If you thought you had it easy with your first, just let me warn you, there’s more to come.
This isn’t an attempt to discourage from further populating this world with your sweet babies. It’s a cautionary tale I wish someone had given me, that would have better prepared me for when baby number two came along.
I was given the title of mom by a sweet, even-tempered little boy who, even in his worst moments, seemed so calm and collected. Beyond the compliments I graciously received about his wonderful demeanor, I always took it lightly. He was, in fact, still a baby and we were still learning to live in this world together. And between following all the “rules” of parenting, constantly second-guessing ourselves, and the sleep deprivation, we were exhausted on this rocky road.
My firstborn was a smiley, happy baby—you could just feel joy beaming from him. He was content in his existence—with everything, in anything—and made life easy. He slept through the night, barely peeped for feedings, and I now realize parenthood felt hard because it was a new adventure for us.
And you know what? We took it all for granted.
Because then along came our second one . . .
The one who made me feel like a first-time mom all over again. I took for granted the blissfulness of motherhood with my first—he was just that easy. He was cautious, gentle and just content.
Our second child was literally born angry. My doctor joked that her wailing after delivery was just because she was “hangry”—hunger spanned anger. And it was true. I have heard those cries several times in her infancy, the one that made my heart skip a beat and drew me back to the time in the hospital when they took her before I even got to meet her. Her cries staggered her breathing and they wanted to observe her a little longer, but after a bottle of formula she calmed down and her vitals stabilized. They were right, she was hangry.
I’d hear those exact same cries every single time I took just a little too long to feed her. And every single time, I’d worry something was wrong with my precious little thing. But nope, never. She was just letting us know her place in this world and that I spent entirely too long to get to her.
And to this day, our little girl is still that vivacious. She attempted to walk before she crawled. Climbed through and up things she shouldn’t have been able to because of her sheer size. Done things that made me feel like a horrible mother for not realizing her superhuman strength.
She, to this day, marches to the beat of her own drum and sometimes just marches to nowhere, just to say she did. She doesn’t follow the rules, because they don’t apply to her.
She knows no fear. She wants to be just like her big brother. They say boys are tough – but that was not in our case! She’s sugar with lots of spice and I wonder how in the world did I create someone like this? But I’m always reassured by my mother that one of my kids had to turn out just like me.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to Google a symptom, kiss a boo-boo, or preface a warning at an age I would never have with my first. She is by any definition of the word, my wild child, and never has anyone prepared me more for motherhood than her.
I say my first made me a mom but my second made me a mother, and I fully mean every word of that. She’s given me more hours to worry, more tearful phone calls and innumerable sleepless nights. I finally understood this mythical “difficult” baby, because here she was—she came crashing in without any warning and made me feel like I was starting all over again.
But I wouldn’t change it for the world. She’s tough as nails, thick as ice, and I know how much she’s truly made of because she’s shown me all I’m made of.
No one ever warns you that in this journey through parenthood how very, very different each child can be and how much your parenting will be tested and how much your style will change. How some days you feel on top of the world because you’re finally doing it right. And then others, that little thing you created tries to break you because they somehow got on top of the sweetest, most docile dog you’ve ever known and is suddenly trying to ride it like a pony.
So mama, if your firstborn was your wild child, I just want to hug you. You’ve survived all this time and you want to do it all over again. Because now I am you and, well, you know what it’s like.
And if you’re like me and think you got off easy, just wait and see, I warn you—winter is coming.
And it will come in the form of a pint-sized fury like you’ve never known. And through it all, you will love that little thing fiercely and forever. But above everything else, they will make you a better parent because they will allow you to learn what you truly are made of. And you better believe it is steel.
Just be prepared for a wild ride!
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