Life after baby number 2…..

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After celebrating Matteo’s first birthday, I started thinking about my first year with him compared to my first year with his brother Luca 3 years ago. What had changed after a year with baby number 2?

I wasn’t in such a hurry for him to reach all the milestones.

I knew that the time would fly by and the newborn phase would pass very quickly so I tried to savour it more the second time. It was also refreshing not to feel in competition or under pressure this time. Let’s be honest, mothers can be very competitive and, even if you aren’t, it’s so easy to worry about your firstborn when you see a friend’s son or daughter has reached a milestone sooner than your own child. By child number 2 you have realised that they will get there in their own way and own time….and if they need some help along the way, well that’s what we’re here for!

All kids are gifted; some just open their packages earlier than others. – Michael Carr.

I didn’t apologise so much.

Second time around I didn’t feel the need to constantly make excuses for Matteo’s behaviour or for what I would previously (and wrongly) have considered my oversights as a mother, for example:

Sorry he’s grouchy, he’s due a nap (jiggling him around nervously).

We don’t want him to have a dummy but it’s the only thing that calms him.

We really should have started potty training by now….

After baby number 2 these would more likely read:

He’s a baby….they cry, especially when they are tired.

I’m glad the dummy settles him when he’s sleepy, grouchy or feeling unwell.

I will potty train him when I sense that he is ready for it.

And these days I certainly wouldn’t dash out of the supermarket because of a tantrum as I no longer (unreasonably!) expect small children to be able to behave like adults.

The sign of great parenting is not the child’s behaviour. The sign of truly great parenting is the parent’s behaviour. – Andy Smithson.

I was more confident in my ability as a mother.

After Luca’s birth I felt the need to prove to everyone that I could be a mum. I thought that if people saw me cry or get frustrated they would immediately assume I was either depressed or that I simply couldn’t cope. Whenever Luca fell or hurt himself I felt that I had let him down in some way and I wanted to just wrap him up in cotton wool forever but, by the time Matteo came along, (though of course I hate seeing him hurt too!) I realised that it is these early tumbles that will eventually help to give him more confidence in the future. And, though I am still far from a perfect mum (does such a thing exist??), I did gain confidence from having so far raised one child not too badly.

The more risks you allow your children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves. – Roald Dahl

I was an absolute whizz with all the baby gadgets.

Like most mums I have mastered the art of some quite impressive multi-tasking skills. Once upon a time leaving the house with a small child reduced me to a quivering wreck but now, with two children, it’s more like a military operation. And though I always very much appreciate the gesture, I have to smile to myself if I am offered help with restraining a toddler whilst holding a baby and opening a buggy at the same time as I think it is something I even practice in my sleep!

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(image from Pinterest)

I could not believe how much newborns sleep (…during the day anyway!)

From what I remembered of life with a newborn, in addition to the disrupted nights, the days were a blur of busyness and rushing around after the baby. There was no time to do anything and I even found brushing my teeth (or getting to the bathroom at all!)  a real challenge. But when we brought Matteo home, we were shocked by the amount he slept during the day. We tried hard to remember why life seemed so frantic when Luca was born but these are all the learning steps you go through as parents. It’s like just going out with 1 child now…..I find it a complete doddle compared to going out with both of them.

The more I learn about teaching my children, the more I realise they are teaching me too!

Although toddlers and babies can really push you to your limits, it also amazes me how something they say or do can stop you in your tracks and make you think sometimes that perhaps they understand more about life than we adults do. I remember getting cross with Matteo because he kept picking up an ornament and I kept putting it back and then he just dissolved into a fit of giggles…..and so did I. To him it was a game, not an act of naughtiness. Or when I was telling Luca off in a loud shouty voice and he said ‘mummy, it isn’t nice to shout’. That brought me slap bang into the current moment and reminded me that I was trying to teach my son about respect. I gave him a big hug for being so wise.

So much of me is made of what I learned from you, you’ll be with me like a handprint on my heart… – Stephen Schwartz

I did love baby number 2 as much as baby number 1!

When I was pregnant with Luca I worried about being able to love a child when I had never had one…..and then I experienced an intensity of love that nearly floored me at times. Then I worried during my second pregnancy about whether it was possible for me to love another child as much……but now, though it’s only been a year, it’s like he’s always been a part of our family and I really struggle to remember him not being around!

If you think my hands are full you should see my heart. – Author unknown.

So, with all the lessons learned, what would I do differently if I could go back in time to before the birth of baby number 1? Quite simply I would worry a whole lot less about how I would be as a mum and what other people would think of me as a mum…..we are all in the same boat after all, just making it up and learning as we go along! And I would definitely go on one last romantic and child free holiday with my husband!

…..oh and I’m afraid ‘baby brain’ does happen again…..well it did in my case anyway. In fact I’m not really sure it ever went away after having baby number 1!!

Main image from http://www.123rf.com

Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_yanlev’>yanlev / 123RF Stock Photo</a>er

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