A strange trip to the hospital with my wife this week. The receptionist assumed that I was the one there for the appointment. Not only that, but he also thought my wife was answering all of his questions on my behalf, and actually stopped to ask her to let me answer myself. Now, my wife does have a first name which can be either male or female, but given that the appointment was for an ultrasound, my wife is clearly pregnant, and she had handed him a folder of maternity notes, this seemed a strange assumption to make. He was at least suitably embarrassed when he realised. Anyway, this is all a roundabout way of saying we have another baby on the way.
Lots of people keep telling us that “the second one is easier”, but, being honest, I’m finding it hard to see how dealing with a tiny baby can be easier when you also have an energetic/attention seeking/grumpy (delete as applicable) toddler on your hands. A few weeks back I happened to bump into an old school friend who had just had his second child. He was in that manically tired state of mind that comes with a tiny baby at home, and his advice was “don’t do it”. I think he was joking, but it’s hard to be entirely sure.
Still, I think I understand what the people who say it’s easier mean. Our first child was (and continues to be) a complete leap into the unknown, every stage of development a new mystery. Especially when she was very little there was the constant unnerving feeling that we didn’t know what we were doing. That feeling hasn’t disappeared, and I suspect it never will, but as our daughter has survived this long (and turned out to be pretty ace if I do say so myself) I can only assume we can’t have been getting it completely wrong. Perhaps the second time round some of the things we worried about will seem less troublesome. We won’t have as much time to dwell on them in any case.
I certainly feel more prepared (if not more mature, as evidenced by the title of this post), despite have doing much less preparation. Unlike the first time round we have our own home with which we can do what we like, and a car. We have some idea which of the millions of baby products available are actually of use (I’m pretty sure we won’t be buying another Bumbo for example). We are not going into this quite as blind as the first time.
This is not to say I’m without any worries or fears. I’m not looking forward to the lack of sleep, and the lack of time to ourselves, having got used to our nights and evenings being mainly our own again as our daughter has grown older. Hopefully the knowledge that the sleepless nights do come to an end will help us through. Of course, on a logical level, you know that even with your first child, but having been actually experienced it and come through the other side does help.
I’m also not looking forward to the birth. We felt pretty positive leading up to our daughter’s birth, but it was tough for reasons I’m not sure I want to get into here. Other people have had it worse, I know (There’s always someone who’s had it worse, and people seem awfully keen to share those stories). There’s no particular reason to think our second child’s birth will not be straightforward (in fact our daughter tells us that the baby is just going to plop out, which seems easy enough), but I’m sure we will find it tough not to worry in the lead up.
In the main though, I’m feeling good. We always wanted two kids (although we may have wavered a little during the most sleep-deprived times after the birth of our first). We both grew up in two child families, which may be why it felt like the right number for us. What I’m most looking forward to is meeting this new person, the fourth member of our family. Getting to know them and their ways, that will no doubt be at once familiar and completely new. Watching them grow, seeing how they are the same and different from their big sister, and seeing that sibling relationship develop. It’s strange to feel love for someone you’ve not yet met, but that’s how it is, and I can’t wait until the day this summer when we finally get to say hello.