How you change with the second baby, an empirical study, part IV: Rolling over

With the first baby, you read a lot about her physical and emotional development. You know each day not only what new skills she’s acquiring but also how to help her develop those skills further. You perform a series of gentle physical exercises with your baby each day and you’re really looking forward to her reaching her next big milestone: rolling over. You have a feeling it will happen soon so you video every play session because it would be a disaster if you didn’t catch this special moment on film. You’re excited for a week, announcing to all your friends and family that your baby might roll over soon. Then you’re worried for a week because you would have expected her to roll over already, is there anything wrong? When she finally does roll over, you send that video to everyone in the family, followed by numerous videos of her getting even better at rolling over! Then you start getting excited about her sitting up by herself. You have to start reading about that!

With the second baby, all of a sudden you realise that your baby’s as old as your first born was when she rolled over. When you come back into the lounge from the kitchen one day, you get a bit excited because your baby might have rolled over. You’re not sure though because you can’t remember if you left him on his tummy or on his back when you left the room – so he either rolled over or he hasn’t moved at all. Mental note to self: avoid leaving the baby unattended on the bed for longer periods of time because he will roll over eventually.

The joys of doing a night shift when you have two kids

I fell asleep (if you don’t count a short nap on the sofa) shortly before midnight. Around 1:30, I woke up frantically searching for Benny who got lost. I woke Jay up by almost pulling his arm off because I was afraid he might have fallen asleep on top of the baby. “He’s in his bed”, Jay said. And this made a lot of sense because Benny’s always in his bed.

I managed to get back to sleep feeling confused after a scary dream that melted into reality until around 2:30 I heard Molly cry and scream. I ran into her room before she could wake Benny up and gave her a hug. I told her “Benny’s in his bed” because that was the most soothing thing I could think of saying to calm her down from a bad dream.

Around 4, she was awake again. This time she also woke her brother up. I gave them both their dummies, but Benny was wide awake. “Shhh…” I said, “You’re in your bed” but that was exactly where he didn’t want to be. So it was feeding time.

Around 4:30 he was almost asleep again. I put him down, excited about finally going to bed when I noticed he was taking a poo. I briefly considered pretending I didn’t see it and acting all surprised in the morning because honestly, anything sounded better than waking him up again. I am not an asshole though, so nappy change time it was. I carefully avoided eye contact but regardless of all of my efforts, Benny was smiley, happy and definitely not asleep.

Around 5:30 he finally fell asleep on the sofa and I made myself comfortable, already decided not to move until morning… Except that fifteen minutes later I heard my beloved daughter shouting for water extremely loudly and with a lot of determination. So I carried Benny back to his bed because I was scared he might fall off the sofa, I saved Molly’s life by handing her a water bottle that was right next to her bed and squeezed into her tiny bed with her, telling her a story at 6 a.m.

At 7:15 our day started again, with all the crying and screaming and trying to stay calm. I’m determined to have a pleasant morning so I just dropped Molly off at the daycare, fed Benny and we’re both about to take a nap in the car, in the parking lot. I’m just hoping all this rain will distract passers-by from looking in and calling the police.

How you change with a second baby, an empirical study, part III: Showering

Baby number one: you feed the baby and put her down on her playmat to play while you quickly take a shower. As soon as you get into the shower, you can hear the baby hysterically cry. You turn the water off and listen. Everything’s silent. Instead of calming you down, this makes you jump out of the shower and run into the lounge to save your baby from whatever horrible thing that was happening to her. You find her happily playing. Back into the shower. Crying again. Water off again. Run into the lounge again. Repeat the whole process again. Give up on the shower. They say that happy mama equals happy baby but you’re only happy if you can look at your baby’s smiling face ALL the time, making sure she’s safe.

Baby number two: you feed the baby and put him down on his playmat to play while you take a shower. You take a shower, wash your hair, sing loudly to yourself. You get out of the shower to find your baby happily playing on the playmat. You say: “Oh, hello, you’re here!” and go prepare breakfast. You feel like some nice toast this morning.

The fall

Benny fell of the sofa a few days ago, while Jay was sitting right next to him. These kinds of accidents are a lot less painful with the second child. I didn’t cry at all.
On the bright side: Benny laughed out loud for the first time later that day. It’s possible that the fall killed some of his brain cells so he finally started to find Jay funny.

How you change with the second baby, an empirical study, part II: Bed time

I’m very strict with our kids’ bedtimes and for both of them, I have established night time routines pretty much from the day they were born.

With Molly it was: bath, pajamas, milk, lullaby, sleep.
With Benny it is: pajamas, milk, asking Molly not to turn the light on, telling Molly to turn the light back off, holding Benny in the dark room silently while attentively listening to the noises from the lounge and hoping he’ll fall asleep before Molly gets bored of watching TV.