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The Neglected Second Child

Baths
With my first baby, I lovingly bathed him every night, followed by an all over baby massage, story (totally understood it at 0 years old, but figured he might like the sound of my voice) whilst colourful lights danced across his ceiling in various unicorns and other mythical beasts, synchronised with soothing lullaby music. Most nights I even got in the bath with him so we could bond (there’s nothing better for the mother/baby bonding than seeing your mums postpartum body/ flab and other regions that haven’t been seen/accessed for many months). The whole bath and bedtime thing was just a beautiful experience and I would often wish that perhaps my husband could do this with me every night before bed to help me sleep?!
Second baby, it goes about 3/4….maybe even 5/6 days and we are like “oooo whats that smell??” After checking that we hadn’t left a nappy bag somewhere, the washing hadn’t gone mouldy in the machine (been in there 5 days i think?), something in the fridge hasn’t gone funky, we then realise that in actual fact it is our beautiful little baby. “We should probably bath him tonight then?” we agree. A quick 2 min dip in the bath (often in the toddlers old water) and job done. Its only recently that I’ve started upping his bath times to try to create some sort of bedtime routine to help him sleep (it’s what google says to do….def not working yet).

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General Cleaning
Follows on nicely to baby cleaning. First baby, tiny bit of sick/ poo- change of outfit. Fresh outfit for the morning, evening, bedtime. So many outfit changes. Fresh nappies constantly. So fresh, so clean!
Second baby, wet wipes have been key. You can pretty much keep the same outfit on for 24 hours if you do your wet wiping right. This does mean baby number two essentially goes out in his PJs most days, but you can totally get away with this when you can coo and blow bubbles. And nappies, I hate to say it, but I do forget to change him a lot of the time, or remember, but put it off (not always easy negotiating a toddler diving into the sanitary towel bin whilst you’re trying to hold your baby on the changing table with your foot). Obviously if I hear that familiar “parp” noise and it starts leaking out the side code red situation, I whip that bad boy off. Although, unlike my first, I seem to miss that “poop” noise sometimes (toddler too noisy?) and only discover the littler liquid treasure at a later time. Then feel horrendously guilty as wonder how long its been there. Maybe that’s why you’ve been crying?!
Unfortunately, on one dark and windy autumn day, I actually realised I had run out of baby nappies so had to wing it with a size 5 toddler one (see pic). Poor boy, it was up to his nipples and beyond. Well it was either that or a sanitary pad.

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Clothes
Brings me onto clothes. I was so excited to start dressing my first baby in proper clothes. So I pretty much did this from the start. In fact, I loved it so much I would plan his outfits the night before and get so excited to dress him in them. Lots of clothes were bought, lots of money was spent. I obviously had a lot of time on my hands?!
All of baby number 2s clothes are hand-me-downs (perk of having 2 of the same-sex). This time round, I’m pretty certain my baby will be in baby grows i.e. PJs until he’s 18. Special occasions (like when we might see people), I have started to dress him in actual clothes, but the majority of time he will be in a onesie. There’s just not been enough hours in the day now to plan his cat walk outfits. Poor little chicken, half his baby grows are so small now that he can barely straighten his body out. You WILL stay a newborn forever.

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Wardrobe Space
Baby number 1s (now toddler) wardrobe is extensive. I mean the boy has a double-breasted wardrobe just for his Autumn/ Winter collection (see picture)
Poor baby number 2 has a 3 draw (small-scale) chest of draws next to the huge wardrobe. Nothing like rubbing salt in the wounds. The clothes that can’t fit in the chest of draws live in a bag (Tescos?) in the airing cupboard.

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Attention
I do feel like baby number one had my undivided attention ALL the time. I didn’t get much done at all because I was concentrating on him so much and responding to his every beck and call.
This time round I have a 2 year old that takes up A LOT of my attention, so the poor second baby just seems spend his life plonked in places whilst I sort the toddler out. His day looks like this: propped up on sofa, strapped into swinging chair, moved into bouncy chair…..(bouncy chair is moved from kitchen, to living room, to bedroom. back to kitchen), wedged in Bumbo (chubby thighs), Bumbo relocated to various different places/ views, Sleepy Head (for naps haha yeh right), play gym, car seat (sometimes left in house, placed on sofa or outside for “fresh air”), AND REPEAT. Soon the “Circle of Neglect” ie; the Jumperoo, will come back into action. I feel so guilty that he just kinda gets left and I can’t spend my days just staring at him whilst drinking (hot?) tea.

