Emily Henderson

A Sanity Checkup

Just Real Quick …

emily - henderson-baby

I wrote the longest Instagram post ever (below) and the new rude Instagram format was like ‘Woah, hey there lady, edit that down a bit’. After a few ‘Well-I-Nevers’ I decided to not edit it but to instead just post it to the blog. You can’t stop my long-windedness, Sir. Instagram, you only succeed to divert it onto a different platform. Here you go: my stupidly drawn-out personal Instagram attempt:

Last weekend I kinda lost it. Brian was out-of-town and after getting up 4 – 6 times both nights with that angel and at least once with Charlie I found myself snapping then weeping at Charlie during his average ‘I’m acting like a total psychopath’ tantrum because I mixed the fruit into his yogurt – a gesture that he typically appreciates. Word to the wise: DO NOT MIX THE FRUIT INTO HIS YOGURT UNLESS HE ASKS YOU TO THEN PLEASE MIX THAT FRUIT INTO THE YOGURT AT THE EXACT SPEED THAT HE DEMANDS.

A friend witnessed my meltdown and suggested that perhaps after months of complaining of severe sleep deprivation it was time to hire some extra help during a really busy work week. Let me just go ahead and answer the question you are asking – don’t you have a nanny? Yes. And she is AMAZING. But I also have a toddler whose needs are far different from a baby so on the days that I can’t be home with Elliot, the baby goes with the toddler to all his activities (a playdate every morning at Kids Space and parent/nanny and me twice a week in the afternoon at a preschool that he will soon go to full time in the fall). Thus Elliot’s nap schedule is totally neglected. If one caretaker were to make sure that both napped properly at home we would be in napping prison, which I (and Charlie) refused to be in, but because of that she hadn’t learned how to fall or stay asleep well.

So I found a baby nurse for some temporary relief. Someone to help teach me and her how to get her to sleep properly. It didn’t go as planned because Elliot didn’t like her for the first full day and I had to step in every 20 minutes only after I refrained every 2 minutes. But she was super lovely and somehow still forced that baby to sleep and eat enough during the day that she only woke up twice that night. Apparently I’m not making enough milk and she is not napping enough. I swear we were good parents with Charlie. We were disciplined and diligent. We had the time and sanity to properly teach him how to sleep and I knew how many ounces I was making every single minute. I was obsessed with my milk production – an obsession that has thankfully waned with the wisdom of motherhood. But this time around I lost milk even faster and it has affected her sleep (not her growth thankfully and we’ve been supplementing with formula for the 6 weeks).

I thought the second child was supposed to be easier, but you all lied, it’s not because the first one is wailing in the corner, being a toddler. A toddler that acts as if you are burning his blankey in front of his very eyes if you take even the smallest bite of his string cheese. I’m happy to report that the last three nights have been so much better (update, last night was TERRIBLE with Charlie again .. but Ellie was good). I’m happy that hiring that extra help, however uncomfortable it was (and it was) was worth it. She reminded me to be more patient – that when Elliot acts like she doesn’t want to nap its my job to remind her that she needs to. And that sometimes that ‘reminding’ is in the form of me rocking, shushing and soothing her for 20 fussy minutes until she gives in – a job that this busy mom was not doing well. We leave for Australia on tomorrow which is going to bring its own challenges, sure, but hopefully these habits can stick. She is such an angel, I just haven’t been as on top of it this round for obvious reasons – i’m not being hard on myself because I know that i’m doing the best that I can, but its good to just put all the facts on the table and come up with a solution that works with those facts. For us it was calling in a baby pro for 3 days. And I think its worked ….

Meanwhile if you have a toddler and have even once wondered if he/she needed psychological intervention please know that EVERY SINGLE one of my friends has wondered the same thing, as have I. His level of irrationality and lack of empathy when it comes to sharing can be absolutely disturbing at times despite the fact that he’s impossibly loving and affectionate the rest of the day.

So please, friends, if you run into Charlie Henderson with a raspberry FAGE yogurt, please DO. NOT. MIX. THAT. FRUIT.

So mom of two kids at different napping stages, how do you do it???? Do you just make the second baby more flexible or do you keep the toddler at home?

*Photo by Jess Issac, dress by Doen. Two new blue pillows from Target, 1/2 moon pillow by Rebecca Atwood.

Read about the last four months with two kids, The first six weeks with 2 kids, The first 3 weeks, the pregnancy announcement and if you are really bored watch the gender reveal video. 

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  1. Emily I totally love your honesty, and you’re hilarious! I only have one kiddo currently, so I can’t offer any napping tips for two. Just wanted to say how much I love reading your blog and how much of an inspiration you are to me as a working mom!! xx

  2. Good for you for getting help when you needed it! I work as a nanny for 4 kids (all under 4) and when the baby was born she just came with us everywhere and slept in her car seat when we were out. We lucked out a lot though because she was a very easy baby. For me it was easier to change the baby’s nap then stay home because there were twin toddler boys who needed interactions outside of the house to get off energy. The baby was never the best sleeper out in public but she did sleep really well at night and took two afternoon naps to help balance it out. Good luck with the sleeping and I hope it gets better!

  3. Loved reading this post… I so appreciate your honesty! You are definitely not alone in the journey of parenting. By far the most challenging adventure I’ve ever been faced with. Your words of wisdom help remind me all the craziness is normal, or common I should say with hope that this isn’t a forever normal! You’re a fabulous mom, and you help all of us with your candid posts, much appreciated!

  4. Thanks for your honesty. I work part time, and stay most of the week at home with three kids. Ages 5, 3.5, and 9 months. Our lives revolve around nap times. I prioritize sleep, especially for babies. I know it seems like you can be trapped, but really it’s a short time. At 9 months, we have three naps and longer wake times (2-3 hrs), so we get out and do stuff in those windows. I also stock up on crafts and new games to pull out (once a week for the first few months), and invite friends for play dates here. I am hoping that by 14-16 months, we will be down to one nap! That really opens things up.

    1. Totally agree! Currently have a 2, 4, and 6 yr old. Prioritizing sleep helped me keep my sanity. Toddlers totally thrive on routine and consistency of a loving caregiver, wherever that is. I tried to make our house their favorite place to be, and only planned outings once or twice a week. They have all been great sleepers and the older two still have quiet time to this day :)

      1. ALright that’s one for the sleep! Another unfortunate aspect to this is the exterior of the house is under construction so we dont’ even have that deck. Every day I’m like IF ONLY WE HAD A YARD!! Then I wouldn’t feel bad keeping him inside all morning while she naps. AND GET THIS our local park is under construction, too, so you have to get in the car to go to a park. We can only play with playdough and read books for so many hours. .. maybe i need to look up new indoor activities for toddlers …

        1. Umm, the park/yard construction combo is tough! But hopefully short lived? I only have one but she was very high strung and difficult to keep entertained…Pinterest has so many ideas but for us anything sensory was the ticket…i filled a container store unserved box with sand for our tiny city yard…sorting dried beans into muffin tins, bowls of rice or dried beans…stick him in the shower stall with paint brushes sponges a turkey Baster and a bucket of water…or a bowl of shaving cream! These kinds of things make the time at home a bit more entertaining!

          1. Umm that was container store underbed box!! Also yes, toddlers are total sociopaths! And once in a while so is my now 5 1/2 year old, but really it’s so much easier. Aha parenting has good tips for not giving into your own psychopathic tendencies, that you didn’t know you had, until sleep deprivation/toddler/infant combo! combo

  5. I’m not sure you will read this, or if it will be new information, but I feel compelled. It’s good that you write it out, however lengthy. How brave to be EH public persona and the let us know the actually real mom-person, too. I didn’t raise 2 kids a couple years apart, they are 4 minutes apart. Now they are 7. I have to say, it’s so much harder than anyone admits to and if you feel like you need a padded room that’s completely normal. Our twins didn’t sleep through the night, really for … 12 months. We read every book. We tried everything. I can’t believe we survived it. This I know, you use your instinct. Ever day is different, every kid is different. You have to mentally juggle so much all the time. There is no off. And one day (right around potty-training/preschool) you can berate again. All of a sudden it’s so much easier. My husband and I are graphic designers who both stayed home with the kids and both worked from home. One year we had interns. Can you imagine? So, hang in there. And keep being awesome.

    1. Padded room, yes. And if we survive til they are both in school I’m going to be so sad to drop them both off … UGH. I just got a huge lump in my throat thinking about it. But then .. then maybe we’ll feel normal again?

      1. Oh, you will feel sad. Leaving Charlie on that play ground that first day will bring you to tears. Elliot will be easier :) As for the sleep issue, our girls are 22 months apart. We prioritized sleep, didn’t really have a choice. We couldn’t sustain the chaos without doing so. Worst part, the eldest didn’t nap any more when her sister was born. We did a lot of reading, crafts, and trains! And took over a corner of the living space with toddler climbing equipment because digging it out of the snow wasn’t an option. This phase doesn’t last long, I promise. Soon enough, you will be chasing them both at the park, wishing for a nap time to be on the near horizon!

  6. My boys are 18 months apart. I let my youngest nap in the morning before we do anything. It’s hard and sometimes I go crazy but my first child had a nap schedule and he’s a great sleeper. My second loves his naps. On days we have a play date that’s a little early, I wake the youngest up a little earlier so he will nap earlier. Or sometimes I just wake him up and we go. He is flexible that way, but he expects his naps. Hang in there, it’s a short phase. I plan to drop the morning nap at 12 months and it will be great! (He’s 10.5 months so we are almost done.)

    1. The baby is flexible during the day, she is super easy – just bad at night and the baby nurse was like ‘she’s bad at night because you are being bad during the day’ … It’s so annoying Charlie was super flexible during the day AND still slept through the night … I knew I wouldn’t get lucky sleep-wise twice. I KNEW IT :)

      1. Your daughter is still really young. Our first (now 4) was a spectacular nighttime sleeper. The second (now 1 and 1/2) didn’t sleep a wink at night the first 5 months. Month six was rough but survivable. By month 8 we weren’t complaining. By a year, full nights of sleep. Seriously, hang in there. You will survive. It will get better. I promise. Even though they are phenomenal now, it gets better. They will play together. Before your daughter talks, walks, etc they will play and you will lose your mind with excitement.

