Life With a Toddler and Baby

So, you’ve had a baby – that baby has grown up, is now toddling around and would like a friend. So, you decide to have another baby.

They’ll grow up through life together and will always have someone to play with, talk to and confide in. It’s going to be wonderful…. Eventually. We hope. But initially, there will be…

So much laundry… and washing up

It is absolutely insane how much dirty washing these kids churn out. The toddler is generally covered in beans, milk, paints, stickers, and mud, while the baby is head to toe in human excretion of all kinds.

Sometimes they go through more than 3 outfits a day… each.

That’s six! Six outfits to add to the mountain of clothes. So, I tend to stick to the same pair of grotty dungarees all week just to avoid adding to it. And don’t even get me started on my husband… he wears a tie ONCE and chucks it in the laundry basket (or, next to the laundry basket) – a tie! How sweaty can your neck be?!

And then of course the washing up. As I’ve mentioned before in NO MORE JOBS, the washing up is the bane of my life. For one meal, the baby uses a colossal number of things:

  1. The blender – with all it’s stupid parts. When you have one baby, making your own purees is exciting, and you feel like Tom Kerridge with your inventive veg and fruit combos, but when you’ve got more than one – get a pouch from Sainos, mate. Stop trying to pretend you’re not getting a pouch when you’re definitely getting a pouch.
  2. The highchair – I hate it.
  3. The bib – As mentioned in NO MORE JOBS, if I didn’t care about the environment, I’d bin a bib after one use. I’d love a disposable bib. Covered in slimy, mashed banana… soggy bread… porridge lumps? I REALLY don’t fancy touching that and scooping it out. It’s rank. Get it in the bin (obviously I use re-usable bibs… mainly because I feel so guilty about the 50 nappies I dump each day).
  4. The standard bowls, cutlery, cups – also covered in lumpy, sloppy food, which has usually turned brown and manky because it’s waiting at the side of the sink for hours.
  5. Their body – The worst bit. You have to wipe their face, which they hate, and then you see that they’ve got bits of broccoli in every orifice, in between their toes, clumped in their hair and lining their eyelashes.
  6. The floor – Don’t get me started on the floor.

You wash all those things after each meal, so multiply that by three, and then a few more times if you have fancy snacks. The toddler is very similar, especially if they have cereal. So, double all of that again. So bare minimum, you’re clearing food off 36 things each day. Bare min.

And then there’s me… I’ll eat it straight from the pan with my hands and drink water from the tap. If my husband thinks he’s getting a plate and cutlery, he’s having a laugh. Get over here and eat from the pan with me, and lean over, I can’t be doing with your crumbs, mate.

So much poo

I swear to you, their bowel movements are in sync, like cohabiting women and their periods.  

My toddler likes to hold my hand while he defecates on the potty, and the baby, well, he has to wait, which usually means it spills out the edge of his nappy and seeps down his leg. He’s also 9 months old, so trying to get him to lie still on the changing mat, is a challenge for The Cube. Poo will smear everywhere… unless Mo Farah is on the case.

And if you decide the toddler isn’t going to poo and you can change the baby, chances are, while you’re changing the baby, the toddler will poo, but you can’t abandon your station. So, they either just poo in their pants, or successfully poo on the potty, but then sit on as many things as they can afterwards, equating in more poo smears. Either way, you’re gonna be cleaning up so much poo.

So much crying

When one starts, the other joins in. Either because it’s so upsetting watching your sibling cry, or because they know that if they cry too, they get in on that sweet attention. If they’re both pooing and crying, just give up. Call in reinforcements.

If you’re out of the house and they’re both crying because they want to be held rather than walk or be in the stroller, you may need to adopt the totem pole method (see image above).

So much to do

You may get the odd five minutes to stop doing jobs, but until they are both down for the night, it’s a constant cycle of:

Prepping meals – offering snacks – giving drinks – holding hands while they poo – changing nappies – playing – nap times – consoling cuddles – taming tantrums – soothing bumps – cleaning their bodies.

As soon as you’ve completed one, there’s at least one more job that’s waiting for you.

If you decide you want to take them out somewhere… by yourself… Really think about whether that’s necessary. Stop. Wait a second. Do you have to? Can you get someone to help you?  

Need groceries? Get a Delivery. Don’t even bother with Click and Collect – you still need to get them in the car for that.

Want to take them to the play park? Buy loads of plastic stuff on Marketplace and turn your outdoor space into a run-down pub garden. They’ll love it.

Want to go out for a walk? Do laps of your living room.

Want to take them out for lunch? Don’t. Make. Me. Laugh.

Need a haircut? Try out a YouTube tutorial.

Want to take them to the farm? Pop them in the garden with a spoon and an empty butter tub and get them to find some woodlice. Lovely stuff.

Want to see the Grandparents? Good idea.

But there will also be…

So much fun

Once you get past the newborn phase, the fun will begin. The toddler will figure out that if they flare their nostrils, widen their eyes and say ‘guuuuuuuu’ it will make the baby giggle. So, instead of needing you to sing ‘Ba Ba Black Sheep’ on repeat in the car for 20 minutes, a good old game of ‘guuuuuuu’ will be happening in the back seats, and you don’t need to play.

When the stars align and no one needs anything, you can all play together. Granted the games aren’t the best, but Peekaboo can really be entertaining if you commit to it. You can have a good dance around the living room and even give Hide and Seek a go. You’ll find that everyone is hiding with no seeker on every occasion, but it’s a start.

Once the baby begins crawling a whole world of games opens. With an imaginative toddler and a crawling baby, they can play “dogs”, or “cats”, or “cows”, or literally any other 4-legged animal right up until one of them cries. It’s super lush to watch, and they are genuinely having a wonderful time together, even though the baby has no idea what’s going on.

So much love

Too much love to handle. Especially when they interact, or play, or if the toddler starts showing affection or protection over the baby. Sometimes after a pooing/crying event, I’ll be caught up in a smothering hug with them both and my heart will explode. Having more than one person depending on you for everything, is hard, but when you’ve got them bundled in your arms and you know that everything you do is keeping them surviving and thriving – it makes it all worth it.

When they turn to each other for comfort, or fun, or just because that’s the natural thing to do, you know that they love one another – they’re family, and you gave that to them. A parent’s love doesn’t divide with the more children you have, it multiplies, but it is still impossible to give each of your kids undivided attention, so every now and then you may get a pang of guilt for not being able to do that but remember that they’ll get that extra bit of attention from each other.

And one day, without being asked, your toddler might say, ‘I love you,’ to their baby sibling and then you’ll feel like your insides are dancing, you’ve completed parenthood and you’ve won every event in the Olympics.

Life with a toddler and a baby is relentless, overwhelming, exhausting and all consuming. All good words, I know. But it is also, heart-warming, funny and super wonderful. When I look back on these days, I will be very glad they’re over, but also not glad at all. It’s the nature of the beast I suppose.

Published by RaisingBoys

I’m Kelly. I’m 34 and I am a primary school teacher (when I’m not mumming). I live in a thin, tall house with my thinnish, quite tall husband and two beautiful boys. I love writing, and am trying to keep it up so I can keep a piece of me.

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