I used to think it was such a challenge to get out the door with one kid -- now I realize just how good I had it. One toddler, what's the big deal? Make sure he doesn't have a load in his diaper, throw a sippy cup full of juice in your purse and you're good to go.Advanced prep is the key. Keep everything you can in the car. When mine were really little (19 months and newborn, on up until the big one was two) I kept a bag of diapers for each kid in the car. I also kept a spare outfit for each kid in the car (at least until we got past that blowout phase with the baby, at about 6 months, when their poops firm up with solid food). That way, you only have to carry the baby to the car (hold the big one's hand).
Now, of course, going anywhere with an older kid and a 7-week-old is a Very Big Deal indeed. There's the strategic baby-feeding, where you try and get him to eat close enough to your departure time that he doesn't get hungry again two seconds into the outing, but not SO close that he spits up all over the carseat. You have to consider what you're going to do with him if you plan to leave the car -- haul the carseat? Put him in a carrier? -- and dress him accordingly. His pooping schedule is totally unpredictable so you'd best be packing at least one diaper change, and maybe an extra outfit if things go Horribly Awry, and a blanket or two, and a bottle (for our bottle-feeding kid, anyway), and some burp rags, and . . .
It can be tempting to just pre-emptively give up and stay home, at least I often feel that way. There was a brief respite in Seattle's unpleasant "spring" weather this afternoon and my husband and I decided to take Riley to a nearby playground. Ten minutes into our baby-prepping, while holding a cranky baby who was hungry but taking forever to make it through a feeding, JB sighed with frustration and said forget it, he'd stay home with Dylan and I could take Riley by myself. I said dude I feel your pain but if we don't soldier through this kind of crap we will NEVER GO ANYWHERE AS A FAMILY. I said it in all caps, just like that.
Eventually we made it out the door, and all four of us hung out at the playground. For about five minutes, anyway, until the wind and rain picked up and I took Dylan back to the car to wait while Riley and his dad hit the swings.
You do what you have to do, right? This stage doesn't last forever, so people remind me. For those of you with more than one rugrat, did you find it challenging to step back into some of the more pain-in-the-butt baby routines, or was it easier the second time around?
This is how I do it at my house... I get myself ready first. I put everything we're going to need (including sippy cups, my bag - which is a combo purse/diaper bag for both kids, keys, phone, etc.) on the table by the door. Then I get the big one ready - change diaper, shoes, coat (I do the shoes and coat on the changing table, so she doesn't have a chance to run off). Grab the little one, diaper her, coat on. Walk by the table, grab the stuff, go. I hold the big one's hand, carry the little one, tell the big one to get in while I strap the baby in, then walk around and strap in the big one. I've got it down to a 10 minute process, after a year of practice. You will too. (Oh my, she was so little in that video! I can't believe how much she's changed!)
My car (ok, it's a minivan, but I haven't accepted that, yet, so I call it "my car") is insane, though, I have toys, food, books, blankets, carriers, etc. etc. etc. Everything you could imagine - even a first aid kit and a roll of paper towels. I am Prepared with a capital P. The stroller and slings stay in the car, always, unless I am using them inside. If we go for a walk, we get the stroller out of the car and return it to the car when we're done. That way it is always there when I need it, one less thing to deal with.
I'm doing a series of posts on having Two Under Two at my blog - please come check it out for tips. The main thing is this: it will get easier when the weather gets warm. It will get easier still as the little one gains head control. Don't stay home all day. How sad. You can do it. What is there to be afraid of? What's the worst thing that could happen? Someone spazzes in public? So what? Tantrums happen. Get over yourself. Ask for help - people are a lot nicer than you think. Find a little old lady and say, "Hey, I need to deal with this spazzing toddler, can you stand here and mind the baby for a minute, and I'll be back in a flash..." then go put the toddler in your car, bring it around to the door, flip your hazards on, load the baby, kiss the old lady, and you're good. It'll be better next time. The only thing that helps you improve your technique is practice.
I can't imagine sitting home all day. I would lose my effing mind.
The bit about staying home all day was in reply to a previous comment, where someone said, "People kept asking me why I didn't get out of the house more with my toddler and my baby. I wanted to kick them. I tried it on my own *once.* That was enough for me. We drove to the Y so they could go to mini-care and I could workout. Baby was fine, but heavy to carry in her seat. Toddler had a meltdown about something or other and had to be CARRIED back to the car. OMG. Hell on earth to try to carry a workout bag, a diaper bag, a car seat and a toddler. So I stayed inside the house from then on."
You know what, the first batch of homemade brownies I made sucked. They were overcooked on the edges, and I tried to melt chocolate chips on top, but they stuck to the top of the brownies, and made an awful mess... And when the chocolate hardened you could've broken a tooth. But I tried a second time, and a third, and eventually I started to figure it out and I got it right, and now I make really excellent brownies. We learn by doing, so DO! You can do it!