  7. What works for us is sending the older child to school! My son attends full-day Montessori preschool, M-F, (he is 3 years old) and has since he was 20 months old. He takes a nap at school, and when he comes home, we have special time together. My baby (5 months old) does not have a rigid sleep schedule, more like “windows” of sleep. It’s kind of an every other day thing, too. One day she takes a 45-60 min nap in the morning, another around lunch time, and another after I pick up my son from school. The next day she will take a super long morning nap (2-2.5 hours) and then a shorter one in the afternoon. I know baby experts say they should have more structured schedules, but I have always preferred to follow my baby’s cues, and it works for us because she only wakes 1 or 2 times per night to eat. Best wishes to you, and bon voyage!! Looking forward to hearing about your trip to Australia!

    1. Too funny! I basically said the exact same thing a few comments down–full-day Montessori all the way! Worked very well–now my second child is in her last year of Montessori and naps are a thing of the past.

      1. Agree with all the school comments. Great routine for a toddler with a new baby. My girls are the same age as Charlie and Ellie and it’s definitely not easy but having them each do their own thing helps (though look out for school related illnesses – those things could take down a village.)

        1. HA. I literally just turned in the preschool paperwork on friday (he’s enrolled for September) and asked if there were any openings for the summer. We weren’t going to do it because we are traveling a lot this summer but now I’m thinking even for the few weeks that it would be helpful to have that as an option. So as I was turning it in I was like …any chance we can get in for summer so they are checking … It’s so expensive having a nanny (for her) AND preschool but maybe it will be worth it for a few extra months.

          1. Montessori preschool is awesome. Not only do they have strict sleep schedules, but they potty train your kid! If you wait too long, then all the preschools will make you swear that your child is potty trained, which we now know is a long process, not a single magical turning point.

  8. I have a 4 yr old and an 18 mo old and we are in “napping prison” from about 12-3 everyday and I absolutely love it. My 4yr old has quiet time during his nap and so I work or have quiet time as well. I will miss this phase when it passes. I hope you find your happy balance. It’s different for everyone and we’re all trying hard and doing the best we can :-) Godspeed through the irrational tantrums. I felt like those finally let up after she turned 4.
    xoxo

    1. 12 – 3 actually seems doable. Charlie sleeps 1 – 3 and its fine. Ours is she sleeps 10 – 11, he sleeps 1 – 3, she sleeps again 4 – 5. So its kinda all day … :)

      1. Can you get the baby to sleep from 9-10 and again at 1-3? Then bed time for the baby is 6:30/7ish. I do this with my daughter (now 15 months and have been on this schedule since 3 months). That way Charlie and the baby will have their afternoon nap at the same time.

        1. I agree with Kari! My son (12 months) goes to bed at 6pm on the dot each night (he lets us know when it’s bed time!). He will nap once a day (on the rare occasion he naps twice) and it’s from 11-2. He is not allowed to nap past 3 or it interferes with his bedtime. I don’t exactly know how we got into this schedule, as my son actually chose this bedtime. He dropped his second nap and started wanting to go to bed about 6pm. The rest just evolved. All that said, though, he is an awful sleeper at night. He gets up 4+ times due to his asthma or chronic ear infections. Good luck. You are a true superhero. Being sleep deprived is the hardest thing ever!

          1. This is a few days late but your comment made me laugh so much. My sister-in-law’s mom was just telling me how her first child decided very early on that he was done for the day at 6pm and so by the time they had their second (my SIL), they were so accustomed to that schedule that they had her (and later, their third baby) going to bed at 6pm as well. But this is the kicker: all three kids kept that schedule through middle school! Can you even imagine? I’m sure they didn’t actually go to sleep until later, but they were all in bed at 6. Insane.

      2. That doesn’t seem like enough sleep for your daughter (it’s the same amount of time as Charlie) so if I had to choose, it would be sleep for the baby. Unless she doesn’t need much sleep (one of mine!) I would have thought she’d have 3 naps/day. A medium one in the morning (45 mins?), a longer one in the middle of the day (2-3 hours) and a shorter one (20-30 mins) late afternoon.

        I would either give in to nap prison, with the help of your nanny so everyone actually gets what they need in terms of being able to go out, or get the kids onto roughly the same sleep schedule whereby the main sleep is at home plus baby can nap whilst out and about.

        My eldest was 17 months when I had my youngest. She didn’t nap during the day at that age, though we had quiet time because I needed a rest after lunch. I can recall sometimes putting the TV on so she could watch a movie whilst I napped on the sofa. We had busy mornings out the house, but we’re home for lunch and baby to have her longer 2-3 hour nap in her crib.

        At least there is a napping schedule!

  9. I have a 16 month old that just went down to one nap and a 3 year old also. 1 year old naps 11:30-2:30 and 3 year old 3:30-5:30. In a dream World is get them to nap at the same time and slowly going to push their naps together, but for now I’m in nap prison and it’s tough. They use to have the second nap together and it was great, we are all adjusting. Always adjusting.

  10. I have two kids the same age as you…. I am also exhausted and struggling with the sleep of the youngest. In terms of the naps – I make sure we are home on the afternoon always so the baby can have one crib nap. In the mornings he sleeps in his stroller at the toddlers activities. Every day. We would all go nuts at home all day.

    1. That’s pretty much what we are doing … until i got lectured by baby nurse that that is why she is sleeping poorly at night – that she wasn’t getting enough daytime sleep … But I actually think it was more about how she wasn’t getting a full feeding from me and I didn’t know it. So now that we give her a full 6 ounce bottle before she goes to bed its already been so much better.

  11. I have to second one moms comment on sending them to school! I send my 2.5 yr old to preschool and she gets playtime/interaction that she needs and it leaves me open to creating a more structured sleep schedule for my new born. My first I was a sleep drill Sargent and she’s a sleeping champ for it. The second one I didn’t want to become too neglectful of her sleeping needs so I committed to sending my oldest to preschool until I could get a rhythm down. Some days if I want to hold my oldest at home to do something fun I just won’t send her in to school. It’s worked amazing for us!

    Granted it’s early and I could lose my mind at any point but you’re catching me on a “happy” day ;)

  12. My kids are 23 months apart and I think part of the answer for you could be to send Charlie to school–my son started in a 2’s program at a Montessori school right before my daughter was born (he was about to turn 2.) He would do a full day and nap at school (out like a light, every day), and it freed up the house for the baby to find her groove. It helped that it was a wonderful school and he loved going there (most of the time.) And of course, it will help with the sharing, socialization, etc. A few days a week would be so beneficial for everyone.

    1. Oh, I’m so jealous of everyone sending their kids to Montessori! Montessori schools are amazing, but full-day preschool here is about $15,000!

  13. Loved reading this! I have two kids near the same age as yours. We do stay home in the morning (which I’m not a fan of) but as soon as my son wakes up we race around outside and tire them both out for a couple hours so that they will both be tired by their afternoon naps and take them together. Sometimes on a rare day, I let my son nap in the ergo or the car for his morning nap. He is 10 months old though and does really fine with just two naps. I do experience afternoon nap jail but it’s honestly nice to relax and catch up on things (like Netflix.) And I do work 4 days a week so maybe that’s why I haven’t gone crazy yet? Good luck!

  14. I love you’re blog, it’s so fun to read whether you’re talking about design or motherhood! I’ve resigned to pretty much count on us being home everyday 2-4pm for nap times…for the next few years. My kids are 1 and 3 and my littlest was born in the dead of winter which made it easier to keep a rhythm of sleep at home. But he also slept ok on the go, so he usually had one early morning nap at home, mid morning nap out and it was glorious when both kiddos would nap in the same time at the afternoon. Fortunately for us it didn’t take too much work to get naps to overlap in the afternoon – but I think it’s worth the effort to try and make that happen! Sometimes I dream of the day when we have no nap schedules to contend with! Good luck with those precious kiddos of yours!! (Especially Charlie, since I’m in the middle of toddler craziness too :)

  15. I lovingly refer to this conundrum as our “nap trap”. Can’t go out in the morning bc Ingrid needs to nap and can’t go out in the afternoon bc Hayes & Ingrid both have to nap. So we are left with a lame two hour window to rush somewhere over the lunch hour….which sucks! Who wants to have a rushed lunch with a toddler and a baby? Luckily for us, Ingrid had almost dropped the morning nap and I can resume being a normal (not angry all the time) person again. Loved your honest post ??. Feels so good to know its not just us.

  16. I have to say I read these parenting posts with a sick glee. You really capture the madness of it all perfectly.

    I have a 10 month baby girl and a 3 1/2 boy and let me tell you we only two weeks ago started to make progress on sleep. When my son was an infant, we had all our shit under control. I mean he was sleep trained at 4 months! With the 2nd one, our life circumstances are totally different… we are in a new city for one year while I do an internship and my husband is shuffling back and forth. So anyway, long story short, we just kind of let the baby do her own sleep thing. Then around 8 months it started to go really haywire. Her paci was popping out and we were popping it back in every 1 or 2 hours. I decided that was insane and weaned her off the paci. Then, naturally, we had no good soothing method so we were rocking her all hours of the night. Not god. Finally, my husband, that punk gave her a bottle out of desperation at 4 in the morning and we totally regressed to NIGHT FEEDINGS for our 10 month, 20 pound chunky lady. Not god. I kept crying, “I can’t live like this. I can’t live like this” but my husband had gotten very sort of anti-sleep training. His claim is, “Sure it works… but at what cost?” I literally have battled and wanted to kill him over this issue. So one weekend when he was gone, I told him I was going to get this sleep thing under control. I had to wait weeks because our baby girl was teething and then had a cold and sleep training while teething or sick is NO NO. You have to soothe during those times– I mean I’m not a MONSTER! Anyways, she was finally healthy and then over the course of on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night we sleep trained. The first night was 1 1/2 hours of crying but over time it got better. Unfortunately, on Tuesday night she got sick and so we had to go back to rocking etc. But now a week later, she is basically sleep trained … she sleeps 7pm-6am. She cries for 5 minutes when we put her down initially and then falls asleep. It’s amazing. It’s what I remember from when we sleep trained our son. We used the book Sleepeasy Solution (discovered on Cup of Jo blog). It worked for us. Now, we our turning our attention to her boy who basically stays in bed not sleeping until 9:30 each night. He’s adorable but something weird is happening and we need to nip that in the bud! Best of luck to you Emily. It’s a goddamn struggle. It just is.

