It has been such a thrill to discover all the similarities and differences between my two children. At four months, Sweet P is way more chatty and drooly than W. W had a more difficult time sleeping, but certainly had a more ravenous appetitive. They both are/were pretty laid-back and happy babies.
After receiving one of those Baby center e-mails listing all the milestones I can expect observe in Sweet P in the upcoming weeks, I thought about all the other milestones.
The milestones that aren’t listed on the Baby Center site or What to Expect When Your Expecting book. The milestones that don’t come brightly decorated on a sticker in your baby’s book. Acquaintances and well-wishers don’t normally ask about these milestones. Yet, the milestones you reach with two children, the good and the not-so-good, are momentous just the same.
10 Milestones for Second-Time Moms
1. The first time you are home alone with the two of them.
I was petrified the first day my husband went to work and my mom wasn’t around to help me. What do I do with the older one if I’m nursing? What if the baby wants to nurse all the time? How is nap time going to go down? I couldn’t even begin to imagine how I would juggle a baby and a toddler. When the day finally came, I took a deep breath, and reminded myself that my grandmother stayed home with eight, so two should be a piece of cake. The day wasn’t exactly cake, but it wasn’t as tough as I envisioned.
2. The first time your older one hurts the younger one. Before I gave birth, I had all these visions of my Facebook feed bursting with adorable pictures of my two cuddled up together in coordinated sibling outfits. What I didn’t imagine was my constant anxiety whenever my toddler came just a little too close for fear that he might bop her over the head. You feel so conflicted. The Mama-bear urge to scream at the top of your lungs over someone hurting your baby bubbles up to the surface. The only thing containing it is the fact that the someone is your other baby.
3. The first time your older one helps out with the younger one.
I clearly remember this moment. I had just nursed Sweet P when I could sense a sudden onslaught of spit up about to happen. With the burp cloth halfway across the room, I called to W, “Quick! Could you please pass that burp cloth to me?” and was pleasantly surprised when my helpful toddler cheerfully trotted over with it in his hand just in time to clean up the mess.
4. The first time you take them out together in public… alone.
I have a tendency to go stir-crazy if I’m cooped up in the house for too long, so I was determined to carry on with all of our normal outings as soon as possible. I prepared everything the night before. I laid the clothes out, had a snack packed and ready to go, diaper bag was right near the door. I even practiced putting Sweet P in the baby carrier, so I wouldn’t be struggling with the thing in a parking lot somewhere. Again, much like the first time I stayed home alone with the two, all my stressing and worrying was for nothing. I did feel mighty proud of myself though. I had this strong desire to shout to everyone I came across that, “This is our first time out! Aren’t I amazing?!”
5. The first time the older one makes the youngest smile or laugh.
It took W a few weeks to really be comfortable with his new sister. It’s like he didn’t know what to do with this new baby. So, he did the last possible thing I would want him to do… aggressively reach right for her brand-new, innocent face. It was a bit discouraging to say the least. Then, something amazing happened. I was holding Sweet P when W began to run around the room, singing and acting silly. All of a sudden, Sweet P let out the sweetest giggle as she watched her older brother. She barely giggled for us, and here she was laughing it up at W. It was such a wonderful moment, and it made me feel reassured that these two might get along after all.
6. The first time you manage to get them both down to sleep at the same time.
Pretty much my goal of every day is to get the kids to nap at the same time. The first day it happened, I carefully closed the door to my daughter’s room, silently stood in the hallway between their closed doors for about five minutes before I tip-toed down the stairs and whisper-sang We are the Champions to myself.
7. The first time they both need you at the same time
I knew this was bound to happen. When the time came that both children started crying at the same time, I went with the advice from a fellow mom. Go to the older one first. It’s a big transition for them, so they may need some more reassurance. Plus, the youngest one won’t know the difference!
8. The first time they play with each other.
I have yet to experience this milestone since my youngest is just over four months, but I have seen glimpses of what’s to come. If the baby is starting to fuss while I’m making dinner I’ll ask W to go show her some of his toys to calm her down. It makes my heart melt to hear him call to her, “It’s okay baby P!” I look forward to the time they can really start entertaining each other.
9. The first time they argue with one another.
I know all too well (I am one of four after all) that with the wonderful milestone of playing with each other comes another milestone, arguing with each other. I’m not sure when this will happen, but I’m aware that it’ll happen sooner than I’m ready. Or, maybe they’ll play happily with each other without any incident for the rest of their lives… one can dream.
10. The first time they express their love for one another.
Sweet P is only four months, but I swear I’ve witness their small displays of affection already. The sweet smiles they share with one another, the way Sweet P intently watches her older brother play, the times W shares one of his toys, when W says, “Love you, Sweet P”- all these moments make me beyond happy to be their mother. And, as much as I would love to keep them small forever, I look forward to many more milestones and special moments between my two children as they grow together.
Have you reached any of these milestones with your children? For those with older children, what other milestones can I anticipate in the years to come?