14/08/2014 12:49 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

The Difference Between First And Second Babies

What we did for our first baby we never bothered with second time round

When my first daughter arrived, she changed everything.

Well of course, she did! Our lives were turned upside down and became a swirl of fantastic firsts. The week after she turned one, I spent the hours when she was sleeping hunched at the computer, trawling through the 2,000 or so photographs we had of her, and I made one of those photo books you can do online. Copies duly delivered, they were distributed among family members as a celebration of Ava's life to that point.

Two weeks later, something else was delivered – my second daughter. And I am ashamed to say, despite having told myself umpteen times I really must get around to it, I still have not managed to put together her 'My First Year' book. And now she is three-and-a-half.

That's not all though. I hope I'm not alone (I can't be) when I say many, many things were done somewhat differently the second time around. It's not that we love our second babies any less, but the benefit of experience does away with the faffing and the worrying and the lofty aspirations.

But is there an upside? Could this be the reason so many of us report having second children who are "so much more easy going!"...?


Capturing the moment...

1st BABY:
You relished any and every excuse to get snap happy. Silly hat? SNAP! In the bath? SNAP! Third nap of the day? SNAP! Pasta sauce on their chops? SNAP! That's 2GB on the computer, then...

2nd BABY: You have at least a couple of photos for each month of that first year. You think.

1st BABY: You managed, somehow, to get video footage of their first gurgle, first giggle and first steps.

2nd BABY: You don't know where the video camera is (it was last seen in the grasp of 1st BABY).

They are what they eat...

1st BABY:
No refined sugar passed their lips until their first birthday, when they were allowed a small slice of their own birthday cake as a special treat.

2nd BABY: Whether they are bored, or tired, or having a tantrum that's threatening 7.4 on the Richter scale, there is nothing that can not be solved with a packet of Iced Gems.

1st BABY: You sterilised their dummy and their teething rings, and dropped biscuits were abandoned or thrown to the birds.

2nd BABY: The three second rule became the five second rule, then the 10 second rule... and you frequently find yourself saying to watchful strangers: "What doesn't kill them makes them stronger...!"

1st BABY: You were beside yourself if they didn't eat their lunch, so coaxed and cajoled them to eat something, ANYTHING! LEST THEY STARVE!

2nd BABY: When they didn't eat they lunch, you chucked it out. And let them have six Iced Gems anyway.

Culture shockers...

1st BABY:
One of you spoke to them exclusively in Spanish until they delighted you both with their first word, which was "Hola!"

2nd BABY: Despite tirelessly putting them in front of Dora The Explorer, on Nickelodeon, their first word was still "Beebies!"

1st BABY: You obsessed over the importance of them engaging with children their own age, so organised endless play dates with your antenatal buddies, providing stimulating activities for the children.

2nd BABY: You never bothered with antenatal classes, so they don't have any of their own mates. Occasional play dates revolving round their older sibling (and friends) were spent damaging themselves trying to keep up.

Hush little baby...

1st BABY:
You allowed them to fall asleep on your chest every evening (because it was so cute) and picked them up and soothed them back to slumber with each night time grizzle.

2nd BABY: You started sleep training at six weeks and avoided all negative press about the 'cry it out' method.

1st BABY: You glowed with pride as you boasted to your mummy friends how they'd slept through for two nights running.

2nd BABY: When your friends congratulated you on getting them to sleep through two nights running, you sighed, laughed a hollow laugh, and, in the certain knowledge it would not last, made some quip about how the term 'sleeping through' is a con designed to make parents of newborns keep going.

Health and safety...

1st BABY:
You avidly read What To Expect: The First Year, to check everything was on track and that you weren't doing anything wrong (which you were, constantly).

2nd BABY: You'd come to realise babies (and parents) aren't machines. But What To Expect: The First Year came in handy when they got reflux and you had to prop up the head end of their cot.

1st BABY: They didn't get wet until the bath water was perfect. Cold water was added. Then hot water was added. Then a bit more cold. And a bit more hot. And finally the bath thermometer read exactly 37°C. Clean and dry, they did not go to bed until the room thermometer was showing 18°C on the button.

2nd BABY: You used your hand. Then, when clean and dry, you put them to straight bed and opened/closed a window.

Fashion schmashion...

1st BABY: You spent more money on their clothes than on your own, and spent hours before heading out to local mother and baby groups fastening the tiny buttons and tying the little bows which adorned their cuter than cute outfits.

2nd BABY: You knew the second you started pushing the buggy, your baby would fall asleep and remain asleep for the duration of the outing. You also knew they'd do a massive yellow poo in their sleep, which you'd discover when you got home. And that's why you never bothered putting them in anything other than sleepsuits.

1st BABY: You spent 12 quid every month on gorgeous pairs of fabric or suede baby shoes.

2nd BABY: It had occurred to you that tiny people who do not sit up by themselves – let alone walk – do not need to wear shoes.

1st BABY: You chucked out all vests, babygrows and cardigans whose stains proved too stubborn for your mega box of non bio.

2nd BABY: If it smelled clean, it made the grade, even if it did have pale yellow splodges in dubious places.

More on Parentdish: Why I am terrified of not loving my second baby

Second child syndrome

What other ways did you treat first and second babies differently? Tell us your tales...