower! Usually, they would fall asleep, but if they got fussy, turning on the hairdryer always did the trick.

    Swings: My two loved to swing, especially in the ones that go from side to side instead of front and back. This is how Emmy went to sleep a lot of nights (when we still rocked them to sleep).

    Jumperoo/Exersaucer: If you have boys, get one of these! Caleb is a jumping maniac...he even tries to jump when you hold him now.

    Music: We played music on a little CD player whenever they would take a nap/go to bed. This helped to soothe them. We tried Baby Einstein, but the one they love best is Sing Over Me, Worship Songs and Lullabies. The songs are wonderful, and it puts me to sleep too!

    I'm sure there are other things, but my brain can't remember right now!

    I don't get much cleaning done either, just necessities like laundry and dishes. My wonderful husband does all the vacuuming.

    I didn't keep them on the same schedule either when they were younger (once my mom left to go back to work). All the twin moms I know insisted that I had to keep them on the same schedule, but this worked for me. I was able to spend quality time with one and get them fed while the other was still asleep. Then by the time I would get that one back to sleep, the other would just be getting up. Of course, when I was doing this, they were sleeping through the night, so I was not very sleep deprived. The Lord blessed us with some good sleeping babies!

    I sing to them if they get fussy and cry at the same time. It takes them off guard and quiets them for a bit until I can get them both where they need to be (I can carry both at the same time, but getting them up into my arms at the same time is a little challenging!).

    Now that they are older (a year old on Tuesday, Feb 19!!!!), they are on the same schedule. They wake up together and play in their cribs, eat together, play together in their huge playpen, nap together and go to bed together. When I need to change a diaper or do something with one, I'll drop the other twin in the other crib, and they think it's cool and play with the mobiles or other cuddlies that are in there.

    We don't know what the Lord has in store for us as far as more children, but when we find that out, I may need advise for having 2 kids and a new baby!!



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