Four months ago we welcomed our second baby boy! Mid-pandemic, mid-lockdown, mid-two parents trying to work from home and take care of kiddos – we dove right into life with two under two. Ezra joined the fam and Jude became a big brother at 18 months old. I’ll be the first to admit that life with two babies (because an 18 month old really is still a baby!) under two years old is not for the faint at heart. But it is filled with heart exploding love and worth every second. Even the seconds crying in the car from overwhelm and exhaustion (they happened a lot with one, they’re absolutely still happening with two). Even the seconds peeing with the door open as your toddler vroom-vrooms his toy cars under your legs and your newborn rests in the lounger two feet away. The reality of taking care of two babies is not a Doen ad where you’re effortlessly put together in a beautiful billowy dress smiling in a field while your children dressed in head to toe linen jumpsuits frolic in the sunset. The reality of two under two is a combination of exhaustion and joy in the same pair of leggings you’ve worn for days and an oversized sweatshirt with a fresh sprtiz of dry shampoo in your hair. All jokes (er, that is the reality…!) aside, it’s also completely wonderful, fulfilling and an abundance of love that brings tears streaming down your face (I cry often because I have never felt such a precious, pure love like this) and a chapter in life we will look back on and cherish.
Through the sleepless nights and early mornings, we snuggle our babies tight, laugh as Jude does the cutest dance moves to BTS “Dynamite” for the 1000th time, squeeze Ezra’s mushy thighs, inhale both of their absolutely delicious scents and smile so big with pride that these two miracles are ours and we get to enjoy them every single day. There is nothing like the happiness children bring into your life and we do not take a moment for granted.
I asked my Instagram followers to submit questions they have for me regarding life with two under and two and below you’ll find my answers. If you have a question I didn’t get to, please feel free to leave a comment. 🙂 Thanks so much for watching the madness that is our life unfold…! Sending big hugs to all the parents out there doing their best. Also – keep in mind that every family unit operates differently, what works for us may not work for others and that’s the beauty of parenting…it’s personal!
Was 0-1 harder or 1-2?
1000% 0-1 was SO much harder for me (more about that in this post). Before kids, I worked from home, had a couple of dogs (dogs and children are not the same, I promise, ha!), traveled a lot to visit friends, worked for myself and loved my job… then boom I had a baby and was a full time mom within a few hours. Life drastically changed. My closest friends stopped calling and when they did, it was as if Jude didn’t exist. I had very little time to devote to work (which was my choice, I didn’t want to hire child care because I wanted to spend my time with Jude) but I thrive on having a creative outlet, so that was really hard. No other friends had kids then, so I felt really lonely and misunderstood a lot of the time…I am so thankful for my family and Blake because they were so helpful and an incredible support system during that early stage – and now! I always loved being a mom, but it’s definitely a grind at times and until I got used to the routine of things, it was quite challenging for me. But once things normalized, I loved it and by the time Jude was nine months old we were ready to add another baby to our family!
With 1-2, we know the drill and it’s like we never left the baby phase – there wasn’t a ton to “re-learn” and we’re still changing diapers all day for Jude, so might as well add another little man to the mix! 😉 But in all seriousness, the biggest thing about 1-2 is no free time because you’re always with a baby or working or cleaning, etc. I have no time for myself to just sit and have coffee while watching a movie, etc. If Blake has Jude, I have Ezra and vise versa. But honestly it has made Blake and I closer than ever because we love these kids more than anything and to watch them thrive is the greatest gift for us. We also make sure neither partner hits that “I’m about to explode” threshold…(well, we try haha, I am an emotional gal and crying is my stress reliever). I’ll share more on the challenges further into this post but overall 1-2 is easier in comparison to 0-1, for me personally.
How did you prepare Jude for baby number 2?
We talked a lot about “baby brother” when he was in my belly, but of course Jude was only 18 months old so he had no idea what that really meant. He was familiar with babies because two of our closest friends had just had a little girl three months before Ezra was born, so Jude was able to see that babies are fragile and to be gentle, etc. We did the best we could to get him to understand, but it didn’t really make sense until like two weeks after we had Ezra and he didn’t go home…ha! Then Jude was like wait a second, he’s staying?!
How did you introduce Jude to Ezra? Does Jude like Ezra?
My mom had Jude for the three days we were in the hospital when Ezra was born. When it was time to come home, my mom, sister, niece and nephew set up dinner at our house right before we arrived. We walked through the door and Jude ran over to us, then we showed him Ezra in the car seat and he said “BAAAY!” (baby) and went right back to his food, ha! He basically didn’t care for him until Ezra was about three months old…it was as if Ezra didn’t exist. He wasn’t mean to him or jealous, he just didn’t acknowledge him really until Ezra started to react and smile back. Now Jude gives Ezra lots of “MA!”’s (mwah, kisses) and he likes to hold his hand. Baby steps!
How do you give the older baby the attention he needs?