    1. Wait! I have a 3.5 year old and a 10 month old, and same story almost. slept trained the first at 4 months. my 10 month old nurses/rocks to sleep and still takes night feedings – like 3-4 times a night! i don’t know how to get her off of it! did you just cold turkey sleep train? and, by the way, we’re resigned to our older one falling asleep at 9:30. i think it’s the nap at preschool that’s pushing her night time sleep so late.

  17. Reading this on my phone as 2.5 yo sleeps and 11 mo old nurses half asleep. I work in the mornings then come home to “nap prison” and it’s so hard some days! Now my oldest skips his nap every couple days and it’s even harder. So glad you’re human, too, Emily. Loved reading this today.

  18. Another +1 for school for the older one! Bit of different situation because me and husband both have FT office jobs, but my 21-month old is in daycare full time while we have a nanny for extra support for the 5-month old. And all our money is spent on childcare :/

    On weekends we let baby get her morning nap in the crib and one of us will take the toddler out for a little date. I can usually get them napping overlapping at least an hour in the afternoon (thank you nanny!!). Regarding nights – came close to a psychotic break because of the sleep deprivation.
    Did gradual night weaning using bottles even though I’m breastfeeding and last night even though she woke and cried out a little, she slept from 7-6!! I was dreading a full blown CIO situation! Hang in there, you’re amazing and an inspiration!

  19. Oh, man, do I know what you’re going through. I suck every bit as much. And you know what? I’m still a good mom in my own right. So are you.

  20. First, thanks for being so honest!!! This too shall pass. I don’t have 2 (yet) but I have to agree with the other commenters that school totally made life easier and better for the whole family. Our little guy is almost 2 and goes 9-12 at a little church school nearby. He gets a lot of social interaction and a ton of energy out, then comes home for lunch and a solid nap. There’s no way I could fathom adding to our little fam without the structure and stimulation school provides (even just 3 hours a day). Is there somewhere nearby you could send Charlie, even just to have the nanny with the baby for a few hours?

  21. I agree with everyone who recommends school – Montessori was a lifesaver.

    In my case everyone had to be flexible and both kids had to be able to sleep anywhere (thank you double stroller). I was a single mum (left ex when baby was 5 months), I worked part time, and I woulda gone nuts at home in our tiny studio. Going nuts wasn’t an option as there was nobody else who could care for my kids (no family around etc).

    You’re really important. Care for your kids (obviously) but do whatever stops you going nuts. This might mean committing to sleep prison. It might mean sleep training and/or transitioning to full time formula. Maybe the nanny drives around while they both sleep in the car. Or you have a night by yourself in a hotel to catch up on sleep and sanity every so often.

    My kids are 16 and 14 and delightful, I have remained sane and have an awesome career. So I would recommend doing what stops you going nuts to anyone.

    Finally, I want to salute your honesty. For me, this phase was toughest during the times I felt totally alone. When everyone else’s kids were in synch, behaving beautifully and so on. People like you literally got me through. You’re doing a remarkable job. Keep it up.

  22. You look beautiful in the blue dress.
    I found the Dr Sears books helpful with many issues, when my son was tiny. Son also had GERD, we didn’t sleep for about 6 years. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

  23. my first was 2 1/2 when the second was born. I call that first year “the dark days”.

    Survival is the goal.

    I thought my first had a mental disorder. And now the second is 2 1/2 and I think the same thing. Luckily the older one, now 5, has recovered for the most part.

    The napping this was always a mess.

  24. I say this as a longtime reader with the utmost sympathy for these early days of having two kids: probably not the wisest thing to make the location/schedule of Charlie’s play dates public.

  25. You are doing fine. I have three boys (aged 2,4,6), and my second was the hardest. It is hard, and coping strategies have to be learned the hard way…with lots of mistakes. The best thing you can do is lower your standards. For example, “napping prison” is something you created in your mind. Staying home, learning the ropes of life with two babies, resting lots, and playing with the same toys day in day out are EXACTLY what you should be doing right now. Your toddler, once he adjusts, will be perfectly happy, and will learn to play in a more focussed and emersed way. And bits of TV are ok. Sometimes, like anybody, Charlie will just want to zone out, and you can use that short time to regain your balance. Lower your standards, that’s the answer to a happy mom and a peaceful family!

  26. I have two, 2.5 years apart. Back when my youngest was small enough to nap, we’d do any errands/play dates, etc in the morning, while the 2 YO was happiest, and baby would sleep in a car seat or stroller. Then we’d try to be home in the afternoon for naps for both, since my older only needed one afternoon nap at that time. So if you can, get things done in the non napping hours of Charlie and you’ll only compromise on napping for one, not both. And hope Elliot can sleep in a car seat or on the go in other ways.

  27. Em! In calling you Em because I feel like you’re my long lost sister from another mister. I’ve been reading your blog for many years. I have a boy about to turn 2 next week and another going on 5 months. So we are almost in the same boat, age-wise. And temperament wise, too. My toddler acts like a crazy loon who escaped from an asylum and my baby is the sweetest, chillest “precious little angel face” (yes, those words have escaped my lips on many occasion). My Mom asked me last week if I read your last blog post about the kids & I said, “Yea, at 3am,” because why would I be asleep at 3am? And she said, “Don’t you feel better knowing she has a nanny and still doesn’t have it together?” Ha! And actually yes, while I hate it for you it’s also a bit refreshing when people admit their parenting struggles. My first was a horrible baby, up every forty-five minutes. Yea. My neighbors and co-workers referred to me as, “That girl who’s baby never sleeps.” We tried so hard to do everything by the book. We finally Ferberized him at 7 months when I was convinced I was literally going to die of sleep deprivation at any given moment (I Googled it. It CAN happen). So when this sweet baby #2 came along and fell right to sleep in my arms, I was smitten. I put him in my bed (whilst previously announcing to my husband that co-sleeping was for those Moms who don’t mind how hideous those amber teething necklaces look), and he has been there since! What is wrong with me? I can’t even tell you at this point. But I don’t sleep because he’s on my boob all night and if I transfer him to the crib he wakes up. So here I am again with another baby who doesn’t really sleep… Although this time it’s my fault.

    So all this to say I don’t have a lick of advice for you, except to say that we will survive. Some how. Some way. We will make it through. And years from now we’ll turn into those people in the grocery store line who I want to slap across the face when they tell me to “enjoy every minute!”

    Until then, prayers for sleep and toddlers who don’t mind mixing their fruit & yogurt (what a healthy breakfast, at least- mine only eats frozen, non-toasted waffles!). XO

  28. Emily
    As a mom of two school aged boys I dimly remember the sleep deprivation you are living with right now but it was torture. Mine are close in age so they were on the same schedule give or take. But I do remember that our lives revolved around those naps and we didn’t deviate because we all were miserable by dinner time if we didn’t cater to the almighty nap. I think maybe keep the baby’s nap time sacred and have Charlie play all he wants at home. I’m not convinced all of these toddler play classes are really worth it. Just my humble opinion because I’m a huge supporter of SLEEP! For the adults and the babes.

  29. Oh, I feel for you! I have 5 kids and I’m pregnant with the 6th, and I have to say the thing I am least looking forward to is the return to napping prison (perfect name for it, btw!!).

    Here’s my best advice–you absolutely have to stick to a schedule. My children all had very different sleep habits, but all of them did SO MUCH BETTER on a schedule. I hated it, and I tried different things, and some were more flexible than others, but the bottom line was that sleep begets sleep, and if I didn’t protect their naps during the daytime, we always ALWAYS paid for it at night. I know it seems awful to cut such huge wedges out of your day (and it is!), but it’s the only way I ever found to ensure that all of us slept well at night and that I could hang on to my sanity.

    I don’t know how much flexibility you have to work from home, but that totally saved me–I switched to working completely from home after my third was born and it made all the difference in the world. With a well-rested baby, I could count on 2 hours of nap in the morning and another 2 hours in the afternoon, and I worked SUPER hard to make sure that afternoon nap lined up with my toddler’s afternoon nap. I worked during the afternoon nap of both kids, at night when the kids were asleep (I could usually get in at least 4 hours) and in the morning before they were awake. I know it’s different for everyone, but I tried really hard to be present when they were awake because otherwise I felt so guilty that it wasn’t worth the trade-off. If I had a super-crazy work week I would make sure to set up some playdates for the toddler during the baby’s morning nap and then I could work in that time. Again, I know that’s different for everyone, but that was just how I dealt with it personally.

    Last but not least (do I win for longest comment ever?!) you really need to preserve your sleep for your own health. Even if that means hiring a baby nurse, or cleaners, or extra hours for your nanny, or extra help for your business–it’s worth it. Think of it as an investment not only in your own health but in the health of your family and your family dynamic.

    Best of luck–feel free to reach out to me via email if you need a listening ear!

  30. Emily. The title sir is not an abbreviation. You are literally the only person in the world who thinks it is. For the love of all that is holy, please stop putting a period after Sir. “Sir Instagram” is correct. “Sir. Instagram” is not only incorrect, but it is also freaking weird.

    1. Uh if you took time to actually read before making rude comments, you’d see that they are separate thoughts and sentences.

    2. That’s really something. All you got from this post was the opportunity to INCORRECTLY nitpick Emily’s syntax/punctuation.

  31. I was on lock down for years for nap time with both my kiddos (22 months apart). But that is how I kept sane… and I was stay at home so I am of no help to you :(.

