Tuesday, July 18, 2006

New arrivals and old memories - RM column July 11

Another one of my pals has joined the parenting ranks and is currently holed up with Daddy at home getting used to her beautiful five-day old baby.

It seems like such a life-time ago when I had the same experience. At the stage she is at, aside from the sleeplessness, the getting to know your baby, getting to grips with nappies, feeding, the new-born phase is a very special and magical time with your baby.

It is hard to imagine your little bundle of joy as anything other than your little bundle of joy and then they grow up. It is hard for me to even really remember everything about that time but we did it and I do remember that I loved it.

I brought the Young Wan over to the hospital the night before my pal was released to meet the new arrival and she was absolutely charmed by the beautiful, small and perfect child.

And what impressed me and my pal was that we left the Young Wan with the baby who was sleeping while we had a little walk about the hospital.

Armed with a mobile phone so the Young Wan could call us if the new arrival decided to wake up, kick off, new Mum and I went away on our walk.

Ten minutes later we were back to find the Young Wan and the even younger wan on the bed with a nappy change in progress. And full marks to the Young Wan who carried out this delicate procedure perfectly and without much uurrrghhhh. Well done you!

She would make a wonderful big sister and never say never but I do wish that circumstances had been such that we would have been in a position to add to our family while she was younger.

Unfortunately that was never the case and even if it happens in the next few years, she won’t ever know what it is like to have siblings around her age. She will always be substantially older than any younger brother and sister.

And while there have been many many benefits to being an only child, one child is a handful let alone three or four, there are downsides.

For starters you and only you are in the full glare of your parents. There is very little room for anonymous misbehaviour. There is no one else to blame – ‘I didn’t break the (insert whatever)’ doesn’t wash.

Despite the glaring obvious when the Young Wan breaks something in our house and you ask about it she’ll reply ‘I dunno’. I pretend to ask the dog before telling herself that there is only me and her in the house so that leaves little room for blaming others.

I don’t know if the new arrival will get younger brothers or sisters, currently Mum is saying ‘never again’. But as we all know that if every time a new mother said that and actually followed through the human race would probably have died out long before now.

As it is in most cases the worst parts of labour are forgotten over time and that’s a good thing.

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Omaniblog said...

Ah, that's good to read. Like you, I'm having the experience of one child. I hadn't thought of the angle about having noone else to blame. Thanks for that.

ps did you ever get round to photographing all those hares in Dublin?

aoife said...

I was an only child until my brother came along when I was twelve. When I was younger I'd have agreed with everything you wrote, but now in my philospophical dotage, I find the most important thing is to be surrounded by a family that love you, no matter how big or small. It's obvious that you're a great mum and you've raised a beautiful young w(om)an, so, well done.

Curly K said...

I know several people that have big age gaps between their children and whilst the dynamics are different at different stages in ways they are closer because the older ones look out for the younger ones and there isn't as much sibling rivalry.

You must have been well impressed and proud of the young wan changing the nappy.

redmum said...

Omani - I haven't gotten around to taking them all. Maybe this weekend. I'll let you know when I do.

Aoife - I have friends who had much older sisters, about 15 years difference the dynamic is fantastic, as Curly K said they look out for and are fantastic sources of support and information. But I agree as long as a child is loved their family circumstances doesn't apply.

Curly K - I was well impressed with the nappy change, much better than my first attempt when I was pregnant with her and which saw me put a nappy on backwards on a teddy bear. How was I supposed to know they have a back and front.

Emma in Canada said...

There is certainly something to be said for a big age difference. I have seen a whole new light to my oldest since her baby sister came along, and even more so in the last few months when I see how much the now toddler loves her big sister.

Congrats to the Young Wan on the nappy. I used to call my mother to come change them back in my babysitting days. She quickly put an end to that!

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