While we knew a second kid wouldn't be the same as the first, it was very difficult to imagine exactly how different it would be. And it was definitely different. But I think we handled it well.This is a follow up post to my first; "parent club". I wrote the next part on a plane after the baby was born but before we actually relocated.
He was born in August. A little later than we expected but we always knew that was a risk. A risk? Yeah well kinda. It's been kind of a crazy period for us where on the one hand we've been anticipating a second kid and on the other hand moving to an entirely different country shortly after. And that's weird. Because you have to prepare for the move but you can't really put your mind to it because there's this kid coming and you need to prepare for that as well.
The birth went fine, from what we hear from terror-births anyways. It's never fun, but there are various degrees of bad. It was a little weird for us afterwards since for our first we stayed in the hospital a few days but this time we were in-and-out in about 4 hours. That's just stupid short. Since most of that time is spent before the actual birth, you don't really get enough time to realize that you've just had a second kid. And yeah, you've been preparing for that for a few months so it's not like you don't know. This is more about walking past his crib and realizing, oh right, that was today. A couple of times.
A second kid is different. Of course it's different, "every child is unique". And besides that there's also a difference in routine. With our first we could do what we want between the feeding schedule. We could sleep, clean, shower, whatever. A baby mostly sleeps anyways (if you're lucky...). And even if that's not the case, you can plan things pretty decently.
With a second (and I imagine a third etc as well) it's more complicated because obviously your eldest also wants attention. So now not only do you have a three-hour feeding schedule but you also have to entertain a 2+ year old during the day. Ouch. It may not seem like much but I in our experience it made a world of difference. Your schedule gets much tighter than before.
Our eldest is actually fine with the baby. More than fine, he's really sweet. There's always the unknown of how is he going to react to a baby. He was fairly young, a year and a half, so didn't really understand what a baby meant by the time we started prepping him for it. But whatever we did seems to have worked. He really cares about his baby brother, for as far as a toddler can do that of course. He wants to see him when he wakes up, wants to help with the bottle, clean up. It's so cute.
And there is, so far, little sign of envy. I guess that's the other worry; how's the older brother going to respond to having to share the mommy (and daddy). He may be too young to have realized it or he may just not have had a problem with it. Either way, I don't expect that sort of thing to manifest itself later on so we're pretty happy with that high roll. I'm sure we'll get our share of envy once they have to share toys, though ;)
After the dust settles and you find yourself in the two-kid-routine you start bumping into practical stuff. Like the stroller. We found a side-by-side carriage where they could both sit/lie in. It's a little wider than a regular one, of course, but it works okay. Except. It didn't fit in the car. So when we go away we have to make due with the single-kid one and a light-weight stroller or something. It works but it's not ideal. And one parent couldn't take both kids.
Soon our relocation starts. That'll be something else. The baby won't care, of course. There's no way he'll even have any clue about what's going on. But the oldest... yeah I'm really curious to see how he's going to respond to the new environment. Especially the language around him.
He was used to me speaking English to him. But after we learned that we'd relocate to the UK I stopped doing that since we also want our kids to speak Dutch. So if they were moving to an English speaking environment then learning to speak Dutch was the higher priority.
To be honest, I think I've started to speak more once I did that. English isn't my native tongue and even though I speak it well, it's a whole other game to speak to children. And those are expressions I'm simply not used to. So I guess that worked out for the best.
I'm not sure what else. The secret parent handshake is still in effect. Though I think a little less so. Maybe it's just more obvious in the beginning. Or maybe you're more inclined to speak about your kid when it's your first or something? I dunno.So I had the above post prepared but never got around posting it. So let me continue it now. This is about a week-and-a-half after moving into our new place.
The relocation is fairly complete now. I'll spare you the unrelated frustrations and tell you how the kids handled it; Great. The period of moving itself was a bit troubled. I don't think that surprises anybody. Our two year old kept moving from our place to my in-laws to a plane to a temporary living (which wasn't very child friendly) to finally our new home. Once we moved in he was almost immediately fine with it. And two weeks further now he may not even realize that we moved at all, that we're in a different country, that the people once very familiar to him are now pretty far away.
That's not to say he doesn't miss them. There are some key figures that he misses. In particular his 8 month older cousin. Not that he'll be crying because she's not around. It's more about the enthusiasm when he sees pictures or videos of her. They do this async video chat thing, it's super cute :) Actual video chat is a bit weird, especially ours is just a tad too young to really understand what's going on. They both love it regardless.
He hasn't been near many English-only conversations yet so we're not sure how he deals with that. And he probably won't go to daycare till January and I'm really looking forward to see how he does there. By the way he has been adjusting so far I'm not too worried. That language barrier will only be a very temporary one :)
Oh and the baby is fine. It's not like he knows. Or cares. He's taken care of and that's all that matters.
To be continued... perhaps.