My last baby Wes is almost 2 (well, in a few weeks – June 1) – how did that happen?!
I also find it hard to believe that the last big Wes + postpartum mama update I did on the blog was when Wes turned 1… and before that when he was only 10 months old. Whoops! Time has been flying, and obviously a lot has changed for us since back then!
Settle in and grab a cup of coffee or tea – this will be a chatty one! I’m covering all sorts of stuff – how Matt and I are managing having two kids, how my mental health is lately, what my exercise routine looks like (plus an injury update), what Wes is up to at almost 2, our current childcare set up, which parent Wes prefers, what he’s eating these days, what his food and sleep schedule is like, and more.
Wes + Mama Update
Without further ado – let’s do this!
Wes at almost 2
This age! It’s simultaneously SO SO fun and sweet, and also WOW it will push your buttons.
Wes is such a sweet and cheerful little guy as his baseline personality – he’s extremely energetic just like big sister, but he’s overall much more of a “go with the flow” sort of dude.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, if he’s hungry it’s like the world may end any second, but so long as he is fed and not overtired he’s almost always smiling.
One very challenging thing at the moment, though, is that just like his big sister at this age, he’s a runner. Basically wherever we are trying to stay and hang out, he will run off the other way and explore/leave.
I had a playdate awhile ago with some friends at a playground they thought was fenced in, but turns out there was an area without a fence and their kids had just never tried to leave. A few minutes later and Wes and I were practically a mile away from said playdate…
The amount of baseline anxiety I have when we are out walking at this age is a lot, too. Wes is not totally reliable in terms of stopping at crosswalks and not just continuing to run into the road, so I always have to run to stay right with him/keep super close especially when we are in town near bigger roads because he can be so unpredictable and DAMN it spikes my anxiety to have to constantly be so hyper-vigilant.
(See also: standing at the edge of ledges while on hikes… this was slightly less treacherous than it looks, but still.)
It will be really nice once we are at an age where I can relax a bit and let him run ahead without worrying he won’t stop at crosswalks. I’m very thankful that Riese is old enough that I don’t have to worry about her when we are out walking or at the playground because my attention always has to be on Wes at the moment!
Wes is also very opinionated on which direction he wants to walk, and if I’m trying to get him to go a different way than the one he wants to, then I’m that mom standing on the sidewalk awkwardly waving/saying hello to those passing by while my child lies on the ground kicking and screaming for ages – it’s super fun. I remember this phase with Riese, too…
One of the most fun things about this age is that we finally are getting to hear his sweet little voice! Gosh, it’s cute. He was a bit delayed on speech, but about two months ago (early March), his language suddenly exploded.
A few of my language favorites at the moment: he pronounces truck like “uck”, and when he started saying “yes” he first said it like “yeeeshhhhh”. A few other favorite words of his at the moment: “moon”, mama and dada, and Riese (pronounced like “eese!”), “itch” for switch (light switches are his most favorite thing in the world – he carries his stool around the house so he can reach various light switches at all times), and “no”, of course. 😉
He’s also very into naming colors – we have a rainbow wood thingy that you can take apart and put together and he loves holding up each of the pieces and naming the colors for me. I’m guessing this is something he learned at school, or maybe from Riese?
A couple weeks ago he started stringing some words together too for phrases like “mama shoes” or “bye bye daddy”, etc. So sweet.
Oh and he loves music! He loves trying to sing along with songs and can hum a couple of his favorites pretty well, and also loves playing musical instruments.
If we are at home, he wants music to be on AT ALL TIMES and will point to Alexa (where we usually play music from) and get super angry if we don’t turn music on. (His current favorites are the Frozen soundtracks – both 1 and 2, the Laurie Berkner Band, the song “it’s raining tacos”, music from the shows Bluey and Daniel Tiger, etc.)
