Five Things I Hope I’ll Do Differently with my Second Baby

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Baby and me...off for a ride!

Baby and me…off for a ride!

I made sure to add the word “hope” to the title of this post, because if there is one thing I’ve learned in my 24 months of parenting, it’s that babies have their own agendas. You can have all sorts of intentions but in the end, you’ll save your sanity if you just do what works. Flexibility is the name of the game.

Also, I probably could have saved myself some time and just written that with my second baby, I’m going to chill out more. For instance, I wouldn’t have been riding a bike this late in my pregnancy with C. I was just too nervous about falls and crashes. This time I’ve mellowed, and although I’m careful on my bike, I’m definitely not stopping yet. That’s the beauty of the second baby.

That said, there are a few specific things that I did with C that I’m hoping to avoid this time around. Sure, we muddled through all right, but it would be nice to avoid some of the pitfalls we encountered last time. That way we can have the time to try to fix all the new mistakes we’ll surely make with Baby #2.

1) Naps in the Crib.
C was always a really good night sleeper. She was always easy to put down in her basinette (and later her crib) and she only woke up when she was hungry or teething. But naps were a different story. She seemed to need movement to nap, and so I indulged her, first in a vibrating chair, then in a swing, and sometimes in a car or stroller. This became tricky when we took her on a ski trip when she was five months old. Either we had to bounce her to sleep in a carrier (and she hated carriers) or Pete had to take her out in the Chariot for an hour-long cross-country-ski-nap. She was still napping three times a day at that point. He got A LOT of exercise that weekend.

2) Introduce a Pacifier Earlier.
We were so afraid of jeopardizing our breastfeeding efforts that we didn’t introduce a pacifier early enough. But she must have had a strong sucking need, because once we successfully got her using a pacifier (at about four months), she was a much happier baby.

3) Use a Baby Carrier.
C was never really into baby carriers. She tolerated a few walks in a sling when she was a few weeks old, but after that, she put her foot down. This time, I’m hoping that if I invest in a good-quality carrier and put the baby in it more often, it will go more smoothly. Because I’m sure that with a toddler running around, it will be a lifesaver to have the new baby in a carrier once in a while.

4) Relax about Feeding.
I had a really difficult time breastfeeding, for the entire nine months that I managed to do it. I won’t go into details here, but suffice it to say that while I would like to breastfeed this baby, I’m not going to stress about it. I’ll do my best. But I won’t beat myself up if I have to use a bottle now and then. And probably (or at least I hope) that if I go into it with a more relaxed attitude, it will be easier this time.

5) Go Easier on Myself.
I did all sorts of things in the early days with C that probably weren’t in my best interest. I tried to cook, clean, bake, read, run errands, exercise, socialize, and have overnight guests to visit. Two weeks after I gave birth we were out hiking in caves on a very ill-advised outing. I took three-week-old C out to vote in a provincial election. It was all too much for an incredibly sleep-deprived new mom. It caught up with me when she was about seven weeks old. I started hallucinating and I genuinely believed I would die of exhaustion. Not this time. My only goals for the first three months are to keep two children alive and relatively happy. The end.

And now, a question: Does anyone have any tips on transitioning from one child to two?

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Scaring Pregnant Women: A National Pastime

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When I was pregnant with C, plenty of people issued dire warnings from the other side (of parenthood). I’ve mentioned them here before, but I was regularly told that my life would never be the same again (and this was always said in an ominous tone of voice). I was warned that I would never have time to read or even to take a shower. This all turned out to be complete nonsense. Although I was very sleep-deprived for the first three months of C’s life, no amount of “enjoying my sleep” while I was pregnant could have helped me to avoid it. People who tell pregnant women to “sleep now!” seem to think that sleep is something you can stockpile, like a squirrel hoarding nuts for winter. It just doesn’t work that way, folks.

So you would think, having been through this once before, that I would be immune (or at least resistant) to the fear-mongering that people seem to enjoy when they interact with the visibly pregnant. Nope. I still regularly get anxious after talking with someone who says something like “Whew, you’re going to have your hands full soon. Good luck.” Uh, thanks? Or “So this is your second? Get ready for life to get crazy.” Um, okay? How do I do that, exactly?

Luckily, once in a while, I’ll bump into someone who is reassuring. I met someone last weekend who has two little girls (only a year and a half apart) and she asked me a few questions about my situation.

“What will the age difference be?” – 26 months
“Do you have any help?” – My parents live an hour away, but are able to help sometimes, and my husband works a lot but is super awesome.
“Will your older daughter go to daycare?” – Yes, two days a week.

Her response? “Pfft. You’ll be fine. Don’t even worry.”

Now that is what I needed to hear.

It’s not that I think having two kids will be a walk in the park. I know it will be difficult, particularly for the first year. But there isn’t much I can do now to prevent that. Worrying won’t make the transition, or the exhaustion or the craziness any easier. That is why I’ve decided to hold onto that lovely woman’s response and dismiss any negative comments I might hear in the next three months. Because worrying will get me nowhere. And besides, I’m pretty sure those people just want attention, and I’ve learned from my toddler books that conscious ignoring is a great strategy for dealing with that sort of behaviour.

Back to Blogging…For Now

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I’ve taken a bit of a break from the blog lately.  I didn’t plan on it, but life got interesting.

We’re expecting Baby #2.  Little C is going to be Big Sister C.  And even though I didn’t think a pregnancy would get in the way of my blog-productivity, I spent weeks (and weeks and weeks) feeling so sick that typing on a keyboard would have sent me into a nausea tailspin.

Side note: I had zero morning sickness with C.  I thought I was super tough and designed for pregnancy.  Hubris.  It gets me every time.  Well, I got my comeuppance.  I spent my first trimester feeling like I was going to throw up from the moment I woke up every morning until the moment I went to bed.  I also had food aversions that left me living on crackers, toast, and Kraft Dinner for two months.  I may have developed scurvy.

So now I’m in the wonderful second trimester and back at it.  I’ve been cooking again (unthinkable two months ago) and even biking and running.  Well, “running” is a bit of a stretch.  I’ve been jogging very slowly.  I’ve been doing some extra work for the board of directors.  And I’m hoping to get back to blogging for a while.

I say “for a while” because I’m sure when this baby arrives I’ll be far too busy and exhausted to do anything other than try to keep everyone in this house alive and fed.  But for now, the blog is back.

Thanks, as always, for reading.