Parenting a second child


One year two months in and I can safely say, it gets easier every day...

Its such a shift from the first where your whole World revolves around them literally from confirmation of conception if not before. You sign up for weekly apps and emails that tell you what size nut fruit or seed baby is this week. You read every pregnancy book and endlessly research what to pack in your hospital bag and baby paraphernalia, agonising over the best cot/pram/dummy - no? is that just me?

From confirmation of conception of b2, its still all about the first when you start researching how to help your first born to adjust to a new baby, what books to read to them to help them prepare and what gift should you buy for the baby to give to their older sibling - the poor unborn baby barely gets a look in right from the start. You maybe read one or two weekly emails then forget after that or unsubscribe because keeping up with your first born is all you have time for.

Hand me down toys and clothes, parties tend to get half the effort and you're juggling the needs of two all day long whilst praying for the elusive double nap so you can regroup, have a bathroom break and maybe even a bite to eat if the crossover lasts more than 15 minutes.

That said, while b2 misses out on the undivided attention and shiny new things that the first born devotedly received, b2 has a sibling and chances are, nothing will bring your b2 as much joy as their big brother or sister. Our little C gave his first smile to his big brother and even now he lights up and gazes in wonder whenever E is in the room - when he's not trying to terrorise him, headbutt him or pull his hair or sit on top of whatever E is trying to play with.

Its true when they say you're also way more relaxed with second and subsequent babies ... for me, it comes from a confidence of 'hey, I've done this and kept the first alive' and also a lack of time/energy/abject terror to invest in making sure they don't chew paper, crawl in the dirt or the like.

In our case, the boys seem as different as night and day already. C seems to be the adventurous firecracker... he's into everything, determined beyond belief to get his way and persistent like you wouldn't believe. He could throw a whopping tantrum from 10 months old - face down, fists pounding and lets you know very quickly if he wants something. Whereas E is quite obedient and observant. He is a typical almost three year old boy who loves rough and tumble, playing in the dirt and is outgoing among his peers and family/friends but he is also sensitive, empathetic and gentle. C definitely lacks those softer qualities and seems to know that its every man for himself as the second child... if he wants it, he takes it and that includes E's bedtime milk sippy cup or meals if E leaves them within reach. I often catch C doing laps of the house with something of Es in his hand being waved like the spoils of war.

Its good fun parenting two little monkies and an ongoing learning curve ... its also like being on a never ending rollercoaster, exhilarating and unrelenting in every way. S and I have been known to high five of a night when both boys are finally out and then we fall down on the couch in exhaustion. Then we start sharing anecdotes of the boys and laugh and talk about how lucky we are and how cute our boys are.

We know we are blessed beyond belief to have the treasures we do and while both boys have almost broken us on many occasions over the past 3 years with their sleep boycotts and reflux and all the other not so fun stuff we've experienced it looks like we're definitely in for b3 (not yet but in the future) ... and we've decided Cs personality is definitely lending itself to him being the perfect middle child ha ha. Basing on stereotypes, E would never cope as a middle child, he'd be walked all over and barely get a look in while C on the other hand is obnoxious, loud and will never allow himself to be ignored.

Proof in point to my comments above, just last night, he snatched E's milk sippy cup then proceeded to walk around the house waving it like a warlord who was victorious while cackling (yes it was an absolute cackle) then every now and then on his lap he'd pause and lean right into Es face and squeal/roar then set off on his lap again. It was beyond hilarious with S and I just shaking our heads in laughter. He's lucky E is so tolerant of him.

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