Those baby milestones. Special firsts captured the moment they occur. Then, once the photos have been taken, video captured and messages sent to granny and grandpa to let them know of this great feat just performed by your amazing little human, they’re written straight in the book.
Fast forward to second or third baby, you might catch them doing it out of the corner of your eye and offer fleeting congratulations, but immediately your mind gets switched back to the everyday business of disarming the toddler who is coming at your little one ready to wheel a Thomas train across their head.
I worked out of the local library the other day and next to me was the sing and sign group, heaving with little tiny dots all gazing around at the beaming faces of mummies enthusiastically singing verses of Old MacDonald and energetically being lifted during the chorus of Humpty Dumpty.
Second child, second best?
It dawned on my that I don’t think I ever quite made it to a single group designed for just babies. Sure, George comes along to the great community groups & play dates I go to for Henry and he gets on with whatever activity set out for the toddlers, but gone are the days I can dedicate to Baby Sensory or baby massage. Those days, which at the time seem pretty difficult and all consuming, now feel like I’m having a day off when I only have George with me, and guilty that I should be doing more than only looking after one small person.
But there’s something to be said for subsequent children. Not only are we as parents so much more relaxed with our youngest and therefore in general, but our’s spends his days curiously watching and learning from his big brother; being entertained by all the fun and interesting things he finds him doing, inquisitively looking and listening. On the occasion Henry isn’t with us George is totally lost without him, he almost pines for him.
Yes, I might be able to count the number of new outfits our second child owns on one hand, and maybe I did only get him weighed about three times because it just wasn’t practical to drag a wild 2 year old along with me. But by no means does that make him second best. He is loved. As much as our hearts can love anything, and if not more because he has his big brother ever doting on him, caring for him when he has a bump, who knows when to tell me he’s doing something unsafe. Learning from us the unconditional love we have for them both.
I still find him fascinating to watch. The way he chews his food within his gummy mouth, each mouthful an adventure. A tired yawn, which I find to be one of the cutest things he does. Watching his face light up when Henry excites him with the smallest of attention and the uncontrollable excitement, hands clapping, when he knows food is being given to him.
Those memories may not be written down in that book, the one I am pretty sure has been coloured all over by his older sibling, but they are ingrained into my mind. Cherished pieces of the jigsaw of what makes us whole and the family that we are because of him completing us. And I’m not sure any book can convey those memories.