I’m discovering that parenting a baby is pretty different the second time around.
There is, of course, the obvious difference that you would expect: the fact I’ve done this before and things aren’t quite as stressful when you know what you’re doing.
But there are also some surprises this time.
When I was pregnant with Littleman and it was time to start stocking up on baby gear, I remember wanting everything to be new. We took a couple of hand-me-down items from good friends or family, but even that made me cringe a bit. I preferred brand new, shiny, clean stuff.
This time, nothing is new. Most of it is the stuff we used for Littleman, but we’ve also (gasp!) purchased a bouncy chair from a second-hand store and bought a jogging stroller off a kijiji posting. Oh the horror! As long as I can clean things before we use them, I’m happy to save some money.
The other thing that I’ve noticed is that I’m really savouring my time with Bo. I enjoyed my time at home with Littleman when he was a baby – in fact, I absolutely loved it – but I don’t think I really took the time to appreciate how very special it was.
This time, I’m acutely aware of how quickly time goes by. In the middle of the night last night, I was awake, listening to the rhythmic sound of D’s breathing as he slept beside me. I had just finished nursing and burping Bo, who was asleep on my chest, snoring softly. In the past, I would have rushed to put him back down in his bassinet so that I could maximize my own sleep. But this time, rather than be annoyed that I was awake, I just savoured that time with him. How much longer will he be so tiny? How much longer will he want to snuggle with his mom in the middle of the night?
This is about the time in Littleman’s life that we moved him into his crib in his own room. D has suggested that we think about moving Bo, but I’m not ready. I know this is my last baby. This time with him is fleeting and, as I felt Bo’s soft hair on my cheek and breathed in his baby scent, I reminded myself of the need to enjoy every second.
So, while I’ve been applying all the baby care lessons I learned the first time around to help make my life easier this time, I think the most important thing I’ve realized the second time around is to just enjoy it. And I am.