The Irish Homecoming - A letter to darling Sadie: the second child can be taken for granted by stressed out parents


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.