SORRY TO MY FIRST
As the oldest of two, I have always wanted to have more than two kids. My brother and I would beg our parents for another sibling growing up. Partly because we hated each other and wanted a ‘new’, ‘better,’ brother or sister, but also because we loved each other and wanted another play mate to join in on our fun.
When my husband first held Milla he immediately told me he wanted another ten of those moments! Thank god he was emotional and exaggerating but he then spent each day of his paternity leave (those were the days) telling me how much he wanted to do it again and again and again. Of course I absolutely would love to have another child ‘one day’ I would say, he just wanted another straight away. Any new mother will tell you about the hundreds of “when will you go again?” comments you get right from the start. I had at least a dozen visitors in the hospital alone who asked me that question. Two years on and the ‘let’s have another baby’ convos are becoming frequent.
I’ve never wanted to have two under two. Nothing against those who do, I think you’re incredible and you obviously have this whole mothering gig far more together than I. I’ve always just envisaged a nice 3-4 year gap with a lovely, helpful, independent little Miss/Mr to dote on their little sibling. From about twelve months Milla became obsessed with babies, real and pretend. Each day care day when I pick her up at least one of the carers tells me she ‘needs’ to be a big sister. They even let her go into the nursery after lunch every day to help feed the bubbas. Cheers for the advice Goodstart but for now that’s what baby cousins are for.
After recently reading a few ‘Sorry to my second’ articles I began thinking about just how different the second time will be and have loved reading about the experiences of pregnancy and newborn life with a toddler. Probably because they’ve given me tonnes of evidence based research to show my husband as to why we should wait longer! For me though, at this point, it’s about being ‘Sorry to my first’.
Like all babies, mine grew up far too quickly! Her newborn stage really didn’t last long. I was always that mum at the shops whose baby was never asleep in the pram, always eyes wide taking in her surroundings. Fortunately, she slept perfectly in her cot or the car but give her any kind of stimulation and the kid was a fighter! I was constantly told, in the lead up to motherhood, that the first three months are the hardest. Somehow though, I managed to hit the ‘newborn jackpot.’ The sleepless nights ended quickly and Milla was never really a hungry baby (not that you would have known it when looking at her). Before I knew it my chubby, happy bubba was sitting up and remained on her bum, shuffling around in delight, for another 12 months! It was around that point that I started to realise what I’d done.
I’m sorry I wished away those first three months. Even though you slept well I felt like things were going to get even better (because that’s what they all said). That I’d be able to dress you in clothes other than onesies as the poo explosions would surely stop. That I’d be able to get out of the house more because you wouldn’t sleep so much (so stupid). That you’d be able to support your own head and sit up, and that you would have had those first crucial vaccinations that meant I could stop freaking out so much about people holding or touching you (never had I known anxiety until passing around my newborn).
I’m sorry I wished away the first six months because that was my breastfeeding goal and it was hard. That I hated undressing myself to feed you in the cold. That I’d be able to stop keeping you awake and feeding to get ‘enough’ into you. That I could stop expressing, thanks to your lip tie that wasn’t picked up until 8 weeks meaning you had never attached properly. Most of all that I could finally say goodbye to sore nipples and the wet t-shirt, milk drenched, morning wake up calls.
I’m sorry I wished away those first nine months, so that you’d be able to find your own dummy in the night. That you could feed yourself so I could do those fifteen other things I needed to do. That you could start to move your fat little body around the house chasing after the cat who made you giggle and kept you entertained for at least half an hour. So that you would start to communicate and point and we knew what you wanted and could get you that moisturising lotion your little heart so desperately desired.
I’m sorry to wish away the first twelve months so you would cut those teeth already (why can’t they just be born with them!?) That you would get into the Wiggles and give me more time to myself during the day, start to finally stand up on your own, eat whatever Mummy and Daddy were eating, and drop a nap so we could go out all afternoon. Most of all that I could finally put you in that Tutu du Monde dress for your First birthday party that I’d had picked out since you were born.
I’m sorry I wished away the first eighteen months so you’d be walking and my back/neck pain would end, you’d string sentences together so I’d know that you were only upset because you wanted “to put more in cat bowl”. That you’d be happy to go to the park and swing for hours with just Daddy. That you’d drop having your bed time bottle so I didn’t need to run down to the shop a couple of nights a week upon realising last minute we were out, or that you’d gently pull our faces towards you with your beautiful little hands to kiss us every night before bed and reply “hoot hoot” to our “see you in the morning.” And then it stopped.
I’m sorry it took me eighteen incredible months to realise I was wishing time away with you. That I spent so much time stressing about things that I know I just won’t stress about with any possible siblings of yours: What milk you’re getting, how long your nap was that day, whether you ate enough servings of veg that week, how your mental development was progressing (actually no promises on that one…teacherlife). I’m sorry that I was too scared to leave the hospital with you as I had no idea what I was doing and we ended up staying for a week and took home every hospital blanket that had touched your little body because I was too attached to leave them. I’m sorry for all the mistakes we have made, and will no doubt continue to make on you. I’m sorry that I’m not ready to give you a baby sister, like Daddy has trained you to ask me for, just yet. Most of all, I’m sorry that I will savour time so much more with any coming sibling/s you may eventually have as I now know just how precious those first couple of years are and how quickly babies turn into toddlers. Oh to have just one more cuddle with newborn Milla.