If, through your haze of sleep deprivation and bewilderment you remember to read this when your supposed to, you’ll have recently become the proud father of your second child. By my rough calculations you’ll have just bought said child home from the hospital and be madly trying to figure out how to make your expanded family unit work again.
I know how much you tend to hate advice so I’ll keep it simple. Assuming you have a normal, healthy newborn, every issue you have can be fixed relatively easily but will take an investment of sleep and patience. The next piece of advice will save your life: do not, under any circumstances give Mrs Illiterate Infant the first piece of advice.
I’m writing this to you now because the Illiterate household is in a bit of a sweet spot. Your original Illiterate infant is now a proper little girl that (mostly) feeds herself, (mostly) sleeps through the night and (in the last week) lets you know when she needs to go to the toilet and doesn’t wear nappies. I’m telling you this so when you’re up patting the new him or her to sleep at 10pm, 12pm, 2am and 4am only to get up to go to work that you remember that it’s not forever.
Whilst I’m on a roll, I should also remind you that, regardless of what your thinking at the time, your probably not going to do lasting damage to your child if; as a last resort you need to let the new one cry itself to sleep or you give it a dummy then take it away or forget to change her for an hour or so.
On the subject of not giving your wife advice there is something I should let you in on. Your wife will need you lots. As I’m writing this she’s a confident mum, doing amazing things steering your baby through toddler-hood. About the time you read this she will probably be a sleep deprived mess, unable to sustain any real conversation and (even though it’s hilarious) not be in the mood for your unique ability to point out the “funny side” of every situation. She may actually swear at you when you try to do it or just start crying. Don’t take it personally. Instead see it as an opportunity to practice your routine internally. Also, your helping needs to be practical. Give her an opportunity to relax, sleep, eat or even shower.
So, getting back to my original advice, patience is really important. Remember the new baby won’t be that interesting initially but try and spend some time just appreciating what you have. One moment their strapped to your chest, the next they are refusing to wear anything that isn’t pink and frilly and telling you that they want to go to ballet classes. Be patient with your wife. She’s got the toughest gig of all and just because she figured it out last time won’t mean she’ll figure it out the same way or quicker this time. Lastly be patient with yourself. You’re going to want to fix everything straight away. Just let it be a little bit un-fixed for a while – it might not even need fixing.
One last thing (yes it’s more advice but you’ll thank me). Whatever little cuddly toy you give the new him/her, buy 4 of them. That way when you go out you won’t be more scared about losing the toy than you will be of losing them.
What advice would you give yourself next time around?
I need to thank Danya from over at Danya Banya who gave me the idea to write the letter.
As always, I’m sharing with Jess’s Diary of a SAHM for IBOT
I think this needs to be a standard letter issued to all Dad’s when their baby is born! You made me laugh and cry in the one post! I think that one more piece of advice is to appreciate the ease in changing a newborn’s poo, because they are not taking off their own nappy and wiping it on the walls or executing a perfect commando roll just as you get that nappy off and leaving a trail of yuck as they run away.
Hi Sim and thanks for popping by (so early). I think advice about poo is a food idea. For one thing it’s not the big deal you think it’s going to be.
Touch down Kev! Great post. Juggling a new born with a toddler was one of the hardest times of my life. Remind yourself constantly that it will get easier. It never gets easy but it will get easier.
All the very best.
Cheers. I’m liking your emphasis on “easier”
Lol, great letter! I couldn’t agree more about the stuffed toys! We had ‘blankees’ and made sure we had multiples.
Funny and insightful, you made me smile. I found things really different second time round, you know what you’re doing with the baby and worry less. The sleep deprivation is pretty miserable as with a toddler in the house it’s not so easy to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’.
Lovely letter 🙂 It gave me a nice smiley feeling to start my morning
job done then!
Love this letter to yourself, some great advice. It will take a while to get used to the new dynamic in the house, and you will be faced with some new challenges with two, every.single.day!!
