We’re thrilled for you. Not so much the severe morning sickness, but the spare to the heir. New babies are delicious. I’m also pretty impressed that you’re in for round two when round one is so young. But – as a friend commented when I remarked upon this – you probably have a little more help than most people (should you wish it. And you’d be crazy not to, in our humble, non-regal opinion). And not that you need our advice, but just in case…
1. Those books you devoured whilst pregnant with your first? You won’t have time to read them with your second. What to expect when you’re expecting? Um, a baby. The Baby Whisper – first up: routine. Er, what routine? Of course he can’t have all his naps in his cot, with the blackout curtains drawn At All Times because you’re constantly chucking him in the buggy whilst you deliver your first child to nursery/school/a playdate. Moreover, they’ll be no whispering in this house, with a small person running around declaring the sofa is a pirate ship so AHOY ME HEARTIES.
2. First baby: everything brand new, preferably organic cotton (see no. 3). Second baby: boys can wear pink, right? Hand-me-downs rule.
3. First time around: organic everything. Cotton, babygrows, food… Second time: whatever you can get onto her and into her. Rice cakes almost count as a meal.
4. Remember when you determined that your home would not be over-run by toys and child-related paraphernalia? When you vowed to buy toys only made of wood by artisan craftsmen? Yeah, that. (Bitter laugh.) Give in to march of the plastic.
5. Child one had a schedule to rival Taylor Swift’s. Monkey Music, Gymboree, swimming, classical concerts pour les enfants (baby French, anyone?) Child two is toted around as you ferry child one to school/playschool and the resultant parties and clubs.
6. The first time around, you will worry about everything. What does it mean when he grimaces? Why is he doing that weird thing with his legs? WHY IS SHE CRYING AGAIN? Now: babies cry. They do strange things on occasion. You deal with it; you don’t agnonise over it.
7. My first baby had colic (some babies will do this). I allowed myself to be persuaded that the only thing which could possibly help was seeing a cranial osteopath at no small fee. A friend of mine – in pursuit of the same end (i.e. sleep) – wangled the closely-guarded number of a woman rumoured to be a psychic baby whisperer. And paid an unearthly sum for a session with her in which she looked into her child’s past life as, um, the source of the digestive issues. Sadly, neither of these stories is a joke.
8. That lovingly filled-out baby book documenting every precious moment of no. 1’s life? You probably won’t have a moment to open the book you’ve bought for no. 2. (If you’ve even bought a book.)
9. Lucky number two: number one is the guinea pig for your every parenting style dilemma and tests every one of your rules. In our case, it’s not so much that we’ve trained her; she’s trained us. Broken us in as parents. Now we can shrug and trot out our favourite homily, ‘It’s just a phase’. Hence second children being so much more chilled out than their elder siblings. Either that, or you’re so knackered you just give in and cease to fight the good fight.
10. Seriously, now. You think your heart has already burst with the love you feel for your first? That there might only be a corner left for this one? Or you cannot fathom how it is possible to love more than one child so intensely? It is. And just wait until you see your children together. Heaven.
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