Me and my girl

Two years I had alone with the Toddler. Two years in which I watched his every move, waited on him with snacks and drinks, read him stories, sat by his bedside in the night stroking his hair.

The Baby has had a three hour train journey – and now a weekend.

baby having breakfast

All you can eat breakfast: definitely her favourite meal of the day.

It was lovely to be able to spend so much time alone with her these past few days. Together we attended BritMums Live, a blogging conference, bringing together hundreds of parents-who-blog for socialising, attending workshops, celebrating achievements and meeting companies that want to connect with bloggers. From the Baby’s point of view, we went to a large building crammed with (mainly) women eager to admire her, cuddle her and give her lots and lots of attention. She was loving it. During the awards ceremony in the evening I walked around with her on my arm, and after the first few people we encountered stopped me to chat to my daughter, the Baby started pre-emptively reaching out a chubby hand to everyone we passed, smiling winningly. She just loves people.

What struck me though, was that it didn’t feel unusual or strange to be alone with her so much. I treasured the time, but as I thought about it I realised that there are plenty of times in the day when it is just me and her:

* between 5.30 and 7am, when we snuggle up together before the Toddler wakes up;

* on Tuesday morning when the Toddler is in the creche for a few hours. I have tried leaving her there too, but she screams the place down. She wants to be with me and the other Mummies having tea and biscuits and sharing thoughts about parenting;

* in the early afternoon, when well-trained Toddler sleeps like the dead for hours, she usually wakes up early from what I keep hoping will one day become a two hour nap. We spend the time watching age inappropriate television mostly;

* At bedtime, when I try to feed her quietly in her room as the Toddler watches his regulation pre-sleep episode of Numberjacks. This one doesn’t always work out. About half the time the quiet feed in a dark room is accompanied by wild jumping around or ear-splitting screaming from my son;

* In the middle of the night. Not my favourite one-to-one time but hey.

So even though the Baby is my second child, we do get quite a few moments to ourselves. Probably more than I get alone with my son.

My second thought, as I watched her little face beam at all the lovely bloggers cooing over her, was that she doesn’t seem all that desperate to be alone with me. She wants me around. That much was clear when her joy turned to despair as soon as I disappeared out of sight for ten minutes, when suddenly the company of my lovely new, now Real Life friends was not good enough anymore. But she seems to love having plenty of people around. It is, of course, the only thing she has ever known. Her brother has always been there, and she can’t imagine life without him. She clearly adores him – her face was a picture when they were reunited after our weekend away.

Perhaps this guilt we feel, sometimes, towards our second or subsequent children is unnecessary. They don’t know what they’re missing – they have no concept of what these years of time alone with Mummy and Daddy might have been like for the first child. And they have something of great value: built-in friends for life, who look out for them and dote on them, watching their every move, bringing them drinks and snacks and, occasionally, lying beside them in the dark to make the night less lonely.


11 responses

  1. This is such a lovely post. Describes so beautifully your quality time, and having met Baby myself, and seen just how lovely she is, it is even more beautiful. And I think you’re right – subsequent children don’t know a life with just them and us, and so we can assuage that guilt a little. It is lovely to spend one on one time though. xx
    PS I love that I’m not now a Real Life Friend 😉 xx

  2. I loved meeting your adorable Baby! And you, of course. And you’re right – our wee ones don’t suffer from being younger siblings. They have the attention of THREE people, not just two! Really looking forward to meeting up in real life again soon. Will DM just as soon as I’ve got a bit more blog-overhaul done…..x

    • Thank you so much for all your help with said baby! Yes please send me a message when you have a minute and we’ll fix a time to meet up. In the meantime, I will go and check out your new blog – very excited that your idea is getting off to such a good start!

  3. That’s a really lovely post. When my second son was born I felt really guilty that he wasn’t getting anywhere near the amount of individual attention his older brother had had, and guilty that son 1 suddenly had to share me, but they both seemed so pleased to have a sibling that I think the worry was unnecessary. I really enjoyed last year when I finally got to have lots of one to one time with my younger son as the elder one started school. And we could have lovely discussions about life, the universe and tractors so maybe it was a better time to get the attention than right at the beginning.

  4. What a lovely post – and very true! From my own experience, second and third children grow up better adjusted than the eldest, as they’ve always had to share. It can be hard for a 2 year to adjust to no longer being the centre of attention and maybe that’s still there in the back of their minds even as a 12 year old or a teenager.

  5. Very lovely post – I only have one and so we shower him with attention. At the moment I worry that if we ever had a second then how would he cope? and would the second be ok having a shared mummy?

  6. I often felt the same, although now i know its the other way round and actively try to get more time with Beth on her own as she was used to being a single child for 10 years!.

    Thanks for linking up with #PoCoLo xxxx

  7. This is such a lovely reflection & one I can really relate to. I worried so much about splitting my time between the children before my second was born, but it turns out that the second relationship is just as organic an experience as the first – I don’t feel like I have to specifically invest time into it, the bond is there just like with the first. That being said I look forward to time alone with either of my kids, it’s very special seeing their personalities shine on their own for a bit 🙂 x

  8. I know where you are coming from, I think you always worry that every child is getting enough attention. I like the time you get when one starts school and the other is left home for while longer.

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