Cover photo taken in collaboration with Deborah Quek
I recently started my journey as a second-time mother, and things are very different from the first time. At first, I was worried that it would be a struggle, but thankfully, it wasn't as bad as I thought. It was easier to go from one child to two, than from none to one. Here's how it's been like for me!
1. Babycaring gets easier with experience
Breastfeeding, diaper changing and handling illnesses have seemed much more manageable than the first time.
The days are surely busier with two children to handle, and there are times we still have questions and have to ask Google – but I do find it a lot easier than before.
We are less stressed out, more confident and a lot more "chill". I can even manage a photo when a diaper overflows onto me!
2. It's a juggling act between two children
Now that my attention has to be split between Emmalyn and Avalyn, it's always about handling one child before the other. There isn't much break for me until the girls are sleeping.
I have to exercise quick judgment calls over which child to attend to first, which means one usually has to wait – be it patiently or in tears. It's a good thing when my husband is around to help, as we can each handle one child.
There are good days, where both children's needs are satisfied, as well as bad days, where both are crying and fighting for attention. When I'm alone taking care of both, I always remind Emma, my elder one, to cooperate as I'm shorthanded and outnumbered. Most of the time, it works!
3. More outings for baby
When we had Emma, we stayed home a lot so as to keep to her routine. Now, we head out of the house so much more with Avalyn, as older sister Emmalyn loves outings, exploration and outdoor play.
It's sometimes easier to spend the day outside, which keeps Emma entertained, than staying home. Apart from the trouble of pumping, I find more myself being more confident in handling a baby on-the-go.
4. More patience with baby milestones
In another word, less "gan cheong" (anxious)! Or perhaps there is no time to worry!
After four years of parenthood, I fully understand that babies do grow up really fast! So, instead of rushing Avalyn to hit milestones, we are enjoying her as she is, at the present moment.
I still get very excited to see how she grows and hits her milestones, but now I have the patience and peace knowing what will come next.
5. Trying not to compare the children
It's hard not to look back and think about how Emma was when she was a baby. Subconsciously, we will compare both children and find similarities and differences.
This kind of comparison is not a bad thing, but I try hard not to anyway, especially since Avalyn was born slightly prematurely and every baby is different.
6. The challenges can be very different
A friend told me that I won't have "two Emmas" and it's proven so true.
Avalyn behaves differently from how Emma was, and has set us on a new range of challenges. For example, she doesn't have the feeding problems we faced with Emma, but we do have to find ways to help her get used to car rides and sleeping through the night, which Emma didn't have much problems with.
And of course, having a toddler and a baby is also another challenge.
"Please be quiet, Mei Mei (little sister) is sleeping."
"I will come to you after I settle Mei Mei."
Sometimes, it's harder to handle Emmalyn than Avalyn. But after all, she is my eldest, and I'm still a "first-time mum" when it comes to parenting her at any age!
7. Greater joy and fun
While it's more tiring than before, the amount of joy and fun is doubled! I totally love seeing the sisters interact and how both of them are growing up through the months.
It's just so sweet when I hear Emma saying: "Mama, Mei Mei smiled at me", "She held my hands!" or "Mama, Mei Mei is so big now!"
Even though she can be pretty rough towards her at times, she seems to enjoy witnessing her growth and celebrating her milestones like a big sister!
I know this is just the start of mothering two children, and there is just so much more ahead – the jealousy and sharing, the sibling fights and loving cuddles, the hot-headed bickering and heart-to-heart talks!
This article was originally published on Ashlyn's blog and has been republished with permission.
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