It’s been one month since we became a family of four. In the whirlwind of those first four weeks, this is what I’ve realised about being a parent to a toddler and a newborn.
1. Leaving the house requires the same amount of packing as a mini-break.
Nappies? Changing mat? Wipes? Change of clothes for both of them? Actually, better take two sets just in case. Bottle? How long will we be – maybe take the flask and formula too? Bibs? Dummy? Drinks and snacks? Toys to keep the toddler entertained? It’s getting a bit cold, better stick hats and gloves in. Ok, I’ll just haul this on to my back and away we go! I’ve honestly been on city breaks with less luggage.
2. There’s a lot of washing…
Massive understatement. With all the wee, poo, vomit, dribble and milk, I’d forgotten just how many sets of clothes a tiny baby can go through in one day. Add to that a toddler who is constantly caked in food / mud and parents who are messier than your average adults (I constantly drop food down myself, but blame this on the children) and that equals a whole lot of laundry. Don’t even get me started on how we ever survived without the tumble dryer.
3. The toddler suddenly seems like the Hulk.
Since we brought baby home the toddler has definitely tripled in size. At least. And he’s so heavy, how did I ever manage to pick him up? What’s more he’s an actual mini-person who can tell us about his day, empathise, make us laugh (and tear our hair out) and name every single part of a train. When did all this happen, I can’t quite remember?
4. There’s not enough hours in the day.
At the moment the baby needs feeding every two to three hours. In between that there is washing (see point 2), changing nappies, sterilising bottles, shopping and preparing meals to be done as well as nursery runs, endlessly putting things away and (every now and then) attempting to leave the house. It doesn’t leave much time for anything else. Certainly not sleep or anything more productive than collapsing in front of the TV. What did we ever do with all that time before we had children?
5. We know what we’re doing…sort of
We’re not perfect parents, but we’ve managed to keep the first one alive for nearly three years without any major mishaps so we must be doing something right. Everything seems a lot more relaxed this time round. I’m not constantly googling parenting forums / childhood diseases and worrying what other people think. The toddler goes to nursery three days a week and those days looking after just one feel like a holiday. The baby mainly feeds and sleeps and I now wonder what I found so time-consuming the first time around. I do know however that nothing stays the same for long, and in no time at all it’ll be back to weaning / crawling / generally getting into mischief. Lots of new challenges ahead. How hard can it be?!?
This post was also published on Families Online