When my daughter was born, I was slightly wrong-footed by my feelings for her. My very first thoughts were: “Phew! I never have to do that [i.e., labour] again!” My husband and I also repeated that to each other out loud with great relief a few more times as the midwives cleaned the baby up and brought her to us. Second and final child. For sure.
Then she was in my arms and I was: proud, elated, moved, excited and also still kind of high from the entonox.
I also thought: hm, she’s a little wrinkly and very small.
I think in those first few days I loved her just as much as I’d loved my son in his first few days – but then I didn’t have anything to compare it to. When The Toddler arrived to meet his sister the next day, zonked out in his pushchair from all the excitement of a sleepover at a friend’s house and seeing Gran in the morning, I felt overwhelmed with the two whole years’ worth of ever increasing love I had for him – and by comparison our new baby daughter seemed like a stranger. So new, so small, so unfamiliar. She slept and cried and fed. The Toddler giggled and sang and chatted and played and imagined and wept and shouted and ran and cuddled and did Monster Voice.
The Baby was hard and painful work. I loved her, but I loved my toddler.
Now the really tough earliest days are over, I find that my love for her has grown and grown and grown. She is smiling now, and making gurgly happy conversational sounds. She follows objects with her eyes and looks around with keen interest at everything that’s going on around her. She has filled out and looks more and more like a little person. I now find myself looking forward to seeing her smile in the morning, loving spending time alone with her when the Toddler naps, randomly hugging her because she is just so cute.
Right now, I feel on top of the world, not just because I am getting my usual amount of sleep again most nights, but because whereas before I had just one child to delight in, now I have two. I can’t wait to see what they will both be like tomorrow, and next week and in a year’s time and on into the far future.