The problem with being the baby when there is a toddler in the house is that nobody has time for you. The first baby is spoiled and doted on from the day they are born. They have the love and undivided attention of both parents and of family and friends.
And then along comes baby number two. And what should happen is that mum and dad’s attention is divided equally between you. But it doesn’t work like that in reality, or not in this house anyway.
Babies and toddlers can both be a bit of a handful, but the toddler already has their own routine. There are playgroups, ballet classes, singing sessions, nursery, swimming and drama to attend and friends and family to see.
I already felt guilty that Libby would get less of my attention when Lia came along, so I didn’t change her routine and Lia just had to fit in. And of course, a toddler is much more adept at expressing their yearning for attention than a baby.
The problem is, now I feel guilty towards Lia. This morning I had a rare couple of hours to spend with Lia on her own, whilst Libby was at her Nan’s.
It also happened to be the first time since Lia has been mobile that we’ve had some sunshine, so we headed outside to play.
Of course, Lia couldn’t have my complete undivided attention, not with Jamer and Pluto about to make sure that they weren’t left out. And I did insist on a few photos to show off my gorgeous easy wear bag from Wyatt and Jack, made from bouncy castle off cuts.
The problem was, even though this was a small amount of time that I was able to spend with Lia on her own, I still had to prepare the lunch and make a rhubarb crumble.
The problem with working from home is that I can’t just do things like that when the girls are asleep, because every spare moment is taken up with work.
And I think I will feel eternally guilty towards Lia. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not neglected or left out of things that we do, but I regret not having the time to spend with her that I did with Libby.
I think it shows in Lia’s development as well. She’s a really happy baby, always smiling but she isn’t coming along as quickly as Libby did in any aspect.
She’s nearly nine months old now and is nowhere near walking, whereas Libby at the same age was walking along holding one hand although she wasn’t walking completely unaided.
Lia only started crawling a few weeks ago, but she rarely does it, preferring just to sit and watch the world go by. She can say a few words, but nothing like as much as Libby could at the same age.
I know that the difference in development speeds is to do with the amount of my time that each of them has received.
Lia gains a lot from Libby, who absolutely dotes on her but in some ways I look forward to Libby going to nursery a little bit more in September so I will be able to dedicate some more time to Lia.
But I know that then I’ll feel guilty towards Libby because I will have so much less time with her. I think I’ll have to accept that constant guilt is just a mother’s fate.