That second baby
Oh, that poor second child, left to fend for itself, raise itself, practically. As a first time mother I did everything I could to be the best parent possible. I read all the right books, downloaded all the best apps and actually listened to what the midwives said in all those pre-natal appointments. Then, when the baby came, the heavens parted and a rainbow shot out of his butt because he was amazing. I relished in every single second and even sat there staring at my beautiful little cherub while he slept, wondering how the hell I got so lucky. Every relative and friend I’d ever known came to visit and showered us with gifts. I snapped a million photos a day of every single, little thing he did, and recorded every move and noise he made (warning: this usually results in all of your childless friends cringing at another update and then blocking you from their Facebook feed). I bathed him every night and did a baby massage course so I could give him massages. I bought the best brand of every product his little bottom required after reading all the reviews in all the forums, to see which one was the best. Then he started solids and I practically started growing a veggie patch in my backyard because I read somewhere what kind of nasties there are in store-bought items, and I cooked all his meals from scratch. I made sure he had “every vegetable for three days” so that he could “learn to recognise the different flavours” as the midwife said. EVERYTHING the midwife said was gospel.
Then his first year was done and I cried one night because, “Where did the time go?” He was walking already and I couldn’t believe he wasn’t a baby anymore. Well, all that was left to do was start thinking about baby #2. This was also because I was 34 and wanted three children. I had seen many couples struggle for years to get pregnant so I factored this into the equation and got cracking. Bang, it worked on the second cycle and, let’s be honest, after the first month was unsuccessful I gave it my all, because who wants to do it with their husband every night of the month for two months plus, with a broken vagina? Not me.
Pregnancy the second time was not as fun for me. All my appointments were annoying because I had returned to work and my days off were spent dragging a toddler along, to sit in waiting rooms, to have checks and hear things I had already heard only a year ago. Throughout half the conversations I was making to-do lists in my head. Doesn’t everyone do this when they are being told information they already know? ‘Birth plan?’ she asked me… Yeah, fat lot of good a birth plan did for me the last time, I thought to myself….. My birth plan was to get the baby out alive and hopefully with the least amount of pain and damage to my vagina as possible.
Baby #2 was born! I felt so blessed and the birth was amazing… ‘But where are the visitors?’ I thought. Not that I missed the 85 bouquets I was gifted that ended up being harder work than a newborn baby, but a visit would be nice. In their defence, I had a 24-hour turn around with my second. I was home the day after I gave birth. Was I supposed to stick around for the hospital food? No thanks. So, all of five people visited me in the hospital. She was born three days before Christmas which meant there weren’t even many visitors once I was home and didn’t need to be a freak about whooping cough! #win
I soon realised everything takes twice as long with two. Bath time, nappy time and getting in and out of the car are what is killing me the most. I guess when my eldest can climb in and put his own seatbelt on, things will be easier, but two babies to load, two seats to attach to the pram and two lots of clothes, nappies, etc. in the baby bag is draining my life! I swear it takes me fifteen mins to load up or unload for a simple trip to the shops. The amount of times I have had to be MacGyver and figure out an alternative to what I need, because I refuse to load up to go out with two kids, is beyond me.
This beautiful second child of mine has been such a trooper. I almost expect one day I will turn around and she will be cooking herself some lunch. Sometimes I have her on my hip and I forget she’s even there she’s so chilled. Having two under two meant I had a toddler that was still a baby himself and needed more attention than the newborn. We had to show him he was the most important thing in our world so that he wouldn’t be jealous and shank her in her sleep with his Dora the Explorer toothbrush, Si amigos?
My days basically continued to revolve around my toddler. It went something like, she has no routine, but shush because she’s asleep right now. Then he would drop a monster truck or a train on the floor and she would wake up, then repeat. Bath every night? That lasted the first month. Now, every second day, or when her neck smells like blue cheese from the dribble getting caught in the folds (which is so gross, I didn’t even know this happened). Baby massage? Yeah, I think I gave her one… and honestly, I do try to moisturize her once a month. Sometimes, if her brother is asleep and we get some time alone, I feel so bad that I hardly spend any time staring at her while she sleeps. I feel guilty that I didn’t spend as much time teaching her how to roll or sit up, like I did with her brother. I feel guilty that she probably recognises the toys hanging from the playmat more than my face. Second Child = GUILT. She even just started solids and I wonder how long it is before I throw a store-bought pouch of something her way.
I remember for the first six months of my son’s life we used to sterilise everything that went into his mouth. I think my daughter was about six weeks old at most, when I caught my son with his grubby toddler fingers in her mouth, laughing hysterically whilst I sat in the corner rocking my OCD away. The poor child gets licked, sat on, poked and even flipped. She will be tough, I tell myself, she will be a survivor. I can only imagine what it’s like to have a third, fourth or fifth baby. I think I would probably have to label them for fear of forgetting one somewhere.
Thanks for reading. Love you all. -Zoe xoxo