On the 11th of January this year, my second son was born. Cooper James ❤
The decision to try for another was an easy one but with Brent’s two children being in their teenage years, and Alex being at an age where we don’t have to get out of bed to help on his early mornings, people took every opportunity to tell us just how much we were going to struggle going back to the newborn stage. They laughed at what they said we were in for.
We were prepared for the worst. Throughout my pregnancy, Brent and I spoke about every possibility – how we felt about the controversial stuff like sleep training and cry it out methods, our expectations of each other when it came to chores, night feeds and helping out, and what we’d do if either one of us began to feel neglected.
Granted, Cooper seems to be super humanly relaxed (especially when considering who his Mama is!), but going back to the newborn stage hasn’t been anywhere near the nightmare we were expecting. Within a few weeks of his arrival, we were just about back to life as usual – I was finding time to look like a functioning human (which was more than I was managing at 8 months pregnant) and there was time for a shower almost daily (I won’t lie, there are definitely days when a shower doesn’t get a look in – especially now that he’s mobile!)
Coopers easygoing nature seems to have rubbed off on me, but I think the sense of ease is also hugely down to knowing that he’s ok. That I’m ok. I know I’m a mum. I know that I can trust my instincts, that I have motherly instincts, and other peoples opinions don’t have anywhere near the effect they did before.
I know that I’m doing the very best that I know how, with only the best for all of the mini’s at the forefront of all of my choices. I know now the importance of finding time for me, and Brent and I have made sure that quality time together after the craziness of our days is a priority.
This calm that Cooper has bought with him has made me a better mum in every way – to all of the minis. Ohh, I’m still plagued by mum guilt on the regular, and wondering if I’m doing ok by them. (I think though, that this might just be a side effect of having children!) I in no way have everything under control – I could definitely vacuum more than I do, and I choose coffee breaks over tidying the kitchen at morning nap times more often than I should, but I don’t find myself questioning my every decision, and I don’t find myself wondering if they would be better off with someone a little more ‘together’. I feel like I’ve found my feet with the whole Mum thing and I’m loving it more than I ever have.
Alex is only 7, but incredibly independent for his age. With two much older kids around, it had become too easy to forget just how little he still is. Having a baby in the house has been, in a way, a reminder that so many of Alex’s experiences are still firsts – so many situations are still opportunities to teach him something that he could take with him into his grown up years. Even when he pretends he doesn’t, he definitely still needs a bit of babying every now and then.
Cooper has also been a great reminder for us, that every stage is a passing one – and that they pass so fast. The bad ones, and the good. He has been a reminder for us to hold on tightly to, and appreciate all of the amazing stages – like the one that Alex is currently at where he picks us flowers every chance he gets to remind us he loves us. The one that Milla is at where even at 13, she wants to snuggle with us on the couch after a long day, and the stage that Fynn is at where even at 16, he still enjoys whole family adventures together and still checks that we don’t have something planned before he chooses a day out with his friends.
It’s helped us remember to work through the rough stages with a little more patience as they always, always pass. (And crazily, they pass even faster when met with love and calm! Who knew.) The teething stages that mean almost no sleep for any of us, the struggling with school and wanting to give up stages, the moody teenage girl stages, and the EAT ALL THE FOOD AND NEVER TELL ANYONE THAT ANYTHING IS FINISHED UNTIL SOMEONE ELSE NEEDS IT AND PULLS OUT AN EMPTY BOX stage. (Sigh – it’ll pass. It’ll pass. It’ll pass……)
While pregnant, I worried that Alex would feel left out or play up because he wasn’t the baby anymore or because he now shared his Mama, but since Coops was born, on the days I have offered to take him on the date with just the two of us, he asks why Cooper can’t come too. He loves being a big brother, and he loves being a part of our huge family.
We are about 12,000 times busier than we were before, the washing baskets are always over flowing and leaving the house with anything less than half the houseful packed up in the car is not a possibility, but we’re so full of love I could almost burst.
The kids are all closer because they now share a brother that they all adore, (watching them all with this baby has been the most beautiful thing in the world and I’ve definitely cried about it more times than I’d like to admit) and Brent and I are more in love than ever. We make such an amazing team and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in all of this madness.
If you’re thinking about having a second, but are worried about how you’ll manage, or how you’ll make time for your first with a new, much more high maintenance one in tow, or worrying if you could ever love another child as much as you love your first, don’t.
The amazing moment you meet your brand new baby, the first time you see your babies together. The first time you hear them giggling with each other, and when your oldest surprises you by suddenly growing into his (or her) older sibling shoes and steps up in a way you could never have imagined.. (like when he brings you a giant flower because yesterday was rough, or a glass of water because you complained of a headache when you thought he couldn’t hear). Your heart expands like you wouldn’t believe, and all the sleepless nights, all the craziness, all the routine matching up, all the extra chores and all the madness that happens when the second figures out he can move, it’s all worth it.
So what is life like with a new baby in the house? Crazy, amazing, exhausting, wonderful, terrifying and incredible in ways I had never expected. I feel complete, and luckier than I ever thought possible. (Even when covered in poo!)