Be Back Soon
I’ve been away from the blog for a couple of weeks for the best possible reason. Just days after Christmas, Baby H arrived on her due date! We were able to ring in the new year as a brand new family of four! Since then, we’ve been adjusting to raising two under two (at least until G turns two in April) and enjoying our time with H.
Though I’ve enjoyed my time away, I hope to be back to sharing simple and thrifty recipes, projects and tips soon! I have some delicious recipes that I can’t wait to share, like easy gluten-free monster breakfast cookies, a Valentine’s gluten-free muddy buddy treat, a 3 ingredient slow cooker pork loin, and a healthy sweet potato stew recipe. To catch all of the recipes when they go live, sign up using the subscribe box in the side bar to the left (underneath Popular Posts), or on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the page. You’ll receive an email notification whenever a new post is up!
The 20-Month Age Gap
G and Baby H are just over 20-months apart. Though we hoped for an 18 to 24 month age ga[, I was a little nervous about how G would adjust to having a baby in the house. While pregnant with H, I read everything I could about what to expect with a 20-month age gap.
Unfortunately, much of what I read was pretty discouraging. While a few people mentioned that the age gap worked well for them, most shared that the early days were a nightmare, adding that once the baby was a year old things got better. I prayed we wouldn’t have to wait a year for G to adjust and enjoy having a baby sister in the house.
If you’re looking at a 20-month age gap for your little ones, take heart, it can be amazing! While there have been some trying moments, like attempting to get a toddler bathed and in bed while taking care of a fussy newborn on a night when daddy was working, G has adjusted better than I could have hoped.
She loves to say hi to the baby every morning, tries to pat, kiss and hug her, and will ask where she is when H is out of the room. She hasn’t shown any signs of jealously, and the only change I’ve noticed is that she requested a sippy cup of milk more often, and she asked for her pacifier during the day though she has only been allowed to use during nap and bedtime for over a year.
Preparing for the 20-Month Gap
Honestly the main reason G adjusted so quickly was due to something completely outside of my control: Her personality. G has always been a good-natured, easy-going little girl. It seems that even a new sibling didn’t change that. That said, there are a few things I did in preparation for H’s arrival that may have helped as well:
- Prayer: I believe this made a big difference! I started praying that G would adjust well to being a big sister as soon as we knew we were ready to start trying to get pregnant, almost a year before H arrived. I pray with G as part of her bedtime routine, so we prayed for a smooth transition every night.
- Teaching toddler to wait: This took practice for me. I wasn’t very good at making G wait. As soon as she woke up every morning, I was out of bed in an instant and on my way to get her out of her crib. Then a friend mentioned that their toddler waited in their crib playing with books or stuffed animals until it was “wake up time”. I decided to try this with G. I started by leaving her for five minutes after she woke up. I discovered over time that some mornings she would remain laying down, resting with her eyes open until I came to get her. Other times, she would stand quietly holding her small bear and lion lovelies that she sleeps with or quietly talk to herself and her toys for up to 30 minutes. This is a huge help now. If I’m taking care of H when G wakes up, I can finish and get H settled without worrying about G crying in her crib.
- Stop carrying toddler everywhere: Most parents already do this as soon as their toddler has a firm grasp on walking. When pregnant with H, I realized that I still carried G far more than necessary (For example, from the bath tub to her bedroom, from her bedroom to the breakfast table…) I began to put G down and let her walk as much as possible. Now, because G is used to walking instead of being carried, she doesn’t fuss when I’m carrying the baby instead of her.
- Ask for help: The first night Gary went back to work, I asked my sister to come help with G’s dinner, bath and bedtime. It was such a blessing to have the extra help. We also asked a friend to set up a meal schedule using Takethemameal.com, to allow friends and family to sign up to bring us a meal twice a week. Having the extra help allowed us to focus on spending time with both G and H.
- Make one on one time for toddler everyday: Sometimes I can only squeeze in 5 minutes at a time, but I try to purposefully spend one on one time with G everyday. Playing in the yard during H’s nap, reading stories together, playing with blocks, sitting next to her talking about colors as she draws with crayons, or playing with stuffed animals for a few minutes here and there seem to make a difference.
- TV is not the enemy: I once dreamed of being a screen-free family… Long, long ago before I had children. When G first started watching TV, I dealt with a lot of guilt. I knew the recommendations said no TV under the age of two. Even when suffering from extreme morning sickness and exhaustion during the first trimester, I struggled with guilt whenever the TV was on. The guilt went out the window once H came home. While I don’t want G to be glued to the TV all day long, if I need to turn it on while I take care of H during a fussy moment, or when I’m preparing lunch or dinner, I’m okay with that. I try to limit it to educational, age appropriate shows. Lately G has loved the LeapFrog videos on Netflix. She’s started to pick up a couple of letter names (P, O and N) and number names (2, 4 and 5), and loves to watch the letter and number songs.
For more ideas on preparing for a new baby, check out 5 Things to Prep Before Baby Arrives and 5 Must-Have Items for New Moms.
Thank you to Rachel DiSalvatore Photography for our newborn photo shoot! (All of the pictures, except the one of G and H meeting in the hospital were from our photo shoot.)