As some of you may have noted on the weekend, I confirmed our new Illiterate Infants arrival in about 4 weeks. Thanks to all those friendly readers who quickly advised me of their 36 week pregnancies. What I may have neglected to tell you was that at the moment, I don’t have time for a new baby to arrive. I’ll barley be ready in 4 weeks, there’s nesting to do, floor boards to silence, 10 years of stuff in the new babies
store bedroom to make magically disappear… So really, an early arrival just doesn’t suit anyone.
[For those of you who’ve read enough to rattle of a really supportive comment about most babies always coming on time, please proceed straight to the comment section below]
In coming to terms with the change in
lifestyle, sleep, social life everything that’s coming up in four weeks (it’s all about positive affirmation) I have come up with a theory that I would appreciate your thoughts on. My theory is that by having a new born you develop a certain fitness. You start off and it’s hard, really hard but as your body and mind adapt it gets easier, until you manage (relatively) easily, settling quicker, able to pat for longer, changing bigger and nastier nappies more gracefully. The problem is that like fitness, you only keep your level of conditioning while your actively ‘doing it’. So as your child starts to sleep through longer, spew less, scream less, crawl, walk and talk more your new born fitness fades. It’s only when you put your running shoes back on, so to speak, that you realise just how out of condition you are.
The problem is, being a fitness, your mind can play tricks on you. You think you can still perform at the level you used to. For example, I’ve run the SMH half marathon twice (cheers for the thought starter Grace). Although my previous running has no bearing on whether I could do it now (not a chance) it doesn’t stop me talking myself up and saying things like “yeah, I could do the half this year, I’ll just do a few k’s this weekend” which results in “babe, I know your really pregnant and can’t bend over but can you undo my shoes because I can’t feel my legs”.
So like my running prowess, I’m aware that I am also talking myself up in the new born stakes. For example, convinced that a new-born is not that big a deal, I decided to start a new job last week. I also (momentarily) considered attending an overnight conference in March (3 weeks after the baby was born). Rather than let this get any further out of control I’ve made a list of things to remember to keep me a bit ‘grounded’;
Things for you (Kev, and others if applicable) to remember:
- The first week is hard, the second week is hard, the first week when you go to back work is really hard. Assume it remains hard for about 4 months.
- Remember that time when you were sitting in the restaurant 2 weeks before giving birth and the couple where sitting next to you with a new-born in a baby capsule? And remember you saying “that is soooo going to be us”? Yes? then you’ll also remember it sooooo wasn’t you. Be realistic, be happy if you get to a shop. Be happy if you get out to the garden together.
- Your wife spent about 9 months after the birth alternating between shell shock, extreme fatigue, despair and glowing happiness. It will happen again. Maybe not for 9 months this time but it’s going to take some adjustment. Again, be realistic.
- You have no, I repeat NO experience raising the next new-born. It could be easy, it could be a nightmare, it could sit somewhere in-between. Try not to talk too much about how it will or should be and concentrate on how it is.
- You have no , I repeat NO experience raising the next new born AND a two and a half year old. Assume nothing. As much as Miss 2.5 acts your intellectual equal, she’s little, with a little perspective on the world and that world is going to change.
- It might not all be about you for a little while. Get over it.
So, is my theory correct? Do you forget, do you remember quickly, does a well adjusted 2.5yo lull you into a false sense of security? And… what’s your list? What do I need to add? What should you have had on your list? If nothing else, what’s your one word you’d give me, a Dad about to go around for a second go?
Hi to everyone that jumped aboard the Illiterate Infant over the weekend. Great to have you here. As always, I’m sharing my Tuesday with Jess over at essentiallyjess.com, if you haven’t been there check it out – she’s awesome.
And remember, if you like what your reading and want to keep up to date with all things Illiterate, check out the facebook page, google plus or twitter?
I have no advices to give you Kevin but I just enjoyed reading this post! I might print it and give it to my hubby actually!
Don’t let him know it was from me, it’s like breaking the magicians code (the dad one anyway).
Thanks for popping in all the time! Very much appreciated
Good luck. I wrote this letter to my first when number 2 was 6 weeks oldish – you might find it interesting. It was hard. It still is. But this last month is slightly easier. I can now see a light…
commented on your blog – your awesome!
I like your fitness theory. I wish I had good advice for you, but I’m the worst one for this – as I was a little crazy when my second was born. Having a newborn/ 2nd child is HARD WORK. But there’s a pay off. In many ways it is easier having two now than one, as my boys entertain each other and play delightful games. I wish your family all the best. And don’t stress about the storeroom/ bedroom- newborns don’t seem to worry about these things!
I have good news for you, though your wife would definitely NOT want to hear it – but in my family, babies tend to come late. Back in the olden days, when they didn’t automatically induce, my grandmother went to 44 weeks with one of her pregnancies . . . great for getting stuff finished. Awful for the mum, though (I went to 42)
Great post. In my recent experience the afterbirth physical recovery is harder second time, the adjustment for the older child adds a spanner to the works, and life feels a bit crazier. I think your expectations are pretty reasonable. It is a hard time but it doesn’t seem to last too long. Time flies because you are both so busy. If it’s any consolation I was at least a week overdue for both. Just take it a minute at a time. You guys will be fabulous. 🙂
Having no expectations or pre-determined mindsets will certainly serve you well Kev. And it will just flow into a new normal for your family.
