Just over two weeks ago, I gave birth to my second child. The birth itself was no easy feat, considering that my little munchkin weighed a whopping nine pounds and 6 ounces. Once he had been brought safely into the world, however, I felt victorious, convinced that the hardest part of my transition from a mother-of-one to a mother-of-two was over. Sadly, I was wrong.
Throughout my pregnancy, I had repeatedly told myself that going from no children to one child was a far bigger adjustment than having a second child. What I didn’t anticipate was how my eldest was going to react to the new addition, and how difficult it would be to divide my attention fairly between them.
My eldest son, Samuel, is only two-years-old, so he wasn’t particularly impressed when we brought the baby home. We made a big fuss of seeing him after being away overnight in the hospital, and left the baby in his car seat so he wouldn’t be seen as a threat. I had carefully selected the same star-covered blanket I had brought Samuel home in to bring the baby home with, thinking it would make for a nice, sentimental moment. However, Samuel didn’t see it this way. All he saw was a new baby on his turf that had had the audacity to steal one of his most beloved blankets. He snatched it away immediately and began pointing at the Moses basket in the corner of the room, ordering me to put the baby “in there! In there!” as some form of punishment for his perceived crime.
As the days went on, Samuel luckily started to warm to the baby, helping with feeds and nappy changes and giving his brother lots of kisses and cuddles. However, he soon cottoned on to the fact that when I’m busy holding him, I have no free hands left to grab wayward toddlers with. Since it’s been just the three of us at home, there have been some almighty tantrums. Toys have been thrown across the room, bowls of cereal have been tipped over his head, chocolate has been stolen from the counter and a pear was disintegrated into a pile of mulch. The baby’s dummies have also been spirited away on several occasions to a secret location that can only be discovered through bribery and/or threats of Samuel being sent to bed.
Before, I had the baby, I used to think being at home with a toddler was difficult, but looking back, he was an angel in comparison to how he is now. I know that him acting up is just a reaction to things changing, and that he’s still getting used to no longer being the centre of attention, but it doesn’t make the behaviour any less stressful or easier to deal with, especially when balancing a new born in my arms!
I envisioned being a second-time mother as being easy, and where the baby is concerned, I have managed to survive bouts of colic without panicking and am even able to keep breathing when other people hold him, not utterly terrified about them supporting his head properly or potentially dropping him. The hardest part has been trying to spread myself thinly between the two children, and I have found myself using the phrase “I only have one pair of hands, you know” several times, indicating that my journey into motherhood is officially complete! The days are tiring, and whizz by faster than I ever could have imagined, presenting more challenges than I thought possible. Despite the hardships, watching the bond between my two children develop brings me more joy than anything else in my life, and my heart is so full of love for them both. I may end up spending every day in my pyjamas for the rest of my life, but at least it’s for a good cause. After all, as the younger, happier and less-tired version of me used to say, “nothing worth having in life comes easy.”