1. Having One Child Doesn’t Prepare You For Your Second.
In terms of the practical stuff, i.e. bum changes, making bottles, bathing what equates to a greased-up eel with no neck control, if you’ve done it for one kid, you’ve probably got it dialled in by the time number 2 comes along. In terms of every single other aspect of parenting? Good luck, because more often than not, it’s back to the drawing board. Sausage and Burrito Baby may look alike, and share certain traits such as their kindness and ability to share, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Sausage was one of those babies who was so easy going, she almost parented herself. Burrito Baby has needed every second of my attention since 11am on 17th February 2014. She is just about as high maintenance as high maintenance gets and her temper is genuinely scary at times. I’m not saying I’d change her in any way, but I literally learned nothing about caring for a kid like her from her elder sister.
2. You Will, Very Occasionally, Favour One Over The Other
Listen, having favourites is one of those big no-nos about having multiple kids, and I’m not saying that you’d ever genuinely choose one child over the other, but sometimes you do think “God, I wish you were more like your sister/brother”. Every kid has desirable and undesirable traits and seeing the bad parts doesn’t make you a bad parent, it makes you human. In fact, sometimes seeing fault in your children can actually make you a better parent as it allows you to approach parenting from a more objective point of view.
3. Sometimes Your Heart Wins Over Your Practical Side
It’s really easy to be pragmatic and practical about certain decisions, but there are times when your heart takes over and changes the way you see things. For instance, Husband and I have kept almost every scrap of Sausage’s clothing in case we needed them for a second child, to save money and because baby clohes are often barely used by the time they’re grown out of. However, when BB came along, there were certain things that I just couldn’t put her in because they were JUST. TOO. SAUSAGE. Seeing her in certain babygros seemed all wrong and even though I thought we’d barely need to buy anything new, we bought a bunch just to make it fair.
4. Parenting Them Equally Can Be Almost Impossible At Times
Husband and I said right from the get-go that if we ever had a second baby that we would parent them in exactly the same way as we did with Sausage, making all of the same decisions as we did before. In reality though, this hasn’t worked, simply because our lives are completely different now. Sausage didn’t leave the house until she was 6 weeks old. BB came with me on the school run at just 6 days old. Sausage ate only organic fruit and veg pouches when she was first weaned. BB has food intolerances which meant her diet was different and difficult to manage at times. Sausage was spoon fed with almost every bite of food until she was 3. BB is never happier than when she’s gnawing on a corn on the cob by herself. It’s never going to be possible to do everything the same because they, and we, are different people.
5. You Will Never Stop Feeling Guilty
I hate to tell you this, but having two children makes your guilt function increase, not just two-fold, but exponentially. As well as all of the normal feelings of guilt that us parents get, you’ve now got the added guilt of spending too much time/attention on one child, not enough on the other, not doing things the same for them both, telling one off when the other never really needed telling off, dragging one out on cold mornings for the school run, spending all day with one while the other is at school, taking one to soft play while the other is grafting over SATS…the list is absolutely endless and it never gets better.
6. There Is No Such Thing As A Perfect Age Gap
There’s five and a half years between Sausage and BB, almost to the day, and at times, the age gap can be great. I get to spend time with Sausage while her sister naps, and she’s old enough to have been really switched on and pragmatic when it comes to helping me with things or understanding that sometimes, her sister needs me (although, refer back to point 5 in regards to that…). However, there are also things which aren’t so great. I think Sausage assumed that BB would be an automatic playmate when she came along but it’s only now that they’re 15 months and almost 7 that they’re even beginning to play together. Having said all of this, I know loads of people who had their kids closer together who’ve said that they fight like cat and dog and largely cannot stand the sight of each other, so I don’t think it’s possible to ever get it ‘just right’.