{insert sarcastic tone here}  Since I am such an expert on having 2 babies now, I thought I would share with you my insights and must haves……and because every blog post needs a pic, here’s some of my beautiful boys!Hugh & Charles

-Your eldest will NOT be happy with you when they realise baby is coming home with you from the hospital! Before Charlie arrived, I tried to do all the things that is recommended. I gave Hugh one of my old cabbage patch dolls, we gave him (Cabbage Patch name is Lesley Gus for the record) bottles, changed his nappy, put him to sleep in the hammock etc. When Hugh came up for his first visit, I made sure I wasn’t holding Charlie but Hugh didn’t care. Hugh was not happy with me in general! Mostly ignored me and knew something was quite different!

– I know when I was having #2, I kept saying “I’ll have jobs for people to do” after getting home from the hospital. But I didn’t. Have friends that are having a baby? Never offer your services. JUST DO IT! I really don’t think there is any point of saying “just let me know what I can do” and as I mentioned, I was sure I would be ok with accepting others help this time around, but I wasn’t. If someone just did something for me, that was another story, more than happy to take it. I did push myself a little to much after having Charlie (especially after having a c-section) and paid for it a few days after that. I know for next time! You would think I might have picked that up after having Hugh!

-Introduce a bottle early! Ok, this is a very personal preference and I know from experience with Hugh, you may not have any other option but to bottle feed. I just didn’t have enough supply when I had Hugh, he was a big baby (9pd 15) and I couldn’t keep up, actually I struggled to have enough milk for a little baby! So he was introduced to the bottle and formula when we were still in hospital. I breastfeed as much as I could, but he did need formula top ups. Plus being able to go to bed early and have hubby do the dream feed was a blessing!
Now, the little troublemaker that it Charlie, flat out refuses to take a bottle! I know it’s been said before, but boy oh boy….each baby is different! I’ve tried many different bottles, teats and sippy cups and he’s not having it. My aim with Charlie was to feed until about 8 months (I got to 6 months for Hugh) but looks like it will be until at least 12 months. With wedding and racing season upon us, we have a few events to go to and Charlie not taking a bottle is not making it easy to try and work out logistics! On that note, I went to see a client today and I knew I was making the appointment at a bad time (in terms of Charlies feeds), needless to say hubby tried yet another teat and Charles would not have it.  Unfortunatly, my clients took a little bit longer than usual which made it even worse!  I’m also trying to get back into dancing and the gym, but the I have to work around the limited class timetables and Charlies feeds. Next baby will be introduced to a bottle quite early (as well as breastfed).
–  I generally don’t leave the house before 3.30pm…..and that annoys me because then I get the after school crowd!  By the time I get Charlie breastfed, then dressed, then the boys breakfast, Charlie is ready for his 1st sleep (notice I didn’t include my shower or getting ready?  That normally happens once Charlie is back in bed).  If Charlie only has a little nap, which is quite a common occurrence – the boy isn’t a big daytime sleeper – I might nick us into the supermarket.  But in all honestly, it’s hard!  By the time you get shoes, hats, jackets etc. on to get out the door and into the car, it’s 10.30am, the house still looks like a bomb has hit it and then I need to be home again to feed Charlie at 11am!  Then it’s lunch time for the boys and then a sleep for both.  Phew!

-In saying the above, I make sure I’m out of the house for our weekly (sometimes twice weekly) mums group catch up at 9.30am!  Don’t care what state I’ve left the kitchen in those days.  Hugh loves playing with his friends, especially his bestie Big O and this mummy loves her sanity time with the other mummies!  The girls in my mothers group are all amazing and we share a common love of Coca-Cola and chocolate!

-There is no such thing as going for a nice lunch/coffee/long shop if it’s just you and 2 kids.  Our outings, when it’s just me,  revolve around Charlie’s feeds.  Town Planners / Shopping Centre designers have no reality where I live…..if Charlie needs a feed whilst we are out, there is no where I can sit and know that Hugh will be safe.  I can’t be sitting down feeding with Hugh looking to have a run around!  I also struggle to get my pram into mothers rooms….um how about you make doors wider people?)

–  Dinner time & bath time stress me out.  It’s chaotic (and I know, I only have 2 but good lord!), messy and lots of tears.  Hugh often refuses whatever it is I’ve cooked and he sits at our kitchen bench crying because he doesn’t want to eat any more and wants to hop down, Charlie’s starting to get tired again and gets grumpy.  Bath time, if my hubby isn’t home by then (which does happen quite a bit) means double the time to get it done as they need to bath separately, because I’m not going to leave Hugh in the bath while I go and get Charlie dressed (am I missing something so incredibly simple here?  Do you have 2 kids you need to bath by yourself?  Any tips?)  We do bath Hugh and Charlie together if someone is around to help me…..Charlie get’s out of the bath first and get’s dressed while Hugh is finishing his bath up and by that time Charlie is more than ready for another feed.    Needless to say, I’m not a fan of 4.30 (when I start getting tea ready)-7pm!

–  Giving up Hugh’s dummy was no where near as bad as I thought it might be!  Along as being a huge fan of the bottle, Hugh was a massive fan of his dum (for sleeps only).  I initially thought about getting rid of it before Charlie arrived, but decided against that.  So at just over 2 years old, I cut the tip of his dum off.  We’d been talking about throwing the dum out because it was yucky and we’ll get the garbage truck to take it with the nappies.  Then a couple of weeks after that, after his day sleep, I reminded him that the garbage truck will take it, we went outside, he threw it in the bin and that was it.  If he did ask for it, he would say ‘”dum, truck, gone”. 

-Make friends with an Osteo/Chiro/Physio and go regularly.  Picking up 25-30kgs of boys (sometimes at the same time) hurts.  Of course, this depends on the age difference in your kids and their weight.  But Hugh is at an age that he is only now gaining independence in climbing into his car seat for example, but he still needs to be picked up and put into his cot or picked up and put on the change table.  All this lifting of heavy boys got to me.  I kept complaining about my sore back, hoping hubby might pick up on the fact and offer a back rub…..he didn’t.  One day it was so sore, I asked him when he might be able to stay home for a bit so I could make an appointment with the Osteo.  When he told me, perhaps Friday (it was Monday when I was asking) I started crying.  How could I possibly go 4 more days of this?  I could barely pick the boys up and as I still had to often (as my above examples) and when I did it hurt!  Needless to say, tears did the trick, not that there was a trick, I genuinely couldn’t work out how I could get through the week in pain, and I rang up my sport therapy guy (that makes it sound like I’m sporty, but I’m really not.  I’d seen this guy before when I woke up years ago and couldn’t move my neck).  I wanted to kiss him…..he could see me that afternoon!  A bit of acupuncture and rubbing (he left me bruised) and I was fixed!  My L5 was pinching a nerve which kept causing my gluts to contract and spasm.

There is BIG love between the 2 boys, especially now as Charlie is starting to babble and they seem to provoke each other when its meal time (and by provoke I mean laugh at each other).  It’s very cute!

Sooooo after all that, am I going to have another baby you ask?  Why yes, yes I am (we hope so anyway, but the age gap will be bigger!  My body needs a bit more time to recover after having  9pd 15oz and 10pd 10oz boys and both being c-sections)……there are lots of moments where it’s just overwhelming, especially now as Hugh has started the ‘terrible 2’s’, but there are many more moments where I realise how lucky I am to have 2 beautiful, healthy and happy boys!
I’d love to know from you, what advice would you give to your pre-baby self?
PS.  Because this post went for much longer than I intended, I’ll show you later in the week my must have items!