    What I can say thought is that it DOES get easier… once they catch up to each other and can play together without you having to be this clown jumping around to entertain them… then it gets easy… But I won’t sugar coat it…. the first years are HARD!!!!

    BTW my kiddos are now 9 and 7.

  32. Nap prison it is. I feel like my kids are in a nap relay, one goes down just as the other wakes. They might as well be passing off the nap baton. It’s sucks but I just keep telling myself that it’s short term. Oh and if you think 2 is bad let me tell you it is. But also, 3 is So. Much. Worse.

  33. My kids are 20 months apart and the different napping times didn’t keep us inside since my son would just sleep in a carrier while we followed his big sister around at the playground/art classes etc. I never knew when exactly he napped, he just did. Babywearing saved us. We found going heavy with activities in the morning thru lunch, and early afternoon being a general siesta time for all works. If the older one isn’t napping it’s a great quiet time for reading/drawing. Or if the baby’s sleeping and it’s nice outside, I’d squeeze in a little one-on-one time with a slow walk with my toddler. Love that dress!

    1. ps. to be clear, I meant a one-on-one (figuratively) with my littlest in the carrier or stroller snoozing (obviously not leaving the babe alone!) ;)

    2. I’ll add a second voice that wearing the second (and now I’m wearing our third) baby in a carrier worked great for us. It was the only way we could make sure our toddler was properly stimulated/socialized and that our infant got the sleep he needed. It worked great for us because we could get out and about, I could be hands-free to help the older one, and when the baby got tired, he would just happily drift off to sleep. He actually slept more and longer in the carrier than he did at home in his crib. Also, “quiet time” (alone time in bed for 30 or so minutes) in the afternoons ensured both toddler and baby got a solid nap in a bed. Hope your sleep woes get sorted out soon! We had our third baby last week, so I feel your desperation for sleep! It’s so hard to be tired!

  34. I feel the need to tell you not to be so hard on yourself! Yes, it’s our job to teach them to sleep, but some children are way more difficult than others. My first would not nap, no matter what I did. There was one day when she was 3 mos old when she didn’t sleep for more than 10 minutes the entire day, (I tried everything!). Not even my MIL (who works with babies) could get her to nap or sleep regularly. She’s 4 now and is smart, kind, funny, AND a great sleeper. So don’t feel like you’re not doing your job well! You are!

  35. I have 4 kids, all about two years apart. Someone gave me the book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” when I had the first and it became our sleep Bible. It covers naps, sleep patterns by age, night waking, sleep training. Overall theme: if you want good sleepers you need to put sleep first. Which means being held hostage by the nap and bedtime schedules. But the sleep habits they form now will carry on as they get older. And once they learn to sleep well it’s such a load off you. (My oldest is nearly 14 and youngest is almost 7 and they are still awesome sleepers). As for the nursing, I worked full time as a lawyer while nursing all the kids for about a year each. The low milk is because you are tired and not taking the time to rebuild your supply. Pumping sucks (pardon the pun) and at work it wasn’t always an option so we supplemented with formula during the week. As a result, my milk would be low at the end of the week, so I treated the weekend like nursing boot camp. No missed feedings. No formula. Again, you are sort of a hostage to the kid’s schedule. I have a stay at home hubby so I had a lot of support. Whoever it is, you need support. All I can say is it gets easier as they get older. Pace yourself. You don’t have to be perfect at everything all the time. Some of raising kids (especially more than one) is doing just enough so you all survive. Freaks outs are a regular part of my life (still). Hang in there! (And have a glass of wine, or some chocolate or whatever your thing is.)

  36. Have you tried a white noise machine for the kids? If not it’s certainly worth a shot. Simple ones are less than $20 and are better than ones with lights, etc as that’s distracting. Get one for both kiddos.

    1. We just used a small fan. Pointed it away from the bed and voila! Cheap white noise. One kids still likes to sleep with a fan and the other has decided she prefers quiet. But for years, that was our life-saver when a loud toddler was playing or, heaven forbid, the doorbell rang and the dog went bonkers.

  37. I am just having to laugh as I read this. We have a 3 year old boy and I swear to god, the mixing food thing is on another level. But the “breaking” food thing is beyond – cookie breaks into two and he flies off the handle. But my good friend witnessed this entire insanity last week on FaceTime and said calmly- he sounds tired {and hungry}. #nailedit

  38. Everyone is different, but for me a schedule was critical. Did we follow the schedule everyday? No. We aren’t robots. But everything seemed to go another if baby was on a schedule 3/4 of the time. Later on, especially when baby was only taking 1-2 naps (at 2 ish hours each) was when it was much easier to break out of nap prison. When the routine was there I knew I could take older kids to the library or park while baby slept (husband works from home). And during the naps where outings aren’t scheduled the older kids got used to finding something to do (snacks, reading, art, movie time). Best wishes at finding the perfect balance for your family.

  39. My two girls have roughly the same age gap as your two – they’re exactly 24 months (and 4 days) apart, and my older daughter (now 3 and a half) stopped napping at home right around the 2 year mark. It’s so tough!

    I did choose to stay home with the infant during her nap times to protect her nap schedule. And yes, napping prison totally sucks, but if she didn’t get those naps we were all miserable at night, especially during those first few months. An infant that sleeps better/more during the day will also sleep better at night. My second was a WAY worse sleeper than my first, which was only compounded if we missed or skipped naps. Also, I’ve observed that the ability of a particular baby to be “flexible” is really dependent on said baby’s personality. My oldest daughter was way more flexible when it came to sleeping and napping as a baby – she could easily nap in her car seat or stroller, and she would frequently nap in loud or busy environments. My youngest daughter? Nope, no way. Only in her crib. Even now.

    The napping prison was really only a problem for us on the weekends. I work full-time from home, and during the week my then-2-year old was in full time day care (where she continued to nap even when she stopped napping at home). It was great because she got all the social interaction and activities from being out of the house, but I got to protect my infant’s nap schedule during the week. On the weekends we could do something as a family in the morning, then my husband would take the toddler out on a walk or to the playground while I stayed home with the baby while she napped.

    Are nanny shares a thing in LA? We chose daycare over a nanny here in DC, but in our neighborhood families will often “share” a nanny, which means that the nanny will care for two children of a similar age range and the two families split the cost. It’s great because the kids have similar needs and also get built-in playdates. The nanny shares are usually organized through neighborhood listservs. I don’t know if that would be an option for you with Charlie to make sure that his needs are met while either allowing you to hire someone else for Elliot or freeing up your nanny to care for Elliot instead of Charlie? Either that, or I’d truly recommend hiring a babysitter who can come a few days a week and be with the baby while she naps or Charlie is out on his adventures, at least until Elliot is older (and takes fewer naps) or Charlie starts preschool.

    My mantra during the infant and toddler years is that everything is a phase. Everything is fairly short term. But you’ll go nuts trying to do everything on little or no sleep. So do what you need to do to get that sleep, whether it means hiring extra help to meet the separate needs of your kids, or bringing in a consultant to help your kids sleep better, or both. It’s worth it!

  40. Oh Lord, I remember those days. When my first was a baby I remember us both sitting in the rocker just crying and crying, her for who knows why and me out of pure frustration and exhaustion. Melt downs happen! I will say over all the second was easier just because I didn’t second guess everything but like you I had much less milk. Mine are now 10 and 15 so the good news is you will survive. The bad news is there will be a lot more meltdowns. But you handled this one well, stop, access, make a plan, regroup, execute (maybe more than once)
    and hopefully keep everyone’s sanity. Good luck, this Mom thing is a hard gig!

  41. Nap time & bed time can definitely become a total time suck. I have four kids, ages 2-13, and my rule of thumb is to ALWAYS combine nap times. So the baby would go down first, then I would get the toddler down and they would sleep AT THE SAME TIME. It was a sanity saver. Nap time isn’t only about them needing sleep. Nap time is an important time for YOU to reset and be ready for whatever they throw at you for the rest of the day. My family KNOWS how sacred nap time is in this house, as this has been 13 years in the making. When my little ones stop napping, I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself. Ha ha.

  42. Is this a person with a nanny whining about caring for 2 kids? I just can’t. Same person who is still too selfish and fame hungry to back burner her own ambitions to care for her own kids the right way. Just my initial thoughts upon trying to read this.

    1. “The right way”?! Really?? Because working hard to provide for your family is the wrong way? Unfortunately not everyone is as lucky as you to be able to stay home and not work. Some of us have to! Way to support a working mom.

    2. Wow, a time traveler from the 1950’s, shaming a working mom! Emily has to work, she owns a business for god’s sake :D And it hasn’t been mentioned, but she’s probably the main breadwinner of the family, not sure what her husband does, but I remember him having his own business too. And it’s expensive to live in LA, they probably need those paychecks.

      As they say, “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other”.

    3. And here I thought the “right way”, to raise our kids is with the courage to believe they can have it all, the work ethic to make it happen, the humility to know that they won’t be able to do it alone, and the kindness to lift others in pursuit of the same.

  43. I keep the toddler at home. The baby only does one nap now, at 1pm, and we just came home so that she has her nap in her room. And I have time to play with my oldest, we just chill out in the house.

  44. Totally understand the feeling of nap prison! Mine are 20 months apart and for the first year of my second one’s life I felt like we never left the house because someone was almost always napping! For us it did get easier when the baby went to two naps a day and the toddler was at one nap a day, but it’s definitely intense there for a while. The only thing I did that worked well for us was to put them both down at the same time for the afternoon nap. That gave me a break from both of them and got us into a routine that everyone naps at the same time, which is still working today with a two year old and almost four year old. Oh and we invited friends to our house to play during that first year so the toddler could play and engage while the baby slept in his crib. It is hard, and I can’t imagine how you juggle it all with a career and clients as well, but it does get better. Just do the best you can and call for help when you can’t do it anymore!

    1. I second this article! A great read, and oh so true. Just keep up the mother’s mantra “This too shall pass, this too shall pass, this too shall pass…….”