Used As Entertainment
Baby number 2 is also used as a source of entertainment for the toddler and often treated as a play thing. “Lets see if the baby fits in here” or “lets stick these on the baby” are 2 of the many games we can play that keeps the toddler busy for 10 mins. I also feel like you aren’t as delicate with baby number 2, you realise that these babies are actually quite robust (well he has to be when big brother tries to move him to the play gym all by himself eeeeek). This means that he’s often placed in places for amusement/ funny photos.

Baby Classes
First time round I hammered the s*it out of baby sensory, baby massage, baby gymnastics, bounce and rhyme, baby yoga (didn’t get on well with this), baby swimming…It was crazy busy but felt I NEEDED to do it all for my sons development?!
This time round the logistics of it (can’t take toddler to baby massage/ baby yoga…imagine!) means I cant really do anything specifically for my new baby (mum guilt). So baby number 2 just pretty much tags along to all of my toddlers classes/ social life. BUT I feel he’s almost getting a free ride?! Although not specially for him, already at 3 months old, he gets to attend/ watch/ “absorb” toddler gymnastics, toddler swimming (soon), Forrest School, toddler yoga, soft plays, toddler play dates, farm days, craft classes, tractor rides, crabbing……list goes on……and I get to save some ££££$$$$$

Name Confusion
I never forgot the name of my first son.
Second time round, I’m really struggling to call my baby the correct name……Arlo/ Daddy/ Rich (husband)/ Lottie (dog)/ Jamie (brother)/ Keith (who’s Keith??)…….ahhh whats your name again??! It’s not that its hard to remember, or that I have THAT many more names to remember now, so I can’t understand why I’m struggling so much? I think it’s a lot to do with the tiredness (and age?), I’m just so confused. I basically reel off all of the names I know until I hit on the right one. Plus, he’s never just called his name, he’s known as Baby Kitt. I think he should be Baby Kitt on his birth certificate.

Development
With my first son I was so excited for him to meet each developmental stage (ie. holding head up, rolling over, sitting up, crawling etc). We would even have training sessions.
This time round I’ve realised that actually things become harder when they get bigger (they can move), so I am discouraging any type of development! I want to know what when I plonk him down somewhere, that he’s going to be there when I get back. Plus I want to keep him a baby FOREVER.

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Napping
Child number 1, nap times (like bedtimes) were a serene and peaceful experience.
This time, naps for my baby are on-the-go, normally 20 min power naps in the car seat, or in the sling whilst navigating the ball pit in a soft play, or at home with a xylophone/ hammer/ toy drill being played with next to his head. I’m so sorry.

 

*disclaimer. I love my second baby just as much as my first and don’t mean to “neglect” him. He is very much loved, kept warm, happy, fed and clean (mostly). Weirdly, second baby seems way more laid back.

 

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Life With A New Born And Toddler……

I’m back!!!

I’ve been rubbish and haven’t posted for a while, mainly because I was fat, hairy, swollen, sometimes dribbling, sweaty pregnant mess. But all is well now, albeit I cant remember what sleep is and I still look like I’m “with child” (no sorry, I’m not pregnant, I’ve actually had the baby now, its just cake)

I’m going to share my Birth Story with you in my next post, but for now I just wanted to update you all on the first few weeks of life with 2 children…..totally different ball game. Some days I feel like I’m getting it….most days I feel like I’m drowning. Sure i’ll get used to it soon? Help? Worst thing so far, what on earth do you do when both children cry at once??? I must say, not sure why God (???) didn’t invent Women that grew another arm with each child they gave birth to?!

Your Body
First of all I have a serious problem, I’m so chubby now but I just can’t for the life of me stop eating. I think I actually looked better pregnant (how long can I wear my maternity clothes for?/!) I’m not pregnancy fat now, I’m fat fat. My fat clothes from post pregnancy last time don’t even fit me:( Im actually quite upset about how rounded I am but I just cant stop shovelling chocolate in my face. Whats wrong with me??!! And it’s definitely WAY WAY worse second time round. Im afraid there is definitely no snapping back for this sack of spuds. So I have now decided I’m just going to roll with it until my 6-8 week check (maybe 8 weeks, give me more time??!). No point doing anything drastic until the doc says I’m ok right??!

