You always hear how every child is different and not to compare your babies but I didn’t really realize just how different my children would be until I became a mother of two. Ava and Hannah…. well they’re chalk and cheese really!
I’m not going to lie, I was scared to have another baby… Ava was not exactly an easy baby in the beginning, it took a lot of hard work. dedication and commitment on my part to get her to eat, sleep and into a routine. She struggled with colic until she was around 3 months old, she still battles with constipation and as a baby, it was so severe it would impact into her colon and cause a.n.a.l tears. She had a very over developed Moro reflex so getting her to sleep was difficult and as soon as she fell asleep and I’d put her down, she’d jerk herself awake. It was hard, it was exhausting and it was only through sheer determination that we managed to get her into a workable routine and sleeping well and through the night’s. She also NEVER slept during the day and there were days when she’s wake at 5am and not go back to sleep until 11pm, leaving me frazzled and shattered.
Ava @ 6-7 weeks old.
Hannah, on the other hand, is kind of a parenting book carbon copy. She does EXACTLY what all the parenting books say a 10 week old baby should be doing. When she first came to us, she was on a 3 hourly feeding schedule which I managed to change to 4 hourly within the 1st two days, she drinks 125ml’s per feed and she drinks it in under 20 minutes. We have had no issues with wind, in fact burping her is the easiest thing, you sit her up and in that upright motion, the winds come out before I’ve even had a chance to pat her back. She sleeps about 2 hours in between each day time feed, without rocking or fussing. I just put her down and she goes to sleep. She was waking up twice a night for a feed but since last week she has dropped the late evening feed and is now sleeping from 7pm to around 7am every night and only waking up once at around 1am for a 15 minute feed. I have NO sleep deprivation. She is also physically very strong, almost rolling on her own already, when lying down she immediately starts making motions with her neck in an attempt to sit up by herself and when she is lying down and I let her hold my fingers, she pulls herself up into a standing position. I mentioned this in an email to her birth mom yesterday, who immediately mailed me back and informed me that Hannah’s biological sister pretty much skipped the crawling and walked from a very young age and that she suspected Hannah would be the same.
Hannah at 9 weeks.
Physically they are very different babies, of course, coming from different biological parents they would be, but it has taken some getting used to on my part. Ava was always a long, thin baby, her weight was always on the lower side, she never had puppy fat or baby rolls on her thighs, arms or neck. She was always skraal. Hannah on the other hand is a shorty of note. Her birth mom is 162cm, that’s 15cm shorter than me, and she only weighted 45kg’s, I suspect Hannah is going to be tiny like her too. Her legs are so short that in the beginning I struggled to change her nappy because I was so used to Ava’s long, thin body. She is also full of puppy fat, she has totally edible neck, arm and thigh rolls with a good dose of butt cellulite to boot.
As young as Hannah is, I can also see a distinct difference in their personality’s. Ava is and was, even at that young age, a VERY determined little girl, if she wanted/didn’t want something, there is and was NO WAY you were going to force her. She has always been exceptionally strong willed, her and I have been locked in a battle of wills from the time she was a tiny baby. Hannah on the other hand is easy going and has a very sunny disposition. If you even look at her, she starts smiling and chatting away to you.
I also think there are a number of factors that have made my motherhood experience very different this time around. The fact that Hannah is older, she came to us at 2 months old and was first in the care of a place of safety with very experienced care givers does make a HUGE difference. Newborns are VERY hard work, those first 6 – 8 weeks are a killer but by the time Hannah was placed with us, she was already settled into a routine and life outside the womb. The fact that I’m older, I also think plays a part in my experience of motherhood this time around. At almost 41, I am a VERY different person to who I was at 37 when Ava was placed. I’m much more confident in who I am as both a woman and a mother and at almost 41 I have the confidence and maturity to not really give a damn what other mothers may think, something I really struggled with the first time around. I also think motherhood the second time around is easier, it’s not such a steep learning curve and a lot of your instincts kick back in. With Ava I had to learn her que’s, like when she was tired etc, with Hannah I know them and recognize them, so we don’t struggle with issues of over stimulation or tiredness. I just know what to do and how to handle her and I feel so much more confident in my dealings with her and far less panicked than I was with Ava.
It still blows my mind to say: My children! I am blessed beyond what I could ever have imagined for myself. I cannot believe that a journey that started almost 12 years ago and that caused me so much pain and heartache, has ended and has ended so beautifully and so perfectly and in ways I could never have imagined. I have children, I am a mother of two!