  45. we had 2 under 2, both because we got off to a late start with the kiddos and i wasn’t getting any younger, and because we totally thought we hit the jackpot with the best baby ever with our first… until our second was 6 months old and started grabbing at toys and our then 27 month old became a total bitch. for a while i actually thought she was ill, she was throwing such fits I had never experienced before. anyway, we gave in to the prison of both kids napping in their own cribs on the same schedule every day. it worked for us, as we desperately needed to know that we would get some pretty much guaranteed down time, or productive time, or whatever we decided to do with nap time. but our families thought we were nuts for being so scheduled. when they were little, we used tricks from “the happiest baby on the block” with white noise, pacifiers, and jiggling them to sleep for naps. we were pretty much proponents of tough love with sleeping once they were 5 or 6 months old, letting them cry, going in every 15 minutes to pat their back. we were lucky that ours liked their naps, but my younger one still wakes at night not infrequently to have me bring him back to bed at 6 yrs old! so i obviously went wrong somewhere. btw, i was totally horrified and guilty the first few times i lost it on my kids. let’s face it, they know how to push our buttons better than anyone. i have said multiple times that my daughter reminds me of a bad ex boyfriend i had in my 20s, except that i can’t break up with her. sometimes we are so in love, and i miss her when i don’t see her, but somehow she can piss me off within just a few minutes of walking in the door! best of luck. we are all just trying our best.

  46. ahh! that sounds so frustrating. I don’t have any kids myself, but I do have a friend who had a lot of trouble with her baby’s sleep habits. she met with a pediatric sleep specialist who have her a complete schedule and list of rules to follow (very personalized) for bedtime. it has totally worked and now her baby sleeps 8hrs a night every night!
    good luck!!

  47. Dearest E, the domination of naps and tantrums does not last forever. I promise!! Skim the chapter that is the right age for your baby in “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child”. A friend who is a post-part in doula and whose husband is a dr recommended it to me when I had my 1st. I’m on baby #4 and I swear the book is never wrong. I think it will tell you that E’s nap should be at 9 and 1 (and maybe at 5 for 30 mins?). This sounds like a lot I KNOW but how nice does a full night sleep sound?? You are a great mom and are making us all feel better knowing we are all having the same struggles. (My 1 yr old was up 4 times last night with a fever and I have been rocking him for HOURS while he cries and sweats and snots.) XOXO

  48. Emily, this post is one reason I love you and your blog so much!!! Keeping it real even when it’s uncomfortable.

    To answer your question, I stayed in napping prison. Mine are 2 years apart. I started noticing that my toddler was so much easier to deal/reason with when he got his sleep. And I was more sane when I had a break. My sister never enforced naps or bedtime and her kids acted up at the same time everyday. Right around afternoon naps. I know it stinks and it’s hard to go literally anywhere, but the kids grow fast and nap less as they get bigger. Hang in there, chin up!

  49. Hate to break it to you, but there’s not a whole lot of difference between a toddler and a 16 year old. The tantrums are the same. The unpredictability is terrifying. And there’s times when I think we BOTH need psychological intervention. The biggest difference is that with a 16 year old, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. With a toddler, there isn’t. I will love and appreciate her “spirit” when she’s an adult with a fully developed brain.

  50. I have a 3.5 year old and a 1 year old and I do not have everything figured out. At all. But what I did was split the difference. Baby’s afternoon nap time was sacred – we’d always be home for that so he could sleep in his crib in his room at his appointed nap time. But during the morning, baby had to learn to sleep on the go in his stroller at activities or the park, or in the baby carrier at the grocery store, etc. As he’s transitioned to one nap a day, this has worked out well because we can generally keep the same schedule. It also meant that the last part of the day was usually pretty consistent for him, even if our mornings weren’t.

    Our baby is not as good a sleeper as the 3 year old was. And it sucks. Our oldest slept through the night by six weeks and our little guy is just now starting to sleep through with a dream feed around 10pm. I think it’s just a combination of his personality/needs and also, yes, not having as strict a routine. But something has to give, you know? And it’s just not realistic to keep everyone in nap prison all day every day. It’s the hard thing about having more than one kid, the competing needs.

    One more suggestion if Charlie will go for it – I also started instituting toddler “quiet time” in his room during part of baby’s nap time. It will confess that it usually does involve playing some age-appropriate apps on the iPad, but I figure a small amount of iPad time is not going to kill him, whereas I might if I can’t get 20 minutes a day without someone whining at me.

    1. Emily, I love your blog, your honesty and your humor. I’m back into your sleep problems of the grandma of three – one 1 week old and I’m feeling sleep deprived, but nothing like his mama! I raised 4 kids of my own and sleep was king. Quiet time in the afternoon was in force from 1 – 3ish until they went to school…mama needed it more than they did. The younger ones sometimes did get schlepped around during their siblings activities, but they seemed to survive. At least in the afternoon we were all quiet at the same time for at least part of that two hours…heaven!

  51. Emily,

    Not sure if you’ll read this, but my advice would be to make the baby’s nap a priority, and force her to take her afternoon nap at the same time Charlie naps. I also have two little ones. Seeing my frazzled state, a close friend recommended that I switch to formula to supplement – totally a personal decision – and that I check out a service called “Moms on Call” based in Atlanta. They offer really practical web classes and a great guide for infants re: scheduling, balancing with a toddler, etc. I was desperate, so I followed the advice and over the course of the following weeks our life *started* to come together. I’m sure you’ll do what works best for you. Hope this helps in some way.

  52. Having 2 young kids at home is HARD with a capital HARD. My advice is to just survive, girlfriend, while being as loving to your kids and as forgiving to yourself as possible. It gets easier, I promise. The best you can do is good enough, perfect even in its imperfection.

  53. My daughters are almost the exact same age, and both are NOT flexible. Naps happen at regular intervals, and only in cribs, or we are meltdown central. Big takes one midday nap and little naps twice a day, so that’s a substantial chunk of the day for naps. The elder goes to preschool two days a week in the morning, but other than that we spend a LOT of time at home, or at the walkable neighborhood playground. Deathly boring, but I remind myself that it’s a tradeoff of a couple of months in return for which we will have two happy, well-rested, well-adjusted children who are great sleepers, all on their own.

    And yes, there are times when my mind explodes with the insanity of toddlers :)

  54. We have something brilliant here call “parents day out” (PDO). It’s like preschool but you can be anywhere >3 months and it’s 1, 2 or 3 days per week. Even half days are fine. It’s basically low-commitment daycare. It’s how churches use (and make some extra $ from) their Sunday school space during the week (PDO isn’t religious based or anything). It was a lifesaver when I had #3. As far as the napping thing. Who knows whether Elliot doesn’t sleep well because of the napping schedule. Who knows. None of my three boys slept well AT ALL and I tried every trick in the book. Eventually they basically slept (though 8 year old was up twice last night as it happens). Sounds like you should hire that baby nurse for the midnight-6am shift! lol. Hang in there.

  55. My daughter-in-law is dealing with the same. Wish she had a nanny! So happy that you share the frustration of raising small people and having a career.

  56. This too shall pass. Be patient with yourself and with those little guys. You are doing exactly what you should be doing! Loving them, holding them and learning from them and about them.

  57. Hello from another Emily!

    I have two boys who are exactly 2 years apart (well 2 years and one day, thankfully they don’t share a birthdate). The way I avoided naptime prison was for the baby to have his first nap in the morning while we are on the go.. baby would nap about 9.30 until 11 or so either in the pram or in the ergo. Baby would nap while we went on playdates/activities to keep the toddler busy.

    We then returned home say 12ish and had lunch. I pushed the toddler’s nap out until 1.30pm (he used to sleep at 12) so that I could aim to have them both down at 1.30pm (and enjoy a blissful hour or so to myself, baby struggled for long naps).

    When the baby was still having a third nap, we either stayed home for it (if his previous naps were rubbish) or he would have it in the pram while we went for a walk to the park etc. It did mean we were often home from 12 for the rest of the day but that’s how it is..

    My boys are now 3 and 1. My 3 yo has dropped his day nap and managing a grumpy boy is a pain! It’s always something!

    1. It’s not a competition. Kids are hard, period. I’m sure you didn’t think you were living on easy street when you just had one.

  58. Emily, the pic is amazing! Absolutely Beautiful!
    When I read the last sentence of your post I knew you had the answer all along. It is one of these
    two choices. You keep the toddler at home so Elliot can learn the ways of sleeping or somehow “make” a baby more flexible.
    It is your desision to make. I vote for keeping Charlie at home so Elliot can dream in her own warm crib. I am a Grandma and of the old school that we can overschedule our tiny tots. There is nothing wrong with letting Charlie sit out a few activities so his sister can learn how to sleep and so his Mom can “get the sleep” she needs and deserves at night. Charlie will be fine and by the time he starts school full time in the fall hopefully everyone at The Henderson Abode will be well rested and ready to tackle new challenges.

  59. This stage of adjusting to two kids was so hard for me. Eventually we figured out that the 2yr old needed to be out of the house in the morning so the baby could nap. We found a Parent’s Morning Out program through a church so the toddler goes there three mornings per week while baby sleeps (and I work) at home. Then toddler comes home at 1pm and baby and toddler sleep from 2-4pm. Two long naps for baby, one long nap for toddler, sanity for the whole family. We’re going to France with our two tomorrow as well. I don’t think there’s anything worse in life than toddler jetlag. #crying
    – @bethanytab

  60. THANK YOU FOR THIS. I have a toddler and was just wondering if I was failing because he is such a jerk about sharing. I feel like other moms look at me like I’m doing something wrong. Thank you for being so vulnerable.

  61. I have 4, all grown now, and found I had to get the baby and closest toddler on the same schedule, within reason, as soon as possible. For my sanity and theirs! This meant some sacrifice on my part, I had to put their schedules ahead of mine most days, knowing it was just for a season. It wasn’t easy, but taught me a lot about selflessness.
    You’re doing a great job, the best thing you can do is love them and get rid of expectations. This will cut down on your frustrations…hang in there, kid!

