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AP/natural parenting more than one kid

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I tried to do a search to see if this has been discussed, but it had over 200 hits, so I'm just going to ask my question here:

How do those of you with more than one kid successfully AP both/all of them? I have two and very often _have_ to let one of them cry for a few minutes while I attend to the other one. They are almost 2 years apart, but both still so needy. It doesn't seem possible to meet all their needs patiently, quickly, and sometimes at all.
post #2 of 19
My kids are 19 months apart. They are now 3 and 5 so we are past the "crying at the same time" thing. How old are your kids?

I had to redefine what it means to AP after the birth of my second child. When I only had one child, I felt that AP meant meeting all of my child's emotional needs. Once I had 2 kids, it just wasn't possible. I did my best, but many times that meant sitting in the floor holding them while we all three cried. It was totally overwhelming.

If one of your child is crying and it takes you a few minutes to get to them, it is OK. Really. My kids have turned out to be wonderful, happy and very attached little people, in spite of having to take turns with me when they were babies. It always made me feel sad for them when they were babies, but the trade off is the amazing relationship that they have with each other. I think that the best thing that I've ever done for them is giving them each other

The only practicle ideas I have are to wear your younger baby in a sling as much as possible.
post #3 of 19
Thank you so much for bringing this up, and thank you linda for your advice.
My babes are 18 months apart (1 month and 19 months now) and i am trying now to get over the horrible guilt of feeling like I wish I had waited longer. I love them both to death and love having them but can't help but to think how foolish it was to have them so close. I feel like I am not doing them right. Thank you for that statement about all three of you sitting on the floor crying. That is my life!!! My older dd is very sweet and giving but there are times when she really needs me and I have to let Hero cry a bit. It makes me so sad especially because Hero seems to be such a sensitive baby and gets so sad so quickly especially in the evenings......anyway....
We are getting better. I think the best way to AP parent more than one child is to have them rather far apart so they can be babies for a long time. But if they come close as mine did you just do the best you can. I hate having to choose which of my babys to hold at each moment, but i am sure they will be okay because i know they know how much i love them.
oh, and another thing that helps is dad involvment. My dh is great and wonderful . When he is home both girls are APd fully because we each hold one. I wish he could always be here, but he tries to be here as much as he can so it is okay.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
My kids are almost 21 months apart. They are now 21 months old and 3 1/2. It is very hard sometimes to parent them. Dh is in PhD program and has to be gone many evenings as well as all day, and so it is overwhelming many days. He takes over with at least one, altho' can't nurse dd#2.
post #5 of 19
Dr. Sears has eight kids. If he can do it, so can we. Mommy22B, having kids close in age will pay off one day. Their are benefits and drawbacks to every spacing arrangement, and not one of them is perfect.

Have you ever looked into the New Native Baby sling? I know a woman who had twins who bought two and slung one across each shoulder and carried both kids at the same time. If your back could take it, perhaps it would be an option.

Isn't it so sad that motherhood comes with so much guilt? We will never be perfect, and we will never be able to give our children as much time as we think that we should. Once we are able to let go of the guilt that we are somehow damaging them when we have two or more children to deal with, we are able to better love and care for them. Guilt is a useless emotion when it comes to parenting. Channel it in more useful directions.

I still am so thankful for my sling. My older ds didn't seem to mind if I was wearing it while I was spending time with him. What made it especially nice was that I could tuck the baby in so that he couldn't be seen. For my oldest, it was just like his brother wasn't even there.

The addition of another child is a tough time, and although I don't think we will ever AP as completely as we feel we did when we only had one, like everything else in life, AP is an evolving art. Drop the guilt and enjoy the love, secure in the knowledge that your children won't remember the three minutes they cried waiting for you to give them your attention. What they will remember is that you were there to give them that attention.

{{{{{hugs to all of us!!}}}}}
post #6 of 19
<<When he is home both girls are APd fully because we each hold one. >>

I think that AP is an attitude, and that your kids are being APed fully ALL the time because your attitude is one of respecting them. I don't think that our kids are in less APed because are hands are full.


