Currently our household is busier than ever. Our 2 1/2 year old is learning and exploring every day and our 8 1/2 month old learned how to scoot around last week. We are constantly on the go now. I have learned some things in the last 8 months that have helped our household run relatively smoothly. We rarely have break downs, we rarely have temper tantrums thrown and we maybe have to do time out once every few weeks. How does our house run so smoothly? This is how...
From day one, I made sure they take naps at the same time. We are still doing this. She naps in the morning for about 30 minutes to an hour and they both go down around 1. Now, my son does not always nap. He's getting older and there are days where he is just less tired. But mommy still needs a break. So he still has to go to his room and we call these "taking a break". He knows that he doesn't have to nap but he does have to stay in his room and play quietly on his bed with his books or his one puzzle until I come and get him. This ensures that he is still getting rest even if its not sleep and it gives me time to regroup for the second half of our day.
We play together..a lot. I spend a good part of my day on the floor with both kids. I let them play individually, I let them play together and I let them play with me. They take turns being in my lap or on me. This has done a few things for us. It has let them get to know each other and play together, its letting them be independent and it allows them both to have equal play time with me. We have never had a jealousy issue in this house. And as they get older, I want that to remain the same. I want them both to know that I have all the time in the world for both of them if they need me.
Along with playing together, we also do everything else together. And I mean everything! We eat together (she is in a high chair and he stands on a step stool so he can see the island countertop and eats from there). We go grocery shopping together (he rides in the cart and she rides in the moby wrap with me). They bathe together. We change diapers together. EVERYTHING! Because we do this, my kids have bonded early on in ways that I didn't think would happen until later. And they have learned how to "deal" with each other. By this I mean, when my son does throw a tantrum, my daughter rarely reacts, when she's upset, he has concern for her, but he doesn't lose it too. I think for us, by doing everything together, my kids know that each of them will not always have good and happy moments. So they aren't affected by the tantrum. This helps us tremendously have a quiet and happy home where two children aren't throwing temper tantrums together.
And in saying that, I still give each child enough time with me. I cuddle my daughter a lot in the mornings because that is when my son is the most active and playing on his own. Then after my daughter goes to bed (which is about an hour to an hour and a half before my son), I cuddle with him. We do have some days where X needs more attention or O needs more attention. On those days, we just cuddle as much as we can and stagger it as best we can to make them both feel happy and content.
I have said this before and I will say it again...SCHEDULE, SCHEDULE, SCHEDULE! We stick to a schedule around here. They eat, nap and go to bed around the same times every day. We give ourselves 30-40 minutes give because one or both my sleep late, or take a longer nap. Because my kids know that their needs and wants will be met for the day (food, sleep, rest, play time, cuddle time), then I can pretty much go anywhere and run any errand in my windows that I need to or want to and they go, happily.
Everything doesn't always go as planned around here and there are days where we are planning to go to the park and then one or both kid gets needy and we can't go. We can go to the park and mall and so forth if both kids are having a good day, but if they're clingy, then we have to skip because I don't have enough strength to hold them both. But those days are few and far between. My advice, is to use the first 6-8 weeks with kids number two to see how everyone adapts, then you plan your life and schedule around them both. O didn't take a morning nap for the longest time. She only took one long afternoon nap a day. So up until she was 5 months old, we did a lot of our playing outside, errands and so forth in the morning. But then, she started getting too tired and needed that nap. So things changed again. Our schedule often changes, but once we know how it needs to change, we change it and stick to it for as long as it works. In the fall, X will start a mothers day out two days a week, so our schedule will change again. Changing a schedule isn't a big deal around here because my kids have learned to go with the flow because I have learned to read them and meet what they need for the day. So for now, we have a peaceful and happy home with two very fun and active, growing kids!