It’s amazing to observe how different siblings can be even before they are born. My two pregnancies were very different and each of the girls had their own personality even ‘in uterus’. J wasn’t very active and there were many times when I cried at night worried that something bad had happened. I could barely feel her moving and I would spend a couple of hours trying all the tricks until I could feel a kick. My second baby, L, was extremely active kicking and moving all around which was very reassuring between doctor visits.
During the first pregnancy, I knew exactly how many weeks and days I was pregnant and I checked the pregnancy apps (I had 2 on my phone) a few times a day. After J was born, I spent a lot of time researching everything baby related, including the healthy color of infant poo. I sterilized everything before she would touch it and would spend a long time staring at her to make sure she was breathing while sleeping. I lost count of how many times I called the doctor’s office for small things such as a common diaper rash. All my scientific training seemed useless when I was dealing with my precious baby.
My second pregnancy was completely different. When people asked me how far along I was, I didn’t know for sure how many weeks, so I would just say the approximate month or the due date. I didn’t install any pregnancy app and luckily I didn’t have to do a lot of shopping because baby L was going to wear most of J’s clothes. I never sterilized any toys or bottles for L but she never got sick, except for the occasional cold. I still spent time checking if she was breathing while sleeping to the point of waking her up if I wasn’t sure. To be honest, I still call the doctor’s office for small things once in while, mostly to reassure myself I’m doing the right thing.
One thing I was never able to do was to let my first baby cry to sleep. When my husband suggested sleep training, which would include letting her cry for some time, I got very angry: “I didn’t have a child to let them cry alone!” The sound of J’s crying was like torture to my ears. I can remember one day driving back home alone with her in the car and she started to cry and scream very hard. I was in the highway and didn’t have a back mirror at that time. I started to panic and as soon as I got in the city I stopped the car and took her out. She stopped to cry immediately and I called my husband in tears. It was crazy. I put the baby back in the car and of course she started to cry again and cried all the way home, about 30 min, to just fall asleep a block away from home. After that, we got a mirror, so if she cried I would at least see that she was okay. It was never easy though.
When our second baby arrived, our routine and experiences as parents were completely different. I had left my full time job to stay at home with the kids so baby L’s first months of life were much different than J’s. Now, as a stay at home mom, I had more time to bond and get to know them.This was one of the most challenging but rewarding experiences of my life (after giving birth).
With baby L I felt more confident as a mother, I knew what to expect and how to respond to most of her needs based on my previous experience. I was able to enjoy the infant phase a little bit more without the first-time-mom stress.
Having two small kids is a blessing but it is definitely double the work. Being at home and alone for most of the day with them requires patience, good routine, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Going through the sleep regression phases and teething were the toughest, and this time I could not nap or rest when the baby was napping. Days were busy and intense with toddler tantrums and tired baby. But this time I knew it was only a phase. I knew that eventually the baby would sleep better and I would gain my sanity back.
The best part, the one that warms my heart and makes it all worth it is to see them playing together. I’m so glad to see how J loves her little sister and tries to take care of her, and how L looks up to J with big admiration. I feel my soul lighten at every laugh and every hug. Recently J looked at me and said: “mommy you are a very good one!” It was so unexpected and so sweet. It made my day and I went to sleep with a smile on my face.
Baby L is now walking at only 10 months old! She follows her sister everywhere and really want to be part of all the games and fun. Their personalities continue to develop and I can tell that J will be more reserved while L seems to be open to everyone giving free smiles everywhere we go.
As if it is even possible, my love for them keeps growing. I can’t imagine my life without these little trouble makers. Yes, I get grumpy and I complain once in a while. Who doesn’t like a good night of sleep? But I would not change a thing. I would choose them over and over again. Having a second child is definitely worth it!