Childcare set up
Wes started preschool (where Riese goes – convenient) in January, and he’s there in the mornings and has really thrived. It was a big adjustment getting used to the new routine and caregivers, but once he settled in they say he now has a blast while there.
I think school is responsible for the language explosion, too! His little classroom is so sweet – we got to sit in and observe recently and it’s so sweet seeing all the little ones interacting with each other and the environment.
We still have a part time nanny at the moment who is here in the afternoons a few days a week – we’d be fine without her now that Wes is in school in the morning, but unfortunately his school is closed for summer and he’s too young for the camp, so we wanted to keep her on because we’ll need her for more substantial hours in the summer.
I’m kind of dreading going back to our old routine for the summer because he loves his school time now, and it’s been really nice for me and Matt to have an empty house in the morning because it makes working from home so much easier (when Wes is home it’s really tricky if he sees us because he gets super upset when we leave again, so we feel a bit trapped in our offices unless we are ready to take a long-ish break).
But, I’m reminding myself that summer will go by quickly! Come fall Wes will be able to be at school until afternoon (after his nap) instead of just the morning, so at that point we will no longer have a nanny, and while we’ll miss her, it will be reaaaaally nice to have that expense off the table, and to have both kids out of the house for a large chunk of the day for the first time!!
How it’s going having two kids
Juggling two kids is tricky, y’all! Riese has always been a kid that really thrived on one-on-one attention, and she’s very much an extrovert that doesn’t really want to play by herself much, so it’s really hard to balance giving both kids attention.
Right now the typical dynamic is Wes adores Riese and wants to play with her, and sometimes she’s kind of into it but usually she’s not, so then he ends up hitting her, and then she pummels him back, rinse and repeat. Once Wes is a little older and can talk/interact more I think they will be good playmates, and we’ve had some glimpses of that here and there, but managing both of them can be quite tricky at the moment.
It’s also tough because Wes requires so much attention if we are out somewhere – at home he’s pretty good at doing his own thing if we are focused on Riese for a bit, but out and about he’s such a handful!
For example, even trying to take both of them to the library or something is kind of nuts right now because I’ll be trying to look for a specific book with Riese, and then Wes will start running around grabbing books out of the shelves and tossing them all over the place and then usually running away/trying to run out the door. Ack! I know it will get easier – and it’s already a little easier than it was a few months ago – but it can just be a lot.
That said, the moments when they do play together are SO so sweet. Riese loves picking Wes up and carrying him around, and it’s really sweet when she “reads” books to him, too. They sometimes play “hide and seek” or tag, too, which is so sweet. I think maybe another 6 months and they will be besties… fingers crossed!
As much as the 3.5 year age gap was good for my sanity (I wanted Riese to be able to go up and down stairs on her own and such before Wes was born, and then covid delayed our timing a bit as well), now that the kids are a little older it would definitely be fun to have them closer in age so they could play together better.
Toddler food + meal/snack timing
I had a friend on Instagram ask for toddler food tips and I will be honest I don’t have any because Wes is currently outrageously picky and it’s super annoying, especially because he’s so grumpy when he’s hungry but then there are such limited things that he will actually eat right now.
Basically the only thing he will consistently always eat is fruit. He could literally eat fruit all day every day – he loves it so much.
He also still really loves his milk (and we finally got him done with the bottles a few months ago – he uses a straw stainless steel cup for milk that I can’t find online anymore unfortunately as it was discontinued – and we use this stainless steel one for water (<- Amazon affiliate link) when we are out and about – at home we do an open cup for water).
Everything else is totally hit or miss in terms of whether he eats it or not, but here are some things that are sometimes hits (but not always): oatmeal, yogurt, chicken fingers, crackers or pretzels, hummus, pasta and meatballs, meat sticks (I buy these kid ones (<- Amazon affiliate link) and he’s a huge fan… usually), larabars, string beans, peppers and carrots, nut butter, sweet potatoes, and pizza (sometimes).
