Second child syndrome

This is a real thing, whether you mean it to be or not. Despite my best effort, there are so many moments when I realise the syndrome has struck again.

Take last Friday. A friend of mine was round with her daughter for a play date and we were discussing how quickly this time goes. (It flies, especially when there’s more than one little monster charging around!) Realising that Oliver is coming up to a year (don’t!), Tash asked how his 9-12 month check had gone. “Well!” I said, “he’s still on his growth/weight arcs, so that’s good”. “Brilliant!” came the response, “how much does he weigh now?”.

“Oh.”

“I don’t know.”

“Did the health visitor not tell you?” she enquired, surprised.

“Umm…I didn’t ask…”

Poor child. I remember coming out of Sam’s clutching his red book, checking his stats and seeing how he was getting on. Olly’s book was flung mercilessly in the car side pocket (where it still resides).

Hours of sensory play for Sam, Olly never had much interest for it, preferring to look over my shoulder for his real entertainment – Sam.

Specially cooked meals for Sam, Olly gets what we have (easier and far better actually).

Daily play dates for Sam, Olly tags along on Sam’s and sees a younger child if they too have a younger sibling.

There are too many examples of moments like this.

However, on the flip side…

By 7 or 8 months with Sam, I was fully focussed on getting him to fall asleep alone, to getting him napping in his bed, for it to take less than 2 hours to get him to sleep, to reclaim our evenings together, for us to get more than 2 hours’ sleep at a time.

Oliver has always slept well and fairly easily (aside from the usual teething or developmental leap dramas); he first went to sleep unassisted at around 4 weeks and slept 11 hours straight around this time too (yes, we woke him up! Who knew babies could sleep so long). This time, I find myself rocking or cuddling him to sleep nearly every nap/bedtime by choice. Yes, he “can” go to sleep on his own, but maybe the simple fact that he can means that I’m not so concerned about it. I love those sleepy cuddles and quite often find myself sitting in the rocking chair either enjoying the cuddles or listening to his peaceful breathing as he lies in his bed.

“Second child syndrome” here knows that this time passes all too quickly. Olly is nearly 1. Sam is nearly 3; many steps away from a baby and often looking (and sounding) more “boy” than toddler.

These days will be gone in a flash and sometimes I find myself mourning the loss of them already.

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A year later…

Apparently my “most recent” post was exactly a year ago. I was 24 weeks pregnant. It seems longer than a year ago! 

Nowadays, I have an energetic 2.5 year old, and cheerful nearly 8 month old. Why is it that the last 8 months have whizzed by, while the previous 8 lasted an eternity!? 

I struggled with the jump from 1 to 2 children. Oliver has always been fairly chilled out, and really did “slot in” to our lives. However, I found it really hard having to divide my time and constantly feeling like I was failing one or both of them. Olly slept a lot in the early weeks, as most newborns do. It was when he started being awake for hours at a time that I felt the pressure. About this time, Sam started pushing all of his boundaries, so I didn’t feel like I could take both children out on my own unless it was to an enclosed softplay. Even then I was nervous in case Sam got a bit full on while I was mid feed and unable to step in. 

This continued until around 4/4.5 months. Looking back, I’m still not sure exactly what changed. It may have been my attitude, it may have been that I spoke to friends about my concerns that I could be suffering from PND. It may have been that – at that stage – Sam started listening a bit more again, Olly was now bottle fed so I could easily step in if needed, so I relaxed. It may simply have been that we started getting Sam really involved in the day to day things we do – he’s always helped with tidying. But I added cleaning and both Carl and I made an effort to get him involved in cooking too. 

Nowadays, having 2 is often rewarding and always tiring! But those early struggles feel a long time ago now. With one at preschool and the other now nearer toddler than newborn, I can’t help but wonder where the time has gone.

The housework can wait

It’s been a long time since my last post. It has been so long that initially I couldn’t even find the app on my phone to write this. 

I’ve been hauled out of blog retirement by something I feel is important. 

This is to all mums and dads, especially those of the stay at home variety. 

This is to all those who have found themselves feeling or being told that “you should be doing more [around the house]”. This won’t apply to everyone, but in the early weeks and months I distinctly remember saying to Carl that I felt I should be doing more. This was despite the fact that Sam napped nowhere but on me or while out walking until he was 5 months old, fed frequently and cluster fed from 6-10pm every night until 4 months or so. The rest of the time I was entertaining him. 

There was no time to do anything else! 

