The boy who wouldn’t

There is nothing more humbling than becoming a parent for the second time. You might, quite reasonably, assume that you know something about this parenting gig. Perhaps you have, in a confident tone, given new mothers and fathers in your circle some sage advice. Best way to change a nappy without collateral damage? How to handle a fever? Breastfeeding troubleshooting? You more than likely have a few words to say on the topic to anyone who will listen.

And then the second little bundle of joy arrives. And you are silenced.

My little guy turned 5 on New Year’s Day and so I’ve been reflecting on his rather eventful life so far. He was and is the boy who wouldn’t. His first year was spent not sleeping. I don’t mean that he woke up quite often; I mean that he actually seemed unable to sleep in any kind of meaningful way and woke up every twenty minutes day and night for 12 months. “Oh dear!” said the doctors and paeds and homeopaths and chiros, “you have one of those.” Yes I did. I also had a boy who defied all the rules of breastfeeding and never fed less than twice an hour for his first 6 months. Refused to take a bottle – ever. Started crawling and climbing at 5 months old.

Five years on, I can laugh about this time, but it wasn’t so funny back then. We had to relearn everything we thought we knew about babies. We had to accept there were things we battled with that we couldn’t change. We had to learn how to parent two children side by side in completely different styles.

Your second (or third) might not be such a game changer as ours was, but they will almost certainly challenge your thinking on everything you think you know about parenting. Relax. Accept the challenge to grow and learn. Have fun. Our first year with our boy wasn’t easy but I wouldn’t change it for the world. He will always be a rule breaker and a convention defier and that will be his greatest strength. We love you, beautiful boy!