When people ask me if having a second child was harder than the first, my standard reply is “No, our second child literally just fell seamlessly into our lives and routines”. And I mean it. With Oli we literally parented by trial and error. We learnt what worked for us and our family and we fell into a rhythm. We adored our precious little boy and doted on him, just as we do now, and you were no different, although you were. You were our second child, and for that, in arguably most households, means you raise your second child slightly differently.
My darling daughter, you are every girl a Mommy dreams of.
You arrived during a time when I wasn’t working, so money was a little tighter. When we found out we were expecting your older brother I shopped online for hours kitting out his nursery, and the first three years of his wardrobe, literally. He wore beautiful rompers from Country Road, the teeniest-tiniest Sticky Fudge jeans from 3 months, and Earthchild Baby Gap, Naartjie filled his closest. When we found out we were expecting a girl, the second-time round, I gave away all Oli’s boy-specific clothing to a friend that was expecting her second boy, and began shopping for your wardrobe. Although exceptionally cute, and well-made, there really is no reason to dress your baby in a R400 romper which they will grow out of in a couple of weeks and stain with milk and various purees. Soph, you were dressed in equally cute (but a quarter-of-the-price) rompers and whatever unisex hand-me-downs I had kept of your brother’s. You slept in his cot, rode in his pram, were strapped into his old car seat and even drank out of his blue Tommee Tippee bottles. But you were safe, and fed and that’s all that matters, right?
When Oli was born I wrote in his baby book religiously, recording every hiccup, growth spurt and milestone. My sweet Soph, I think your baby book is still largely empty three and half years down the line. I can’t quite remember when you said your first word, but I remember you warmed all of our hearts when you did and you haven’t stopped since. You are so smart and eloquent!
You had no newborn shoot like your brother – thank heavens for good quality smartphone photography, and admittedly I haven’t even printed those out. Life has been busy since you were born, you had to fit in with the demands of an older brother and our routine. I went back to work when you were eight months old (longer than some Moms get, but I was with Oli until he was over two), and as a result you had to grow up a lot faster than your brother did.
Being a mother for the second time, I did get a few things right the first-time round. When I noticed the earliest signs of colic, you were at the best chiropractor in town and so you never battled like your poor brother did. I was far more relaxed as a mother with you, as opposed to your brother. I knew all you needed was constant love, food, sleep and a routine and you would thrive – which you did. I knew a phase was just a phase, and I was less hard on myself as a mother as a result.
I had the roughest pregnancy with you, it was so much harder than what I battled with your brother, but once you were born I felt like you were rewarding me for the 9 months I had endured. You were a model baby. You slept through from a very young age, hit all your milestones way ahead of the average, drank and ate like a champion opting for baby-led-weaning making my life even easier, and you hardly ever fussed. Everyone commented what a good baby you were, and what a beautiful baby you were. As you’ve grown you’ve become even more beautiful, we get stopped in shops to be told by complete strangers how exquisite you are.
I feel like being born second, you may have gotten the raw-end-of-deal sometimes, but I promise you my little Bug, we got the best end when we had you. You are the daughter I had always dreamt of. My mini-me. Even your Dad calls you a mini-Megan. When I look at photos of you, I literally see me.
This is not an apology. You were planned, you were wanted, and although you’ve been raised slightly different to our first, you are loved absolutely equally. You’ve completed our precious family – thank you.