Second Time’s A Charm

(Disclaimer 1: Yesterday and last night Baby Evan was a fussy mess. His 3 hour nap was broken up by several crying fits, stayed sad and grumpy most of the afternoon and got up twice last night, a record I would have thought was awesome just a few months ago but now sends me into a spiraling mess of exhaustion and hopelessness, as in “OH GOD I REMEMBER THIS NOT SLEEPING THING AND I CAN. NOT. DO. IT.” )

(Disclaimer 2: I don’t actually have a second child yet, so take everything with a grain of salt. Or maybe a ginormous, huge, Utah salt flats sized block.)

I’ve decided that having a second baby is infinitely easier than having a first baby.

When you’re pregnant the first time, most of your friends are childless. Childless people flock together like beautiful, exotic birds to go out on Saturday night and do fun things like drink alcohol in bars and rub up against each other and plan spur-of-the-moment trips to Thailand or Paris or Antarctica or Mars or whatever fancy location is hip this week. There is no place for babies in that world – it’s too hard to find shoes to match every color of poop. Even if you have a sister or a cousin or a best friend who had babies first, they probably aren’t a part of your daily social circle. You get all your advice from books or message boards or magazines and end up setting incredibly unrealistically high standards for every part of your life as a mom. You struggle through the first few months of babydom alone, or at least feeling alone, until you finally venture out of the house blinking and squinting at the lights like that poor groundhog in Pennsylvania, hoping the long winter is over.

The second time around, your childless friends have flocked away and you hang out with other parents. Parents understand babies. You meet at the library or at a playground or through daycare or a mom’s group or a local baby store. You plan mid-week playdates when all your old friends are at work and only visit coffee shops that have drive thru windows and take trips to the zoo instead of weekends at the spa. You plan to go to France and Antarctica and Mars together…someday. Right now you’re too busy trading baby sitter stats and tips for hiding vegetables in your brownies.

And Thank God for all of that. Mom friends have no problem listening to endless complaints about morning sickness and exhaustion and diaper explosions. They have real world advice on how to deal with teething and spit up and problems latching and first solids. They have maternity clothes in various sizes and seasons that they will lend/give you. Their garages and attics are full of boxes of baby clothes they are dying to get rid of, especially if you are having a baby the opposite gender from the first one. (You will, of course, still buy a few things yourself but you don’t actually have to.) They will watch your kid at the playground while you run off to find a bathroom because you need to pee. AGAIN.

If you’re super lucky, you’re mom’s group will have an organized Mama Meals program and by the time you actually get around to having the second baby your freezer will be stocked with enough frozen lasagnas and casseroles and homemade baked goods to feed an army of hungry husbands and toddlers.

You know that, realistically, you probably won’t need that crib for at least a few months so having a nursery done before 32 weeks gestation is overkill. You already have the baby gear you ACTUALLY couldn’t live without, rather than the things on the Must Have Baby Items Registry List Sponsored By Babies R Us, Enfamil And Your Own Psychotic Need To Plan Ahead.

You know that there IS such a thing as too many newborn size diapers.

And when the second baby actually comes and you’ve got spit up in your hair and haven’t slept in a week and would kill for a pizza instead of a frozen casserole, you will have friends who understand, bring you a frappuccino, and maybe even watch that pesky first kid for an hour or two.

I an 25 weeks today and I haven’t so much as opened my copy of What To Expect this time around. It is glorious.

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9 Responses to “Second Time’s A Charm”

  1. APRIL says:

    I could not agree with you anymore – every.single.word.

  2. ryan says:

    Ah. Sounds GLORIOUS! I can’t wait.

  3. you’ve touched on SO MANY things that i’ve imagined about how having a second baby would be like. makes me what another lil’ biscuit even more! (the bebeh fever has hit me like whoa this week. are we gluttons for punishment or something?! ;D)

    great post, lady. love it.

    xoxo!

  4. Ashley says:

    It is so nice to have mommy friends. I have one friend from my pre-baby days that still makes an effort to hang out with me, but she doesn’t always get it. Like when I was explaining about baby-proofing (of which there is a minimal amount in my house) she remarked that it was similar to dog-proofing. Yeah except my toddler can reach and will absolutely, without a doubt, go for that fancy katana sitting on a shelf that is a mere two feet off the floor. I definitely think I will be better of emotionally when I have my next one(in another year or two) because I won’t feel so isolated and alone.

  5. bellegourmande says:

    I also cannot wait. I mean, I can, since baby #1 is only 15 weeks old. But I imagine that even though it will be in some ways harder since there will be two of them, it will in so many other ways easier because we won’t be total newbies like we are now! Speaking of meeting other moms, anyone have any tips? I have a few mom friends but almost all of our friends are childless. We are therefore in a sort of “transition” phase where we are trying to socialize with our childless friends while juggling nighttime routines with baby. This often means that on weekends baby doesn’t go to bed until 10PM or later (which actually is his routine even when we stay in; he does not go quietly at night, but that’s another topic). He seems fine with this but I’ve been told that we need to get him to sleep earlier than that (and that the older he gets the earlier he needs to go to bed). We don’t want to have to get babysitters too often but also don’t want to totally give up our social lives at night (and we like spending time with friends AND with baby). How did other people deal with this transition? Do we just need to suck it up and stay home more? (sorry for the ridiculously long comment!)

    • merin says:

      Our baby has never been an early-to-bed baby. She is a sleep fighter and won’t go down until SHE is literally exhausted. It was really frustrating for a while but once we decided to roll with her schedule, it was a lot better. She is almost 16mo and still doesn’t go to bed before 9, unless she’s just exhausted, then maybe 8:30 :) I tried to institute an 8 PM bedtime around 8 months and everyone was miserable.

      As for getting babysitter-I think as long as you have someone you can trust and you explain the situation (i.e. the baby is going to be awake so get ready to play!!), it will be fine. To this day our daughter goes to sleep early AND in her crib (now bed) when we have a babysitter…which kind of makes me want to hire her every night! Think of it this way-you are getting more of your money’s worth if the baby is awake instead of paying the sitter to watch TV/sleep/text while your baby is sleeping!

      Good luck!

  6. Patty L. says:

    …until you finally venture out of the house blinking and squinting at the lights like that poor groundhog in Pennsylvania, hoping the long winter is over.

    great writing! I so related to this. I love my mommy friends!!!

  7. Emmie Bee says:

    It’s true. I bet people think I’m crazy when I’m like “yeah, 3 is totally fine.” but it’s just because I don’t care about fitting into standards as much. I do what works for our family & I don’t really care if sleeping on their stomach is bad. If Sawyer sleeps 12 hours on her stomach you better damn well believe she sleeps on her stomach. Basically, since you cannot control all the variables of adding a second child, nor can you find the time to OBSESS over everything you once did- things (IMO) go much smoother.

  8. becca says:

    it’s all VERY true! I remember being in the hospital with my #2 and saying to my husband, “I love not having to worry that I’m going to break off one of baby’s arms when I put his onesie on!” And not freaking out when his poop was BRIGHT yellow. You’re just more laid back. You know you CAN do it. CAN do anything… 25 weeks… it will be here SOOOOOON! :)

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