  62. Emily I just wanted to say I so appreciate your bravery and honesty in sharing this. I’m on mat leave with my first baby and I am so impressed you are managing to work and keep two little humans alive. No advice just lots of hugs mumboss x x x

  63. Love your blog and honesty! We currently live with a threenager and one year old in the house. Do yourself a favor and get the book “Toddlers Are A&&Holes.” It is so hilArious and spot on. I have sent a copy to all of my friends! Best of luck with this phase!

  64. Oh Emily! I feel your pain! Adding the second was just so, so hard. All the books were written about my oldest and I was lulled into thinking I knew what I was doing. Then I had another baby who was so incredibly unpredictable in her eating and sleeping habits. She was actually pretty good at night, but awful during the day. Sadly, we just didn’t go anywhere and it was really hard. I know it feels like forever, but around the 6-7 month mark, she finally settled into a routine that I forced to be the same as my son. I have never been so desperately exhausted as I was during her first 6 months of life. I cried a lot and was impatient with my two year old, using the tone I swore I wouldn’t use. Lack of sleep does crazy things to us moms! Take heart! This is a season. A ridiculously difficult season, but they WILL nap at the same time and although you feel cooped up being stuck home during her nap, it may be more YOU feeling that way than Charlie feeling that way. My third baby is 7 months old now and she (and I) am way more laid back, but I knew that her afternoon nap HAD to be at the same time as my other two or I would lose my mind, so I wake her up in the morning if I have to to get the (loose) schedule started so that will work out. Her morning nap is pretty flex because we can’t be home all the time, but everyone is in bed from 2-4ish every day. Know that you aren’t alone in this struggle. Parenting is so hard!

  65. I have 4 kids and absolutely no helpful advice for you. But I extend my deepest sympathies on the matter of the yogurt mixing. I have experienced wrath about that very thing, although I think the worse hot-button issue in our home is the shape the sandwich gets cut into at lunch. Sometimes when I’ve tried to shake it up and do triangles instead of squares (or vice-versa) there have been lots of feelings.

    Hang in there!!

  66. I hear you mama. I was in your situation eight years ago…it gets better so much so that we forgot about those sleep deprived nights & had our third last year…oh boy here we go again. They say bringing home a sibling is like cheating on a spouse so the jealousy is normal and eventually they will grow to be best buds most of the time. Sweat dreams to all…wish I could tell you about a disciplined sleep method but our little party girl is not complying at all.

  67. Last week, I was literally performing google searches with the following, “Signs that your child is a sociopath,” and “How to know if your child is crazy,” etc. This is for my middle child, who is two-soon-to-be-three years old. So. many. fits. So many rages. So many how-mean-can-I-be-to-my-big-sister. Low point: he bit my 8 month old son on the scalp, on a spot I didn’t think enough skin could pull out to be clamped onto. (If this sounds like we don’t love him, we ABSOLUTELY DO!) His big sister was harder at three than two, so yes, we are properly scared for what awaits us. Solidarity, sister!

    1. My oldest was worse at 3 than 2 and when my youngest hit a level of insanity at 2 that I never ever saw with the oldest I literally was asking people if 3 year old boarding school was a thing. Thankfully I can report he’s now 3.5 and waaaaaay more chill than he was at 2. I mean he’s still occasionally psycho but he was out of his mind for no good reason multiple times a day every day when he was 2.5. I’m hoping the same happens for you. Otherwise…boarding school? Lol

    2. I googled the same thing with daughter #3! She had a mean streak and it took a long time for her to learn empathy, especially compared to her sisters (she’s 4 now, and is much kinder). We would have what felt like group interventions at the dinner table from the 4 of us to her (“Now Grace, we expect you to be kind, blah blah blah”). Last fall I was googling “signs of psychopathy in children”, and I was very relieved that if children notice facial expressions in books, they’re not psychopaths! She’s just very strong-willed. :)

  68. Keep that toddler home! I know it feels like nap prison but I actually found it was really valuable one on one time for my older son who had a hard time with the introduction of a new baby for a long time. And before long you’ll get to absolute double kid nirvana – the double SIMULTANEOUS nap in which you will immediately take to all forms of social media and proclaim your amazing parenting skills. It doesn’t happen often but when it does it’s like going on vacation for a solid 45 minutes.

  69. With my second, I prioritized the afternoon nap – so we were/are always home in the afternoons. That seemed to be the crankiest time for my older one anyway, and she still napped some in the afternoons. The baby’s morning nap was usually on the run, either in her carseat while we ran errands, or in the ergo at the park or shopping, etc. I worked it out so that we left the house at 9, so she would nap from 9 until 11 or so, and then catnap around 12 for a little, and then both would take a long nap/have quiet time from 2 to 4:30. That seemed to work well for us! I just did whatever I could to line up their afternoon naps to be at the same time. It’s a challenge for sure, and now I’m trying to figure it out all over again with three! And my middle one (she is 3) is completely crazy these days, too.:)

  70. Ugh. I can only echo an earlier poster’s recommendation to try to get your kids’ afternoon naps to coincide so you don’t feel so trapped. My 3 and 1 year old (they are 22 months apart) both nap from 1:30-3:30 or 4:00, and the baby also naps from 9-10ish a.m. They both wake up around 6:30 a.m. (My 3 year old has also been doing a preschool thing 3 mornings a week, but on her days home, her sister’s morning nap time is sort of special time to get our or the nanny’s undivided attention and maybe watch a show that we wouldn’t put on when the baby was up.)

  71. Synchronize nap two, be kind to yourself, and know that it’s just really hard with two at first. But this too shall pass and not only pass, but get much, much better.

  72. My girls are 15 months apart. We somehow got them to nap at the same times and it was magical for all. But we didn’t leave the house for two years. It’s tough.

    But now (ages 3.5 and 5) they are hilarious and the best of friends so it was all worth it (? still trying to convince myself).

    You all will get through it.

  73. Two of my kids were challenging as toddlers (my first was very, very easy). Daughters 2 and 3 were very anal about things being done certain ways. I would accommodate them within reason (like if they wanted to open the door themselves or if they wanted to put on their shoes, unless we were running late–then I would carry their howling selves out to the car and I’d buckle their thrashing bodies in). Other times they wouldn’t get their way about how the cereal was poured (although I tried) and tantrums would erupt. Emily, just let the tantrums fly. Wear headphones or walk out of the room if you have to. I feel like most toddlers/preschoolers have to get those tantrums out of their system as they learn to self-regulate. It’s okay. The tantrums have very little to do with you and everything to do with the age.

  74. Emily,
    I just recently found your blog and just wanted to tell you how fantastic and helpful I have found it. I have a daughter who is very close in age to yours so your posts are right in line with what we’re experiencing over here. I appreciate your openness to sharing this part of your life. It’s always nice to know “you’re not the only one.” Keep up the good work and safe travels!

  75. This made me lol =) Specifically, “DO NOT MIX THE FRUIT INTO HIS YOGURT ” and “the second child was supposed to be easier, but you all lied”. So very funny and I wish you guys the best of luck on your travels!

  76. Our kids are very similar in age. How I have been making it work is we do our toddler activities in the morning, baby sleeps in stroller/car seat, and then stay home in the afternoon so both can sleep in their beds (hopefully). Sometimes I feel badly that the toddler is bored and then I see him play for half an hour with an empty paper towel roll :)

  77. Emily, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for your honesty! It’s so refreshing to see someone who actually calls it like it is – and when “it” is two little kiddos, it’s a tough slog. I have two little ones (3 & 6 mos) and am facing a lot of similar challenges (hungry babies! toddlers! career!). Thank you for inspiring me to face it all with a sense of openness, honesty & humor. And for reminding me to soak up those baby cuddles while I can because time goes so quickly! (just not at 4am… nothing goes quickly at 4am…)

  78. This post is amazing, and boy to us Mommas have our opinions / advice! I promise you you will sleep again and I promise you that Charlie will outgrow the completely insane for no reason whatsoever phase and move onto a happier phase at some point :).

    My oldest (she’s 4) was a TERRIBLE sleeper out of the gate. She was colicky for a full 3 months, and it just started off bad sleeping wise and didn’t get “good” until she turned 4. Her good times were when I could be a sleep natzi and be home within her “sleeping window” and get her nap in. We did a lot of things but NEVER during her nap window or she wouldn’t sleep period. It.was.miserable. She did start sleeping through the night at 9 months old, and that was only bc the ped told me to stop night nursing because there was no way she needed it at that point. My husband would go in and rock her if she got up and then she just stopped getting up. When the baby came, they decided to have a pow wow and take shifts for who would keep me up to ensure that I was a complete basket case (of course only when my husband was traveling) at all times.

    We broke my son (he’s 17 months now) of night waking at 6 months by sending my husband in if he woke up, and that pretty much cured him. They wake still sometimes, but it’s not the insanity that the first 6 months of his life were.

    We did a reward jar with my daughter to get her to not wake us when she’d wake in the middle of the night. We fill ours with mini toy dinosaurs and once it gets filled to the top, she gets to go to the second hand shop and pick out whatever toy she wants. She earns it for manners and good behavior now too, but that was what started it. I can’t make her sleep through the night, but I can reward her for laying there quietly until she goes back to sleep. I did have to make super big deals about the tiniest thing she did well to get her to “get” the reward jar initially. Then when she threw a fit, I’d bite my tongue and just take out a dinosaur. Most of the time that stopped it pretty quickly.

    Last peice of advice – I’m a shover. To the point that it’s almost embarrassing. I do not go anywhere with either one of my kids without a bag full of food. I realize Elliot is still pretty young but it’s what my daughter needs too to sleep through the night. I bring food that is easy for me to tear off a bite and shove in their mouths while they’re playing or now I can tell my 4 year old to run over and take a bite. Those kids will not stop to eat but they won’t sleep without full bellies! So it’s just what works for us…

    Good luck!! It will get better and you will sleep again. Until then, enjoy coffee! And wine! Motherhoods sanity savors!!!

