From the minute that blue line appears telling you to expect another baby the game changes. Needless to say that having your first is a game changer, life is well and truly never the same once you have welcomed your little bundle of joy into your life. How much can having a another child really change things?
You wouldn’t think it would, not huge amounts. I mean things you can no longer do like drink hot tea, restful holidays, random, unplanned, no babysitter required nights out – you can’t do those things with one child so having two isn’t going to make too much difference right?
You remember when you were pregnant with your first and you used to sleep when you got in from work and you’d spend your free time on the sofa watching back to back Grey’s Anatomy. Yeah that doesn’t happen in round two. If you’re lucky you’ll sit in front of CBeebies mind numbingly bored. It’s more likely however you’ll be scaling soft play, running around the park, the house, everywhere trying to catch you’re faster than you toddler. All before you have even welcomed your eagerly awaited second baby, eagerly awaited because the thought of spending any longer waddling after your first born is too much.
Hurrah, the baby is here and you are so happy and drunk on love, hormones and the miracle of life you feel that your world is complete, like the luckiest bugger there was. For the first five days anyway.
You soon realise though, as you did with your first that this gig is tough. Being woken up every two hours AND having to actually leave the house, function and parent an older sibling the next day is a tall order. If you were like me and had two babies close together the first still not quite sleeping through the night, the lack of sleep will become laughable at times. I say laughable, I don’t recall it being overly funny at the time. Tag teaming between babies through all the hours, swearing at your co-parent in the process for just being there or asleep and mentally murdering anyone else who dares utter the words ‘I’m tired’.
I’ve spoken to a few mums lately who are going through this with their second born. I hear ya ladies, this is a tough part of the parenting game, one that feels never ending. Yet here I sit at 8pm with both my two and three year old asleep in their own beds, where they will stay for the next 11 hours. Dig deep, embrace the coffee and chocolate – it will end.
Ok so we might master the night shift, mostly. The days, well there is something to be said for ‘I can get through whatever the day has to throw at me as I know bedtime will arrive’. Yeah that. It’s a half truth. At best.
Whilst they’re young there is no down time in your day. If one naps the other won’t, or they both won’t. If one eats the other won’t or more than likely if one refuses to eat the other will follow suit. If one is having a tantrum the other will probably join in, just because. If one does manage to sit quietly the other sure as shit won’t.
That nicely behaved first born you had. Yeah they’ll be lead astray by their excitable younger sibling who runs off in the shop. Before you know it you’ll have two kids running around John Lewis homeware section, in opposite directions. Why is the china and glassware at such perfect kid height?
You remember nice days out with your one child soaking up everything, taking it all in. They become slightly more fraught and frantic trying to make sure everyone is safe and placated.
Siting in front of the TV becomes an argument over who wants to watch what. Assuming they’ll sit that is.
They will both want the same thing, which can’t be split in two and everything, EVERYTHING will have to be ‘taken in turns’.
You are constantly being split in two both mentally and physically. Your head is going from left to right all day bouncing between each of their needs and wants. You’ll question why one is a certain way and the other another. You’ll beat yourself wondering whether you’re treating them the same, and loading yourself with all the guilt when you don’t think you have.
Life is suddenly much faster paced, much louder, much busier. Your negotiating skills need to up their game, your stress levels and patience will find new limits.
All those things come part and parcel with your second child but you remember that feeling when you had your first and you think you can’t possibly love another as much? How could you? Turns out it’s the easiest thing in the world. Two children are, or at least for me were, a game changer, they change your family dynamic, your daily life, yes things get busier, harder, twice the whatever but it is also twice good stuff. Twice the things we love about being parents and our children. All the good makes you forget all the hard stuff, mostly. That rush of hormones we have post second baby where we feel like this is the best thing, it’s there for a reason. It’s pure unadulterated untampered emotion that we have toward our children and it never goes away. Sometimes’ it’s just buried a little deeper under the wade of meltdowns in M&S and feral escapees legging it around a busy car park.
Three, now that really must add a new dynamic on things, right? I can’t say I intend to find out.