Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Two kiddos. You wouldn’t think that caring for two kids would be that much more difficult than taking care of one. After all, it is just one more. Right? One more hand to hold. One more mouth to feed. One more boo boo to kiss. Piece of cake! Well come to find out…I was wrong! Yeah, real wrong! Let me just say kudos to all the mommies of huge families! If you have a quiver full of young arrows and your sanity, I tip my hat to you, Mama!
Just when I figured out life with baby #1, who has since turned into a rambunctious little toddler, God put in our care Baby #2. And boy do I love these girls! I love them all the way to the moon and back again! I would give anything to ensure they are taken care of. I would die protecting them. They are my world! But let’s face it, the best things in this life don’t come easy. I found that out the day my hubby went back to work leaving me outnumbered.
Little Miss was 20 months when we brought home Baby Boo. I love the fact that I get to mother two sisters who are close in age. I hope they will grow into good life-long friends. But for the time being…
poopy diapers and potty training…
spit up and two year molars…
toddler defiance and sleepless nights…
picky eating and upset tummies…
a toddler who knows nothing beyond the life of an only child and a baby who needs nursing….
Why do they always wait until the exact same moment to cry? Aye!
Well, I thank the good Lord for my fellow mama friends…especially the ones who have children slightly older than mine and have “been there.”
Mama’s of small children always have their hands full. They are most often exhausted at the end of the day. I’m quite certain no single piece of advice will ever change that. It is the nature of this stage. However, there is one piece of advice that I did find to be quite helpful! Let me share it with you.
Care for your baby. Involve your toddler in everything!
This made all the difference in the world! New babies require lots of time! As do toddlers….especially when they are acting out because mama doesn’t have near as much time and attention to give. Don’t get me wrong. We are all still tired at the end of the day, but we are also a lot happier at the end of the day! Much less fussing! And I was pleasantly surprised to find all the ways Little Miss really could be helpful! Not to mention, all the things she was learning along the way. And I really enjoyed her company too!
Here are a few of the ways I found to get my little helper involved:
In a perfect world I would make it out of bed before both my babies. Sleepless nights don’t always make that a reality. So while I am getting ready for the day, I let Little Miss get herself ready for the day. She will brush her hair. Splash her face with water. And sometimes getting ready involves her brushing teeth for 10 minutes. She loves it! She loves feeling like a big girl when she pulls her stool over to the sink and reaches her toothbrush and toothpaste all by herself. And yes, I let her brush as long as she wants. Buys me a little more time for putting myself together for day…and sometimes this even involves *gasp* make-up!
This is also teaching her that it is important to take good care of our bodies every day.
And then on to the chores.
I try to complete one load of laundry every morning. Wash. Dry. Fold. Put away. Laundry is for sure not in my top ten. So keeping the mountain from growing too big is important to me. I sort and Little Miss tosses into the water. She actually gets excited to come and help. Mostly because of her fascination with water. But nonetheless, she brings her own stool and everything!
She also likes to pull laundry out of the dryer. I can’t tell you how much I loved this help while being full-term and huge enough that bending over hurt!
I have attempted to teach her to fold some small things like dish clothes, but we’re not quite there yet. However sometimes while I fold laundry, she gets another job.
In our tiny apartment, we store the toilet paper on a shelf above the washing machine. So conveniently, I can fold towels and give her one roll of tp at a time to stock our bathroom…which is right around the corner. If I really want to keep her busy, I just keep giving her more and let her stack a little white tower!
Oh! And laundry wouldn’t be complete without putting it all away.
I try to keep her clothes organized where I can easily find what I need. However, the bottom drawer is all jammies and tutus. So she puts these away without any assistance from mama. Again, to keep her busy, I will give her one pair at a time. Oh the day when she learns it’s more effective to take them all in one trip!
We also try to get the kitchen all cleaned up in the morning. I do as much as possible the night before. But there are always dishes to be put away and breakfast dishes to be washed. No dishwasher for us in our tiny spaces. Being the messy chef I am…I burn a substantial amount of my days calories washing dishes! I digress.
Anyway, my little helper likes to “wash” dishes too. And splash. And dump. And pour. Playing in the sink was never an option because I didn’t want to clean up all the puddles that would follow that fun. However, she likes to play in the sink so much, that she obeys when mama says not to dump the bowl of soapy water all over her head. She knows that her aquatic fun will come to an abrupt end if she doesn’t follow the simple rules.
And this keeps her happy for quite a while!
The most difficult time for us has been getting dinner on the table. Kiddos are getting bored, tired, and hungry. And mama can’t always drop what she’s doing to help the fussing stop. Yeah, some foods are so insensitive like that! Like the blackened garlic bread or the scalded cheese sauce. Ugh!
However, she rarely complains when she gets to join in the fun.
Here we are making chocolate oats for daddy. Most of this ended up in a certain little tummy. But hey..it’s oats! Most mama’s battle their kids to eat oats!
Flour is the most fun!!!
Oh! And sometimes we dress up to help bake!
Sadly Little Miss doesn’t like being photographed! No warning next time.
Disclaimer: when a two year old assists with baking and cooking there will be a mess. However the thirty minutes she was occupied and happy was well worth the extra five it took me to clean up the mess.
Then on to other tasks.
Little Miss doesn’t really enjoy drawing or coloring so much. However, when mama sits down to make a grocery list or work on the budget, she likes to work on hers too.
It’s good for her to see print on my list. She will sometimes try to make some of the letters on her own little grocery list!
And finally, she is learning to help take care of her little sister.
This is not her little sister. But while mama is busy taking care of little sis, she cares for penguin. We talk about dirty diapers and hungry tummies. She is learning that babies have needs. She even tries to trouble shoot when her little sister is fussy. She likes to get her paci for her and bring her lovey. She will bring toys and even show sis her books.
These are just a few of the ways I have tried to involve Little Miss in all that I do. I love that she is learning and she is happy. When given the choice to work on chores with mama or play with her toys, she always chooses to work along side me. For her it is not work. And that inspires me! She is a great little companion.
So thanks to that amazing friend for such simple yet effective advice!
What are some ways you have found to involve your kiddos?