As anyone with kids knows, our first born, blessed child is basically the one we experiment on. It is Nature’s way of preparing us for the children that are to follow. I’m kidding! (Or am I…?) All I know is that when my first baby came along, I was petrified, clueless, overwhelmed and under-prepared. Then baby number two came sauntering into my life like Elvis at a Vegas convention; cool as a cucumber and like she’d been here before. It was quite the eye opener.
So here are a few differences I’ve noticed from parenting thing one and thing two:
The most obvious one. My first blessing was always beautifully co-ordinated (sometimes even with me!), her wardrobe was updated the second she hit the next age bracket, she had a baby shoe collection to rival any grown woman’s, and she was maintained to a borderline OCD level of cleanliness.
Enter poor, old, secondhand Rose who gets to strut her pre-loved clothes second time round. She rolls in mud for shits and giggles, and doesn’t even wear shoes! She gets bet into her clothes for as long as possible, and if you kind of squint you wouldn’t even notice the faint stainage…
I don’t want to say my standards have necessarily dropped, more that I just choose my battles a little more carefully these days. For example, I learned long ago that smallies like to strip; shoes, clothes, nappies, they just like to be scuddy. And if there’s two of them in cahoots, the hilarity is even greater! So let it be.
I save my energies now for the bathtime fights, toy fights, mealtime fights, car journey fights, bedroom fights. If they’re stripping off and lepping about having fun, it means they’re not fighting! (Yet).
Weaning was a MASSIVE deal for me with my first baby. It was a painstakingly step-by-step, by the book, homemade, blitzed, less blitzed, unblitzed fayre.
I think I just threw a sausage at secondhand Roses’ head and off she went! I jest. But it was a hell of a lot easier, and up until she hit her “picky phase” she had a mahoosive appetite! Maybe the lack of me hanging anxiously over the high chair helped? I’ve also relaxed a lot more with treaty treats for the girls – kids eat sugar sometimes, and that’s OK!
I don’t want to blow my own trumpet here or anything, but I have nappy changing down to a very mild super power. After four years of bum wiping, I can now clean any given situation at that end of town in two wipes – I shit you not. Oh, and I now save a small fortune on nappies as I no longer change them every time my baby girl looks like she’s peed, or is thinking of peeing, or may pee again in half an hour on top of the pee she may have just done…
I am a huge fan of routine, I believe kids truly thrive on it. But I am definitely a tad more relaxed second time round. An enormous tad. Gone are the days I’d be pelting it home after a baby class, singing hysterically at my baby to keep her awake til we hit the homestead!
Now nap times drift and change (if they happen at all), snack times ebb and flow about the kitchen cupboards, and our edible floor decorating sessions, or “dinner” as I like to call it, pendulums between 5 and 6 pm.
Bedtimes, however, remain rigid. Like, set in stone, written on giant slabs, Gospel rigid. Mummy is gonna enjoy her evenings for as long as she can get away with putting these two small people to bed before Ray Donovan!
There is definitely a huge difference between parenting your first, and then subsequent mistakes, I mean children. In some ways it gets easier. In other ways it grows steadily harder. But it is an absolute joy to see how different my girls are, and I have a special bond with each of them for different reasons.