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Attachment parenting baby and 3 yr old.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Someone told me when I was pregnant with DD that parenting one baby is like parenting one baby. Parenting two is like parenting four. I had no idea how true that is. Bear with me while I rant a bit - I really am trying to keep an even keel and willing to try anything, but the truth is that I feel like a failure.

 

DS (3 yrs 2 mo) taught me everything I know about Attachment Parenting. His incessant screaming and need to be held constantly drove me straight to every book by Dr. Sears. We baby wore, sat in the backseat of the car, nursed perpetually, held through the night and through naps.... and I learned to love it. Now that DD is 2 mo. I have stopped waiting for the other shoe to drop. She's a much more relaxed baby than DS was. Still, I'm finding AP to be beneficial for her, too. But if I'm constantly tending to her, what do I do with him?

 

The reality is this: he watches (approved) kid shows on Netflix for far more time per day than I ever imagined I'd agree to. I've stopped even trying to potty teach because diapers are easier and faster, he's stopped napping because I can't lie down with him without DD distracting him, and he eats meals while wandering around the house. And no wonder he's defiant - the time I spend playing or cuddling with him has plummeted 80%. He's such a loving and bright boy. I credit AP for that. I just can't figure out how to honor him and his sister equally. As calm as she is, she doesn't nap on her own for much more than 20 minutes at a stretch yet , which throws us into this cycle of nibble nursing and cat napping, and makes it all the more difficult to get out of that damn chair and do something with him. We do use the sling, but I was never very comfortable doing much more than walking around with it on. Certainly running around the back yard playing tag is out of the question. DH has been good about spending extra time with DS, but he's not here all the time.

 

I want my relationship with son back, yet I want my daughter to have the attention he got for three years. How on earth do moms do this? Do I take advantage of her good nature and push for more <shudder> crib time? Or indulge her needs and sacrifice his?

 

If you tell me it gets better, could you specify a date? (Sorry, just a little sarcastic humor amid my self-doubt and loathing. ;) I do appreciate any wisdom!!!

post #2 of 7

lurk.gif

mama to a 2 yr old and a 4 week old.

i'm looking forward to reading the magic answer here. lol

post #3 of 7

My second was very, very relaxed....at 2 months I'd bring a blanket outside and let him lay there while I played/gardened and did whatever I needed to. I took advantage of the bouncy seat, his good moods and laid back tude' and tended to my needy girl. If you have a laid back little one that's content to just BE I would take advantage of that. 

 

I don't think there's any AP rules, just making sure your kids are happy. My DD needed that constant body-to-body experience but Wyatt (my son..) I could probably put him in a tent outside and he'd sleep through the night and wake up gurgling happily. 

post #4 of 7

I have been in your shoes with the exception that my DD (4) was a dream and my DS (11 months) was unbelievably challenging to comfort.  All of the AP "tricks of the trade" that I credit with making DD such an absolutely delightful child did nothing to soothe my DS.  

 

The first four months were the most challenging as we worked out our new rhythm as a family.  I still think someone needs to write a book that explains how to handle all the practical details of parenting two - like how to get them both dressed and out the door, how to coordinate nap schedules, how to stay connected and engaged with the older child when the new one is still so young.  I can't say I ever really figured it out.  Babies teach us what we need to learn, and my son has taught me that flexibility and compromise are necessary aspects of parenting.  My DD definitely watched more Netflix during those first few months and spent more time with her grandparents than I wanted her to. We used a bouncy seat and a swing with DS (which I never even considered with DD) since they were safe places for him to be if I needed to put him down and tend to DD.  We adapted over time.

 

I remember it felt awful to feel so divided all the time, wanting to continue parenting DD in the way she (and we) were accustomed to, while also wanting to give DS the same kind of experience as an infant that she had gotten.  Eventually, I got more comfortable taking them both out to the library, the mall (Nordstrom has an amazing nursing room on the third floor here), or the children's museum.  My DS would fall asleep in the car or the carrier and DD and I would have some semblance of one-on-one time.

 

I know this wasn't exactly an answer to your question, but I hope it helps you in some small way to know that you're not alone in feeling this way hug.gif.

post #5 of 7

I have a 5 month old and a 27 month old, and it's going OK so far.  My little one is also good-natured and easy.  When I have both of them and my husband's not around, I try not to sit down for more than I really need to to nurse baby (and reading a book to big brother is a great thing to do while nursing baby, or he can be eating breakfast/lunch at the table with us, or I can be talking with him about the games he's playing on the floor next to me, etc...).  Big brother is potty learning, and if I have to put the baby down on the rug for a minute to clean up a mess or wipe him, I just do it.  She's fine.  I find I can do quite a bit with the bigger kid (cooking, playing outside, gardening, etc..) with baby in tow.  Often I wear her on my back (where she can watch if she's wakeful, or sleep if she's sleepy), or I put her on a blanket, in a cardboard box, or in a doorway jumper right next to us.  She's often happy to play with occasional smiles her direction, and big brother bringing her toys as she drops them.  I don't worry about her nap schedules or anything, she just sleeps when it ends up happening.  She probably doesn't get talked to nearly as much as he did at that age, but otherwise I doubt she's missing out, and they both seem happy.

 

Finding some kind of carrier to put the little one on your back is so incredibly useful, though.  With a wrap you can do it at any age, but I think there are other options as well.  I'd really try again to look for something that would work for you.

 

What exactly do you want to play with your son that the baby can't be there for?  Maybe you could brainstorm ways to make it work.  My baby loves watching her big brother run around, I imagine tag in the yard would work great if the baby was set up to watch, and the game ran to or past her sometimes.

 

Meeting up with other parents is also great, especially if they have toddlers.  Gives the big one someone to run around with, and moms without new babies of their own often love to take a turn holding the little one. 

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by laneysprout View Post

I have been in your shoes with the exception that my DD (4) was a dream and my DS (11 months) was unbelievably challenging to comfort.  All of the AP "tricks of the trade" that I credit with making DD such an absolutely delightful child did nothing to soothe my DS.  



Oh my, I hadn't considered how hard things would be if my DD had been born first and I thought all babies were so easy and then DS had come along! My heart goes out to you! It sounds like you have done a wonderful job listening to your instincts and things have turned out great for you. Thanks so much for the advice and encouragement! This Mommy thing is quite a ride, isn't it?

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mckittre View Post

 

Finding some kind of carrier to put the little one on your back is so incredibly useful, though.  With a wrap you can do it at any age, but I think there are other options as well.  I'd really try again to look for something that would work for you.

 

What exactly do you want to play with your son that the baby can't be there for?  Maybe you could brainstorm ways to make it work.  My baby loves watching her big brother run around, I imagine tag in the yard would work great if the baby was set up to watch, and the game ran to or past her sometimes.

I really should explore another type of carrier. I know the Baby Bjorn is not popular among some of the Mothering crowd, but it is more comfortable for me than a sling. Still, I have never tried a wrap. I just might...

 

What I miss doing with DS is lying down to snuggle at night. He used to sleep up against me with his head under my chin. I miss that the most. I try to tuck him into bed before DH goes to sleep with him, but I just can't every night. That's about when DD needs me most. I also miss roughing around on the floor with him, playing hokey pokey, having him on my lap... I know I'll get more time to do that again as soon as I can put DD down more. We're working on that. Just tonight we put her bouncy seat on the dining room table to eat with us. Up til now, I'd held her or put her in the bassinet next to us. DS thought it was cool that she had her own "spot" at the table. And DD kept watching DS and smiling at him. It was very sweet. Baby steps, right? Thanks for the great advice!

 

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