(Image above of Jude holding my eye for comfort…he has done this since he was five months old…still does it! Sooo sweet). Our number one priority when I got pregnant with Ezra was to make sure Jude’s life stayed as normal as it possibly could. That meant Ezra was with Blake a lot more so that I could still have my time with Jude (which worked out since Blake was working from home). I always went to sleep with Jude, so that remained the same. I always got Jude down for a nap, so that stayed the same, I usually gave Jude a bath, so that stayed the same, etc. It definitely got easier to keep things sort of normal after I healed from birth (I was out of commission for at least a month) and once I stopped nursing – since that’s a lot of time I was with Ezra and couldn’t take care of Jude. Inevitably, Jude would feel a shift now that he wasn’t the only baby, but I never wanted it to feel significant or sudden. I think we’ve done a really good job with this…I still call him my baby because he is my baby! I now have two babies. He didn’t go from being a baby to a “big boy!” overnight. He doesn’t need to grow up any faster just because he’s an older brother. We are very cognizant of that.
How do you work from home with two under two?
A support system! My mom watches Jude in the mornings M-F so Blake and I can take turns watching Ezra, hopping on our computers or renovating the house (Blake is the renovator!). She started watching Jude a month before Ezra was born so he got used to it and it wasn’t a shock for him to be away once little brother arrived. Jude LOVES going to my moms house, he runs to the door and is like “BYE!” ha! Plus, it has honestly been the biggest blessing that Blake works from home these days because we’re able to tag-team and totally share baby duties!
Update: We just hired my sister to start watching Ezra at the same time my mom has Jude (as I write this, Ezra is now 4.5 months old). It’s a four hour window where Blake and I can focus on work, or I can take a shower alone, etc. 😉 We are two days in and it is life changing to have some time to myself!
What are some arguments you and Blake have when it comes to two under two?
I think the biggest thing is that I’m a backseat driver when it comes to parenting. Blake is an absolutely incredible parent and father, like…I couldn’t ask for better (and I mean that!), and yet I still hover and tell him to “be careful with…” and he’s like OLIVIA, I KNOW! But when the tables are turned and Blake says similar stuff to me, I get really upset and he’s like see? That’s what it feels like! Aside from that, we try to stay in sync with each other and just go with the flow. Life is about keeping these babies happy and healthy, so we make that our priority each day and the rest just falls into place!
What’s it like going out solo with two babies?
Given the pandemic, I rarely go anywhere with both babies alone. One of us will generally take Jude if we need to run to the store or pick up food, but going anywhere with both just isn’t necessary since we’re both home. A couple times a week I’ll take both kids to my moms house with me, and the drive is hit or miss depending on if Ezra is tired or not. He hates the car if he’s awake, so it’s seven minutes confined with a screaming baby… Somehow I got blessed with two babies who absolutely HATE the car haha ah! (Jude HATED the car until he got old enough to face forward). But truthfully, if the world was operating as usual and Blake was back in the office, going out solo with two babies would be really hard but I know we’d get used to it. We’re not well practiced with mama + both kiddo outings since we’ve been in a lockdown since March, so maybe if it were normal to be out and about, I’d have more confidence in going out with both and they’d be more comfortable, too. For now, I will hands down choose the delivery option over an outing, ha!
How are the baby duties split between you and Blake?
Blake and I completely split duties with Ezra and Jude. I am a million times happier sharing the primary parent role now that Blake is working from home. Blake was at an office when we had Jude, so it was full time for me and it was really really tough on me mentally. This time around it’s SO wonderful to be able to 1) talk to an adult and your best friend all day and 2) have help and feel supported. I am SO grateful for Blake! He doesn’t ever complain, he dives right in. We are a great team and make sure we’re working together and not against each other.
What is something you weren’t prepared for?
I am the type of person to glamorize a situation and push the likely reality to the back of my brain. While pregnant with Ezra, I envisioned myself wearing the front pack and chasing Jude – easy peasy! In reality, Ezra ended up not loving the front pack and Jude is now climbing all over the place and likes to do the opposite thing when you tell him no. Our reality literally couldn’t have been further from my daydream, ha! Instead of me looking like a Pinterest-perfect mother, I am disheveled trying to keep two babies alive and myself sane, ha! The thing is, Jude is still just a baby himself. Yes, he’s a toddler, but he’s a baby, too! He’s still learning his coordination and started walking at 14 months…then became a big brother at 18 months. In sum, I expected it to be easier – two babies is a different ballgame.
How does co-sleeping with two under two work? Does Jude actually sleep with a crying baby in the same room?
This was a big adjustment period for us! Initially, we were doing the feedings and diaper changes in the same room as Jude – but we quickly realized Ezra cried during the diaper change (it’s cold!) and that woke Jude up every time (of course!). As y’all know, I switched to formula after two months with Ezra and so Blake and I started taking turns picking him up and doing feedings, changes and soothing in the living room throughout the night (near the kitchen where we make his bottles). Ever since we made this switch, it’s been really easy and Jude sleeps like normal. I’ll have to share an update when we move Ezra into the bed with us…I’m sure that’ll be another big adjustment period!
Did you feel guilt about bringing a second baby home so soon?
