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As the weather gets warmer, it is really starting to hit me that our new little girl is going to be here soon! I am trying to think of anything I can to make the transition from toddler to toddler plus infant a little easier. DH is likely going to be starting a new job this summer, and I am probably going to have long (hot!) days alone with the girls.
So, looking back on when you brought a new baby into the mix, what are some practical things that you would have done differently to make things a little easier on yourself? Especially things that you could have done ahead of time.
Some of the things I am already thinking of are:
1. Cooking a bunch of freezer meals so I don't have to worry about much cooking right after baby is born.
2. Stocking up on cereal, bread, snacks, etc. so I don't have to worry about big trips to the grocery store for a while after baby is born.
3. Stocking up on some quick, portable meals for myself (like granola bars, protein bars, meal shakes, etc) so I can make sure I get some calories in even when things are hectic.
4. Making and freezing some smoothies so I can get some protein and cool off in the heat.
5. Buying/making some special toys (interactive ones like puzzles, books with flaps, magnet stories, art stuff) for Eleanor to use while I am busy with the baby.
I would love to hear other ideas, or even just things that were hard to handle during the transition so I can try to think of some creative solutions.
-Clothes.... Stock up on clothes for both kids. It will be nice to not need to go clothes shopping for a year.
-Food.... Stock up on non-perishable foods. Making freezer meals is a great idea, of course! You can also create an "easy recipe book" or notebook of some kind of your favorite recipes that are easy (that means not a lot of ingredients, short cooking times, easy/fast prep, etc).
-Indoor Activities . . . coloring books, crayons, puzzles, reading books, and movies for your older child, or whatever you see fit. I always find it helps to have a "Boredom Kit" on hand (I don't call it that, though. I just call it their special basket) that has all their most time-consuming and favorite activities that they can do unassisted. This way when they need something to do, I can direct them to their basket, which has plenty of option for them. For my daughter right now it's things like painting and making jewelry.
-Outdoor Readiness . . . Also plan trips to the park or outside and have "ready to go" packs. In your ready to go outdoor pack, you might have a picnic blanket, a hoola hoop, some baby toys, some water guns (if you permit them), some big sun hats, and sunscreen if you use it (we have reasons why we DON'T use sunscreen ), some paint and paint brushes and paper (we like to do painting outside), etc. You can even create multiple outdoor kits, so maybe like big bags that have a few new things in each time, but all packed and ready to go. This way, if your older child wants outdoor time, it's easy to get up and go. The baby will enjoy some blanket time in the shade as well, and a little time in the sun to get some vitamin d. Trips outside are always more time consuming than staying in, but if you are prepared you can make it quick and easy.
--More Outdoor Readiness... Any kind of outdoor station you can set up in your backyard is good, too, like water tables, a bean bag toss (it can be simple: put bean bags or socks filled with dry beans in a large watertight storage container. When doing the toss, you take the lid off, or replace with a lid with holes worth points, and when you are done, put everything back in the bin so it's safe to leave outside in the rain.), sprinkler of some kind or a baby pool, basketball set or tee ball set, etc. Really depends what your kid is into.
(If you have to travel to these places, have your ready-to-go packs in the car or put them in the car the night before an outing.)
It's definitely easier to "wing it" when you have more than one kid, but it DOES help to have certain "markers" during your day and make the things you will be winging much easier. By markers, I mean things like set meal times for the older kids in the house. That doesn't mean you can't feed your older child when they are hungry, but you can do things like have a snack drawer in the fridge or a snack bowl on the table so they can help themselves during the day. We leave out a few bottles of water, some fresh fruit, fresh veggies, raisin packs, etc that the kids can help themselves to between meals.
Other set things might be bath time, parent time, and bedtime. (by parent time I mean that time before trying to get them to sleep and after or before a bath--whatever you prefer. Read stories, cuddle, whatever you do to parent to sleep at night). Other Parent Time would also include any time you make for the older child one-on-one. For us, that means my husband or I taking over with the baby while the other parent does things that the kids want to do. A long game of dress up, take them to the store to get an ice cream, etc. Just someone special one on one. Sometimes we have a sitter so we can both go somewhere with the older kids. That's not to say that we don't do those things OTHER times, too, but having the set time seems to work for our kids. They don't care so much about getting our attention (unless they need it) because they know they WILL get our *undivided* attention and WHEN. We also have certain things that certain kids do. Like my oldest always does the post office run with me now. My daughter always does grocery shopping with me. That sort of thing. Might seem mundane, but they love it.
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Well, I am planning on being prepared, but somehow I never actually get around to 90% of the things I have planned
Thanks for all the ideas, ladies! I LOVE the outside ideas, and I am definitely going to pack up some outside packs. And I do need to use the crockpot more. Especially in the summer, it would be great to not use the oven.
I've been trying to think of stuff and I can't think of anything else that wasn't said. I didn't really prepare anything and I didn't have too much of a problem but that's just me. I agree with the crockpot! I still use mine all the time! I also plan weekly meals and that really helps.
Thank you so much AlexAiden Mommy for my beautiful siggy!