I think that somewhere along the line I got it into my head that when your second baby arrives, you are somehow no longer a rookie parent. That somehow all of the first-time parenting jitters and neuroses disappear. I'd like to state for the record that this assumption is false. Well, not just false... Completely and utterly crazy far from the truth.
With Jack, I read every pregnancy and parenting book on the planet. Dr. Sears, the Baby Whisperer, Weissbluth, What to Expect (Ugh.), the Girlfriend's Guide. Books about Attachment Parenting, breastfeeding, natural birth, baby-led weaning, vaccines, discipline, playful parenting, sleep.
First of all, how did I have so much time for reading? Seriously.
But secondly, was I so ignorant in the field of child-rearing that I needed this much coaching? Or was I just that unsure of my own skills and instincts?
In hindsight, maybe it was a combination of both, but there were so many times that I should have put more stock into my own intuition. The times that I did trust my Mommy-instincts were always spot on, but for some reason that didn't bolster my confidence when the next issue arose.
This time around, I find myself trusting my instincts more confidently. But, I also find myself questioning why some of the things we did with Jack don't seem to work with Ruby. Sleep is the big one so far. With Jack, we did a few nights of sleep training, and he went from being the world's worst sleeper to being a miracle sleeper. So it stands to reason that a few nights of sleep training with Ruby would solve our current moratorium on sleep, right? Uhh, nope. This girl wants her Mommy. Big time. And I love snuggling up with my baby at night, but I do miss getting some real sleep.
Maybe it's the lack of sleep, or the constant toddler-tantrums, that are finally getting to me. Several times a day I catch myself doubting my abilities as a parent. When Jack hits his sister on the head for the tenth time that morning, and then looks me in the eye and laughs, I question myself. When I think Ruby is finally asleep and then her little eyes pop open the minute I lay her down, I question myself. When I think about how long it's been since John and I had any semblance of romance in our lives, I question myself.
The funny thing is that I look at our son and our daughter, and I don't question them. I know how incredible they are. Jack is such a smart and funny little kid. As much as he challenges me on the daily, he also cracks me up with his sense of humor, and amazes me with his knowledge of letters and numbers. And Ruby is the sweetest little girl ever. She smiles with every molecule in her body. And adorable much?
At the end of the day, I know how lucky I am to be the Mom to these two amazing kiddos. And they don't know how to read parenting books, so chances are, they think my techniques are just fine.
Maybe we should start saving up for their therapy just in case.