You are dealing with the combination of closely spaced kids and daddy being gone a great deal. My DH works long hours and travels with his job, and we've never lived near family. I can really relate to what you are going through. I wish you lived near by I'd invite you over for lunch!

I really don't think we were ever intended to do this all by ourselves. I think that we were ment to live in tribes and have lots of people around to love on our babies! Somehow, it makes me feel better to remind myself that I am doing an impossible job.

Do you have any kind of support network for yourself? Friends or family, LLL friends?

Are you able to maintain any sort of regular routine? My kids were both very anti routine as babies, but seemed to really need routines as toddlers. I think it is harder to maintain routines when my DH is getting home at a different time every night, But when we have good routines for when we do things and what order we do them in, my kids are much happier and less needy.

hope this helps.
post #7 of 19
linda, I SO agree that we were meant to do this in tribes, and also on the babies with no routines but todlers needing them
just hang in there yall, it will be what it will be, sitting on the floor all hugging crying laughing sounds pretty darned good to me.
post #8 of 19
Linda's right (as usual), find your own tribe. I found a wonderful group of moms in my BFing support group. I don't know what I would do without them.
post #9 of 19
Oh man, I could have written this post. I have been wondering the same thing ever since my 2nd was born two months ago. My oldest is 29 months and definitely fits the high need profile. Having a younger sibling has turned his world upside down. How do I give them both what they need and still retain my own sanity? That is what I am constantly struggling with. I am learning as I go and learning to forgive myself for not being my perfect ideal of an AP parent all the time. You just can't be in two places at once. I remember nursing my oldest the night after the baby was born as I lay between them in bed. The baby started to cry and I felt so incredibly torn, knowing I had to tend to the newborn but not wanting to tear away from my first baby. I have since figured out how to nurse them both at the same time, but there are many, many times when I still feel so very torn. I try to spend as much time as I can with my toddler when the baby is sleeping so he still gets me all to himself sometimes. My husband also works long, unpredictable hours but when he is home he is a huge help. I agree with everyone who has said that we are not meant to do this alone! I am in the process of forming my own tribe and I am fortunate to have family nearby. We need other mothers!
post #10 of 19
I'm in the same boat, but have found that by teaching them to take turns with my attention they will learn to respect each other more.

The other thing my dd1 likes a lot is to have all-buddy things - like all three in the tub, or give a big hug, sit and read a story, or cuddle in bed. Saying it is so great to have both of them makes both really smile.

Although some days it really feels like they tag team me instead of sharing. KWIM?
post #11 of 19
I also could have written this post! My two are 19 months apart, (now 5m and 2yrs), I had a hard time parenting both of them at the same time. One sometimes has to fuss for a few minutes, but it seems to be getting easier. I sit on the floor alot holding both of them while I read or cuddle or play. I do feel guilty not being able to spend as much one on one, but Itry to balance it out when one is asleep. Sometimes their naps aren't at the same time so that works, but then I don't get my dishes done. My youngest does spend more time in his swing when he is fussy, but I balance it out with holding him in the sling and trying that. I am also trying to form a tribe in my area. My best friend moved away this past summer and we are both lost and are trying to find a new tribe. Good luck and I hear it does get easier!!
post #12 of 19
<<How do I give them both what they need and still retain my own sanity? >>

oh sanity! I wish I had the answer to that one!

I think we all have to find a way to let go of the guilt. I really like reading SARK and I got a great affirmation from her:

I am enough -- I have enough -- I do enough.

Another great quote from SARK:

When you come to the end of all the light you have, and must take a step into the unknown, have faith that you will either step onto something solid,

or be given wings to fly.

I think it is hard for us to be happy with the job we are doing as mothers because we know so much and see such amazing possiblities. We are all doing a great job overall with our babies, even though there are moments when it doesn't seem like it.
post #13 of 19
Bekka, my dd's are just about the same ages as yours, 24 mos., and 3 years. I have just learned that my best is all that I can do. My dh also teaches college at night and often I am alone with the girls. I have learned to ask friends over for dinner on the nights he is gone, that way I can get help and the kids can play with friends.

