Fantastic food: My last baby 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 Fantastic food – 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!

We 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 a 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. Wherever we are trying to stay and hang out, he will run off the other way and explore/leave.

I had a playdate a while 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 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 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…

Language development

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 in speech, but about two months ago (early March), his language 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 dada, and Riese (pronounced like “else!”), “itch” for a switch (light switches are his 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 of 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) and get super angry if we don’t turn the 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

We started preschool (where Riese goes – convenient) in January, and he’s there in the mornings and has 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 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 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 the 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 really 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 thrived on one-on-one attention, and she’s very much an extrovert that doesn’t 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 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 eat right now.

The only thing he will consistently always eat is fruit. He could 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 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), Lara bars, string beans, peppers and carrots, nut butter, sweet potatoes, and pizza (sometimes).

I feel like reading that list there’s some decent variety, but again some days he’ll refuse most everything but fruit and milk and then be hungry. 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.

Here’s the typical routine Fantastic food (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 7 am – wakes up, breakfast + milk
  • 9:30 or 10 am – morning snack + milk if he’s at home (at school they only do water)
  • 12 or 12:30 pm – lunch + milk
  • 1 – 3 pm – 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 5 pm – sometimes a second snack…
  • 6pm – dinner + milk
  • 7:30 or 7:45 pm – bedtime (milk while reading stories)

I am so 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 crazily tired because he was up at 4 am 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 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)

I’m feeling good fitness-wise lately! I’ve been making it a priority to make time to move my body and yes, I often use childcare/school time to work out (gasp) and I do not feel bad about it like I used to.

In terms of running, that’s feeling good again thankfully! I’m consistently running 2 times per week at the moment. Every once in a while (not consistently) I’ll run a third time in a week, but only if it’s a week where I’m feeling super energetic.

Every Monday I do a post-school drop-off run date with my friend Katie (her kids go to the same school, and we run right from there), and our typical distance is 5 miles. My hip/back tweak situation has completely resolved and I’m so grateful! 5 miles does not seem to bother it so that’s what I’m sticking with as my max distance for now.

I also sometimes run Wednesdays post-drop off with my friend Steph, another mom’s friend from school, and we typically do about 2.5 miles. If she’s busy and I don’t run with her, sometimes I’ll just walk, or sometimes I’ll do a run solo or with Matt, or try to meet my friend Kathleen for a run another day. I keep it flexible based on what I feel like doing.

I’ve been consistent with yoga lately as well and that has been good for me both mentally and physically. I am still going to 6 am hot power yoga twice a week, and I love having those two days where my mornings start with me taking some time to connect to myself vs. immediately going into the kid chaos.

Minus the early alarm, it’s just lovely and the classes are challenging but fun – they get me out of my head and into my body which is something I always appreciate.

I’m consistently going to yoga 3 (sometimes 4) times per week at the moment – the two early morning classes during the week, and then I’ll go once or twice on the weekend (usually Matt and I trade off sleeping in and workout time) depending what we have going on and what the weather is like (rain = more likely to want to do yoga vs. a run or something outdoors).

Outside of yoga and running, since the weather got nice a couple of months ago I’ve been playing tennis once a week with our friend Shane! Matt sometimes comes too if he’s available. It’s so fun and feels like a mini vacation.

I’ve always loved tennis – I played as a kid and on my high school team, but then mostly stopped once I went to college. It’s nice to play more consistently again and to see myself getting better! We don’t play legit games, we just hit it back and forth. So fun.

In terms of strength training, I recently started doing one 30-minute virtual personal training session per week with my sister-in-law, Morgana. She’s fantastic and it has been a fun way to get in some strength work because even though I know what to do strength training-wise to support my body for running/life, I am terrible at making it happen on my own!

If you want her contact info, let me know – I’m happy to share. The workouts have been creative and a great complement to my running!

Her training has a focus on alignment and form, which I appreciate, and her specialties range from circuit training to barre to Pilates. She’s also in the process of getting her pre and postnatal training certifications if that’s relevant for you.

So yeah, feeling like I’m hitting my groove with fitness at this point. I remember the 2-year mark with Riese also being when I hit my stride with postpartum workouts and started feeling good in my body in terms of fitness ability, too. It’s nice to feel strong and more agile again, and fitness does wonders for my mental health.

My mental health lately

Speaking of mental health – I’d say at the moment mine is the best it has been since pre-pandemic, or maybe even pre-kids (but honestly I can barely even remember that time – it feels like forever ago). I’d say this is because of a few huge things:

  1. The fact that Wes is almost 2. Pregnancy and postpartum are wild in terms of the hormones and sleep deprivation and not feeling good physically, and having moved past all of that is honestly huge. Especially getting consistent sleep, and having my body be my own and feel good in terms of fitness/being able to do what I want to do fitness-wise is massive.
  2.  I’ve done a TON of personal growth sort of work in the past couple of years, and in the past few months, I’ve started to feel like all of a sudden a lot of the work I’ve been doing has started to sink in/synthesize. Back in October 2021, when Wes was only 4 months old, I impulsively signed up for Mother Worthy, a virtual year-long mom’s group. I’m in year 2 of the program now and can honestly say it has seriously changed my life. I’ve built some incredible very deep and supportive friendships with fellow women in the program, and have learned so much about myself (and society’s bullshit expectations of and messaging for both women and men) through all the work we have done as a group and individually.
  3. Matt and I have weekly date nights. Yes, I know some of you are thinking “must be nice!” – and you know what, it is nice! I think it’s really important to take the time to connect with your partner outside of the chaos of when kids are in the mix. It’s been nice to have that time to be with each other consistently without a small human yelling over us or demanding things constantly. We just get to be Anne and Matt, and it feels really good. Yes, I know it’s not the most financially easy thing to do, and we are privileged to be able to make it work, but it’s been important enough to us to keep it going despite the not-insignificant expense. And the fact that it is weekly vs. occasional is key because otherwise, it ends up being a ton of logistical labor for me in terms of trying to coordinate with a sitter, find a night that works, etc., etc. We have the same sitter every week and she comes the same day at the same time. Not having to think about it is huge. When we used to have to think about it, it resulted in us just never going out because we’d get busy and never end up making it happen.

All that said, my mental health of course is not perfect – I still get triggered and overwhelmed and feel down in the dumps sometimes (and like I said earlier, the 2-year-old toddler age can spike my anxiety/hyper-vigilance), but I feel like my general baseline is just more content overall thanks to the things noted above, and that’s a good feeling.

The one area where I don’t feel super great at the moment, though, is work – I struggle with feeling uninspired and less relevant in a world where everyone is interested in quick and attention-grabbing videos on social media, which is just not my thing.

I started blogging because I’m a writer. I love sitting down and taking time to let the words flow from my fingers and see where the paragraphs lead. Being a video producer is just not something I’m excited about, and as a result, I’m not getting many brand partnerships these days because social media is everyone’s focus.

But, I’m not willing to compromise what feels authentic and enjoyable to me personally just to try to stay relevant for my ego (even if staying relevant also = more $$, it feels like a lot of it is ego-based at its core). So, that leaves me to try to figure out what my next steps are, or how to adapt in some ways but not in ways that I feel are inauthentic. We’ll see.

And I think that’s where I’ll end this very wordy post. If you made it this far, thanks for reading and for being here! I always enjoy writing these sorts of posts, and having them to look back on later. (It was fun to re-read my 2-year update post from Riese – so many similarities with Wes in terms of things they love and do, but I think I’m in a better place mentally now than I was back then!)

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