I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve heard people say, “I don’t know why my first and second child behave so differently, we treat them both the same.”
Really, do you?
My first baby had my full, undivided attention for the first three months of her life. I was there to attend to her every whim, as us mums do when we are cooing over our first born.
Then I went back to work when she was three months old. She started having to be formula fed during the day and looked after by either me, her Nan or her Dad depending on who had the day off work.
I managed six weeks back at work, commuting for an hour and a half each way and being out of the house from 6.30 am to 6 pm. Then I thought better of it and found a job that I could do from home, working my hours around Libby.
So after a short interlude, Libby went back to having my undivided attention. I worked when she slept, I took her on days out, to regular groups and even took her with me to Paris when I had to go for work.
I worked hard to help her to achieve all her developmental milestones, whether that be walking, talking or doing jigsaw puzzles.
Fast forward to Lia and how on earth was I supposed to replicate the experience that Libby had?
I was freelance by the time Lia turned up, so whilst I cut down on my workload for a few months, I had to carry on working almost as soon as I brought her home from hospital.
But aside from the work commitments that I had, how can anybody who has two children that are close together in age manage to treat them both the same?
Libby (fortunately) didn’t disappear into thin air when Lia turned up. So Lia, for the most part, has had to just fit in and get on with things.
We are always on the go, but with a demanding toddler on my hands, I’ve had very little time to focus on Lia’s development. I’ve been taking her to baby sign classes like I did with Libby, and of course she comes swimming when we go as a family.
Other than that though, I’ve found it really hard to treat Lia the same way that Libby was treated. I never help her to walk and haven’t focused much on her talking. I certainly haven’t had the time to play with shape sorters or jigsaws.
Even when we go to playgroups and things, I don’t really think to put Lia on any of the toys or rides, yet I’m sure I did with Libby when she was that age.
There are two things that have made me realise this recently. The first was when I was doing a basic jigsaw with Libby, trying to teach her numbers. Lia just crawled over, grabbed a piece of the jigsaw and put it in place.
All the pieces were the same shape and she wasn’t recognising the number, but nonetheless I had no idea she even knew what to do with a jigsaw piece.
The second thing that happened was when we went out for the morning on Monday. We decided to go back to a pub that I’ve done a review for in the past. It is just ideal for us to meet with friends because the children can play while we drink coffee. Bliss.
So after playing with her friend for a little while, Libby came over and suggested to me that Lia might like to have a go in the push along car. It hadn’t crossed my mind, but of course she was right.