So Violet is now 2 months old and I thought it would be the right time to tell you about how we are finding it going from 1 to 2 children (so far). I wanted it to be an honest account from both mine and Liam's perspective so we have both written it, seperately, without seeing what each other has written....you can see his point of view in part 2 of this post here.
I had blogged before about preparing for having 2 here but I have to say the reality has been much harder than I ever expected. Yes, you know what you're doing with a baby and what to expect a bit more this time but the overwhelming tiredness and intensity of 2 is hard to put into words! It's incredibly challenging and rewarding at the same time, each day brings something new, however as an exhausted Liam said every day for the first 4 weeks - 'we are NEVER having another f****** child!!!' - think that sums it up! We will see ha ha ha
It's been extremely difficult trying to find time to keep up with writing my blog (The Little Loaf blog, another new mum - how are you doing it?). I thought that it was tricky before mat leave with a 4 day a week job and 1 little one but now it really is impossible. In the evenings I'm too tired and want to hit the sack as soon as Violet is asleep, had dinner (so over having 2 months of easy oven meals!) and had half an hour of TV down time (and checked Instagram of course!). Occasionally Violet will have a long nap at lunchtime but I find being out of the house really important in the day at the moment to help keep me sane! If I am in the house there is always the distraction of the mountain of washing and life admin to keep on top of. Anyway here are my thoughts on going from 1 to 2, bullet points, as this will probably be written over the space of 2 weeks (affirmative) and it seems to be the easiest way to write!
- Coming home - We now felt like a proper family, wow, 2 children to look after, I really am a grown up responsible adult and this is going to be full on! Also hello builders who decided a week before she was born to spend the next 9 weeks doing roadworks outside our house, thanks for that, great timing (not sure drilling counts as white noise?).
- Finns reaction was to completely ignore the new bundle asleep in the corner. He was inundated with gifts by all of us in the desperate hope that it would solve any jealousy or sibling issues (a sibling is the best gift you can give isn't it??). He seemed to just want to run around the house and make a lot of noise (very unlike him), it definitely felt like he didn't know what to do with himself or how to act. It was all rather bizarre behaviour and not what I had expected. I guess he was working out what his new role would be in our family now. Plus the terrible twos seemed to hit in the coming weeks with NO being his favourite word. Perfect timing :)
- Visitors - I remember when Finn was born the relentless, exhausting flow of visitors and excitement of a new baby. Nope, not this time, no one is interested in the second baby! Oh well all the more rest and pj days for us! We definitely embraced doing 'nothing' this time on Liam's paternity leave (only 1 week) and I definitely embraced the trashy TV in those first few weeks
- Finn - he somehow turned into a proper little boy overnight and seems to have morphed into a 10 year olds body (he is only 3), he wasn't my baby anymore. I spent the first couple of weeks going in at night to tuck him in when he was asleep, hovering over his cot bed and crying at how much he now seemed to fill it! Oh how much I missed him (mum guilt) even though he was perfectly fine, yes those irrational hormones playing havoc! I remember reading him his favourite book 'Poo Bum' and sobbing into the pages as I read - crazy mummy.
- TV, snacks and sticker books will save your life - when feeding baby her milk it seems to be the point where child number 2 decides he wants attention but you can't move. You also hear yourself saying 'just a minute', 'in a moment' A LOT. You also become well practised in the art of doing everything one handed, baby in the other whist you prepare his dinner or get the playdoh out. Great new skills - mummy learns to make dinosaurs one handed, can I add that to my CV?
- Boobs - your second will see warts and all, yes mummy will walk around with her boobs out this afternoon and yes that is milk coming out of them and yes that is a giant sanitary towel and yes mummy is crying again. Finn asks a lot of questions about boobs these days
- Nursery pick up and drop off - yes daddy will drive you rather than do the 4 minute walk it takes as its taken so long to get you dressed and out of the house that 9am has been and gone... Yes mummy hasn't listened to your key worker at pick ups (we've started potty training didn't register) as she spends her time concentrating on keeping Violet calm in the sling, 5pm is always such a fun time with a baby!
- To double pram or not? This was always my idea of hell - having a double buggy. I wanted to avoid it at all costs but now I can really see the appeal of them. Finn is a pretty lazy boy so letting go of his bugaboo bee (which has been turned back into a baby buggy) was worrying, he was so attached to it... but actually he hasn't minded it going to his sister and instead we got him a buggy board which he LOVES but it is quite hard work to push, a bit like driving an out of control supermarket trolley
- The tiredness - wow, this has been even harder than the first time round. Its not like before where you can tag team at weekends and alternate sleeps ins, nope. This time its team work and you need one for each child so, so long back to bed treat. I also feel like I become evil night mummy at 2 or 3am - why is this baby awake? Why won't she go back to f****** sleep? Googling 'how early can you get your baby into a routine' and 'sleep training'. Im sure first time round I never had night rage! Tired to the core. But I have to say we have been much stricter abut making sure she doesn't sleep in our arms too much or bed this time and we have got her into some sort of routine much quicker and she is a much better sleeper in general (although it may be the way we are this time rather than her!) leaving her to cry much more and starting sleep training much earlier!