I feel like reading that list there’s actually some decent variety, but again some days he’ll refuse most everything but fruit and milk and then be hangry. It’s tricky but I know it’s a phase that will pass.
He has never liked cheese which is interesting and a bummer since it’s such an easy and portable snack with some staying power. And avocado, salmon, and rotisserie chicken used to be big faves but now he won’t touch them anymore, womp womp.
Here’s the typical routine (when I say milk we just give it to him as an option with the meal or snack along with water – he doesn’t always have a ton):
- 6:30 or 7am – wakes up, breakfast + milk
- 9:30 or 10am – morning snack + milk if he’s at home (at school they only do water)
- 12 or 12:30pm – lunch + milk
- 1 – 3pm – nap (he would keep going, but we wake him up at 3 or else he won’t go to sleep at night until crazy late)
- 3pm – snack + milk
- 4:30 or 5pm – sometimes a second snack…
- 6pm – dinner + milk
- 7:30 or 7:45pm – bedtime (milk while reading stories)
I am sooooo grateful that he finally sleeps all night now. He did not sleep through the night until he was about 19 months old and… gosh it’s just been life changing, especially because it means I can do some early morning workouts without worrying about being crazy tired because he was up at 4am, or worrying about Matt being up super early with him and having to trade off, etc.
It’s just so much better for everyone all around. Big cheers to consistent sleep!
Which parent does he prefer?
Wes is officially a mama’s boy and I’m not gonna lie – I don’t hate it. 🙂
Riese has always been 100% a daddy’s girl, and prefers him over me consistently all of the time. While it’s kind of nice sometimes to not be the chosen parent (especially in the middle of the night when she has a nightmare or is sick or something and only wants him…), I think it honestly would have completely broken my heart if Wes preferred Matt too because it sucks to constantly be the one who is rejected.
(Matt and I alternate who does which kid’s bedtime and without fail, every time it’s me Riese is like “awwww, I want daddy” – she’s less intense about her rejection of me than she used to be when she was Wes’s age, but it still hurts ya know?)
Logistically it’s also helpful to have each kid prefer a different parent. It’s annoying when we are trying to get out the door in the morning (I am always the one who walks the kids to school, so I have to get myself ready too) and Matt is available and Wes only wants me to put his shoes on or change his diaper or whatever, but mostly I really love being his #1.
He gives the best cuddles – he loves being picked up and he always rests his head on my shoulder. Such a sweet little boy. A new recent word of his is “hug” when he wants me to pick him up for a cuddle and it melts my heart!
What my exercise routine looks like nowadays (+ injury update)
My recent fitness adventure has been amazing. Making time for physical activity a priority has become a key commitment, even if it means using guilt-free daycare or school hours for workouts. Since I now routinely run twice a week, running has reclaimed its joy. On rare occasions, if my energy level is high, I’ll fit in a third run. Every Monday, my friend Katie and I run five miles after dropping our kids off at school. Katie also has children who attend the same school. Thankfully, my hip/back problem has disappeared, and 5 kilometres no longer concerns me. I go for a 2.5-mile run with my friend Steph every Wednesday, but depending on how I’m feeling, I can go alone or with someone. My physical and emotional health have both benefited from the calming routine of yoga. I
My mental health lately
My mental health is currently better than it has been since before the epidemic or even before I had children (although it’s difficult to remember that period now). This favourable situation is a result of numerous important variables. The physical toll, hormonal fluctuations, and sleep deprivation of pregnancy and postpartum are behind me as I approach the two-year mark with Wes, which is a relief. The importance of regular sleep and recovering physical fitness and control over my body has been enormous.
I’ve committed myself to growing personally over the past couple of years, and recently I’ve started to see the results of my efforts. Life has changed since I joined MotherWorthy, a virtual moms’ club running for one entire year. I’ve learned a lot about myself and tearing down cultural barriers thanks to the close relationships and encouragement from my fellow participants.