My older daughter left hospital wearing shoes. Literally wearing shoes. Yes my nipples were bleeding and I had those sore, hot, hard, porn star boobs but I still managed to whip out some fab shoes. Oh and not to mention that and I had 2 stitches in my who-ha and the thought alone of going to to the toilet made me want to curl up in foetal position myself…but I actually had the time to put shoes on my daughter. Don’t believe me? Here’s the photo to prove it.
This is Mikah, 4 days old, sitting in the hospital cafe in a gorgeous Petit Bateau little number, Bonds leggings and Country Road booties. Well don’t mind if I do! She was my real life doll and I had dressed her up and loved every second of it.
Rafaella has worn shoes twice EVER (she’s one in 2 weeks). Once it was my birthday and we had a birthday party so I felt the need to at least look like everyone was presentable and that I was totally coping, and the other time I run out of clean socks and I was worried about her little piggies getting cold.
And to me this symbolises the difference between having one child and two. The first child wears shoes.
My baby girl Rafaella is turning one in two weeks and I’ve been racking my brain about what I can get her as a present. It’s been a tough year given that my age gap wasn’t nearly as big as I had wanted it to be, my baby-dadda was away for the first few months of her life and then the worst part was that she had what I now call the tri-fecta… Reflux/Allergies/Asthma. O-M-G. I really wanted to think up something nice, that she didn’t have to share with her sister, that she could have now and later and something I thought she would actually appreciate…Hard criteria right? Well I decided that my present for her would be that I would make her nursery beautiful. Enter judgement looks now. This was something I had loved doing for her older sister throughout my pregnancy and then with my second – it had totally been overlooked.
When I was pregnant with my first, I looked at magazines to draw inspiration for wallpapers, wall stickers, different cots and change tables, a beautiful hanging mobile that all tyed into my wonderful owl theme. I thought about this and then felt guilty looking around my little one’s room. A cot, a change table, a nappy bin, a sofa couch because we didn’t know where else to put it and wait for it.. yes there were baby photos of her older sister framed on the wall. Shocking I know!
It made me start thinking about the differences between a first and second child.
1. Photos. Starting with the ultrasound photos, First child were collaged very neatly on the fridge. With the second, you don’t have any…not because you can’t find them – you didn’t feel the need (or have the time) to go to the scan! The baby was thank g-d kicking around in there so you didn’t need them so often. You would after all meet them soon enough. Which brings me to another difference. I sent hubby out the morning I had my first. Yes, I knew labour was coming on but I still beared the pain alone at home so that he could go and buy a new camera. What did number 2 get… Just a few quick snaps on the Iphone.
2. Classes. By the time my first was 1 she had attended 2 terms of weekly swimming lessons, been to a regular rhyme time at the library and was already considered quite musical from all the instruments she had been playing. She was also so social from the TWO different mothers groups I had joined. Number 2 sees other children when I have coffee with their mothers. A.much.needed.coffee. I continue to justify that she has a sister to play with – what do I need all those drooly babies over at my house with their snotty germs and sticky fingers!
3. Well read and researched beliefs. With my first, I felt very strongly about certain issues like steralising, breastfeeding VS bottle feeding, baby led weaning, helicopter parenting VS tiger parenting, quiet time before bed, baby massage, home made food……I’m actually laughing as I’m writing this because its hilarious to me. It’s not that I don’t care, its that I’m too tired to feel strongly about absolutely anything really. It is survival mode now. Whatever get’s you through the day – that’s what I feel passionate about now! (Who even has time to read anything other than children’s books now).
4. Toys. First child had every educational toy out there. I made sure she had a range of toys that would help develop language, fine and gross motor skills, hand/eye coordination. No aspect of play was random. Now, my little one’s favourite toys are a packet of wipes and my keys. Practical things that are always on hand and that her older sibling doesn’t swipe from her.
5. Feeding. When I was breastfeeding my first this was bonding time. I would sit quietly at home and just look down at my beautiful baby. If I had to feed out, I would take out my beautifully clean breast feeding cover and order a coffee and modestly sit at a cafe while I took an hour to feed, burp and then feed some more. With number 2, I would often look at myself and wonder what had happened to me. I often looked at myself in this crazy state, boob slung out the top of my singlet, feeding..while pushing the big one on the swing AND throwing the ball to the dog. Another time in Coles..pushing the trolley with the big one inside the trolley holding on for dear life to the eggs and the little one in the Bjorne feeding away. Can you actually imagine! Nothing emotional about it…means to and end. She needed a feed and I needed to do things. And now dinner time is all about plonking a whole heap of leftovers on the tray of the highchair and hoping its somewhat nutritionally balanced.
6. The Dr. Baby number one can often learn the names of all family members and included in that is often your local GP’s name. I think mine was even on speed dial. Baby number 2 gets every sickness from their older sibling and still only will get seen to if it happens to be around vaccination time. Which is often weeks late because you either completely forgot or wern’t quite sure how many months old they actually were.
7. Sleep. Ok this one is hard for me to admit given that I am a fab sleep consultant (if I may say so myself). I advise all my clients of the perfect routine for their age group, I know it inside out by now. And let me just state for the record before I go on that BOTH my girls are brilliant sleepers (thank gd!). My first had a perfect routine..it was printed up on the fridge and all grandparents were given a copy so there was no confusion. GULP! Here goes…Here’s my confession – the days that I have both kids I make sure my baby pushes through all morning so that she is on the same schedule as the older one so that I actually get a break. (see point number 3 – its all about survival). Well that’s not completely true, she has 2 choices. Either she can wait till lunch time to have a sleep OR she can choose to fall asleep wherever she can find some peace and quiet, be it the car, the floor, wherever! But she is not going into that cot or they will be tag teaming all day with their sleeps and I’ll never leave the house.
8. Milestones. I remember a couple of years ago changing my facebook status to “I HAVE A CRAWLER!”. I wanted everyone to share my excitement that my baby was navigating her own way around now. I used to sit on my couch and just watch those chubby rolly polly legs and fat little fingers pivot around the lounge room to her many toys. That was for my oldest. For my youngest, the day she started crawling I actually mourned for myself. Every sentence started with “I won’t…” or “How will I…” I won’t be able to go to the park and leave her on a blanket.. I won’t be able to have a shower anymore and know she is sitting outside safely. How will I do the washing while she is awake. How will I ever sit down again”. I wasn’t excited for her, I worried how I could cope with the status change.
All I can say is G-d help my third child! (Hubby if you are reading this…don’t worry its in a looooonggg time! Really this time). Yes there are very clear differences between number one and two, more than I can ever write. But I wouldn’t change a thing and neither would they. At the end of the day I have given them both the best gift ever and that is each other. There is NOTHING in this entire world that is better to me than when I can sit back and watch them laugh and play together. They are the priceless moments that sometimes really help me to cope.
Sweet dreams, (and a massive congrats to my friend Shoonks who had her 2nd little boy today)