From the very beginning my Son was an ‘easy baby’. It all started after me and my husband had a vague conversation about how it might be a good time to start thinking about maybe having a second baby, and then two weeks later I was looking at a positive pregnancy test. The pregnancy was really easy and for the majority of the time I felt really well. First time round I had been more exhausted than I could have believed possible, just standing up felt like climbing a mountain. I also felt sick pretty much the entire time. Second time, despite having a very tricky, sleep dodging toddler at home, I felt pretty full of energy and well in myself. It helped me realise how totally different pregnancies can be, and that I didn’t struggle first time because I was pathetic and lazy. I struggled because I genuinely felt like shit most of the time!
Strangely my easy pregnancy made me so much more empathetic towards my fellow pregnant women. The first time I had been so conscious of not letting the team down, the idea that pregnancy isn’t an illness, that I had to battle through, still working long hours on my feet constantly, nights and late into the evening. There were a couple of times I left work early as I just felt so terrible, but far more times where I hid and cried by myself, feeling so sorry for myself, before heading on out and carrying on. I felt because I had struggled on when I felt terrible, then all other pregnant women should too, the idea that because it had been horrible for me it should be horrible for everyone. After finding out that it is actually possible to feel pretty well, I realised that all of our experiences of pregnancy are so different, and that if women are struggling it’s not because they’re being pathetic, it’s because they’re having a really tough time, and we should support them, not make them feel like shirkers. I know that sounds pretty obvious, but crazily it was quite a revelation for me!!
After a lovely pregnancy I went on to have a glorious, beautiful, empowering birth, which I’ll probably bore you with another time, and finally met my happy, chilled out, ‘easy’ baby. It was pretty miraculous, he fed, he slept, he put on weight, he let random people cuddle him, he let me put him down occasionally, having his nappy changed wasn’t the end of the universe, it was all those things I’d been told babies did!! I didn’t spend weeks crying and I recovered quickly from the birth. He did go through a few weeks of typical newborn witching hour crying for a few weeks, but the rest of the time he was just a dream.
From the beginning I used the attachment parenting techniques I’d finally succumbed to with my daughter, but I’m pretty certain that however I’d looked after him he’d still have been just as happy. I’m certain it was just in his nature. That’s why I’m so sceptical of people saying their babies are happy because of some fancy technique that they use, the secret key to perfect parenting. They probably just have happy babies. Is it wrong that I secretly wish a nuclear bomb baby for them next time, so that they realise how irritatingly smug they were!?
At one and three quarters my little boy is still like a little beam of sunshine in my life. He has been such a wonderful influence on our family, even helping his highly strung sister chill out a little, and bringing some much needed balance to our lives. Sometimes I worry that he gets ignored, with his sister’s constant needs always coming first. Sometimes I worry that because everything isn’t a struggle and a constant battle, that I don’t value him in the same way as I do his big sister. I’m the ‘easy’ one of my family and I have always resented that a little bit, so make an effort to avoid thinking that way.
Of course he isn’t without his irritating ways. His love of emptying every single pan from our kitchen cupboards is the main one right now, and his total fearlessness when it comes to climbing inappropriate pieces of furniture. Overall though it has been such a beautiful, healing experience for me, I have realised that I wasn’t a terrible parent first time round, I wasn’t struggling more than everybody else, it’s just that my first child was really bloody hard work. And that’s ok. I’m so glad that I had my nuclear bomb baby, and that she came along first, as she taught me so many lessons that I’m so glad to have learnt.
My sunbeam baby continues to be happy most of the time, very content to entertain himself, he could jump before he could walk, and spends much of his time dancing and jumping, like there’s just too much happiness inside to stay still for too long. He’s not really talking yet, but is an expert at getting his point across without words. One of his few phrases is “I did it!!!!” which he shouts constantly. He climbs on the chair “I did it!”, he gets off again “I did it!”, he does a little dance “I did it!” Each time accompanied by a round of applause for himself. It’s like he’s his own personal cheerleading team, constantly amazed by how amazing he is. I often think we’d all be so much happier if we were a little bit better at celebrating our small, everyday achievements, and I hope he manages to keep this attitude and that it rubs off on the rest of us a little.
So my charming little man has been a revelation to me, a most welcome revelation, not that I take any of the credit, he was just born happy!