All I know is, I was never prepared enough. Rachel xx
If it’s any consolation both my bubs were a week late. Hope that helps you ( I doubt it will fill your wife with hope … she’s no doubt over the whole pregnancy caper by now)
Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
My Dad always says he is amazed that women ever go through child birth more than once. But our bodies are designed to forget (or something like that). Its the same with this. You forget how deeply exhausting having a newborn is. You are supposed to. Or you would never willing do it again. Your lack of experience in having a newborn and a toddler is precisely the qualification you need to undertake such a ridiculous enterprise. Your humility in the face of impending chaos is appropriate and about the only ‘prepared’ you can be. My only advice is take lots of time in the next four weeks to enjoy just having one. And be gentle with Miss 2.5 as she adjusts to another baby. It will take longer than you think. Especially as it will be aaaaaages before the baby gets interesting enough for her to play with. Big love to you all xxx
Your fitness theory is brilliant. I know that I am not new born ready and I don’t think I ever want to be again. Three is plenty me thinks. Wishing you and the wife all the best for this new journey
Good Luck Kev! Miss Z was only 14.5 months when her brother arrived. I thought I was ready, I thought I was going to be able to slip straight back in to looking after a newborn since Miss Z was such an “easy” baby. All babies are different which is what I failed to realise! The sleep deprivation this time around was awful!
I would love a third child, but the newborn thing (even though I have been through it twice) scares the crap out of me! 😦
2nd baby definitely easier because you remember how to do things.. only difference.. they are completely different babies and will probably have different traits.. like my son at 21 months old has never slept more than 4 hours a night before waking up for a bottle.. every night.
but that won’t stop us wanting a 3rd 🙂
#teamIBOT was here 🙂
It’s bizarre because you are literally doubling the amount of children in your home. I found going from 1-2 much harder than 2-3 and even 3-4. You forget how little babies are, and then your toddler seems huge.
One thing to remember though, is that toddlers are used to us doing stuff to them. Putting them in the car, taking them here and there, making them eat. A baby is just something else we do in their minds. I’m sure it’s not much different to ‘oh you got me new shoes!’ although these shoes are more high maintenance.
Good luck Kev. You sound pretty well prepared 🙂
Hi We had our 3rd boy in May last year. I think I waffled on your Facebook page (sorry about that) but really all you guys can do is go in with no expectations and take it as it comes.The first 6-8 weeks are hard work, but we all get through it. My boys were all late…Goodluck
Patient – and supportive – it is just like falling off a bike, you never forget. Try and rest when baby does, and remember you can’t break him/her and that habits can be broken so be kind to yourselves! Em x
Great post – and having no expectations is a sensible and realistic way to go. We’re four months into doing the new born thing for the third time. I’m buggered but happy. Each time has been different, but the adjustment of 1-2 kids was definitely harder than from 2-3. I struggled for a couple of weeks with Mummy guilt about not being able to do as much with #1 second time around… My tendency to burst into tears because #1 wasn’t coping, or was coping beautifully, or anything in between was interesting for my husband to deal with!
OH my God, you have brought back some terrible memories!!!!
Remind me NEVER to have any more babies!!
Luckily they are universally cute and endearing. All the very best!
For us it was totally different second time round, as parents we trusted our instincts and because we had already been working as a team understood each other (or I should say my husband understood me in my sleep deprived state). I found that Cerys just slotted in to family life, we wanted to keep things as normal as possible for Grace and that worked well for all of us. You’ll be fine – try not to worry 🙂
I can’t be supportive of on-time babies sorry. Mine didn’t even get to 36 weeks. Knock about 3 weeks off that and try being organised 🙂 Good luck with that fitness level!
No advice from me Kev. A small word of encouragement though – sometimes babies are even LATE, remember? You may squeeze a few extra days out of those four weeks before your wife begs for mercy. Second babies? Not easier. They are babies. Just like the first ones. They do different things, some harder, some easier, all individual. The people who say the second ones are easier got ‘easier’ babies than their first ones. Mine, not so much. But that’s ok. They eventually grow up. Love this post. I’d bookmark it for helpful tips but I’m never, ever, ever (sing Taylor Swift in your head now) having more babies.
I don’t think you’re ever ready. In our case the second was a breeze in comparison. I’ll never forget how enormous the Big Sister seemed when I bought the Little Sister home from hospital!
Every baby is different. We thought we were newborn fit when number 2 was coming, my god were we wrong! So go in with no expectations. That’s all I could add.
You’ll prob get less sleep 2nd time round, but you are more used to it.
Also does you no good to keep track of how many hours sleep you did/didn’t get. It only makes you feel worse.
Hi MrsM, thanks for popping by. I like you recommendation of not keeping track of what your missing out on – what you resist persists
New born fitness theory = genius! Hit the nail on the head!
Finally getting a chance to catch up on blog reading (don’t tell my boss!).
I think your fitness theory is sound, and one I will be carrying with me. I think the only thing that will be easier is the basics, like changing nappies, swaddling, dressing for the conditions. I think those are the kinds of skills that once you learn you remember pretty well. I’m also thinking that one big difference with #2 (for me anyway) will be slightly less worry that I’m doing everything wrong, because I’ve learnt from Mia that as long as I follow my instincts that’s all the ‘rightness’ my mothering needs.
Everything else? All bets are off! This next bub could be awesome, could be a nightmare, who knows. I’m just gonna try to go with the flow and follow the kids lead. Definitely no point in having expectations, although to be honest, with this baby I am kinda expecting the worst, in the hopes that if we are lucky enough that the worst doesn’t eventuate, then whatever happens will be good! Does that make any sense?
TBH I’m more worried about Mia and how she is going to cope and making sure she is ok and looking after her properly than I am the newborn.
#5 is what you don’t fully grasp ahead of time. There’s a big difference (not for the better) between maternity leave with one infant, and maternity leave with a 2.5 year old and a 5 month old. Good luck with your family’s transition. Our toddler likes her baby brother, so the main issue has been stopping her from “taking care” of him. Fortunately we got the more difficult child first, so everything has actually been easier than we expected.