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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Surviving pregnancy with a toddler

I basically got pregnant with Lucy on Ford's first birthday (if you wanna get technical, it was his party day 2 days before, we gave him quite the gift!). Ford started walking a couple weeks later which coincided with me finding out I was pregnant. Shock, excitement, chaos, exhaustion all rolled in one.  Pregnancy the second time around was similar to my first, symptom wise, but SO different circumstantially. I was working full time while pregnant with Ford and even though I was away from the house all day, I was pretty relaxed. The afternoons, evenings, and weekends were devoted to me resting and putting my feet up. Second time around I was chasing a newly walking baby who wanted to explore every nook and cranny of this earth while getting sick every hour and barely being able to keep my eyes open. We continued play dates, moms group, bible study, making meals, running errands...because that is life. I had someone ask me last week how I survived being so sick during my pregnancy with a toddler and I wish I had the perfect list of remedies but I don't. What I can offer you is what worked for me and encouragement that it is worth it. I am sitting here, 3 weeks away from having 2 under 2, sore, exhausted, and so stinkin' happy. I know the next few weeks will bring even more exhaustion (please be nice to us Lucy) but I wouldn't have it any other way.

TV is your friend
Within a week of finding out I was pregnant, Ford and I both got the nasty tummy bug and the only thing he wanted to do was cuddle on me. Before then he had absolutely no interest in TV but since we were parked on the couch for a few days, I tried a few different shows and it stuck! Ford became obsessed with Bubble Guppies (and now 8 months later it is still the only show he really likes... he'll sit through Daniel Tiger because I am sick of Bubble!). I know there are studies, articles, and blogs out there that will tell you Ford will grow up with zero brain cells  and condemned because we watch TV but it has saved us. That first trimester is an energy sucker and there were days I needed the TV for my own sanity. He sits quietly and watches his show and I would conk out on the couch. Growing a human is tiring I tell ya. Now Ford watches 1-2 episodes of a show everyday, usually if he wakes up super early and while I am prepping dinner. While I was on bed rest for sciatica there were days we watched hours of TV but my body healed and needed it. I always think about how sometimes I just want to veg out on the couch so he probably does too. I would get sick of being with ME all the time so he needs a little break. And the shows I do allow are interactive and educational. We are always shocked by what he picks up from Bubble Guppies , example "Is this a cow?" "No, oink!". I know we'll be using lots of TV in those early weeks of Lucy being home and I am completely fine with it.

iPad is also your friend
The last couple of months Ford has become obsessed with the iPad and it is truly amazing. We have a bunch of the Tiny Hands and Bible for Kids apps and he can sort images by their shape, color, and size, stack different pictures, do puzzles, and he loves Fruit Ninja. The iPad is a LIFESAVER at my doctor appointments. A few weeks ago my doctor had a bunch of emergency C sections and was running 2 hours behind and Ford was an angel playing games on the iPad. We plan on buying a few more fun apps when Lucy is born so he can play on it while I am nursing. He also loves using the calculator on the iPad... he is his dad's son.

Ask for help
Even after having Ford I was ashamed to admit and ask for help at times. I wanted to do it all. That has 100% changed since becoming a mama, and a pregnant mama at that. There is no shame in asking for help from friends, family, husband, or even hired help. Ford takes one nap a day and I need to use that time to rest myself so we hired a housekeeper once a month to deep clean. Now I don't have to stress about getting the nitty gritty chores done and let's face it, I am not going to get on my hands and knees to scrub bathtubs at 9 months pregnant. I used to be the sole laundress in our family (I wanted the time after Jon got off of work to be US time) but now he helps me, happily and willingly. My mom watches Ford when I need her and I always take neighbors up on their offers to watch him. This summer Ford will be attending Mother's Day Out once a week and we are going to hire a babysitter once a week to help me around the house.

Your kids don't need to do everything
Last summer I got excited thinking about Ford becoming a toddler and getting to really "do" stuff with him rather than just cart him around to my things. Right now Ford is in music class on Tuesdays and Sportball on Thursdays and we usually go to the park/have playdates a few days a month. As crazy as this sounds, I actually schedule days to "do nothing" during our week. Life revolves around naps these days (and I am a protector of nap times!) so our weeks can fill up fast and I've learned that we don't need to do it all. We are lucky to have a few different play areas in our house (and so many parks in our neighborhood!) that Ford loves to be home. Sure we have a blast at our mom group meetups or going to a bouncy house but I have learned that Ford doesn't really know the difference between Disney World and my backyard right now. I feel like I am doing a lot with him already and part of that is I wanted the last few months of him being our only child to be super fun for him. But I do NOT feel guilty skipping things, saying no to invitations, and spending the entire day at home. He and I get along really well (might be eating my words when he turns 2!) but I love spending time with my little guy and I know there WILL be a day that he gets stir crazy and we won't be able to just stay home and chill. Jon and I have even talked about when our kids are older, we want to limit their activities so our lives don't get overwhelmed. Ford doesn't need to do soccer, basketball, piano, and Boy Scouts all in one semester. And he doesn't need to do extravagent things everyday right now.

I am still in denial that I am almost done with my second pregnancy. Having a busy toddler has really made the time fly by, which I am thankful for but it's also unbelievable that we are having another baby! There are so many things I said I would never do before becoming a mom... then I became one... and I am sure the list will keep growing as we have more children. Motherhood is hard, parenting a toddler is hard, and being pregnant is hard but it is all so fleeting. We just put up the baby swing downstairs and Ford has been putting his baby sister doll in it and pretty much obsessed with taking care of her. He squeals "Baby!" when we walk into the house and runs over to her. I cannot wait to see my babies together! Check back in a few months for another installment, this one titled how to survive 2 under 2!


Melissa (My Turquoise Home) said...

Bubble Guppies is our favourite! Isla has learned so much from it and it's the only show she will sit down to watch.

You will be such a fantastic mom of two! Your tips are helpful and I will surely use them! My hubby and I Lord willing will be blessed with baby number 2 soon I hope!

Carolyn said...

So sweet! And so true! Pregnancy with a toddler is SO DIFFERENT than pregnancy with no kids. I miss the lazy time, but I wouldn't trade life with Weston for any of it!!! :)

Sarah Tucker said...

Good to know for when we decide to bring little Tuckers into the world!

Richard C. Lambert said...

I am sitting here, 3 weeks away from having 2 under 2, sore, exhausted, and so stinkin' happy. I know the next few weeks will bring even more exhaustion (please be nice to us Lucy) but I wouldn't have it any other way.

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