Previously, I was under the impression that going from zero children to one was distinctly more difficult than going from one child to two. I mean why wouldn’t it be? Having no kids and then suddenly being responsible for a squirming, squawking tiny man cub is terrifying. There’s shit everywhere, everyone is crying and no one knows what to do. The World has turned upside down, the sky has fallen and you have no fucking clue what the formula table on the back of the box actually means.
Do you actually need a PhD to make up a bottle of Aptamil?
But when you’ve already had one, well you’ve been there, done that. You’ve already birthed a baby. You’re clear about how to put on a nappy, how to make up formula, how to use the steriliser. You know about under vests and sleepsuits and cellular blankets. Nothing much can phase you because you bloody know it all already!
You see I’d already been through the newborn phase and discovered that in fact I didn’t die when faced with extreme exhaustion. I knew about colic, reflux, temperatures, first colds. I’d done teething, explosive nappies, first words, crawling, walking. I’d survived the terrible twos and the arse hole threes. Potty training, night training, teeth brushing, bloody knees, suspicious rashes, biscuit thieving…
I’d seen it all. Right?
To tell you the truth, I was even feeling a bit smug. After all, we had timed this second baby just right. An elective C-section two weeks after the first started school. It was ideal, I planned my maternity leave so I could help settle him in for a few weeks, then I would have the baby and my husband would have a few weeks off. Of course it would all be a bit chaotic for a month or so but then everything would just settle down. The baby would be easy, because we knew what we were doing. She would fit into our lives, I’d know what she wanted, I’d know what was up. I’d have one at school and one at home – bloody genius right?
No, no, no, no.
Perhaps our first was an easy baby and we had it soooo good and we didn’t even know it. Or perhaps he was just a normal baby and our second is a some kind of demonic savage. I don’t know, I don’t know.
But what I do know is that two is harder than one. IT’S. SO. MUCH. HARDER. It’s fucking bedlam. From dusk till dawn and often also around 3am, this house is manic. I don’t stop, I don’t sit down. I can’t hear myself think. My husband and I communicate through WhatsApp because we can’t get a word in edge ways. Someone always needs feeding, or holding or their arse wiped.
I mean ok – I suppose I can concede that this time around I am a more confident parent. I don’t sweat the small stuff like I did with my first. I remember calling my Mum up in tears panicking the first time he had a temperature, visions of ambulances and convulsions reeling around in my head. With a cold, with my first I would have wrapped him up, watched his every move and kept him quarantined for days. With the second, it’s like “Sorry love but your brother’s got a party and a project on worms and we’ve got to walk two miles in the pissing rain and freezing cold. So here’s a rice cake and a squirt of a Calpol – chin up.”
I don’t change her nappy half as much as I did my first. Every three fucking hours I changed him. I actually used to wake him as a newborn to be safe.
Jesus wept, I was insane.
Never wake a newborn. Never. If those fuckers want something they will let you know – BELIEVE ME. Sometimes it’s been a whole day before anyone’s changed her nappy, It’s hanging down by her knees before we realise.
So I suppose with the worry it’s easier but everything in life is just harder to get done. Like leaving the house is a nightmare. I actually dread leaving the house. Not going places, not going out somewhere – just the actual act of trying to leave the house. It takes at least an hour to get everyone’s paraphernalia together – baby stuff, my stuff, his coat, jumper and half built lego contraption. And then getting from the front door to the car is bloody ridiculous. It’s so stressful, with the car seats and trying to get them in safely and all the bags everywhere. Then going back for and lugging the pram into the boot. I actually sit sometimes and contemplate if it’s actually worth it because you have to do it all again when you get to the other end.
Anyway, as with everything, of course: this too shall pass. I’m hoping it’s because she is still a baby. When she gets a bit less dependent, when they can engage with each other a bit more. I’m sure the insanity levels will start to level out a bit, it will get easier. Plus of course, she’s up in the night for feeds so the sleep deprivation is sill going strong.
I’m sure overall two wont be harder than one, it’s just fucking horrendous at the minute.