Miss The Bump
Brings me onto my next point, I really miss my bump. I know now I have the real thing, but I keep waking (haha from “sleeping”) in the night and thinking I feel kicks in my belly. I still stroke it like there’s something in there (again, now just cake). Maybe it’s because I know it was the last time EVER I will be preggers (yes really), but I look at other pregnant ladies and I’m finding myself getting really jealous! You get soooo much attention when you are pregnant, such a talking point, now I’m just a normal fat person.

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New Born Phase
I must admit, I am slightly enjoying the new-born phase more this time. Apart from the relentless crying/ literally NO sleep, I’m quite enjoying having a little baby. I think the first time is such a shock to the system, but second time round I think you try to “enjoy” it more and savour it as you know how quick it goes. First time I was wishing away the new born phase as it was so horrendous. You know when you’re pregnant you kind of “round-up” the weeks…more impressive to be more pregnant ( eg. when you are 35+1day….you are 36 weeks pregnant), but I’m finding now with a new born I’m rounding it down (eg. he’s 1 day off 5 weeks but I still say “he’s ONLY a month old). People love a new born, I love the way people look at you like “awwww look at that tiny new baby”…..I don’t want him to grow and that to stop.

Life Goals
You’re new life goals become: syncing naps/ keeping 2 children alive/ brushing teeth/ clean underwear. My friend said to me you have to totally lower your expectations with 2…..that I have now done. I’m literally stoked if I’ve managed to put on one eye of mascara. I’m learning to set myself low targets….today I managed to tan my mum-tum for 15 mins outside….on my own! (Whats the expression?? Cant polish a turd?!)

Multi Tasking- Next Level
If you need to be somewhere are say 2pm…..you will need to start getting ready at 9am. S*it just takes so long now and someone always poops. I literally feel like I’m on some crazy fair ground ride constantly flitting from one thing to another like Meerkat on speed. So much coordination and JUGGLING (baby in swinging chair whilst change toddlers nappy, toddler watching Peppa Pig whilst feed baby, restrain toddler in cot whilst dress baby, baby on boob whilst YOU go to the toilet, feed toddler snacks whilst you put baby in sling to pack the bag (suitcase now actually). The list goes on. NB: Gets even more difficult when you are actually “out out”. I have a friend that used to use a toddler leash to lovingly tie her toddler up whilst she breast-fed her baby, I thought this was a wonderful idea and I’m definitely saving that for a rainy day! You remember what its like to do everything one-handed again, but you kinda feel rusty at it again. The feeling once you have both kids strapped into the car is AMAZING, I always take a min to enjoy it before actually starting the engine.

Your Toddler
Now lets move onto your toddler. First of all he WILL regress. Mine has started drinking out of baby bottles, sitting in baby chair (now broken), watching TV in the baby car seat….and insists on being swaddled?! Plus I swear he cries more than the baby? And it seems more annoying when he cries now for some reason.

When you first get home from the hospital and see your toddler again, he will seem HUGE. Like his face will just seem like a massive Elephant face. Has it always been that big? And whats happened to his head? It’s like a football! And those massive hands. It’s really like they have grown over night.

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But that moment when they first meet is honestly one of the most amazing and emotional things EVER!!

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And you must never ever ever leave your toddler in a room with your new born (not sure of that’s just my toddler?!). The first morning I learnt this after I caught him trying to feed the baby Shreddies (out of love obviously). The toddler just loves the baby SOOOO much he wants to give him kisses (eat is face), cuddle him ((belly flop on top of him), pick him up (drag him across the room by his feet), clap his hands together (pull his hands off) and tuck him up (put the blanket over his head so he can’t breath). Really don’t think he means it, but its scary sometimes. You really need something safe to put your baby in to protect him from your toddler (padded cell?)

