This last week my little Ollie turned ONE! I can’t believe my little baby has already reached this significant milestone, it seems like yesterday I was as big as a house getting ready to birth him and feeling all sorts of crazy emotions in the lead up to that special day. I remember feeling anxious for how my relationship with Benjamin was going to change, a little bit nervous for the birth and how I would feel with my decisions around that, grateful that I had such incredible support around me from my husband, family and friends, and I guess, a feeling that this bittersweet moment would pass and before I knew it we’d be celebrating a birthday.
I was mentally prepping myself for everything I knew was coming: latching and breastfeeding, broken sleep for months on end, baby acne and bum rashes, sweet smelling baby cuddles, first smiles and little giggles. But oh gosh there was a whole lot more on the way! I have discovered what it is like to #momitup, and I mean, really. Managing a baby and a young toddler is a whole new ballgame, and even though I’ve always said doing all the baby stuff was far easier the second time round, being needed by two little ones at the same time can be seriously challenging.
Thank HEAVENS for babywearing! How I would have managed without this parenting gift is beyond me!
So this year has truly been a one of pulling together as a family, of learning to give, give and give some more, of learning to really just let go (just leave the mashed oatees in the carpet and the used wipes on the table, go outside and play in the garden or read a story instead), of enjoying some truly epic adventures and mountain hikes as a family of four, of being committed to breastfeeding in a whole lot of new ways, of not being as strict as I was as a first-time mom (think sterilising, no sugar, no TV, bedtimes on the hour!) and of really thanking God for the utter privilege and blessing it is to have two little ones who I love to the end of the earth.
And now we’ve made it to one year of two. My home decor hasn’t changed much this year, my wine rack ebbs and flows, I would love a new wardrobe, and I would so enjoy a quiet sleep in till 8.30 on a Saturday. BUT, we have immeasurable special moments and memories in the love bank!
And now, Oliver Finn is officially one which means he is now classified as a ‘little toddler’! I am a little heartsore that my baby is growing up, but I plan to hold onto his babyhood as long as I can because he’s very much 99% our last one. Ben suddenly seems so big at 3 and a half but then I catch myself and realise he’s still so little and I have the time to hug and cuddle them close until they’re cool and 8 years old and don’t need mom’s kisses as much anymore.
It’s in these moments I think back to my own childhood and now know my own parents went through these emotions. #allthefeels
So all I can say to parents who are embarking on growing their families, a few things to remember:
- Don’t try control everything, try let moments happen organically; you’ll be amazed
- Stick to the things you know you can do well; if making your own baby food seems too daunting then just buy it. Seriously
- Switch off the mom guilt and switch off anywhere you see it – it’s not worth the angst!
- Find moms who are in the same space as you to hang out and compare notes with – ie: two or more kids!
- Get outside and do things as a family: a stroll in the greenbelt, a hike up the mountain, a weekend away – it will cement you together
- Take lots of photos! Take videos! Make sure you capture your second’s new life as much as your first
- Write in your second child’s baby book (don’t forget)
- Do special things one-on-one with each child, especially make sure your toddler feels individually cared for
- Get a calendar up in your kitchen and organise your life: meals, menus, packing, grocery lists, school bags – you’ll thank me later
- Make sure your partner is comfortable having both kids for a short while on his own; you need a break too
- Cuddle in bed as a family of four, it’s really the best
And this is my rambling Friday night message / story / advice. Here’s to embarking on the combined toddler and pre-school years; I can imagine a whole lot of crazy beautiful is coming my way.
And one day I will return to home design, interiors and DIY! PLEASE!