Another J-CALL weekend

January 23, 2021

Laura and I recently recorded a podcast about teens and tweens (coming up!). As we opened up our discussion, I asked about the “magic age” when it gets easier, and she reminded me that I’ve mentioned that I am finding it easier now than I did.

And I do!

It doesn’t mean I find it EASY (NOPE!), but 3 / almost 7 / close to 9 is much much easier than 1.5 / 5 / 7 was. Also easier than 6 months / 4 / 6. And actually easier than 1 / almost 3 (I remember Cameron’s first two years as the most challenging time of all — not because he was a hard baby, but because A was still firmly in toddler territory and it was a difficult combo!).

Of course, it has helped that certain things ebb and flow and maybe they are ‘ebbing’ recently in a good way. G seems to have sorted out her sleep patterns — she’s napping about 1 hour at school, skips nap at home, and goes to bed with the big kids at around 8:45. Yes, they are all still sleeping in the same room. We moved her toddler bed in there, so now then room is comprised of bunk beds, a toddler bed, and not much else. What can I say — it works for now!

When the kids are sleeping regular hours (ie: no recent time change) and when my energy is decent, we can get into a really nice groove. There were years when I dreaded Josh’s call weekends and craved some extra childcare on those days because they just seemed impossible and endless. Now I don’t feel the need for that at all. (I am starting to miss date night, but those never happened on Josh’s call weekends anyway!).


LIIFT4 chest / triceps (I am going to just keep cycling through 2 of these workouts weekly in conjunction with my running!)

Lots of outdoor time w/ kids (playground, etc)

Meal plan next week & order groceries for Sunday morning delivery (that worked really well last time!)

Read more of Transcendent Kingdom during screen time (afternoon). Started last night. I can already tell it’s so up my alley.

Keep G’s diaper off to the extent possible (she is fully trained at school and then goes lazy at home, which is our fault.)

Attempt to do second outdoor stint after our screen time in the afternoon (I know this is something that would be good for everyone but it can be hard to enforce. Going to try to sell it from the outset . . .)

TAKE OUT NIGHT. Kids asking for Chicken Kitchen again but Josh and I are going to try to convince them to try a local Peruvian place Sr Ceviche. I guess we could get both . . .

And we will end with a Bernie meme, because why not . . .

from my beloved college BFF group chat!


  • Reply gwinne January 23, 2021 at 8:15 am

    Sarah, potty training was seriously nonexistent on my priority list as a parent because I figured it would happen when it would happen (both kids, right around 3). But, just as a suggestion since you’re in the throes of it, have you put G in some kind of training pants/cloth diaper that would make her FEEL wet and uncomfortable? In general, they say cloth diapered kids tend to train earlier, and I’m sure it helped in Tiny Boy’s case.

    While I’m sure it varies from kid to kid, in my experience, the ‘golden age’ of childhood is roughly 5-10 (i.e. elementary school). You have two kids in that window, so yay!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 23, 2021 at 8:42 am

      I probably could have done that, but she’s ready for underwear. I tried the training pull ups but she got a rash immediately so reverted back to diapers . . . probably lengthening the process! She does very well at school – only a few accidents. Right now she’s running around in underwear and I have a timer set for every 45 min to remind her to try to go (similar to school schedule).

      Each of my kids potty trained around 3 b/c I didn’t put much effort in but G is 3 and 1 month and I feel pretty sure she’s ready based on how she does at school. (She actively tried to argue this morning that she was a baby but I reminder her that babies do not get to watch shows with their big siblings or gasp . . . play the “panda game” on the iPad that she loves. That seemed to motivate.)

  • Reply Marina January 23, 2021 at 8:39 am

    Based on my limited experience with two kids 2.5 years apart, I agree that the baby+toddler combo is the hardest. And my second was a fairly easy baby too, but my older one was/is still so little and needy, so it’s hard. Glad you’re rounding the corner to the fun times! I think you’ll really enjoy it about another year when all of them can do fun activities (and are potty trained) and still want to spend time with you! And the travel will be so much easier (post COVID of course).

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns January 23, 2021 at 8:53 am

    We have a newborn and almost 3yo and it’s definitely tough. Especially since this newborn does not want to be put down. I am glad my husband is around on the weekend and evenings as I rarely have them on my own! I feel like age 4 is the sweet spot – at least from what I’ve observed of my nieces and nephews. They are working on potty training at school and having mixed success. We tried the ‘oh crap’ method last March which is the method where they are naked from the waist down and you catch them going to the bathroom/rush them to the potty. Most of my friends had success with that method but it was a DISASTER for us. So we stopped and decided to wait until they focused on it at school. He is smart enough to do it but incredibly resistant and just says ‘I no want to’ when we try to get him to use the potty. I just keep telling myself that he will eventually be out of pull ups!!

