Tag Archives: Second baby

When one becomes two: what I should have told my toddler

When one becomes twoWe’re now getting to the stage where Scrip asks where baby D is if he’s not in the room (it’s usually that he’s napping – not that he’s lying on his own somewhere!) She loves our morning routine of making silly faces through the cot bars, playing with him on our bed and lying next to him for nappy changes. And she’s very proud when I bring him into nursery to collect her and her friends crowd around and touch his little fingers and toes.

But there are still adjustments to be made and it certainly hasn’t always been straightforward. She struggled at the start and sometimes reacted in ways that surprised me. I don’t think you can ever be sure exactly how introducing a new baby will go. Although I thought a three year-ish age gap would work well for us, it has also meant that Scrip has had three years of us on her own and she understands so much more than a smaller child would. 

With the benefit of good old hindsight, here’s what I wish I’d told her before baby D came along:

She knew about the newborn crying (I warned her a lot about that!) but she didn’t know about all the waiting. There’s a lot of her having to be patient – waiting while I feed D, waiting while I change (another) nappy, waiting while I re-figure out the raincover (I’ve always struggled with that one), waiting when we go for his baby check ups. I read somewhere that you could introduce a specific activity for your child to do every time your baby needs a change or a feed – great idea (but Scrip would have been doing a lot of it!)

The sheer tiredness of mummy and daddy. She was too young to remember our zombie-like states first time around but she can see them clearly this time! From encouraging her to play ‘sleeping’ games with me (yes, seriously – they work sometimes!), to the large coffees that accompany every playground trip to lots of playing whilst I’m lying on the floor or sofa she can clearly see the effects of sleepless nights. Plus I’m probably more likely to be snappy which I’m trying hard to avoid. That’s where the effervescent Sofia the First and Henry Hugglemonster come in handy.

Having to be quiet. Whilst I’ve tried to make sure D gets used to background noise – which is hard to avoid in London – I’ve found three year olds have a certain pitch that’s almost guaranteed to wake a soundly sleeping baby. I find myself asking her to be quiet a lot. I want to let her run, dance and sing but maybe not all at the same time and not when he’s just settling for a nap (or in his face when he wakes up).

Gentleness. She has always been a gentle little girl – playing gently, stroking cats and rabbits softly and brushing my hair so delicately I can hardly feel it. But there’s something about having a sibling that brings out her ‘enthusiasm’. She rocks D vigorously, pinches his cheeks and tickles him like she’s scratching an itch! Unless he’s visibly upset I like to let her play with him but I have to keep a close eye and I’m always using the ‘g’ word.

How to enjoy being independent. Although a little shy, Scrip is a pretty independent girl. She’ll play on her own and will now happily race off at soft play and will join in with other children at playgrounds. But I probably didn’t do enough beforehand to encourage her to help dress herself, brush her own teeth, tidy her own toys away etc. It’s so helpful for her to do that when we’re all trying to leave the house and now she’s a lot better at it she’s starting to take real pride in it (as well as being now dry at nights – yey!)

What did you wish you’d told your little one when you had a new baby?

Have a little patience – learning to love the randomness of the baby months

Randomness of babiesI remember most of Scrip’s baby milestones but, although they were very real and exciting at the time, I can’t now pinpoint exactly when they were. I mentioned to a friend recently that I wish I’d written a diary or even a few handy notes at the time – she suggested it should be mandatory if you were at least contemplating having more than one. Maybe an NCT exercise?!

The problem is, having a new baby means I’m ready and impatient to reach those milestones again – particularly the ones which will help order our lives a bit more. When can I get him into an (unforced) routine? When should he really be napping in the cot? When do his bedtimes start regulating? Don’t get me wrong, I love his gorgeous smiles, little chuckles and chubby babiness and I feel like I’m able to enjoy this time so much more second time around. It’s just that I know what’s coming and am keen to embrace it – but I don’t know when it’s coming.

Babies and particularly baby timing is random during these first few hazy months. Even now, 9 week old D’s sleeping in his pushchair and I’m not sure if he’ll wake up in 40 minutes or two hours. 

