Oliver Driver and the arrival of number 2
Joyful anticipation is mixed with concern as oliver driver gets advice that the jump from one baby to two can be a bit wobbly.
Second baby is due in less than six weeks now. We can no longer deny that it is happening, or pretend things will just carry on the way they have been up until now. Our world is about to become much more difficult and possibly, at times, frustrating. A break will be when we only have one child to look after, unlike now when we sometimes get time to ourselves to watch crap TV or just sit on the couch and not have to read some version of ‘that’s not my’ book for the ten-thousandth time.
We are excited, of course we are. We really are. But we’re worried too that the addition of one more to our little family will tip the balance and upend all our lives. How will our first baby - now a walking, talking sass-pot of a toddler - feel when she no longer has the sole attention of her two parents? How will her mother cope with going back to breast-feeding, with restless nights and the loss of the freedom she was just beginning to get back?
The toddler fits into our lives at the moment. With the arrival of baby number two, we adults will have to fit ourselves into kid life. Many friends further down this road than we are have told us that in a couple of years we will love the fact that we have two kids. Apparently they babysit and entertain each other, and play together while you lie on the couch with your wife and pat each other on the back for having that second child. But first, they say, is two years of Hell.
I worry one of them will miss out, or more likely, both of them will. Number one will get less time than she is used to, and number two will never get the one-on-one focus number one did. Already number two has gone without. No baby shower for him. No baby book. Nowhere near as many new outfits, this boy will be dressed mostly in his sister’s old clothes. Even in the womb he has been sadly under-acknowledged, paid far less attention to.
My wife was the centre of attention when pregnant with the first - given cups of tea, discouraged to lift even a bag of potatoes and fussed over twenty four hours a day. This time it is the toddler who gets all the attention while mum is left to carry a pram up a flight of steps in the rain with two bags of shopping in each arm. Nobody asks how mum is going because the toddler sucks up all the available attention in any given situation with some adorable made-up word for shoes or a chase around the table.
I am less attentive too, though I try not to be. But there are so many things competing for my time and attention, and because we have done it before, I am less focussed on doing it all again. I know this is a luxury I can afford and my wife cannot, as she is about to go through a birth and then become a milk delivery service and all of it is hard - harder for her. Always and unfairly harder for her.
But, as I write this, I realise I am forgetting the good. The joy of tiny fingers and hands, of a baby sleeping on my chest, of watching them crawl for the first time, or walk or eat lemons. That baby smell and the almost painful love of watching something so new and so fragile look at you with wonder.
That love, yet more love for this love-filled family of mine. That I get to go through all of this again. That my daughter gets a brother, that we get a son. Our second baby is due in less than six weeks now and I cannot wait.
Oliver Driver mostly directs television, film and theatre. He also loves dogs and motorcycles. He has made many things in his life but he is most proud of his one-year-old daughter and soon-to-be-born son.
AS FEATURED IN ISSUE 39 OF OHbaby! MAGAZINE. CHECK OUT OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE BELOW