Transitioning from 1 to 2by Abigail Stanley
When I found out I was pregnant with my first baby I was 23. I had just walked out of an interview for a new job and thought I would do a test as I'd been experiencing symptoms for a few days. It was such a shock, but a good shock.
We were in the process of buying our first house and a potentially a new job, so massive changes were already happening in my life. I was quite overwhelmed. I had to weigh up the benefits of the new job against the fact I would not be eligible for any maternity pay and I decided to go ahead with the new job, knowing the long term benefit would mean we were better off.
When Teddy was born, I was thrown into motherhood and was not prepared at all. It is so true that no one tells you how hard it will be. But Teddy was a difficult baby, I know all babies are difficult, but people would tell me how difficult he was and how much hard work it took to look after him. I had no help babysitting either because nobody could cope with the work it took just to look after him for a few hours. He needed constant entertainment, I had to take him out of the house every single day or he would just scream all day. With postpartum depression on top of that, along with a psychopathic set of in-laws (but that's another tale), it made it unbearable. He would have tantrums from the age of 6 months when he would scream and slam his head on the floor in frustration. We thought it would calm down once he was older and could communicate, but to this day, he still does the same. Much to my husband's dismay, Teddy bit a chunk out of his games console because Mario wouldn't jump far enough over a gap. I don't even think Mario was as bothered as Teddy.
We found out I was pregnant when Teddy was 2 and a half. The baby was due just before his third birthday and this time, we did plan it. I was worried immediately and knew I couldn't cope with another boy, fearing he would be like Teddy. We got an early gender scan and found out I was expecting a little girl! A huge weight was lifted, but then I was immediately worried about how Teddy would cope with a baby in the house. How would he be sharing his things?
He's a daddy's boy so how would he cope with the diluted attention he received from his dad?
He didn't really understand about the baby whilst I was pregnant and when we had Minnie we had to stay in the hospital for 5 days, as she was sent to the special care unit for severe jaundice. I worried the whole time. Not just about the baby, but how this separation would hinder any good thoughts about the baby for Teddy. Would he immediately resent the baby for taking us away for almost a week? The baby was also born the day after his third birthday so we couldn't give him a party, we could only celebrate with him in the hospital. In reality, he was fine. He stayed with my grandad and had a blast!
We brought Minnie home a few hours before Teddy finished Nursery. He asked if he could hold the baby, I had to fight images of the baby being launched across the room for looking at him funny or a chunk missing out of her arm a la Nintendo Switch (Rest in Pieces). I placed the baby on his knee and they looked at each other, - that was the moment they fell in love with each other.
The baby absolutely idolises Teddy and he loves her also. He shares his toys and tickles her until she squeals. She stares at him all the time and just laughs non-stop when he is near. We have a photo screensaver on our TV and I hear her giggling sometimes and find out she's just watching his photos and missing him. Minnie is such a placid baby, that transitioning wasn't hard for us. I had so much anxiety throughout the pregnancy, worrying about the transition and it was all for nothing. There was no need to worry one bit.
The hardest part of two kids is taking them to a play gym. I take them both to a play gym that has both a baby area and an older kids area. Teddy always asks me to play with him while I'm feeding the baby, or when I'm in the baby play area which usually has an age restriction, like a sad nightclub, so Teddy can't join us. Yesterday I heard him asking another parent to please play with him and I couldn't help but cry because I was giving Minnie a bottle and couldn't join in with him.
I know the time will come where Minnie is a bit more independent and she can walk and play with him and all of us can play together at the play gym. But at the moment, I need to just keep a calm head and try and juggle both my children's happiness and needs equally.