A wise person once wrote this beautiful poem:

I hope my child looks back on today 

And sees a mother who had time to play. 

There will be years for cleaning and cooking, 

But children grow up when you’re not looking. 

Tomorrow I’ll do all the chores you can mention.

But today, my baby needs time and attention. 

So settle down cobwebs; dust go to sleep,

I’m cuddling my baby, and babies don’t keep.

I love this poem. It sums up exactly how parenthood should be: Treasuring those special, all too fleeting moments and cuddles. 

Another wise person, in this instance my friend Charlotte, informed me that when a baby is under 6 months, visitors do the work when they come over. They bring food, make drinks and help where they can. Since then, I’ve tried to do this whenever I’ve visited someone with a young baby. 

However, back to housework. 

It is not important. 

I didn’t fully get in the swing of managing to raise the next generation AND tidy up until Sam was about 8 months old. 

Nowadays, I keep the house in pretty good shape, and Sam is a big fan of the Hoover and loves to ‘help’ with his mini Henry or the broom while I Hoover, tidy, do the dishwasher, etc.

Until babies get to this stage, the housework can wait.  

Here endeth Monkey Music 

Today was our last Monkey Music class and it broke my heart. We’ve only managed to attend 3 this term since I loathe waking Sam mid-nap, so I made the decision not to enrol for next term. 

Looking forward to his last class

 

Today, to demonstrate how much he loves the class, Sam was the model student. He rushed up to find monkey (for the first time), he willingly and happily returned instruments (usually he has a good cry when I request he hands the maracas back), he gave toys to other children rather than hoarding as many as possible, he clapped, joined in and had a great time. All the while, I felt awful. He loves his music class, but it’s not worth the hell we pay for the rest of the day. I hope we will return in the Autumn or Spring term, whenever his nap moves a bit.  

Fascinated by the geese

 

The journey home seemed to take hours. Windows open, loud talking, desperately trying to keep an exhausted Sam awake. A mile from home he almost went. Bless him, I probably scared the living daylights out of him as I ‘encouraged’ him to stay awake a little longer. Just about managed to get lunch into him before he passed out on my shoulder and I popped him in his cot. 

The unsettled nap reminded me why we are stopping Monkey Music. He woke crying after 40 minutes and it took another 15 to resettle him. Being so out of his natural routine is hard work for him, and for me. Although it can be hard that he sleeps in the morning – while others sleep in the afternoon – it’s much harder when I try and change our day around!  

Enjoying the sun…yes, I know his reins are on back to front…

 

Breakfast

You know it’s been a successful breakfast when Carl ends up with a Cheerio stuck to one foot, weetabix on the other and Sam has weetabix in his hair and – more impressively – down his back. 

I’ll take the energetic breakfasts as a sign that he’s finally feeling better after weeks of colds, respiratory tract infections and antibiotics! 

I realise that it has been weeks since my last post. Sam turned 1 a couple of weeks ago, which I still can’t quite get my head round. My little baby is officially a walking toddler. Some days he doesn’t even look like a baby any more.  

Deeply suspicious of his cake

 

The day after his party, we had an NCT party and, for the first time, had all 8 babies in the same room! We even managed a photo although it was of course at a time when Sam had just started crying.  

Proud parents

 

Since then, in between colds and antibiotics, we’ve been continuing as usual with a few more added outings. We went to Bocketts Farm weekend before last and Sam loved seeing all of the animals. I’ve waited until now to take him and I’m pleased I did. He was able to walk around (on reins!!) and stroked the animals fairly gently…apart from the bunny, which he refused to touch.   

So, here we are. On to Sam’s second year and all of the adventures that lie ahead!! 

Dear past life me…

Dear Kirsty of a year ago,

I’m shortly about to head out to do the one thing I swore I would never, ever do. Shop at lunchtime. 
It has long angered me that people unrestricted by lunch breaks set foot in supermarkets between the hours of 12 and 2. I wanted to start a campaign to add signs to all shops that only allowed entry to those with the whole day at their disposal before and after these times. 

Today however I am going to be one of those people. 

And why is this?  

Because, as mums before me already knew and mums after me will come to find out, it’s the earliest I can leave the house!! 

Sam has been asleep since 10am and is still in the land of zzzzz’s. If I then have to wait another 2 hours to set foot out of the house then it will be 2.30pm before we get shopping and – as other parents know – we do also has a social life. We’re visiting a friend and her boys this afternoon; with the best will in the world, I can’t do everything in the 2 hours between ‘end of lunch break’ and Sam’s dinner time. 

