This discussion comes up now and again when mums get chatting – which was more of a transition? Zero to one child? Or one to two?
I love hearing what other mums have to say, as I fit firmly in the zero to one camp. What an absolute shocker going from having no children to one child was…for me anyway. I found those first few weeks and months far more ‘enlightening’ than I ever could have imagined and I naively thought I (kind of) knew what to expect. I’d grown up in a house that always had a baby in it – surely they just know when they’re tired, surely they love being cuddled, surely I’ll know when they’re hungry, surely it can’t be that tiring and surely we’ll get to grips with everything in a few short weeks.
I do think Rufus was a slightly easier baby – he fed straight away and he liked being cuddled to sleep. Two things that made a big difference, but I know that the main factor in finding the one to two transition easier was confidence. I hate not knowing what I’m doing and I’m not good at feeling out of control either – it’s not my personality and it makes me panic. So many people comment how laid back of a person I am, and I am, but only once I know what I’m doing. I will always remember the midwife commenting that we were the most laid back and relaxed parents she’d ever seen…we burst into laughter. She literally could not have been more wrong – I have now idea how our ‘few-day-old’ parenting faces hid our feelings so well.
I’m not one of those people who is happy feeding on demand all day and all through the night, or is happy not having an established routine for sleep. Obviously there are times you have to, but I couldn’t do it every single day. I have to have routine and I believe it makes me so much more flexible, which I realise probably doesn’t make sense – another time maybe? I love last minute plans, I love being flexible and I love being out with them, but you can’t do that until you have the confidence to do so, and some idea what to expect from them.
I found my first baby unknown territory and in the first few months it really ate away at my confidence. I was trying so hard to do the right things and make him happy – some days it would work and others it wouldn’t. I took everything personally and Jared would remind me that tiny babies don’t think like us – it’s not because they don’t like us, or think we’re rubbish – they’re just sensitive, fickle creatures and they certainly don’t care about our feelings. It was really hard not to…when you literally couldn’t be trying any harder. It took us a really long time to realise that Winston hated being cuddled. That one really took me by surprise. It was like it made him feel claustrophobic, and he’s still not keen now. Who ever heard of a baby that hated being cuddled? I found it totally bizarre.
I used to feel bad that I didn’t truly enjoy Winston until he was about 10 months old, but now I don’t. I know I tried my absolute best and I honestly find it humorous now. I didn’t feel the overwhelming love that I did for Rufus when Winston was born – it took a few months to get there, but with Rufus I loved him instantly because I knew what a little character he would become, and I loved him for that already. I feel ok about that too.
Ru seemed to just slip into our lives and I enjoyed the baby stage a million times more (yes, I said it). My mum had Winston to stay over for a couple of nights when he was born and Jared and I felt like we were on holiday. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves! Jared and I used to keep him downstairs once Winston was in bed for the first few months. We loved having him there – sometimes on a cushion, sometimes on a make shift bed but mostly on one of us. We loved just watching him, we hoped on some level he knew we were there and he knew how loved he was.
Win was a planned baby, very much wanted and we thought we were ready for him. We were, but we were incredibly naive and I’m almost certain every new parent is. In the first months of Winston’s life Jared and I would get frustrated: “Why did nobody tell us how hard looking after a baby is?”, but the truth is no one can tell you. You really do live and learn, and it is absolutely impossible for anyone to tell you what happens when a tiny person enters your life.
It’s also impossible for anyone to tell you the amount of love that opens in your hearts for them. You’ll find yourself looking at pictures of them when they’ve just gone to bed, you’ll find yourself crying when they do something new and you’ll miss them annoying you when they’re not there.
I don’t know how it works, but love is not taken up. It grows and love you didn’t think was possible can completely overwhelm you. Love is magical and every single person on this earth deserves it. I am infinitely grateful for it in my life.
When Win met Ru – all he wanted to do was jigsaws…I don’t blame ya son!