With my oldest daughter about to have her second and the first still in diapers: I was up a better part of the night, trying to recall a couple of the most interesting (if not colorful) years of my life. Having had four beautiful children, I’d have to say, the two in the middle were clearly the most challenging. Being a year apart, things were stuck on full speed ahead…damn the stop signs. And any expectations I had prior to my third being born, flew out the window, dragging my sanity along for the ride. While I had read and re-read every single parenting book on the market, nothing prepared me for the real thing. I had been given plenty of advice, both wanted and ‘will you please shut up!!!’ And in the end, flying by the seat of my pants, I finally found my own flow.
My ‘OMG! I’m losing my marbles!‘ moments, were lessened, when I discovered the Holy Grail of ‘Two In Diapers’. It was really a rather simple solution to all my woes. A Safe Room! Just one room that I had gated off, that was the epitome of peace and quiet. A room that became, for all intensive purposes, my hole of blissful slumber, story time central, please aim for the center dear, no…don’t shove those cheerios in your diaper, OMG! What the heck is that?!?!?! and could you have that tantrum one foot to the right…I can’t see Oprah?!…… This room was my saving grace.
Basically, the concept was rather simple, it just took a couple of hours to get it just right. And it can be done in any room you choose, except the bathroom or the kitchen…those two rooms are never 100% safe when you’re sleeping. All that’s required is a baby gate and a childproofing kit.
For me, it was the family room. After I’d gotten to the point, where even the toothpicks that held my eyelids open, began to break…..I knew I needed to come up with something, that allowed me a moments peace. So I went through the family room and removed pretty much anything breakable, I made sure every single cord was tied back and unreachable to tiny tots, every outlet was plugged up, nothing heavy could be pulled on or tipped over, nothing tiny or choke worthy was to be found, free standing lamps were anchored behind the larger furniture….this room became void of EVERYTHING but the basics. I had a couch, my TV (this was a free standing large screen attached to a very large bottom wide base…nothing to pull on), one large lamp behind the sofa, one large wooden coffee table and lots of toys…lots and lots of toys. Everything from blocks, to push’ems, to a tiny play garden….books etc… And on the coffee table, Sippy cups (yes…both juice and mooky 😉 I kept a small stash of diapers and wipes at the ready, a couple of blankets and an endless supply of gerber graduates. There was also a lovely life saving portable pack-n-play, quite useful in a pinch and baby swing.
And don’t forget a phone….I recommend having poison control on speed dial…seriously. And mom…I can’t even begin to guess how many hours I spent on the phone with my mother. Sometimes to cry over how much hair I’ve ripped out in one day….didn’t even know I had that much! Sometimes, to laugh….ok…I know it wasn’t funny at the time, but taking your tot to the doc to have a ‘Dora The Explorer’ stick-on earring, extracted from the nose…well, that there is funny!
Once my safe room was complete, I was finally able to catch a few Zzzzz’s. I could lay on the couch and catch a catnap with both tiny tots and myself, holed up safely inside. And apart from having the occasional Cheerio shoved up my nose, while I was sleeping, all went well. Even potty training! This room made it possible! I literally plopped the toilet in the center of the room and let the little guy feel the air on his bottom for hours. He was so pleased with himself when he accomplished his task 😉
Now obviously, it’s not safe to leave a newborn with a tot, alone in a room. Toddlers are naturally curious and babies are about as interesting as it gets. So when I needed to use the bathroom etc… I could easily place the baby in her crib, while leaving my little Superman in the Safe Room. This room also helped keep the dog out. We had a very large Doberman, named Max. He was quite a handsome lad, but HYPER as all HECK! One good jump and his claws would have probably blinded an infant or toddler. He was huge. We loved him like crazy, but that dog just could NOT sit still. Needless to say, he didn’t hang with the babies alone. So our safe room, allowed Max to roam in the rest of the house, but kept the babies off limits, until they were old enough to play. It also taught Max boundaries. He was a lovable pooch, but in the end, he was a pooch. He wanted to jump, romp, chew, pee, poop and cuddle…without being aware of his own strength. This kept both the dog and kids, from annoying each other…and it kept me SANE!
Apart from the usual tot injuries, like tripping or bumping their little heads, a safe room is just that…a SAFE room. All you need is one. It’s hard to keep up with every single room in the house, when you’re on full time mommy and wife duty. And you don’t have to. So don’t think large scale, endless hours of overwhelming work,…on top of two babies. Minimize. For the immediate need, just think one room. And the beauty part is, once you have the one room all gated off, you have a place to put the most active one, while the baby sleeps in their bed and the freedom to tackle the rest of the house at your own pace.
Don’t fret the small stuff…showering is over-rated. Sleep comes first. Without it, the world just stops. So think Zzzzzz’s.
Is it worth it? A thousand times over…YES! These years are honestly, too short. They go by at lightening speed. Enjoy every single moment of it. Every tiny hug, tear, squeal, funny face, silly phrase, chubby cheek, ‘kiss-my-booboo-mommy’…every single second….Every One….Completely and Unequivocally….Worth It!
*My daughter and My First Grandson
And to you, my dear daughter: YOU GOT THIS!!! You are strong, You are brave, You are intelligent, You are beautiful, You are talented and You are AMAZING! I Love You Peanut! Make sure you keep Grammy and Me on Speed Dial! Call Me Later…I’ll give you the Local Number…for Poison Control! LMAO