So although I’m keen to get on to the next stage I’m trying to encourage myself to wait until at least we reach three months to start thinking patterns and routines. And in the meantime, especially with the backdrop of a warm summer, enjoy as many of the small details along the way as I can.

Waiting, waiting – six ways to cope with being overdue

Pregnant overdueSecond babies – they’re never as late as first ones, are they? That seemed to be the general consensus. That and how quickly it could all happen once it started (music to my ears since my first experience was six days of pre-labour contractions). No one seemed to disagree. That is until my last midwife appointment, when she asked how late my first was (10 days). She replied ‘get ready for some waiting – usually the second follows the same pattern’.

And only then it dawned on me – of course it could do. I could still be waiting another week. Or even longer! And, like with so many life events, we have pretty much no control over when it’s going to start.

So here I am, 4 days over and trying not to dwell (despite the blog post). I’m even enjoying trialling Continue reading

Natural baby skincare: the Mustela range

Mustela productsI’m getting myself into the baby zone again. It’s a very different zone to the toddler one – or even the one year old one. Baby time is counted in weeks – not months, not years – and everything changes so quickly. I do worry if I’ll remember things, if it will all come flooding back (during a sleep-deprived 3am feed?) or if I’ll find myself Googling things frantically (probably during the subsequent feed at 4.30am).

So, having passed the half way stage and moving into my six month, I’m starting to remind myself, gently. An invite from Mustela to experience their baby skincare range couldn’t have come at a better time. Especially not as it included a session on baby massage with a specialist Continue reading

More New Mumblings: a second baby

Hand on baby bumpIt turns out wanting a second baby is just as intense a feeling as wanting a first. Then there’s the added considerations of being older, growing age gaps and parental worry. So I’m delighted to be at 12 weeks with three scan pictures and lots of mental images of a back flipping, finger sucking tiny new being on the screen.

It also turns out that it’s harder than you’d think to surprise a 2.5 year old. When we told Scrip this week she took it all in her stride – she seemed to know exactly where the baby was and understood that it was her little brother or sister. She took a look at the scan pictures, pointed out the baby’s head and then turned away to carry on playing with her Lego.

Still, it’s a good start and I know there’s a long way to go and a lot more to talk about with her. Although it feels like the first trimester has dragged on I keep being told how much more quickly the second and third go, so that’s something to bear in mind.

The final initial revelation is that it seems not all pregnancies are made equal. At least for the first few months – I’ve felt more sick, more hungry, craved carbs more and had more food aversions this time around. I know you can’t read anything into it gender-wise but it is strange – feeling the same but different. I’ve also dug out my maternity jeans already – probably a combination of those carbs and that hunger so hopefully both will subside pretty soon.

A series of choices

Since having a baby, I’ve realised that I’ve started to see my life as a series of choices. There are choices for the baby, which are regularly made both consciously and unconsciously around every aspect of her life (coat or no coat? Should I encourage her love of Fish Fingers? When should I start serious potty training?)

Then there are choices for me – ranging from the mundane (which series do we watch on TV tonight? How early is too early to go to bed? etc.) to the scarily important (when do I go back to work? For how many days? When do we have to start thinking about schools? etc.)

IMG_3603I suppose if you think about it, as I have been doing, the choices begin in earnest when you’re 18. Your decisions at that stage shape your unique path to adulthood, career and then maybe family. But I also think, to a certain extent, life can carry you along with it, without you having to focus on making any major choices along the way.

Then, I felt like I had all the time in the world. Now, baby in tow, I’ve realised just how precious and in short supply time is, and for the first time I’ve had to turn those difficult interview-style questions like ‘where do you really see yourself in five years?’ on myself.

There are three people’s lives to consider. And with two of my mum friends pregnant again and one having just given birth, the second baby question also starts looming into view (for the record, we’re not seriously thinking about that just yet – we’re enjoying Scrip on her own for the time being).

The choices you need to make as a new mum could easily get daunting if you spend too long dwelling on them. Some, I will obviously discuss with my husband, but for many I think I need to do what you’re often encouraged to do as a new parent: trust my instinct.