This first guest post is from Casey over at Half as Good as You, and I am so lucky to have here today. Her babes are about 16 months apart - mine are about 17. Her blog assures me that having children this close together is completely insane, exhausting, and ear-shattering but never dull and, if you have a good sense of humor and aren't afraid to laugh at a little baby shit in your eye, it can even be fun. So here is a little advice on parenting two from Casey. Oh, and Casey, if you think that 1,000 miles is going to keep me from taking you up on your babysitting offer, you are sadly mistaken.
I’m honored to be posting over here while Jenni is popping out her second kid. I feel like I should be simultaneously holding one of her legs and telling her to push while I type this sentence. I’m pretty sure Nelson has that area covered so I’ll stick to the blogging part since I’m sure Jenni will be more comfortable pushing if she knows someone is holding down the blogging fort. Hey, I’d even offer to watch Oscar if it would help but the commute to FL might be a tad much for the little guy to handle.When Jenni asked me to guest post, she suggested I give advice on bringing home baby number two. I think I actually laughed out loud when I read that. You see, my kids are a week short of sixteen months apart. They’re currently seven and twenty-three months old and we’re BARELY surviving. I’ll give it a shot though, here are some thoughts on bringing home baby number two:
When I was pregnant with Elliot (my youngest), we noticed that my son Graham had somehow turned into a grabby, selfish clepto. He would cruise by and grab ANYTHING out of our hands and claim it for himself. I’m talking about things he never even cared about before, a shoe or a spoon, he NEEDED immediately because WE had it. As parents of an only child, we never thought twice about handing over said item because it didn’t make a difference to us if he held the spoon or not. Or so we thought. We knew that baby number two was coming soon so we devised a plan to teach our then fourteen month old to learn to share. We refused to hand over things he grabbed until he patiently asked to share. “No, Mommy is using the book, you need to wait your turn. Ok, I’m done with the book now, Mommy will SHARE the book with you.” We were super cheesy for months, SHARE SHARE SHARE was the only thing on the menu. They could have filmed a new and improved episode of Barney at our house except that instead of a big purple dinosaur, I played the part of huge pregnant sharing whale.
We were pretty damn proud of ourselves the first time Graham asked to share. His baby-talk pronunciation for share sounded more like “sha! sha!” and we were more than happy to oblige. We gave each other a pat on the back and went along our merry sharing ways. Things were great for awhile, Elliot was born and we brought her home into our cheery universe. Graham tried to “share” a few toys with his new sister by throwing them full speed at her head. I’m pretty sure he was aiming for her soft spot but we had to praise him for sharing at all. A few months later, Elliot (who survived the dive-bombing toys) learned to grasp her own toys and later crawl to objects of interest. This didn’t go over so well with Graham. Elliot frequently gets pushed to the ground and screamed at. We’ve had to relearn “share” to teach Graham not to steal from his poor sister.
These days Graham uses the magic word on command. The problem is that sharing is a one-way street with him. He marches up and DEMANDS that we share with him and then grabs the item from our hands. We are promptly greeted with a big fat NO when we ask him to share his toys with us or his sister. We continue to remind him to be nice to his sister and to share his toys. It’s a learning process, we’ll get there someday. So my advice to Jenni on easing baby number two into the household? Buy a helmet. You’ll thank me later.