  79. Sleep begets sleep… easier said than done, I know. I hope school will help in the fall – but that adds challenges, too. Because you know the moment you struggle and fuss your way to a blissful nap, the toddler will need to be picked up or dropped off. That was my experience, anyway. My daughter is 5 and my littlest is Charlie’s age. The 2 yr old still NEEDS that good 2 hour nap in the afternoon or he just loses his stuff all day and night. For this reason, we chose PM kinder for the big kid so that he could nap peacefully while big sis is at school from 12-3. Yes, I am trapped. We don’t go anywhere unless its in the early morning. We don’t have playdates. The 2 year old has no “activities” because there just isn’t time, and I feel guilty about that – but the naps are more important. Now I am pregnant and due in Sept. LORD. What in the world is going to happen to our schedule?!

  80. I am you, except only in the mothering respect. (You’re way cooler.) I have a baby and a toddler and Am currently experiencing the identical struggle. The toddler has the most unstable emotions I’ve ever encountered, the baby is not a good napper, and I’m tired. So I have no pearls of wisdom except that you’re not alone and this soon shall pass. Anyway, rock on.

    1. I prefer to go out places with my two year old as well. But some toys that keep him occupied at home are his train table (we got a fairly inexpensive imaginarium set from toys r us) and megabloks :)

  81. My kids are big now (12, 9, 6) so maybe I can give a little long-term perspective…yes, schedules are tough with a toddler & baby. And yes, routines are helpful for both toddlers and babies. Preschool for your son is a great idea!

    BUT. I am very wary of baby nurses that say you can “fix” a baby’s sleep. Making sure the baby gets enough to eat is important, and trying to get a daytime routine is helpful. BUT. Some babies are better sleepers than others. That is just the way it is. Just like adults, babies are people with personalities and body clocks and it is unlikely that you are being so “bad” during the day that you are making her sleep “bad” at night.

    If the baby nurse was helpful, great! New strategies can be a life-saver. And if you are a full time working mom you need full time childcare, for both kids, full stop. But some babies sleep better than others! And it is not your fault!! There was a very recent New York Times article about this — google “some babies are just easier than others New York Times” and take a read.

    Good luck! I am glad you are finding a routine that works for everyone. But it is likely NOT YOUR FAULT that you were having trouble. :-)

  82. My second son was 20 months after my first and my third son was 22 months after that. My fourth son was 3.5 years later. Since my first, we have had “quiet time.” I didn’t know what I was doing, other than the house and me needed that downtime every day in order to allow me to continue working full time (from home) for 12 years now. When baby naps, toddlers go into quiet time. Sometimes it’s been their bedroom space, other times the family room. It’s when they get the iPad, cartoons, anything quiet. It’s the ONLY time they get tv time. If the baby is awake, that tv is OFF. Period. It has worked for us amazingly. My toddlers have always asked for quiet time. And they are QUIET during it and happier for it because their little brains need the quiet too. :) Nine years later, (at this moment in fact) my 5yo is in quiet time and my 2yo is happily napping. I know using the tv isn’t for everyone, but it is for us, and it has bought us sanity for nearly a decade now. Toddlers/kids only come to expect what they’ve been taught is normal. If it’s constant outings, they’ll always want them. In my house anyways! We don’t do play dates or outings, we chill and explore at home. Hey are self-entertainers and imaginative and relaxed kids. And ya, I’m an overproud mama. Ha ha. But it’s the secret weapon to even being able to have as many kids as we have had! Lol. I could go on but I’ll make myself stop now. :)

  83. Three kiddos here. First was a sleeping mess. Second and third nap in their swing, in their room. If we go out, which is quite often, the littlest naps in his carrier. I nursed him to sleep in there and works every time.

  84. I too have a four-month-old baby girl and a two-year-old boy and am experienced the same nap dilemma. With my two-year-old boy, I tried adhering to a strict nap schedule early on, and it caused me more stress than the frequent night wake ups. So you can imagine that any semblance of a schedule has gone out the door with a new baby. Both my toddler and I go a little crazy if we are stuck at home. Overall, I would say she has been a better night sleeper than our boy was even with the inconsistent day routine. I really have no advice to give other than perhaps don’t beat yourself up. I am going back to work in a couple of weeks, and they will both go to daycare/preschool. I am banking on that for a more consistent routine for both of them.

  85. Oh girl…… I know the pain of feeling exhausted & crazy too.
    I have a 4 & 2 year old …… Naps are always first priority here or I’d be in thr funny farm.
    Here’s the key- kids have to up by 6 am
    2. play at an outdoor park by 8
    3. Bath, lunch & nap by 12-3 (I nap too)
    Then start all over again in afternoon
    After 6 months, I never let my baby nap anywhere but her crib.
    They share a room and nap together still but I play hard with them outdoors so they’re wiped out.
    I recommend driving to any park u can find….. Boys really need outdoor activity on play structures etc. in my opinion.plus the fresh air and a coffee does help with the exhaustion. XO

  86. I may be the lone voice of dissent. I was stringent with sleep times with my oldest, semi-regulatory with my second, and all heck broke loose with my third. And I wouldn’t change a thing. We travel far and often, bringing the whole family circus. #3 was 3 months old when we spent 5 weeks in Morocco, Spain, and Czech. She didn’t have regular nap times and she was a bear. But sometimes that’s life. And we had some amazing experiences even when I was dog tired. When we aren’t traveling she still has naps and life on the go. And we survived. And she survived. Now all three kids are great sleepers and travelers. But along the way, sometimes it was awful. And that’s ok.

  87. Likely you’ve gotten some great suggestions already, but thought I might give a quick rundown as a woman with a full time work from home job and a 6 month old and 2 1/2 year old. Yes, we have a nanny 8:30-2:30 daily, work would be completely impossible otherwise, but here’s my two cents…
    In my humble opinion a toddler without an afternoon nap is like signing your self up for a special kind of torture. The afternoon nap is golden time (they need it, and I need a quiet house) and only missed for special occasions. The 6 month old needs his morning and afternoon nap now too. We schedule activities like ballet classes, library time and play dates for before 10, 11-2 or after 4:30. Yes, it sounds like nap prison, but when they get rest during the day they sleep better at night and meltdowns are a rarity instead of the norm. I tried a floating nap schedule when the 6 month old was younger and was a walking zombie who literally could not recall if I hit send on an email I had written 2 minutes prior.
    Good luck to you, here’s to 8 solid hours in your future soon.

  88. Parenting is so, so, so, so hard, and going from one to two was the hardest thing I have ever done in my (albeit fairly easy) life. I feel like I’m going crazy with a preschooler and toddler right now, who generally don’t sleep well. Empathy is almost always the first thing to go, which makes me so sad b/c I’d love to be more empathetic with them. I try. We basically only have enough money right now to pay for food, rent, and student debt, but if we had the money, I would hire a helper yesterday. We weren’t meant to be the sole caretakers in our kids’ lives. It’s just that a lot of us don’t live near family/good friends with flexible schedules.

  89. I think you’re trying to do too much. It sounds like you need a live-in au pair, which are actually quite affordable because you’re giving them place to live. This would give you the flexibility you need. No offense, but you are making motherhood sound a little depressing. I know that you’re just being honest, which we all appreciate, but with all the work you are putting into your business surely you have the means to solve the problem and I think it might take more than 3 days with a baby guru. I’m sure you’ve heard older people say, “enjoy it, it goes by too fast” (at least I have about 8,000 times), so I’ve really tried to take that to heart with my baby and I hope you will too. Since scaling back your business doesn’t seem to be an option, get the extra help you need on a more permanent basis. Good luck :)

  90. I know you’ve gotten plenty of comments, but I feel so much for you! My two babes are now 29 months and almost 10 months. My toddler girl was 19 months when her baby brother was born and those first months were the toughest ever. Blissful, but so. hard. We lived on the third floor of an apartment while we house hunted, which took months longer than we thought!

    Regardless I found that when the baby was little, less than seven months I put activities before sleep because well I had to stay sane and our toddler needed activity! But after seven months that window of the baby will sleep anywhere quickly closed and sleep became the priority. It just had to. We now have a window of time from about 10:30 am to 12:30 pm when we can venture out in between naps, then again from 4-6. I have learned to take advantage of those windows now, and it has gotten so much easier to deal with. I also work four full days a week and our nanny does the same. Typically the morning they pack into the car and head to the park, and the afternoon is a walk outside.

    Also my daughter – now toddler – was the worlds worst sleeper and still refuses naps and bedtime to this day. Hang in there, it does get easier. :)

  91. Oh, nap prison, I remember you well. Our first child was…not angelic…to say the least…maybe it was my fault but she was just one of those babies who WOULD. NOT. SLEEP. Second one came around and I was determined. If it had been over an hour since her last nap and she fussed–we swaddled, shushed, nursed, and napped. I was militant. One time I shushed her for over an hour…I probably had started her down for nap too early but then I was pot-committed to shushing and by the time she went down it was when I should have started shushing…oh well, it worked out. The result was that my second child slept almost all the way through at 6 weeks. My first one did not do this until I made her cry it out three nights in a row at 9 months. So, yes, when baby #2 came around I spent A LOT of time at home, while dad and kid #1 went out. My kids are now 3 and 6 and we have only recently escaped nap prison completely. It’s a real thing, but sometimes it’s really worth it. I railed and railed against it but it got to the point where I didn’t WANT to be out with the baby screaming her head off…easier to just chill out at home. I know your schedule might not allow for all that,,,but it might be worth it to re-evaluate how you can keep Ellie home more. Also I noticed the difference between my blog reader and the post on your site, you’ve removed the name of the preschool which is great (and my friend’s kids went there too!)…you might want to consider removing the name of the place they go to each morning…an abundance of caution…I say this with zero judgments here…much love, Mary.