- Beddtimes - yes 2 children to bath and put to bed - its a battlefield of nappies, towels, milk and tears! Bath time is a part I am loving. Violet is really into baths and Finn loves having a bath with Violet, but again another task that ideally involves 2 people, I need some more practice in this chaotic time of night. By the way I highly recommend this Angelcare baby bath which has been a godsend this time round (it sits in the main bath). We didn't have anything like this with Finn and it has saved back ache and also feels much safer with 2
- 'We are NEVER having another child' is stated on a daily basis. OK this has stopped now but really I have so much respect for anyone with 2 or more children now! When you walk past a mum or dad with a baby buggy, toddler on the shoulders and another child holding their hand you want to go up and give them a high five. Parenting is full on.
- Just when you thought your house couldn't contain any more crap it is filled to the brim with a baby and toddler mountain assault course of stuff. I can't count how many times I have tripped over the jungle playmate and train set. We need a bigger house! An afternoon out or weekend away? Lets fill the car to the brim and still manage to forget something really important, you also need to factor in an extra half hour to load the car and strap the little ones in
- Getting dressed in the morning - this basically takes all morning unless its the first thing you get up and do before your partner goes to work. Also make sure you have breakfast straight away otherwise you won't eat until lunch if you're lucky. There is something very satisfying once you are all dressed and ready to go ( like you have climbed Everest!) until someone has a vom. Dressing them up is still one of my favourite things, twinning can be naff but I do get pleasure out of it :)
- Dealing with 2 in nappies - sweet smelling soft baby curry poo vs full on stinky hard turds - not sure which is worse?! Also in the last coupe of weeks the nursery started potty training... ideally do this before the new baby comes along! There are enough challenges on your plate
- Leaving the House with 2 - wow, what an experience, especially if its just me on a Friday when I have them both. Its fairly standard that just as you are about to go out the door one does a poo or is sick. Back inside we go. Take two. When you finally leave - baby in carrier, boy in borrowed Maclaren, nappy bag, boy bag, mummy bag - you feel like a giant mothership!!
- Hair - such a great time to train your hair to only get washed once a week, and boy it feels good when you do wash it!
- Washing - the mountain is never ending, I will never feel on top of it, it just keeps growing and growing and growing! If you want a great idea for a push present get a tumble dryer! Clothes and muslins are literally draped on every place possible in our house. It does act as an inexpensive natural air freshener though - eau de fresh laundry
- Sickness - literally every few days one of us has been ill. I think the second week Finn was ill, waking every hour in the night moaning and vomiting. More washing and running around trying not to wake the sleeping baby whilst panicking over your sons breathing, it seems to be a viscous cycle of germs being spread around. Baby colds are not fun and we have got through a lot of nasal drops
- Money - its different this time round, now you are paying for nursery fees and mortgage on just one salary. We are broke. Any savings are going on holidays which are a necessity in my book. You need to make the most of mat leave right?
- Magazines - I got so excited on my first trip to Whole Foods to see that they had the latest issue of Grazia, even better the big fashion issue! 4 weeks later it still remains under our coffee table 2 pages in, goodbye fashion knowledge, I miss you! When theres a spare half hour reading Grazia just doesn't seem to take any priority, or just as I remember and sit down baby starts crying/ waking...
- Coffee. 1 child = 1 coffee a day, 2 children = 2 coffee a day (same with wine consumption)
I hope this doesn't all sound too negative? We are coming out of the fog of the first 2 months which I know are always the hardest. We do feel like we are turning a corner and finding our groove more. Don't get me wrong I'm absolutely loving it, each day is a learning curve and this time round it's learning about the changing bonds, dynamics and relationships between all of us. I have to say I have a new found respect for my mum (3 children) and anyone that has 2 or more! I look forward to the days Violet is a bit older and they can play and entertain each other. Thanks to all our family and friends who have been so supportive.
Also look at these 2 - being cute does make things all seem ok in the cold light of day.
I would love to hear about your experiences and tips with 2 (both mums and dads please) and I will try and give an update on our developments later this year...as I know a lot can change and the next few months we will see new positives and challenges, watch this space....