Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Number two is one!
Baby number two will be one later this week! My little baby daughter has brought unimaginable joy to my life. She's also given me a new perspective on my son who has really proved to be the perfect big brother and continued to make my husband and I so proud of how well-behaved, kind and caring he is.
It has been an interesting year watching my daughter grow and develop, going through all the first steps, remembering how exciting the smallest things are when a baby is doing them for the first time. She has similarities to my son but also many differences and I often wonder if they are a result of being a second child or of being a girl. I guess I will never really know for sure!
When my son turned one, I wrote a post about what I had learnt during my first year of motherhood. For my first year as a mother of two, I will share some general observations from my experience of two children:
The older sibling is adored by the younger one. They can do no ill in the eyes of their younger sister or brother and it is a lovely sight to see their faces light up around them or to watch them follow them and try to copy their every move.
The younger child gets less attention. Everything you hear is true, you don't have the time to take them to all the playgroups and activities you did with your first born. They pretty much have to fit in around the older child's schedule. Maybe this is less the case with a closer age gap than my two...
Parenting two (or more) children is bit like juggling. Sometimes all the balls fall to the floor, sometimes you keep them all up in the air. Balancing the needs of each child is not always easy and some days you do a better job of it than others.
Your time feels very stretched. I often wish I could spend more quality time with each child but between mealtimes, naps, nursery, play dates and household chores, it's a real challenge setting aside that individual time.
Illnesses stick around a lot longer. The older child picks something up from nursery and it's usually impossible to prevent the younger one getting it. Then sometimes the parents get it. Sometimes the recovered older child picks something else up and at times it feels like you're never going to escape the chain of illness. Having an extra person in the family adds to the 'recovery time' for the whole family.
It's hard to remember what it was like with only one child. Maybe that sounds silly but it's amazing how quickly your bigger family feels like it was always that way.
Your expectations can change for the older child. Sometimes I realise I'm expecting a bit much from my son now he's the big brother and have to remind myself he's still only very little himself. You want to make them feel mature on the one hand but you also want them to feel comfortable being a bit helpless and vulnerable at times, as all children are.
The hard work is more than worth it. Despite the days when I am tearing out my hair and counting down the minutes to the children's bedtimes, I am happy to report those days are few and far between overall. Not a day goes by when I don't think about how lucky I am to have these two beautiful, loving children who make me laugh, make me feel proud and bring genuine happiness to my life.