  92. Dear Emily; I feel the same since I have a 5 year old boy and a 10 months old baby girl at home. I am having the same troubles, since the baby has to adapt, in certain ways, to the toddler’s rhythm, specially on the weekend days. I haven’t been good enough to teach my baby girl to nap and sleep by herself. It has worked though to have the toddler’s routine as “untouchable” as possible since, as you say, the kiddo’s tantrums are really scary! hehe and the baby seems to be “adaptable”… still, I guess the baby is demanding her own “strict” routine since at nights she still wakes up twice or even 3 times to get feed or rocked… It is tiring, and I also got some nanny help 3 times a week since I am a working mom too. Good luck in Australia!

  93. Three kids – 2,4, and 6. My youngest just had to adapt to his middle brother’s pre school schedule and his oldest brothers homeschooling. So we set a pretty late nap time that is flexible (1-2 p.m.) and are home at that time as often as possible.

    My middle son didn’t sleep through the night till 18 months, so while it took my third kiddo a year, I didn’t think it was as bad as we’ve had it in the past. I have noticed younger children don’t mind it all as they get older – they just assume that they’re on someone else’s schedule. And yeah, fruit in yogurt or taking a bite of their food and the meltdown it causes – UGH.

  94. I don’t have any advice, only wanted to tell you that I think you’re wonderful. I very much appreciate your honesty, when it would be very easy to keep quiet about your reality. I think it makes the world a better place.

  95. I relate so much to this post Emily! I have a 3 and 18 month old – the first year was much harder than I expected and exactly the same thing happened with sleeps for number 2, we eventually had to take him to ‘sleep school’ (an amazing hospital stay we have in Australia) to get him sorted. The tantrums from number 1 were exhausting combined w sleep deprivation, there were many moments that were so hard. Thankfully at 18 months now things seem to be leveling out. Yes there are still lots of hard days but the crazy days are way less frequent and the boys are playing together etc. so hang in there and know that you are doing a wonderful job, especially juggling a full work schedule too.

  96. My second baby was a terrible sleeper for all the reasons you said. I just didn’t have the time (or frankly the energy) as a full time working mom of kids 24 months apart to diligently and gently teach him good habits. I just didn’t. One thing that helped tremendously which is obviously a personal preference that is not for everyone, was daycare. The kids were each in age appropriate classes and so during the day they got what they needed five days a week. Night time was a whole different animal, and weekends when my husband was working were brutal. We had a terrible year for other reasons when my second was an infant, so I’m not too hard on myself about it, but I did make some mistakes that I hope I can avoid if I have a third (but after having two I have lost the will to make promises).

    We did a combo of making the second baby more flexible, and keeping the toddler at home. We tried to make them both compromise a little. It was rough, but now they’ll be two and four next week and it is so much better.

    The other mistake I made was refusing to ever give either baby a single ounce of formula ever. Mistake is a strong word, because I’m proud of our breastfeeding journey, but I was WAY too hard on myself. No one could help me, I was a slave to my supply both times, I spent my entire work day glued to my pump, and I was up all night with no help from my husband because his stupid nipples are worthless. I am the worst at accepting help and it will be my downfall.

  97. Hi, I just want to quick comment and say how much I love these posts! I have 2 kids same age as your two and I could really use this advice myself. Can’t wait to check back and read everyone’s comments later. Also, I LOL’d at your word to the wise about yogurt. Haha, totally SPOT on with my daughter right now. Well, hang in there, you’re def. not alone in this!

  98. I’m nodding my head at ALL of this. I had my second baby when my first was 18 months old and lost my mind everyday for about a year and a half. Still losing it now that I have a threenager and a terrible twoer! It’s EXHAUSTING trying to deal with two mini psychos all day long. When my second was a baby taking two naps still I just let myself be in nap prison bc I needed the break but I just started stretching the awake time (being outside helped!) until I had them both down to one nap AT THE SAME TIME ? I think I had that in place by the time my second was around ten months old, I had to do it for me! And Lo and behold, once I did that and stopped breastfeeding (also supplemented with formula) my second started sleeping through the night!!!! So I wish you lots of luck, patience, wine and help! You are so not alone!

  99. I raised 4 children, and i have sympathy for this time you are going through. I’ve been there. My best advice is to stay flexible and adaptive. As soon as you get this all figured out the kids will change and grow and be in a different development phase and you will have to figure it out again. One of the best methods of you getting enough sleep is to go to bed early, like 8:00. Dont laugh. You can do it if you want to. And between 8:00 in the evening and 6:00 in the morning there are chances to sleep, if you are in bed. Got me through many tough times. Good luck! My children are now grown and what I wouldn’t give for a day back in the trenches! You are doing the most important job there is and of course it is hard!

  100. Who told you the second one was easier? They totally lied to you. Our second (who just turned three) was so much harder. The best thing I did was get his second nap of the day to coincide with my daughter’s only nap of the day. That gave me a lovely 2 hourish window each day to not have to be taking care of anybody. In the beginning I usually napped then too, but slowly I gained more energy and was able to put those hours to good use – you know, watching Netflix!!

  101. I didn’t go anywhere the first year of either kid’s life. I firmly believe the key to every parenting success I’ve had has been a well rested child. Mine are 18 months apart. The book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby” saved my life. That’s really not an exaggeration. If you don’t believe me, read the Amazon reviews.

  102. Just wanted to tell you that you are not alone! My 2nd was a lot harder than my 1st. Didn’t sleep, very fussy, acid reflux. I used to beg people to tell me when their “bad sleeper” became a good sleeper. For us it didn’t happen until he was 2 years old! But I did try to prioritize one part of the day for napping and staying home. So we all go out in the morning, but stay home in the afternoon.

  103. I know I am a few days late to the party but in the off chance you’ll read this – I am in the same boat. The younger one (5 mos) naps for a bit in the early am (9) while the older one (almost 3 yrs) gets dressed. Little one gets maybe 30 minutes in the crib. Then it’s car ride to the library, play, car ride home. She’ll sleep on the car rides sometimes. The key for us is making sure she can take a monster afternoon nap – 2.5/3 hours. THANK THE LORD our nanny has made it so both girls nap at the same time in the afternoon (though the older one only does 2 hrs). I talked to our pediatrician and she said that as long as one nap is long, we are not totally damaging her by not catering to her nap schedule in the am. TOTALLY different than baby #1.

    As for supplementing with formula my little girl started to wake up a lot more when I went back to work. Then we went to her 4 mo appt and her weight had gone from 85% to 60% – not enough milk. We supplemented with formula and sleep got much better. You can do it Emily!!!

  104. I know that you’ve already got a million responses here, but I found the first year with two kids to be SO INSANELY TOUGH for so many reasons, and being in the nap prison was one of them. I work full time and my husband stays home with our two and four year olds during the week, and it’s just… crazy. I am just now, as the little one is about to turn two this month, starting to feel like a normal human again. You are awesome and it’s so nice to read honest stuff like this. I was the first of my friend group to have two kids (and have them very close together – they’re 22 months apart!) and I felt like an insane person for literally a full year after the 2nd one was born. But the cool thing now is that they play together, sleep at night (BOTH OF THEM, FINALLY), and I get grown-up time for a few hours at night with my husband. Hang in there! Love your blog, your style, everything!

  105. Well, isn’t that all too familiar!? Particularly the toddler melt downs! Gus is 25 months and Owen is 11 months…yep, only 14 months apart. I’m convinced of two things: thanks to Gus, Owen thinks his name is “no, Owen” and Owen can sleep anywhere. When it’s time to head outdoors for some playtime, it’s typically around 9:00 a.m. I strap Owen into his stroller and he’s asleep by the time we walk to get Mommy a coffee and head to the park. Gus will play while Owen naps. Do I feel guilty that he’s not sleeping in his crib? Nope because Gus is happy and Mommy is caffeinated. Win. Win. The unfortunate part is that once Gus is ready for his nap after lunch, Owen is up. So one down, one up. That’s the name of the game right now and that is not sanity. I’m told I’m about six months away from them both napping after lunch. Bring it on.

  106. Can I recommend ‘Siblings Without Rivalry’? It is an amazing book and helped me understand where my toddler was coming from. Also naming that craziness, ie “you didn’t want me to mix that fruit into your yogurt. Are you feeling sad? disappointed? mad?” often times diffuses that tantrum so quickly – like magic. I cannot even explain. I went from full time work away from home to stay at home and work mom in a new state. It has been a hard six months, but that book saved me and my three boys, 5, 3, 1. Best of luck and I hope you find what works for you and your family!

  107. Yes, indeed!! Two little ones is a handful.
    Here were my two best tips for napping. Place baby in favorite chair, bouncer or whatnot and turn on your dishwasher or maybe near the washing machine. The sound of the water is womb like and helps with sleeping. Or drive in the car for a while, if your not too tired. They do get older at some point, promise!!

  108. if you already did the right thing and got some help, use it wisely I recommend taking the help when you need to go out with the toddler, than you’ll have some private time with the bigger one (who probably wants and needs it), and you’ll enjoy your time with the baby alone and your time with the toddler alone – I am a great believer in separation as long as the mother can stay calm and cool – the two will have plenty of time to go out together when the baby will grow and you’ll get to keep your sanity:)

  109. stroller naps aren’t an option? our second took all his naps in the carrier or at the playground in strollers. You even have the advantage of wonderful weather! (we did this in Germany…) Although I can’t claim that my kids are great sleepers, but I don’t subscribe to the philosophy that we have to teach our kids to sleep, I think they have very much their own minds when it comes to sleep (as kids do about.. basically everything)

    Your story about the yogurt reminded me of some quote I read somewhere that was like “if you get the washcloth wet but your toddler wanted to get it wet himself, then he doesn’t want you to get a new washcloth for him, he wants you to make the original one UNWET” Which. Yeah.

  110. I’m just discovering this wonderful site!! We are in a similar boat – we have a 4 year-old and an 8 month-old. The older one is only starting now to get jealous (acting out in different ways). School, which is pre-pre-K, helps A LOT. It gets him out of the house for at least half the day. I try to preserve the baby’s nap as best I can (we have a nanny, both hub and I are working full time). I try to half/half it for the naps – one solid nap at home and then the other one can be on the go. I do agree with one of the other comments that a little alone time with the older one goes a long way.