One of the things we said very often when Mrs S was pregnant with Baby and we worried about doubling our issue was ‘we’ll bring her up just the same (as Boy)’. 16 months in how’s that going? Not well. I was reminded of this again this weekend as we had a family lunch out at a local Italian. There were 8 of us in total, 7 at the table and Baby on the end in a high chair. As soon as we’d sat down a family were shown to the table next to us and they had a child, a little younger than Baby who also required a high chair. This family were going to be allies I thought. We smiled at their baby and they smiled at ours. We exchanged small talk. The Mum in particular was charming and I christened her Nice Woman Opposite (she will be NWO for the rest of the story).
Time to order. We all put in our orders which included a cheese and tomato pizza for Baby and Boy to share. NWO frowned a little. Baby in fact ate a little of her pizza, a little of mine and a little of Mrs S’s chicken salad because she will generally only eat off your plate (of which more later). NWO pulled out an Organic baby food pouch for their L.O. and fed him a cursory bit of pasta from her plate. Then it was time for dessert orders. I ordered chocolate cake, winked at Baby and said ‘don’t worry you can have some too’. NWO frowned again. When the cake arrived Baby strained at her harness like a chained Alsatian just out of range of a T-Bone Steak. She nearly toppled the high chair forward. Her eyes were wider than Arfur Daley. I took 2 big forks, popped one in my mouth and the other in Baby’s and she wolfed it in one go and said ‘More’. NWO’s frown had moved on to more steam coming out of ears. When the waiter took their dessert order she pointedly looked at her babe-in-high-chair and said ‘and nothing for him please’. I reconsidered the ‘N’ part of her epithet.
The wife and I got to discussing this in the evening in a vaguely puzzled manor until one thing dawned on us. Their child was a first and so-far-only. We thought back. Boy had not been given chocolate much before he was about 2 and a half. He was weaned on jars and pouches and a trip out meant a tuppaware container of fruit. The poor sod never got anywhere near the desert menu. We were massively over-paranoid about giving him sugar. His fat was controlled by the book. So was his salt. Then we’d had another child and we’d taken the rule book and thrown it out of the window. Ooops. Here’s how else we’ve treated them differently:
Naps: Boy had a routine regular nap and was put down for it every day whether tired or not. Baby naps on demand. Boy stopped napping at 11 months. Baby has one or two a day depending on how she feels.
Food: As mentioned Boy was weaned on a mixture of jars, pouches and home made purees. Baby normally only wants what’s on YOUR plate. Anything else might be eaten or might be thrown. It’s so 50/50 Noel Edmunds could turn it in to a game show (‘Food or No Food’). We haven’t pureed her a thing.
Television: Boy was introduced to this very slowly and then given very little time each day with CBeebies. One of Baby’s current words is ‘pig’ (or actually ‘pi’) said while pointing at the TV. It means ‘put Peppa on right NOW or I will destroy you. *maniacal laugh*’. If we hadn’t resorted to the electronic baby sitter the house would literally NEVER be tidy and the pair of us would be in a loony bin somewhere gibbering about petunias and forgetting our meds.
Bedtime Story: Boy would not go to sleep unless you were in the room too. Thus I made him up lots of bedtime stories to save myself going bonkers in the nut (and in the dark). Baby will virtually dismiss you from her presence the second her ‘jamas and bub-bag go on. This is good for our evening time but it means I have never made her up one single story and I feel bad about this.
So – if you have more than one child did you manage to bring them all the same? If so please leave a comment as I’d love to know how it’s done. If you are considering upgrading from one to two then take the above as a warning. But if you have done things a bit different with your later children then I’m setting up a support group. “Slightly Sloppy Parents of Two or More”. Bring gin / rum. And chocolate.