Emily Cleary on how her parenting techniques have “evolved”…
From the second you see the blue line on the pregnancy test you start planning for your first child. I was saving for Baby No 1’s piano lessons before my morning sickness had subsided. By the time he was born, little HG had a state-of-the-art travel system, the poshest cot this side of Kensington Palace and every sleep aid you could imagine (not that any of them worked, of course).
And when we found out Baby No 2 was on her way we were equally as delighted. But with a toddler to take care of, the planning wasn’t so exciting or animated. More another task to tackle before bathtime. And when she arrived we were again ecstatic, but after the initial burst of baby pics on Facebook, Baby B certainly wasn’t shared with every online acquaintance. I’m not alone, Mums all over the country get lazy and idle when it comes to worshipping Child No 2. Here’s how:
Baby No 1: From baby name books to My First Year, you invest every spare penny and moment of pregnancy researching how to be a fantastic mum.
Baby No 2: You think, ‘well No 1 is still alive so I must be doing something right’.
No 1: Announce the birth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, in the local paper, across every media channel you can think of, and then update your audience the next day, and the next, and the next.
No 2: Post a pic of the adoring older child trying not to drop its new nemesis, then try to get some sleep. Post another pic when Baby turns one.
No 1: Sterilise everything religiously and wash all clothes before they wear them.
No 2: Leave to crawl across dirty floors while you frantically tidy up LEGO, and dress them in anything that isn’t soaked in vomit/poo.
No 1: Wean on purely organic food cooked from scratch by your own fair hands.
No 2: Wean on the bread crusts that No 1 won’t eat. Adopt an eat it or starve approach to mealtimes.
Health and safety
No 1: Peel, quarter and examine for minuscule remnants of seeds, every grape that appears within a five mile radius
No 2: Slice grapes in half, or just don’t bother feeding them grapes until they’re about 15.
No 1: Start thinking about potty training the second they start to stand up.
No 2: Leave them in nappies way longer than you should do because you just can’t be bothered.
No 1: Dress from head to toe in Ted Baker and Jasper Conran outfits bought with all the Debenhams gift vouchers you were given when they were born.
No 2: Dress in hand-me-downs, regardless of size, personality or gender, because you’re too tired to go shopping and nobody bothers giving you gifts for your second child anyway.
No 1: Didn’t watch telly until number two came along and it was a necessary distraction.
No 2: Plonked in front of Baby TV from two weeks.
So there you have it. Children are great things. They bring joy and delight wherever they go. But as with anything, from cheesecake to chips, the more you have, the less exciting they are. How anybody has the time or inclination for a third is totally beyond me.