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A new year, and a lot of new news

So it’s been a while since my last post, 12 months to be precise. And the reason blogging on this site stopped was two big changes in our family life. I went back to work, and we became pregnant with our second child.

Working while pregnant was exhausting, even though I really enjoyed working again, far more then I had expected. I worked part time for 6 months (pregnant the entire assignment!) and the worst part was the incredible number of colds I managed to pick up over those months. With Harriet in childcare 2 days a week (another huge change to our lives but she grew to love it) I got every illness going, plus working in a hospital didn’t help things! But even with all of that I enjoyed the contrast of working and home life far more than I had anticipated, making both worlds all the better as I had to other to look forward to. It also gave us an idea of how our ‘working family’ might work, which was worth the experience too.

An then amazingly we had our second daughter, Philippa, who was born on 18th November 2010.

And amazingly she is now almost 4 months old and I remain mainly sane, although massively sleep deprived.

Two daughters is twice the fun, but also double the work. Andrew stayed home for the first 6 weeks which was fabulous. Interestingly I found the experience far more relaxing than the first time, while he found it far more intense (given that caring for Harriet basically fell to him for most of the day and there is a big difference between a newborn and a jealous toddler I think I had the better end of the deal).

When he went back to work I was alone with our two babies, and then the work really began. Sadly I didn’t realise how easy I had it the first time around; mothering your second child is so different to your first. I’m so much more relaxed and I have much less time to sit around and stress about if I’m doing it right! I also have a range of tried and true strategies that I can wheel out without thought, which is really great. I have a new baby carrier, an Ergo, which I adore, and my motto of ‘Get Out or Go Mad’ remains the one I live by. I also speak ‘baby’ far more fluently then I did which makes determining what might be going on with Philippa far easier. The downside is that my free time during the day is far more restricted, and I really miss that. And that lack of sleep is far more acute as there so little downtime during the day in which to recover from the lack of night sleep. And if there’s a run of two feeds a night then the days become more and more unbearable.

But then we have times like the one in this photo and it all seems worthwhile. So some of my favourite moments of double mothering to date are:

1) Giving birth knowing what was going to come next (even though it was quite a different experience – but still a good one. Note to all, say no to trainee midwives!).
2) Lazing around at the hospital without my toddler and with my gorgeous newborn and husband. Andrew and I read the newspaper each morning, and had dinner together!
3)When they’re both asleep around midday, and I can nap or vegout with some recorded tv, knowing that they both look so cute while napping.
4) Walking to the park with my little chicken sleeping in the Ergo up against my chest, and talking to my toddler as she rides in the stroller (I’m not alone this time around, although the conversation topics tend to be repeated and I get a lot of questions about insects and ‘What’s that sound?’ – Harriet’s favourite question in the whole universe)
5) Seeing the differences between my two babies. Philippa loves to be on her tummy, Harriet hated it. Philippa already moves around a lot, Harriet took ages to move much at all (although I was always next to her fetching and gathering so she didn’t need too!)
6) Listening to my two girls talking. Harriet telling Philippa some story, and Philippa making her little chirping sounds, which she does when she wants attention. Harriet is starting to want to ‘play’ with Philippa which is lovely.
7) Hanging out in the backyard under our washing line, eating our fruit picnics and watching the birds and clouds roll by.

It’s not all sunshine and roses, but most of the time it’s good, and sometimes it’s great.

Posted by Kate on Mar 10 2011 under Scott News

2 Responses to “A new year, and a lot of new news”

  1. Bob Says:

    Sounds awesome.

    Some self-interested questions:
    – How does the “jealous toddler” thing pan out?
    – Is Andrew as tired as you are?
    – Tips?

  2. Kate Says:

    Most of the time it’s pretty good, although it certainly has it moments!

    Harriet was pretty jealous, after the initial excitement died down. I’ve always let her touch Philippa, and try not to have too many rules about what she can and can’t do around her. I also try to include her as much as I can in Philippa care and talk about how she is ‘our’ baby. She is proud of being a big sister, and the positive attention telling strangers that brings! I think all you can do is expect it, and try to understand it from the older siblings perspective. We read a lot of books to Harriet about having a sister, and also spoke a lot about how babies cry a lot, and are annoying as mummy an daddy have to spend time with them etc.

    I think Andrew is more tired then he was with Harriet as now he is responsible for a lot more of Harriet’s care both before and after work, as I am feeding Philippa etc. I am certainly more tired as there is a lot less time to rest during the day.

    My best piece of advice is get a really good baby carrier, we have an Ergo, as it has been a lifesaver for me! And stock up of favorite tv shows, books and indoor activities that the older sibling can do with minimal support. And have a day a week where the older kid is in care, if possible.

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