Second children can often times be taken for granted by stressed parents who found all the time in the world to dote on their first newborns. April Drew pleads guilty to not always being as fussy with her second, Sadie, and promises that will change.
Someone asked me over the weekend how old my daughter Sadie was. I hesitated, looked down at my fingers, began counting and finally replied “seven months.”
I was embarrassed I couldn’t tell her off the top of my head. I began to feel guilty because you can be full sure if someone asked me Colum’s (my 21-month old) age back when he was a baby I would have been able to spout off the months and days.
I was told by friends when I was pregnant with Sadie that I wouldn’t pay as much attention to the little details with the second. Not me, I thought. I’d be on top of everything like I was with Colum.
And now I’m ashamed to say those mothers who went before me, all of them, were right. You only have to be a friend of mine on Facebook to notice it.
Colum nearly reached celebrity status on my homepage with the amount of pictures I put up of him on my wall each week. If I’m being honest I think there are probably about 10 pictures in total of Sadie since her birth, and it has nothing to do with censorship.
Prime example -- I have a whole album on Facebook dedicated to Colum’s christening. I have five pictures shoved into my mobile upload folder for Sadie’s.
I would, on a regular if not a daily basis, insert what Colum did that day into my status bar on my homepage. My mother, close friends and family would receive more extensive emails with video attachments on a weekly basis on my son’s progress. I’ve not sent one email or video referencing Sadie’s development.
If might seem to others that I don’t care as much the second time around but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
I guess the situation creates it really. We’re busy with our first son so we don’t have much leisure time to concentrate on the finer details of our second.
Don’t get me wrong. I remember to feed, clothe and cuddle her, but I don’t always remember pinnacle moments like her first smile, her first solids or when she first sat up straight.
Those details are pretty much etched in my brain for Colum, and in case I ever forget them I created a time log on my laptop with all his “big moments” during his first year and a little beyond. I’ve yet to create a Sadie folder (and can’t see it happening any time soon either).
I began teaching Colum sign language at five months, and he began using it to communicate at eight months. Sadie is now seven months and I guiltily admit I have yet to begin signing to her.
It’s not something that takes effort. I just simply forgot. Now that I’m aware of it I will get on that this week but it should have begun sooner.
The time has just flown by. I can use the big relocation back to Ireland last May (Sadie was three months) as an excuse and being busy with work upon our return but they are just that, excuses.
Sadie and Colum are like chalk and cheese when it comes to their personalities. Colum is bubbly, boisterous, chatty and lively. Sadie is calm and takes everything in. They compliment each other.
I’m not sure if it’s just their personalities, the fact that one is a boy and one is a girl or that John and I probably gave Colum too much attention (he was the first) that they are so different. The only thing similar about Colum and Sadie is their little faces. They are the spitting image of each other.
I guess with our first it was the novelty of everything he did for the first time, and like any novelty the excitement wears off I suppose.
I have pictures and videos of Colum’s first spoon feed, his first smile (or one of his first), the first time he wore certain clothes, the first time he used his bouncer and his first day at day care.
I have none of the above for Sadie. I’m sure she will wonder why when she is older.
So to you my daughter Sadie I dedicate this column. I’m sure someday when you’re much older you will read this.
But today I make a promise to give you more attention away from your very active big brother. I promise to take a lot more pictures of your every smiling face, your funny laugh and the next time you roll over on the floor.
I’ll also try to capture your cheeky brother as he climbs on top of you to smother you with kisses and play horsey, something you love. Your daddy and I panic a little as Colum jumps up and down on you but you’re not bothered. I’ve no doubt you’ll seek revenge when you’re good and able.
You’re everyone’s favorite, Sadie. You never, and I mean never, cry for anything other than food. And even then you give a little quibble that may eventually turn into a soft cry if we don’t deliver your food in reasonable time.
You smile at everyone and everything. You never make strange with anyone. They tell me at day care that all the staff visit your baby room at least once in the day for a “Sadie cuddle.”
You love giving cuddles, especially to your daddy. You’ve recently begun teething and find relief in sucking our faces. It’s very funny and sloppy.
You adore your brother more than anyone else. We don’t get a look in. He spends hours every day trying to make you laugh and it works a treat. You take great comfort in knowing he is nearby and sometimes when he is out of sight you make a fussy sound until he returns.
He in turn takes great care of you. He cleans your face when you spit up, he gives you a bottle when you’re hungry and tucks you up in a blanket when he thinks you might need it.
He also, on occasion, does things that you’re not yet ready for like shoving a piece of apple into your mouth because he thinks you’re hungry, or lifting you off the couch to carry you around in his arms (we rescued you a few times from this.)
You have a beautiful, flourishing personality Sadie. You’re cool, calm, and collective. You’re always content and smiling. It’s a pleasure for anyone to be around you especially me.
You mean the world and more to me Sadie Elizabeth Mooney. I just know that we will be great friends.
It’s nice that Colum has your daddy too. I’m sure there will be many boys vs. girls arguments but we’ll always win, Sadie. We’ll make a good team.
It’s my job to be a role model to you now little girl. I’ll do my best. I’ve no doubt when your teenage years roll in we’ll have a few (or a lot) of words but that too will pass.
I know this because I was once a teenager and disliked a lot of the choices my mother made on my behalf – like keeping me home from discos when my friends were going, or stopping me from hanging around with some kids in the neighborhood or not allowing me to wear platform shoes to school when I was 14 after I saw them on a contestant at the Eurovision Song Contest that year.
She repeatedly said to me, “Someday you’ll understand why I’m so strict. You’ll be a mother too April.” I never believed her but she was right.
I recently thanked my mother, your nana Liz, for being so strict, and apologized for all the angry tears I shed when I was told no. So be forewarned Sadie -- I’ve a feeling I’ll be worse than your nana. It’s my job my sweetheart.
I get very excited at the idea of taking you shopping, sipping cups of tea, listening to all your little woes and learning about the boys you have crushes on. At the moment I need to remember to enjoy you every day because God knows the time goes so fast.
You’re seven months already little girl so I’m not going to let another day go by without making extra time in my day for you.
Thank you for being in our lives Sadie. You’re a true blessing and I love you very much.