As you may have gathered from yesterday’s post, attending to two children necessitates the cultivation of profound multitasking skills. (Can you feed one child with a bottle while buttoning the dress of another? Deter a toddler from jumping precariously close to the edge of the bed while pumping and shushing an infant? Etc.) I’m still figuring out how to pre-empt certain situations from brewing, and I know I’ll get there — it took me months to figure out how to walk our ebullient, strong Airedale while pushing a stroller through Central Park, but, I’ve learned, it’s all about a short leash and a sixth sense about what will attract her attention. (Also, a brisk — borderline breakneck — pace and occasional pep talks to myself.) I know I’ll come across similar strategies in the realm of child supervision. For those in similar shoes, a couple of things that have helped me to date as I navigate these foreign waters, and I’ll start first with things that have been helpful for the babes, and then move on to multi-tasking beauty and style finds:
+A door lock for our bedroom door. I want mini to feel welcome and invited to participate in the care of micro, and so I always invite her into the bed while I am nursing or snuggling micro. But. There is a time and place for everything and we were finding that she would often rush into our bedroom to check on her brother and inadvertently wake him up, or fling pillows all around our bedroom, or smear peanut butter and jelly fingers on my just-washed-and-ironed bedding. This enables us to prevent her from entering the room when we want her out by us. It’s inexpensive but smartly designed and less obtrusive than some of the other styles. (Still, an eyesore to be sure — but. Tradeoffs.) There’s even a “decoy” button that she routinely attempts to press, but she has not yet figured out how to unlock it — and I don’t think she will, as it takes substantial dexterity.
+A pacifier for micro. Mini used a Wubbanub for a short string of weeks and then tired of it. I’ve noticed that micro likes to nurse himself to sleep / use me to soothe instead of feed, a habit I want to nip in the bud before it takes too deep root. (How did I come to this conclusion? Because he’ll latch for a minute or two and then fall asleep and stay asleep. Or if he’s fussy for one reason or another he’ll want to go on the breast, and then he’ll calm down and doze — even if it’s just a few minutes after finishing a feeding session.) I’m testing out the pacifier and I have to say it has really helped with keeping him docile and asleep for longer stretches of time. I know pacifiers are polarizing among a lot of moms, but — every child is different and micro really craves the sucking motion, and I was finding that his “sleeping” cycles were always interrupted by fussy sessions where he’d either want to nurse for comfort or be rocked/held, and neither of those solutions were sustainable unless I wanted to be attached to him 24 hours of the day, so here we are. He’s liked the Wubbanub like his sister, and I also have this style with this pacifier clip in my diaper bag.
+It’s all about making things simple and efficient these days. So we have two bottle-making stations — one in our kitchen and one in our bedroom. For nighttime feeds, I pre-fill bottles with water and pre-apportion formula in one of these (also have one in my diaper bag) on my nightstand so I don’t even need to get out of bed. Micro is less particular about bottles/nipples than mini was, so we use a mix of these (my personal favorite because the wide “mouth” makes it easy to pour the powder formula in without spilling everywhere, and I’ve never run into a leaking issue), these, and these.
+I put together a bag of toys and activities for mini to use while sitting next to me during micro’s nursing sessions. That worked well for about two days — ha. She was really into this magnet set and these sticker sets in particular. Then she started tearing into them and scattering them all over the apartment and honestly I didn’t feel like it was a battle worth waging, attempting to enforce the fact that those were meant to be used “only while feeding baby brother.” So, now I often let her play with sending emojis to Mr. Magpie on my phone, which is endlessly entertaining to her, or offer her a snack and read to her right by her little activity table while I nurse. (It’s incredible how quickly you learn to breastfeed while doing other things / sitting in random spots.)
Meanwhile, some multi-tasking/life-simplifying items for this multi-tasking mom:
+I have been wearing a lot of Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter. I dab it on over the top of my undereye concealer and tinted moisturizer, focusing on my under-eye areas, cheekbone, and the tip of my nose. I don’t know anything about contouring but this tends to make my face look a little brighter and more alive. (P.S. — This is in addition to my current everyday beauty routine.)
+This workhorse has been in my cart for about a year. I’m still debating between it, Tata Harper’s volumizing lip and cheek tint, and RMS Beauty’s Lip2Cheek. They’re all variations on the same theme, and I like that they can be quickly applied by finger to the cheek and lip to get a little color. Endorsements?
+Similarly, I’m intrigued by the cosmetics line Wander Beauty. I’ve heard such good things about their foundation in particular, but I really like how many of their products offer dual purposes, like this illuminator and blush stick and this matte and illuminating concealer and this lip and cheek color stick.
+Keeping everything in separate pouches so I can easily find what I’m looking for / transfer things quickly if I only have one child with me or no children (!! — has only happened like twice so far) with me when heading out the door. I use this for my own gear and wet/dry bags monogrammed for each child with spare diapers, changes of clothes, snacks, pacifiers, toys, etc.
+I really want to try this scalp shampoo and scrub in one. It looks promising for summer hair. In the meantime, I’ve been getting a ton of mileage out of my Lele Sadoughi headband collection. I especially love my denim one at the moment. And J.Crew has a cute dupe for under $30!
+As you know, blockprints are having a moment. I love this inexpensive but chic ($35!) sarong/cover-up/scarf situation, which seems like the perfect addition to my Hamptons suitcase. Would also make a lovely gift for a hostess or a girlfriend with a summer birthday (and a travel itinerary!).
+In love with this gingham shirt — the shoulder detailing makes my heart sing! Also — nursing friendly, and would look adorable under a pair of white overalls or with some white skinnies.
+Wondering if the front of this shirt would accommodate a nursing mother…SO CUTE regardless.
+Speaking of nursing mother finds: this dress is kind of perfect. I’d wear it just as happily now as I would when I’m no longer breastfeeding. Chic and easy to wear with flats, slides, sandals, or even sneakers, appropriate for any circumstance, and just as easy to wear at age 22 as at age 82.
+Mr. Magpie gave me a beautiful Hermes scarf the day before I went into the hospital to have our son. He picked a print with personal significance and said too many kind things to me, and I still tear up when I have a minute to think back on it. A few hours later, my mother arrived in New York and gave me one of her own favorite Hermes scarves — one with peonies on it, which bears a personal kind of symbology in our mother-daughter relationship. And so I have been wearing a lot of Hermes scarves lately and I love that they can transform a ho-hum look into something extraordinary. I often throw it on over my shoulders when I’m wearing leggings and a cardigan over a nursing tank, or a simple tee-dress. I’ve written about this before, but these Tuckernuck scarves are a great buy for a lot less if you want that Hermes look without the price tag!
P.S. I promise not all posts will be on the subject of motherhood and life with two kids — but it’s all that’s on my mind right now. Bear with me!