To some extent, the sands of time do smear Vaseline over the lenses of our rose-coloured spectacles and everything is in soft focus, all warm and fuzzy. Unless something traumatic has happened, by the end of the toddler years, most people choose to remember mainly the yummy, cuddly sweet bits of those early days. Or maybe that is just me. I’m a bugger for nostalgia but I can’t help but think that, now baby number 2 is here, nostalgia is being a bit of a bugger for me, causing me more stress and anxiety than the present.
This week, we have embarked upon weaning our six-month-old. We have chosen to do it at the same time as potty training our two-and-a-half-year-old, so it’s literally all shits and giggles in our house right now. Except, in all honesty, there are a lot more shits going on and that is mainly on the potty-training side of things. For some unknown reason, Joe just doesn’t get solids. To the point that I am considering a DNA test because I’m just not sure how someone who is 50% me can be so disinterested in food. James, my eldest, took to solids straight away. And this is where I start to get all stressy.
Having two kids, two years and two months apart is great in many ways, especially when you have two boys and save a bloody fortune on clothes and toys. However, it is inevitable that you draw comparisons and this is decidedly dodgy ground. There is an element of trying to draw on my previous experience in a desperate attempt to know what to do and establish a level of normal. But every child is different and I am concerned that I am causing both myself and the boys problems in the future.
James was an advanced baby. I’m not just saying that as a smug arsehole, gloating about my child prodigy. He’s not a child prodigy but he was an early starter and this is backed up, usually, by the Timehop app. He was rolling by 10 weeks. He had teeth at 5 months. He sat up and crawled at 6 months. He was walking by 10 months. His speech has always been exceptional, especially for a boy. His counting, his alphabet… all amazingly well developed. I am not for a second suggesting that this is down to me in anyway. I’m not naturally particularly clever. I’m not an attentive parent who speaks seven languages and spends my time reading to my child in Mandarin. I don’t sign to the kids. I don’t do anything. In fact, a lot more will be down to nursery than it is to me. James is just bright. He is also massively challenging at times, with a monstrous temper so he is by no means perfect.