Usually, we do our shopping online. I am a huge fan. But sometimes you look around and realise you only have 3 nappies left, and with a teething baby on antibiotics, these are not going to last you very long! Desperate times call for desperate measures. 

I wholeheartedly apologise to all working shoppers this lunch time. I’ll do my best to look ashamed and apologetic, but I do need to shop…and that is what I failed to realise in my previous life. I might “technically” have all day to run errands, but in reality the window is smaller than I imagined. 

Sincerely, 

Present day me

My little man has a cold, is teething and is somewhat out of sorts thanks to the aforementioned ailments breaking up his sleep somewhat. Mum, Sam and I had a lovely weekend in Wales with my grandparents and he had a great time playing with his toys, gently stroking their pets (I was so impressed at how gentle my boisterous son was!) and walking around everywhere he could. Unfortunately, we both struggled with sleep thanks to his ‘gentle’ snoring during the few hours he did sleep. 

On Sunday, he spent much of the day lying on me wanting cuddles before we drove home through Storm Imogen. Probably the worst drive I’ve ever had and certainly my longest 5 hours in a car (no reflection on your company Mum!). Fortunately, as delighted as Sam was to see Carl, he was asleep within half an hour of arriving back. 

Today, I decided it was definitely a stay at home kind of day. His appetite was somewhat diminished thanks to his cold and after a smaller than average lunch, I did what any parent would do at dinner… Chuck anything at him that he might eat. Here Sam, have a bit of toast, pasta, a bit of carrot and some yogurt. Yep, that’ll do! What a nutritious meal… Luckily he could (and did) fill up on a bottle before bed.

Hopefully he’ll be feeling a little better tomorrow though! 

 

Story time

Sam and I read a lot of books together, we love story time. During the course of a day, I’m likely to read “That’s Not My Dinosaur” at least 10 times, not to mention the other 12 or so books we have.  

Cuddles and stories

 

Yesterday, Sam walked up to me brandishing a book that looked a bit different. Not a reading book for sure. 

“Sam, sweetheart, that’s not a book. Could you go and choose another one?”

Cue scrunched up furious face and waving the ‘book’ at me. 

“Come on now, go and find another one.”

More furious face. I decide to open the first couple of pages to show him. Sam settles next to me for story time. 

“Look, see, this isn’t a story. Go and get That’s Not My Monster”. 

He looks up at me in fury, stands up and throws a tantrum over the situation. 

Next time I’ll just read him the flipping Lakeland catalogue.  

The ‘book’ he was determined to read

 

Being a parent is…

While I cooked Sam’s dinner, I gave him a few Cheerios to play with and nibble on (throw on the floor). He had a blast throwing them and his sippy cup around, getting water and Cheerio debris everywhere. 

Dinner ready, I sat down ready to feed him. My ever loving and giving son looked up at me and handed me his most prized possession.

A cheerio. 

A soggy cheerio. 

This has happened before, but I’ve always found a way to get rid of it. 

He stared at me, waiting. 

I took the “cheerio” (soggy mush), thinking of ways I could drop it, as little bits of it started falling apart between my fingers. 

I looked up…

 
Still staring. 

I ate it. 

Happy birthday blog!

On the 5th January 2015, looking for something to do, I started writing a little blog. I’m still slightly surprised that I’ve managed to continue writing during the chaos (I think that’s the right word) of the last year, although I write far less frequently now. I write largely for myself, but it’s always lovely to hear comments from readers. 

It’s funny looking back to my very first post, so uncertain of what’s to come. I realise I never answered the questions I initially posed: 

When will Bud make an appearance? 6 days late, on Friday 20th February at exactly 20:00.

Will we have a boy or girl? A very energetic boy. 

How will we adjust to parenthood? We found our way, as all new parents do, by learning each and every day (we still are). It’s a huge change, but we adjust because we have no choice! 

Will we ever sleep again? Yes. Although it took far longer than we hoped! 

Am I enjoying my final hot cups of tea…? (Should I start drinking them cold, so it isn’t a shock!?) No. I employed my friend Charlotte’s rule and always enjoy a hot cuppa. If I might run out of time, I don’t make one. No cold tea for Kirsty! 

What a year it has been. There have been highs and lows, but ultimately the best year ever. 

So, we begin 2016 with a 10.5 month year old who has just started walking…now the real fun begins!!