Monday, 9 March 2009

First the worst?

I'm the second child in my family, not that you'd know it from looking through my parents' photo albums. There are pages filled with shots of my sister's childhood; every developmental stage is documented in painstaking details, but you can count the number of photos of me on the pudgy fingers of one tiny, baby hand. Clearly by the time they reached number two the novelty had worn off. 

This doesn't bode well for my numbers two, three and four sons and indeed history is already repeating itself. Even in pregnancy the signs were there. First time round I spent nine months preparing attending antenatal classes, pregnancy yoga sessions, touring the labour ward and learning more than any woman should about episiotomies and just what those giant forceps are for. 

I armed myself with arnica, raspberry leaf tea, massage oil, birth ball and TENS machine. Little did I realise back then that labour is far less about whale music, deep breathing and soothing oils than throwing up and begging for an epidural. 

Fast forward five years to birth number three and my preparation consisted of picking up the phone to book myself in for an elective caesarean. Forget raspberry leaf tea, I was in it for the free bottle of champers doled out by the posh hospital that my insurance company was treating me to. 

And it isn't just during gestation that these boys will have to deal with third class treatment. My first son's babyhood was a social whirl that would put any 'it' girl to shame. If it wasn't coffee with NCT pals, it was Tumble Tots, Monkey Music, Gymboree or baby massage classes. Never mind that I was paying through the nose for him to resolutely sleep through these improving activities. 

With son number two I just about managed to book him in for a music class, only to skive off most of them because I was too tired (lazy) to schlep him out of my house, where the quality of the chocolate biscuits was so much higher after all. 

With the twins I guiltily asked a mummy friend of three if she thought it would be terrible not to bother with baby classes at all this time round. I felt that by reaching number three and four child I deserved a reprieve from communal nursery rhyme singing in draughty church halls surrounded by over eager first timers. 

That said I am not so sure that my children don't prove that playground rhyme 'First the worst' right, as thanks to my intense hot housing my eldest is now incapable of amusing himself without my full and undivided attention - most annoying when you are trying to catch up with Mistresses on Sky +, scanning Twitter or updating your blog - all must do activities for a modern mother of course. 

Son number two swiftly learned the futility of trying to attract mummy's attention when she was deep in the latest copy of Heat, and with a bit of luck, and a lot of Cbeebies, the twins will soon learn that the fastest way to mummy's heart is to leave her in peace. Clearly there's a lot to be said for a spot of benign neglect. 


  1. Just to set the record straight: a quick scan through my iPhoto library shows 180 pictures of Jacob during his first month of life, while the twins score 201. Granted they have to share this total between two of them, but then they are both in most of the pictures. So I don't think there's too much danger of "novelty wearing off" syndrome in this house.

    Your loving husband xxx

  2. My son suffered from second child syndrome for the first year of his life, when I slapped myself round the face with a whoozit and pulled myself together ... although when he looks through the baby photo album I do sometimes tell him that he is in fact his sister to make him feel better.

    Anyway who needs 'Sing & Sign' when you've got 10 episodes of Justin and Something Special backed up on Sky+?