    • Reply Grateful Kae January 23, 2021 at 9:12 am

      We also had success with the no pants method! Both of my boys trained right at 2 with that method. It was ugly for a few days/week. I just told myself it was going to suck, took a few days off work and planned for it. But then it consistently got better- and quickly! I do remember one accident in pants sitting in the cart at Target. Hahahaha!! Oops… but I literally could not believe that after about a week or so it clicked and we never went back to diapers again (except for sleeping). I feel like this method only works well with the little ones/pre-stubborn days though. We did it with both right around the 2 year mark. But I’m a believer!! 🙂

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 23, 2021 at 9:29 am

        Haha that ship has definitely sailed for me! Everyone was right around 3 over here. I have been keeping Pampers in business (at least 2/3 of my kids prone to rashes and we’ve had to be pretty brand loyal to the Pampers Sensitive/Pure varieties. I’m so excited about the concept of NOT buying $50+ worth of diapers every month!!!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 23, 2021 at 9:26 am

      I can now go upstairs and shower/get ready for a solid 15-20 min while leaving the kids downstairs and be confident they will be okay (or as okay as they would be with me downstairs). It’s like . . .a new era.

      • Reply Irene January 23, 2021 at 1:58 pm

        I think we are getting close to this and probably already there with tv for a babysitter! Thanks for this – I need to remember how much harder things were even 1-1.5 years ago. Just really looking forward to being able to get out of the house more. Winter cold + COVID is really limiting our options right now.

        My husband and I have been obsessed with looking for J&J vaccine updates – really hoping their date is good and they can roll out quickly!

      • Reply KGC January 23, 2021 at 2:45 pm

        I can now do this with both kids upstairs but not physically with me in the bathroom. The day I realized that could happen was, like, life-changing. They would also be fine (read: safe) downstairs but my youngest (22 months) doesn’t like to be that far apart from me. When his older brother was the same age, I could not shower/get ready alone. But because they now play with each other and the oldest is a responsible almost-5-year-old? Game-changer. I agree. New era.

  • Reply Alison January 23, 2021 at 9:22 am

    We have had our 3 big kids (9, 7, 6) in bunks beds and toddler bed in the same room since the 6yo was 3. They love it so much they want their 3yo sister to move in, which we think would help with keeping her in bed at night, so we ordered another set of bunk beds. Seems crazy to have 4 in one room (when we have a 4BR house) but if it works, why not?! Just have to keep 2 kids’ clothes in another bedroom.

  • Reply Gillian January 23, 2021 at 10:23 am

    I have to say 13, 10, 7 and 5 is pretty easy…as parenting goes. It’s going to be a narrow window for us, because in 2.5 years our oldest will be driving and that idea is terrifying. But right now, everyone is pretty independent, but I still know where they all are when I go to bed at night.

  • Reply Sophie January 23, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    On the potty training, just wanted to share that my daughter has just trained at 3.5 years. We tried training her at 3 years, and at first she did well but then she pushed back and didn’t want to. She also said “Mum, I’m a baby, I’m not a big girl”. It was frustrating at the time and we wondered whether to push it or leave it. We left it for a few months and now when we tried again it took maybe 2 days for her to get the hang of it again and within a week she had no accidents and initiates all potty use herself, even if she’s wearing a night nappy. She proudly says she’s a big girl who only wears undies. All she needed was time to be emotionally ready for the change. So once G is truly ready (which sounds like it won’t be long from what you’ve described) I think you’ll find it very easy. So I wouldn’t put yourself or her under too much pressure.

  • Reply Rachel January 23, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    Loved this post. I have a 1.5 and 3.5 year old and still regularly crying about how hard it all is. Helps me not feel crazy to hear you say that this age was the hardest of all!

  • Reply Erin R January 28, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    We’ve got a 5, 9, and 11 year old and I think it really is a sweet spot. My 11 year old can be quite obnoxious sometimes but she’s independent and also very helpful. My 9 year old is my easiest kid by a long shot. The 5 year old cannot function alone but that might just be more of a 3rd child thing. I regularly thank my lucky stars this pandemic happened at the ages my kids are now, and not a few years ago. We’ve been able to get by with no additional childcare and have not done any in-person school and are somehow still both employed (both able to work from home) and we all mostly like each other.

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