Three under two!
June 2011 - Ooffa and Strawberry 4 months. Chook 21 months.
At four months we had an established sleep and feeding routine. Twin breast feeding was going fantastically and my milk supply was keeping up with demand. I was actually surprised at how well feeding two babies was going compared to my struggles with breast feeding one baby. Strawberry and Ooffa slept in our room in separate cots. They almost slept through the night, going to bed at 7:30pm and waking for their first feed around 4:30am. Ooffa would sometimes wake during the night and I would bring him into my bed and let him suckle while I drifted back to sleep.
We got out of the house weekly to attend Playgroup and fortnightly to attend a mothers group. I also felt confident enough to take all four children on a road trip (18 hour round trip) to see their Nannalie and Poppa on my own. It took a week to organise all the necessities and lots of list writing. The evening before the car was packed ready for an early start the next morning. It was a perfectly executed plan!
The only exercise I could engage in was going for a walk with them all strapped into 'The Hummer'. The Hummer is a big twin pram that can carry infants all the way to age 3. It also has a sturdy toddler seat that is perched on top. This pram was my sanity saver but I HATED getting it in and out of the car!
Strawberry and Ooffa were easily cared for. They slept, ate and played. Chook attended daycare four days of the week during May but I cut back his days during June to only twice a week. I didn't want Chook at daycare because I felt as a stay at home mum I should be able to care for all my children. My greatest concern was keeping him safe whilst I breast fed two babies. It is really hard. You don't have a free hand as you would with one. A 21 month old has the attention span of a gnat and Chook had several undesirable behaviours that would come out when I was unable to move, such as his toy throwing stage.
My biggest juggling act at this stage was syncing routines. There was only one feed that I was most stressed about at this time. The 11am one. Too early for Chook's sleep, too late for morning tea and he had no interest in T.V. It was the crappiest time of the day! If someone wanted to do me a favour it would have been to come around at 11am and play with Chook while I fed the twins. But that support on a daily basis was not available. So you do what you can. Apart from sending Chook to daycare, I also trialled single feeds but then I was feeding for double the amount of time, plus the addition of a hungry baby waiting for their turn. Adjusting the routine to cater for this threw everything out of whack so single feeding was in emergencies only. I trialled putting Chook in the pool creche while I fed the twins but I HATED twin feeding in public and the bathrooms is the last place I would want to feed my babies in! Playgroup was my sanity keeper. Chook was entertained and I could feed the babies in relative peace! Thank you lovely ladies!
Sanity Tip for 3 under 2: Keep your support network strong! Get out of the house at least twice a week (not consecutively!) and get all three having their afternoon nap at the same time.
Three under three!
June 2012 - Ooffa and Strawberry 16 months. Chook 33 months.
All children go to bed at 7pm. At 5:30am Chook is up and ready to take on the day. At 6:30am Ooffa is ready to do the same and Strawberry is up by 7am. Chook is going through a phase where we need to spoon feed him his meals. If he's not strapped to his chair he is off to play in shot. He'll want to eat everything else OTHER than what you have given him. Eating dinner is a real hassle, he's just not hungry. If I miss the 5pm dinner slot, I've missed my chance of getting dinner into him!
Strawberry and Ooffa love feeding themselves and must have a spoon and their own bowl at every meal. Strawberry is the most successful at getting the spoon to her mouth. Ooffa loves the novelty of the spoon but feels he's more efficient scooping with his hands!
Ooffa and Strawberry sleep in their cots in a shared room. Chook sleeps in a toddler bed in our room. Ooffa often wakes within a hour of going to bed at night with night terrors. He is the worst of all our children with them. Our teen also suffered from them and Chook has had two or three.
Exercise consists of walking with the kids in the pram. Still using 'The Hummer'! Almost every weekend we get out as a family on our bikes. There's very little time for ongoing committed exercise. Tiredness is still a factor and limited opportunities.
Chook still attends daycare twice a week, but it will soon be once a week. Ooffa and Strawberry attend the same centre twice a week. Chook spends one day just with me. He misses Strawberry and Ooffa and asks for them constantly, but it is nice having one-on-one with Chook.
My greatest concern is still Chook. He is a highly intelligent child with maximum energy. His problem solving skills amaze me, if only he was solving a more mainstream issue than devising escape plans! He is determined and head strong. He is also cute, very loving and friendly. I know the last half of the two's is the worst and I look forward to saying goodbye to these days. I hope that on the flip side is more of the loving, friendly child (that listens!) and less of the stubborn and headstrong traits.
Sanity Tip 3 under 3: Organise for one-on-one time with each of your children. It is a wonderful bonding time and it is nice to not have your attention divided by the other ones! Even if it is only for 10 minutes whilst someone else watches the others.