Luca is turning one this Sunday and we have had the most beautiful and chaotic year. I love being a mom of two. It fulfills me in a way that I never thought was possible. I’ve never in my life felt happy the way I have in the last year.
Along with the exhaustion. Oh, the exhaustion! 100% the biggest change as parents has been that there are no breaks once you have two kids. By Sunday nights we feel like we’ve been hit by a bus. It’s definitely true when people say that 2 kids is 3x the work.
But at the same time, your heart really does double in size. I wrote about this in part one of this topic. It’s kind of unreal how much we were able to love Luca right away but also our love for Amalia grew. SO MUCH LOVE! So little sleep…
Sibling relationship: They are obsessed with each other. Luca wakes up first in the mornings and gets so excited when we get to go into sissy’s room to wake her up. Amalia can make him laugh hysterically, more than Anel or I. It’s so sweet. He just adores her.
On the flip side, she loves being Luca’s big sister. She loves feeding him, teaching him things, and playing with him. Seeing her empathetic sisterly love is beautiful. Their growing friendship is so much fun to watch.
It hasn’t come without its challenges, of course. Amalia has gone through her share of anxieties in welcoming a new brother but has worked through them really well. I’m so proud of her.
Bedtime routine with 2 kids: I got a many requests to share our bedtime routine. I know this will change soon but Luca’s bedtime is really quick and easy at this point so our bedtime routine is an art at this point. On weekdays, we put both kids in the bath right after school (around 5:15) before dinner. After dinner, we all play together and then Luca goes up for a diaper change, bottle, and bed around 6:30/6:45. His whole bottle to bed timing takes about 10 minutes.
Amalia then goes up for books, tooth brushing, potty, and bed at 7:30. Her routine takes longer, about 30 minutes) because she likes a 5-10 minute cuddle after books (then she reads herself to sleep).
We switch up who puts down each kid every night unless one of us is out. In that case, we put Amalia in front of the TV while we’re putting Luca down.
On weekends, it’s the same thing but we let Amalia stay up a little later and go up at 8:30 instead.
See the question about solo parenting below for what we do when one of us is out.
I asked you guys for questions on Instagram yesterday and got so so so concerns from expectant mothers and moms thinking about going for baby number two. It breaks my heart because I was also terrified before I had Luca. I wrote a whole post about it. I’m here to tell you that those fears, in my experience, completely disappeared as soon as he came into our lives.
Here are some of the other questions I got:
How much sleep do you get? Not enough, lol! Luca is a year now but still wakes up in the night 2-3x/week. We don’t go in anymore unless he’s not feeling well, but that short wake-up often leaves me awake for an extended period which stinks.
He has historically woken up in the 6’s but has been sleeping past 7 for the last few weeks which has been a dream. I have a hunch that it’s just a growth spurt, however, and that will end soon.
I set my alarm every morning for 6:15 so I can get up, get dressed, make the bed, and do my Worlde before the kids get up. And I go to bed around 10/10:30. So when he does sleep through the night, I get a great stretch.
Amalia is a sleeper and always has been so on 9/10 mornings I have to wake her up at 8. We are very lucky with this, I know. Please don’t hate me!
How do you manage guilt about #1 not getting the same level of attention? I try really really hard to make special/extra time for Amalia. I wrote a whole post about it, actually. This topic has taken up a huge part of my brain space for the last year.
What is the best advice for an expectant mother to balance her new routine with two? Give yourself grace in the first two months. There is a lot of figuring out what works for your new family and with the lack of sleep in the beginning, everything is a little bit chaotic. But I promise it will all fall into place.
What are the logistics when there’s only one parent around? This was one of my biggest fears before Luca was born. Anel goes to work in the mornings before any of us even wake up and I couldn’t fathom how I would possibly get both kids up, dressed, fed, and out the door for school. But you truly just adapt. Now it’s part of my normal day-to-day and I’m used to it.
Everything takes a lot longer with two kids so building in time for that was important. We also do a lot of extra prep the night before. Anel and I make Luca’s bottles for the next day, get the dog food ready, make lunches for both kids, and prep whatever we need to for breakfast in the morning. That helps me with fewer steps when I’m alone with both kids.
On really tough mornings when I’m exhausted or Luca is not in a great mood, I’ll give Amalia the iPad for an episode while I handle him. I try not to do this often but once in a while, it’s necessary.
If one of us goes out with friends during the kids’ bedtime, we keep our same nighttime routine. She’s big enough that she can get herself dressed after her bath which makes it a lot easier. She also helps a lot with Luca!
Did Amalia have any sleep regression when Luca came home? No, but I think we might be the exception here. She’s never had any of the normal sleep regressions. Her anxieties came out in other ways (I won’t be sharing them) but she is doing great now.
How do you manage to get free time? For the first few months, the baby sleeps a lot during the day. When Amalia was at school, I would nap during his naps. As he started sleeping more at night, I would use that time to read a book or sit outside and that was really my only free time.
Now they’re both in school so I bake time into my workweek for me time. Weekends, forget it. We are both on with both kids all day. But we try to do a date night once a weekend. We usually put Luca to sleep and then have a sitter hang with Amalia and put her down which she loves.
I schedule most friend plans on weeknights and often put Luca down before I leave. And vice versa if Anel goes out with pals.
When did it start to feel normal and not overwhelming? I felt the first big shift after two months. With both of my kids actually. They sleep better, I sleep better, and that sleep makes me able to think like a semi-human again. The second big shift hit at around 6 months. We got into a really good groove and life felt like a new normal again. It still feels overwhelming at times, TBH. But manageable.
How do you make time for the dog too? Poor Bootsie definitely gets less attention since we had Luca but he is and always will be our first baby so we make sure to spend time cuddling with him and making him feel loved, especially after the kids are in bed. I also get him out for at least a quick walk every day. Now that he’s older and doesn’t need as much exercise, it’s a lot easier.
What was the biggest adjustment you didn’t expect/no one told you about? How physical it is. And how much more laundry we have now
Is breastfeeding a newborn realistic with a toddler running around? Definitely. I nursed Luca for the first few weeks and had a special “nursing basket” for Amalia full of quiet toys like Water Wows, coloring books, and sticker books so she could sit next to me, play, and feel connected.
Does the first child wake up at night if the second cries? We have Hatch noise machines in both of their rooms so Amalia doesn’t wake up when Luca cries at night, thank goodness.
What are the pros and cons of their age gap? Pros: Amalia is very self-sufficient so it is physically a lot easier. I don’t have to carry two kids, she can get herself dressed, etc. She also is old enough that her “helping” can actually be helpful. Cons: They play very differently and it will be a while before he can keep up with her types of games.
At what point did you feel comfortable being alone with both kids? Anel went back to work after two weeks so I was thrown into it pretty quickly. I was terrified for our first morning without him at home but it was so much easier than I thought it would be. It took about a week for us to find our groove without him in the mornings. He is almost always home for dinner and bedtime and I am so grateful for that.
I’m curious about the financial difference. How has that been? Because they’re both in daycare, it has been a big change for us financially. Luckily, because of their age gap, we only have one year of daycare overlap. Amalia is heading to kindergarten in the fall. Besides that, it’s mostly food, formula, and diapers. I have my two half-brothers who have handed us down a ton of clothes, and he plays with a lot of Amalia’s old toys. If he wasn’t in school, it would not be nearly as stressful financially.
Literally, how is it possible, did you grow extra hands? I used to say this exact same thing. And yes I’m pretty sure I have an extra set somewhere because some days I have no idea how any mother does it.