-Going to the bathroom? Bring a receiving blanket. Put the smallest one on the floor in front of you with a couple of toys and have the older one sit in there and read you books (or read them books).
-Need a shower? Put the smallest one in a bebePOD, bouncer, or pack and play outside the door/shower curtain and bring the oldest one in with you. Once the smallest gets big enough, bring them in the shower, too. Washing 3 birds with 1 stone. ;)
-Hungry? For breakfast, try to wake up about 15 minutes earlier than they do so you can eat. Wait until they’re both napping for lunch time (sync their naps, AT ALL COSTS SYNC AT LEAST 1 NAP). For dinner, I put the oldest to “work” with a spoon and some bowls and put the smallest in a bebePOD where he can see me. That little toy on the bebePOD is seriously magic. Read the reviews you’ll see what I mean.
-Going shopping? Put the oldest in the main part of the cart and have them sit down. Put the youngest in the front of the cart. Never go on trips where you need a lot of things alone. You can also wear your youngest while the oldest sits in the cart. Shopping trips aren’t easy though, I’m not gonna lie.
-Getting in & out of the car? To get in the car, I start it up about 5-10 minutes before we’re leaving to cool it off or warm it up, put the diaper bag out there, and then take my oldest first. I strap her in, go inside and pick up my youngest, and take him out, closing the door behind me. To get out of the car, I always get the oldest out first. This might be different if you like/use infant carrier car seats (I don’t). I use my car door as a “shield” and put my oldest right beside me where the car door is at her back. Then I make her hold my pants leg while I get the youngest. This works because my oldest is very reserved/doesn’t run off. I usually baby-wear the youngest and hold my toddler’s hand if we’re walking into a restaurant or someone’s house. Or I hold them both. My babies dislike strollers so that’s how I’ve made this work.
-Feeding them? The oldest can feed herself mostly now. I get her food first and lay it out before ever starting a bottle feeding. I also put food in different places in the house at all times so she can stumble upon it. I keep cheerios on the ottoman, goldfish crackers in the kitchen on the chair, and some fruit close to me so I can hand it to her with one hand when she waddles over. I bottle feed the youngest by propping my feet up on an ottoman so my knees are bent and placing him on my legs/lap, facing me. Then I only have to use one hand to feed him the bottle and the other hand is free to play on my phone, hand my toddler things, change the channel, or feed myself.
-Entertaining them? Do “group” activities. Sit down in the floor with them and sing them songs. Color with the toddler while showing the pictures in the book to the youngest and pointing out what everything is. Bounce the babies on your lap, one on each leg. Lay them on their backs and blow raspberries on their bellies, one at a time, killing them with anticipation. BE A CIRCUS CLOWN!
-Changing diapers? I do this as an assembly line. My oldest needs a diaper change about every other time I change my youngest baby’s diaper. This saves time, they entertain each other while you change them, and you can use one trash bag/diaper genie bag for both diapers.
-Making them feel special? Let the older one help in any way they can. I ask my oldest to do things for me. “Bring me that bottle, please,” or, “Go see if you can make your brother laugh!” She loves having this “responsibility”. While the baby is napping in the morning, use that time to read books to your oldest, or give them a special treat. Everly and I eat our morning yogurt together while we watch a video on Youtube or Sesame Street. As for the baby, they will inevitably get extra attention because they need you more/differently at this stage.
-Disciplining them? This sounds silly, but “discipline” the youngest on occasion in front of your oldest. I do this by saying, “Beckett, that’s Everly’s toy,” or if he pulls her hair I say, “No pulling hair. Gentle.” This is my way of letting Everly know that I have expectations from both of them and that she’s just as important as he is. It makes it easier because you’ll find yourself disciplining the older one a lot of the time, “Don’t poke the baby’s eyeballs! Don’t feed him your crackers! Gentle! Gentle! Gentle!” and this seems to make it feel more fair to the older one.
-Sharing a room? I co-slept with Beckett until he was 4 months old. I then assembled a crib that was passed down to us and put it in our guest room. I use an awesome white noise machine to drown out middle-of-the-night crying. I synced their bedtimes early on. Beckett was probably about 3 months old when I moved it up from around 11 to around 8 and now it’s at 7ish. And their wake times are now synced as well. When the baby stops waking in the middle of the night consistently, I’ll move him into the nursery with a white noise machine and hope for the best. My babies are light sleepers so room sharing before the baby is sleeping would be very hard.
Go into survival mode. If the oldest needs a small cookie so you have time to take the youngest upstairs for a nap, do it. Compromise. Learn your limits. Forgive yourself. Strengthen your patience. Ask for help. Pray. And enjoy this sometimes hard but seriously rewarding season of life. Complaining will happen. Fights with your spouse will happen. But they all pass. You will miss these days.
Life is tough and life is sweet. 2 under 2 is a testament to that.