Yes and no. No because a sibling is a built in best friend, playmate and the best gift ever! I’m the baby of five siblings and am so grateful to have them, we’re all close and had the best time growing up together. Blake and his sister are also really close in age and had a blast growing up together, too. Yes, because Jude is my angel boy and made me a mama and will always hold a very special place in my heart. This was the hardest adjustment about having a second baby – I was used to spending all my time with Jude and then of course when you have another baby your time is shared between kids. Any time I was ever emotional with postpartum hormone stuff, I always cried because I felt really sad that in an instant Jude felt bigger in my arms. Pretty certain the transition was significantly more emotional and harder on me than Jude, ha! Now that we’re four months into having two, I am so thankful we had them close in age because they’ll get to play and grow that brotherly relationship really soon! When I first announced I was pregnant with Ezra on Instagram, I had so many messages from moms of two under two who told me the first year is the hardest and then after that they play together and it’s incredible. We are really excited about that interaction to come!
How do you shower?
Oof, this is hard haha! My current routine is to give Ezra a bath (I get in the tub with him), then I wrap him in a towel and put him in a swing thingy next to the tub and I take a very fast bath. Once I put him in the swing, depending on his level of tired he will either just relax and babble while I scrubba-dub or he gets angry and I have to sing and talk to him the entire one and a half minutes I am frantically washing my hair. True story: self care is hard to come by at the moment haha (my form of self care is that afternoon coffee while driving Jude to sleep…that’s my “me time.”)
Anything you wish you’d known before Ezra was born to help you prepare?
1. Have a support system in place! I didn’t realize just how much I’d be asking for help.
2. Have a space in your house where your toddler won’t hurt himself and you can feed your baby. Our downstairs is officially the baby zone with loads of toys and the TV in view so we can keep an eye on Jude while feeding Ezra, changing diapers, etc. Our bedroom is another safe zone where Jude can roam around while we tend to Ezra. Toddlers do this thing where they don’t listen to “don’t go up the stairs” or “don’t climb that” haha, so creating a space in your home where you don’t have to worry they’re going to hurt themselves if you look away for a split second is very helpful.
Does Jude get jealous?
Jude has never been jealous of Ezra, thankfully! When he wants me, I hand Ezra to Blake and I hold Jude. Ezra is too little to understand, but Jude is telling me he needs me, so I listen to that and want to make him feel secure. As mentioned before, we have tried to make sure Jude’s life didn’t drastically change overnight and it’s worked really well for us. Jude is happy and likes Ezra!
Jude takes one long nap midday and Ezra catnaps until about the same time Jude goes down for his nap. Thankfully they’re sort of in sync with nap timing! We aren’t big schedule people in our house and just make sure Ezra sleeps when he’s tired…we don’t force anything or have set nap times for either of our kiddos – there’s more of a “time range” we stick to.
How do you and Blake balance quality time with each other and parenting?
Blake and I get so much joy out of doing the childcare thing together. We are with each other 24/7, so simply being together and making the most/having fun with parenting and daily life keeps us connected. When we go get coffee and the babies are in their carseats in the backseat, that’s when we’ll hold hands and have a moment together. We don’t really feel the need to balance alone time and parenting, right now it’s all the same to us (…and we don’t have time for it anyway, ha!). However, we are constantly telling each other thank you and acknowledging the effort and work each partner is putting into our family. I feel like outwardly appreciating one another has made us more connected than ever!
How did y’all decide the age gap?
My sister and I are 17 months apart and had so much fun growing up together – it always made me want to have kiddos close in age. We honestly didn’t think too much about the exact age gap…we knew immediately after having Jude that we wanted more kids, so we were eager to have another right away. As soon as I stopped nursing Jude and got my period we tried for number two!
Do you ever have any time alone?
Short answer: no. I mean…I don’t even go pee alone, ha! When I take Jude on a walk, that’s my alone time. Or when a baby naps, that’s my alone time (even if he’s asleep on my chest, ha!). When friends ask to hang out, I always say…well, it’ll be me and Jude or me and Ezra! I definitely daydream about taking a long, luxurious bubble bath, but generally I’ve just embraced this current life stage and know I’ll eventually have lots of time to myself down the road (right?! Someone tell me I’ll eventually have time to take a long, luxurious bubble bath, ha!)
What is the most challenging and most rewarding part?
Oh goodness a loaded question! Hands down the most rewarding is the infinite LOVE you feel for your babies and the joy they add to your life. I cry often because the love I feel is just so overwhelming – it’s unlike anything in the world. It’s a happy cry, a grateful cry. Babies are so precious, vulnerable and trusting…they rely on you for everything and have chosen you to be their home and safety. What a gift they are! For me, having kids and the crazy rollercoaster of emotions (literally crying happy and exhausted tears at the SAME time) has shown me THIS is what life is all about! I am FEELING and I certainly LIVING! Sorry for the all caps haha, but motherhood is just so incredible and dimensional. I love it. The most challenging part is that there’s no free time or alone time. Keeping one kiddo from hitting his head on the counter while holding the other is not easy…it requires energy that you muster from deep in the depths!
What a total JOY these boys are in our life! We are cracking up all day long watching Jude’s big personality come to life and Ezra find his voice and hands. SO much fun! If you made it this far, thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. I hope that adds some color to what a day in the life over here is like!