Your toddler will become feral (like he wasn’t already??!). Discipline goes out the window and you definitely find yourself turning a blind eye to things. I misplaced my toddler at a birthday party recently, he was found underneath the party table eating crumbs off the floor. Debatable if they were actually from THAT party. Out and about breastfeeding a new born, you notice out of the corner of your eye that your toddler is grabbing fat fists full of mud and putting it down his shorts……you just have to make a decision to “deal with that later”. Better that than run across the park, new born suckered onto your nipple, other nipple standing alert in the breeze as you’ve only just realised you forgotten to put it back in from earlier.

Neglect
Your second/ new baby will become neglected. With my first baby I lovingly laid out his clothes in his BIG wardrobe, cut up all of his baby cards to make beautiful collages to go on his wall in HIS room, plastered the house in baby photos, brand new play gym/swinging chair/ cot etc, even a personalised wooden skate board to go on his door……….this time I’ve barely had time to take photos, the cards have been shoved in a draw, his (hand-me-down) clothes scrunched up in a small draws and there is no room on Arlos bedroom door for another wooden skateboard (the boys will have to share a room soon). Im still not used to having 2 children that I almost sure that at some point I WILL forget the new one. Also remember all that time you spent looking at your first born child (ie.wow we made him, isn’t he beautiful etc) you just don’t get that 2nd time round. Sounds awful but sometimes I cant even remember his name half the time…..Arlo, Rich…Lottie (the dog)??? So many names to remember.

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Mum Guilt
leads me onto the next point, MUM GUILT….it’s at an all time high. The main thing is I feel MASSIVELY guilty about throwing my toddlers world upside down by having a new baby. These are the other things I’ve felt guilty about in the last few weeks….having a baby (obvs); paying more attention to the baby; if toddler thinks I love the baby more: if baby thinks I love the toddler more: not being able to play with toddler as much; hours upon hours of breast feeding; my patience being less; less time spent cuddling toddler; more time spent feeding toddler snacks to keep quiet: a million hours of TV to keep toddler quiet; telling toddler off about touching (gentle gentle gentle….repeat) baby when he’s only trying to show love: when the baby cries; giving new baby old toddlers car seat/ baby gym/ swinging chair etc (bad on baby for old things, bad on toddler for giving baby HIS things); having to sit in the car (to contain toddler) to feed baby: not doing my silly voices at story time; not being the one to get toddler up in the morning and the first one he sees; guilty that I’m tired all the time: guilty that I keep hiding in the bathroom to eat chocolate; guilt if I’m spending time with one and not the other; forgetting new babies name; calling new baby dogs name

A Break
I’ve been very lucky and my Dad/ Mum gives me a break by taking out my toddler. I think its funny how a break becomes still having one child. If your baby is boob feeding, you literally are surgically attached to your baby for the foreseeable future. But it does actually feel like a break being left with just your baby, when did that happen?!.….makes you realise how easy you had it with “just one” the first time round…and why didn’t you find having a baby “a break” when you had your first baby?! I actually find it quite relaxing taking my baby around town now!!! When 2 children are there, you literally don’t get a chance to do anything, you’re just bouncing back and forth from one to another. IF your partner is there, then you have a child each. So basically you always have at least one child now to deal with and NEVER get a break, ever.

People Help
After countless comments of “oh you’ve got your hands full there”…people do help you when you have 2 plus children. I do feel like whenever I leave the house with both boys I have fear written all over my face,: heart punding; my eyes are bulging, I’m sweating, I’m red, my jaw is clenched, all my movements are really jerky and fast like a rabbit in the headlights. Pure focus and determination in my eyes. So thank you to the man in the doctors waiting room for bringing my toddler out of his depths of despair by showing him his walking stick… and thank you to the lady in Sainsburys for helping me pack my bags as my toddler tried climbing onto the converter belt and my babies head was flopping at a weird angle out of the sling and dangerously near to the raw chicken packet. My worst nightmare and hardest thing so far, is literally not knowing what to do when both kids are crying at once….I normally cry too.

So I’m sure it will get easier once I find my own grove and routine. After all, I’m not the first person in the world to have 2 children!!! Hats off to mums of 2 plus children!

PS.A little secret, I now keep chocolate in my bag for “incentives”….(bribes) mother of the year. You’ve literally gotta do what you’ve gotta do to survive and make things a bit easier on yourself.

PPS. And I can confirm you CAN love more than 1 child;)

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