Also, I think I have come to accept that attachment parenting to me means meeting my child's needs to the best of my ability. I don't think that it makes your children any less attached to you if they have to cry momentarily while you tend to dd/ds #2. Sharing is an important part of growing up and an important part of a sibling relationship. The ability to share has to start sometime!

You are not a failure in any way if you have to adjust and shape your own ap relationship with your children. For example, many mothers struggle with breastfeeding and must give up for medical reasons. This does not make them any less attached as a parent. They can then bottle feed with love and closeness...snuggling and cuddling to make up for the skin to skin contact, or bottle feeding with skin to skin contact. The same love and attachment is still there, it just manifests itself in a different form. Do you know what I mean?

Anyway, that is just my two cents. My two little girls are very happy and I know that they both feel loved and very close to me and my dh.

I feel blessed to have two daughters so close together. Not only are they attached to us, they are attached to each other and I think that is so amazing!
post #14 of 19
thank you, linda!
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks mommies for all your comments, especially Linda and claridad. Our "support group" is actually right here in our own community, b/c our families are far, far away. My LLL group is very supportive when we get together for LLL things, but everyone is really spread out, and I'm not as close to as many of them as my friends (also responsive parents) in our little uni neighborhood.

Part of it is that we had been having one of those (cry all together on the floor) days. And part of it is that dd #1 is taking violin lessons and has a four week hiatus and it's been extremely challenging to conduct her practices (which I'm committed to, but it's hard sometimes).

I appreciate all the support. Has anyone read Dune? They always quoted "fear is the mindkiller" and talk about how it can flow over and through and then leave, and I have found that sometimes I just have to let the frustration "flow over and through and just leave." And we're doing much better today!
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Oh, and part of our frustration is that dd#1 is trying to buck naptime and so we're trying to redefine what is "routine." I forgot to say that, and that yes, my kids both do better with a routine.
post #17 of 19
I'm glad to see this discussion. I have a 13 month old and I just found out I'm pregnant, they'll be a little under 22 months apart. I am a little scared that my DS will feel neglected when a new baby arrives. I still sling him when we go out and rock him to sleep every night and get up with him at night. But I know it will all work out and the gift of a sibling is just such a wonderful thing!
post #18 of 19
I am so glad for this thread.....

I have 3 closely spaced ages 4 1/2 yrs, 2 1/2 yrs, and an almost 13 month old. My 4 1/2 year old is very good at entertaining himself, and I don't ever really remember him being needy. But my DD (2 1/2 yrs) is so needy. She was a quiet baby, who slept 12 hrs at night starting at age 2 months (when I went back to work and she was in daycare), she rarely cried and was content to sit in a baby seat and watch her brother and I on the floor. Now, she is making up for lost time, she wants to be held morning, noon, and night and she sleeps with us. She is very jealous when I try to nurse my DS (13 month old). She loves him but she wants to get into my lap and if I am holding him she will scratch him or pull his hair.

I try to do the best I can with gentle parenting but I do feel guilty sometimes if they have to "wait their turn".

I am glad that I had them closely spaced, my 4 1/2 year old and 2 1/2 year old play together much of the time and while working on projects or learning activities with my older child, I feel that the younger ones are learning too. I love being surrounded by little ones but it is very hard sometimes too.
post #19 of 19
I'm glad to be able to help. This is a subject that is very close to my heart. My younger child was a very high need baby and my older child had some special needs and were at their most intense when DD#2 was an infant. It was so overwhelming and I spent so much time beating myself up for not being perfect that I ended up with post partum depression It was pretty bad, there were a lot of days that after my DH finally got home I used to go and lock myself in the closet and just cry and cry.

If I could go back and do it all over again (and I'm VERY glad that I can't!) I would have a lot more faith my kids to turn out OK inspite of me being human. They know they are totally loved. They know that I'm always here for them. They know that I always do my best. They are amazing little people.
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