Great letter, my partner needs to read this!
As ‘Sim’ already said this letter really should be shared with all dads.
I might be giving a little to much “secret dad business” away 😉
It is a very tough time with a newborn and toddler, well my daughter wasn’t really a toddler when my son was born she was 14.5 months! Just be prepared and I was not for jealousy to kick in early and get worse. All kids may be different, and you may not experience it, but now at 27 months and 12 months they fight all the time! If you buy a toy for one of them not only buy a few spares but buy one for the other child too, no matter how small, or gender specific!
With the second child, it is less of a worrying time, you kind of know what to expect, it is not a shock as it was the first time around. My son is a lot more relaxed than my daughter, maybe because we were so relaxed when we brought him home.
Good luck, love your post! 🙂
Yay, this is great, It should be printed and handed out to all Dads as a manual or something 🙂 My motto when we brought Baby Two home became, “this too shall pass”. Which sounds kind of bad but I used it alot during those first few sleep deprived weeks. And I noticed you said “she” when you were talking about the new Illiterate Infant??? Have you had a sneakie peek in that envelope 🙂
LOVE the letter!! Definitely get 4 toys (we can’t find a 2nd one for our beloved teddy who is looking a little worse for wear!)….
I hope you do read it in 4 months and write back 🙂
Loving this post #teamIBOT was here 🙂
Love this! I am going to make my husband read it when we have #2!! And, it is always great to hear a man articulate these things too!
Oh, I love this! So well written, and you are definitely in the know!! Knowing when to not give your frazzled, sleep deprived wife some advice is so important to sustaining ‘new baby’ parent relationships. And letting her go and have a shower or sleep, is gold!!
I wish my hubby had been able to read something like this, when we had our two! 🙂
Great letter – so glad to have inspired you!
A tip from a new second time mum – have some peeps come over to take the puppy for a walk. Oops, I meant to say, take the toddler out. 🙂 I have grandparents who can help out twice a week for an hour or two. It’s not a lot, but it gives me some one on one time with the baby, or if she is sleeping, a chance to do some of the things that I used to do when my toddler was sleeping. Like ironing in front of a taped episode of Grey’s Anatomy. (who knew that ironing could bring such bliss?). On the other days, when I have to take the two of them out to let JJ run off her energy, we always go to gated parks. And I sling the baby much more this time too…
Good luck, I look forward to hearing the good news soon!!!
Hey there Danya and thanks for the inspiration.
We already make good use of grandparents and will definitely be squeezing more them when the time comes!
Tee hee hee! I love this!
We’re just about hitting that sweet spot with the twinlets too. Although, hubby takes over on the night shift so I can’t really vouch for how well the boys sleep through the night…ahems.
Advice I’d give to myself for the next time around? With whatever we’re going through, one is sure to be easier than twins! 🙂 x
That’s great advice! Now what’s the chances if twins twice …. 😉
love the idea of 4 stuffed toys!
make sure you update us in 4 months time 🙂
Excellent advice Kevin. Though if it is a boy and decides that it only wants to be pink and frilly and go to ballet classes, you will need to read this again just so you know you said it first! 😉
wow what a great letter – top job and very well said.
Excellent letter, I think when we do have another one I might write myself one too! I think next time around I will tell myself not to stress about the small stuff and not to worry about doing the ‘right’ things and just doing what works and going with the flow.
The good thing about number 2 is that you at least know what the small things are.
You’ll need to set a reminder to come back & read this letter Kevin! You may have your hands full in four months time. Great read, thats for the smile.
Cheers Prue, thanks for mine.
I love this, maybe all husbands should read it Coming via IBOT
It’s not forever, that’s the best advice ever. It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment and feel like you will never sleep again, but it passes by so quickly and before you know it they’re out of nappies. And YAY! She’s out of nappies! Congrats, hope it’s going well.
All is great. She (both of my she’s actually) never fail to impress!