I vaguely remember the early days with Isaac. Sleep-deprived, with crazy bloodshot eyes, covered in... (well let's not elaborate) - I was a mess. He was always crying, or pooping, or eating. He demanded to be held all the time. Everything took ten times longer to do. Going to the store was an outing that required preparation and planning. Is it during a feeding time or a nap time? Will he cry if I need to try on clothes? Can I take him into the bathroom with me? I thought caring for a baby was the one of the hardest jobs in the world (and it is).
Having left that phase gladly then jumping back in 3 years later, let me tell you why I think baby #2 is easier...
- you are already working on no sleep, and probably have been for a couple of years
- everything that is valuable or breakable has already been packed away, put on the highest possible shelf or already been broken
- you now know all the songs from the kids shows and can sing them to your fussy baby - no more trying to remember the words to 'Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird' - babies love to hear the opening songs of shows such as Miss Spider, Backyardigans, Wow Wow Wubbzy and Gerald McBoing Boing ;P Also, apparently Lady Gaga.
- you've tried pretty much everything to stop the first one from crying, and can try them all again on this one (but this time you can try the things that worked for #1 first)
- you've given up any hope of having "me time" a long time ago, so it's not such a shock this time
- the first time at the hospital I thought "You're giving me this precious thing to take care of - and I have no idea what to do with it!!" This time I couldn't get out of there fast enough... just let me go home and get on with it.
- you already have the necessities like a crib and whatnot. And even if the second child is a different sex, you can still use some of the clothes. And you might have awesome friends and relatives that have kids that lend you clothes and other good things. (Thanks so much!)
- and for me, having family nearby this time is amazingly helpful! Thanks to the grandparents that are willing to take a hyper almost three year old off my hands!
So I guess the biggest thing I gained between then and now was confidence. I've seen pretty much everything a baby can do and I know I can handle it when life throws me a curveball. Oh yeah, she's pretty darn cute too, which helps.
Next time... why having a toddler/preschooler is more difficult than a baby and why having both at the same time is TEN TIMES HARDER!
PS Also, typing with one hand is hard.