You know you are a blogger when you are lying in bed with a child suckling at your breast and a case of sleep deprivation so severe that you no longer remember your own name…and you are jotting down notes on a piece of paper for the book you HAVE to write. Yep, that happened to me. I spent the early months after my second child was born alternately dashing from the first kid to the second kid to the notepad to write it all down.
I should also mention that my youngest didn’t sleep through the night AT ALL until she was 16 months old. So, my incoherent ramblings might be just that. But it seems a shame to throw all my ideas out with the empty booze bottles. I’ve decided to break them down into a series of blog posts called “Oops I Did It Again: A story of parenting the second time around”. If you guys like them, I’ll share some more. If you hate them, I’ll go off and cry over a glass of wine….or as I like to call that, Tuesday night.
So with no further ado, I give you “Oops I Did It Again”, Part 1 of who the hell knows.
Oops I Did It Again
Having your first child is a bit like taking a trip to Oz. You spin head over heels until someone drops a house on you. You pick yourself up and find that you’ve landed in an alternate reality, but it is so amazing that you decide just to go along with it. You are surrounded by dancing little people singing in really obnoxious voices, and yet that seems normal. You wander around for a bit and somewhere along the way, you find your courage and heart but definitely not your brain.
And then oops, you’ve done it again.
The second time around is like coming back to Kansas to discover that the scarecrow is actually a pile of laundry that has grown into the shape of a man and the lion is an abandoned dirty diaper with a fuzzy layer of mould in the shape of a mane. Your brain is still missing and shows no signs of ever returning. Thank god for the extra heart and dose of courage you picked up along the way. One thing is sure: you are going to need them.
Chapter 1: Prenatal Class for the Second Time Parent
I remember going to prenatal class the first time around. The teacher had us hold a handful of crushed ice for 1 min, squeezing as hard as possible to mimic the pain of a contraction. Then she had us practice dressing a baby doll. You can imagine the riotous laughter that came whenever someone asked me if I was going to attend prenatal classes the second time around.
Second time parents know too much to be fooled by baby dolls and platitudes. They know that the “First 100 Days” of trials and tribulations can easily be 1000. They want, in short, to hear from someone that is right along side of them in the trenches. If second time parents got to pick the topics, these would be the course modules for “Prenatal for the Already Parents”:
- One kid, two hands. Two kids, one hand. You only thought you learned how to do everything important one-handed after you had your first kid. It isn’t until you have your second that you remember that you sometimes put the original kid down to accomplish a task. When you have two kids, you pretty much only put the new baby down so that you can pick the first one back up again. A good prenatal class would tie one hand to your side and then make you do everything. Get dressed. Tie your shoes. Cook a four-course meal. Bike. Dress another child. And on and on and on. For extra credit, you would also be blindfolded.
- Breastfeeding while going. This is not to be confused with “breastfeeding on the go”. Breastfeeding while going would teach you how to properly position your baby on the breast so that you can run on a treadmill while he or she eats. You will not sit down again until those kids move out of the house. They might as well acknowledge that up front with an advanced course on the football hold.
- Nipple confusion. Or rather the lack thereof. If your second child is a frequent breastfeeder, you will begin looking everywhere for a convenient excuse to get them off the breast. At some sleep-deprived low point, you will introduce the bottle in the hope that nipple confusion will accidentally happen. It will not. Trust me, I tried 7 different bottles.
- Alcohol versus coffee. This section would be an open debate of the pros and cons of alcohol versus coffee, starting from the assumption that you will drink both while breastfeeding. The alcohol makes them sleep: pro. The alcohol makes you sleep on your feet: con. The coffee wakes you up: pro. The coffee wakes them up: con. See what I mean?
- The last critical module would be called Pump & Dump. The subtitle would be Over My Dead Body. For many second time moms, every pumped ounce equals one hour of freedom from motherhood. You would sooner chop your arm off than dump one out. The Pump & Dump module would educate you on how far you will push the limits of acceptability for using (and reusing) stored breast milk.
There would be no pee breaks, no lunch and you’d have to fight your way to the snack table for a handful of shortbread crumbs. In the end, all of the participants would go home with a 45lb diaper bag and pockets full of cheap, choke-hazard toys that MUST NOT BE LOST UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
Terrible? Maybe. But let’s all admit it. This is what it is like to parent the second time around.