We’ve all been there, stood with other mothers with children of similar ages competing for the best/most advanced child. Competitive parents are what put me off most baby groups. With Spud I would leave a baby group and get straight on to the health visitor because he wasn’t talking like the other babies or sleeping like them. I was constantly reassured that he was fine and that because he was so advanced physically, I couldn’t expect him to excel in all areas – he wasn’t super-baby and “no two babies are the same.”
Now when I got pregnant with Spike I heard that saying over and over. Mainly from my mother when I would be rabbiting on about how Spike would probably be sleeping through from 6 weeks and that I best prepare myself for another fussy eater. After all it was my parenting style that made Spud how he was, it was nothing to do with nature it was nurture all the way – wasn’t it?
Now when Spike was born he was a total clone of his big brother, so much so most people would accidentally call him by Spud’s name rather than his own. I have always said I would treat all my children the same to make it fair but of course I learnt from my mistakes with Spud so parenting Spike started off much easier because there was less trial and error. For the first 10 days everything was perfect, he was just like Spud was as a tiny baby and I was pleased as punch that he was shaping up to be an amazing eater, sleeper and head holder upper – just like his big brother. Then everything changed. There was no event that changed everything we just gradually started to notice little differences which over the past 9 months have set them up to become polar oppposites.
As a tiny baby Spud was a joy. Bar a bout of SMA induced constipation he was a very easy baby. He slept through at 6 weeks old and shocked us all by sitting up at 3 months, commando crawling at 4 months, cruising at 7 months, standing unaided at 8 months and walking at 10 months. At about 6 months old my luck ran out. He started waking up at night or super early in the morning, he wouldn’t nap away from his cot and he became a fussy eater. It was mainly my fault, the health visitor put into my head that he wasn’t eating enough and the reason he now woke 4 times a night was because he was starving hungry. I became obsessed. The poor child had food piled in front of him 6 times a day and eventually decided to just not eat at all. He had always been funny with milk and we even had a stage at about 7 months where he had no bottles at all so I constantly worried about him. It wasn’t until he was 18 months old that I started to relax with food. After a few days of being extremely angry at the Hubby for telling Spud that if he didn’t eat he went to bed hungry I soon learnt that Spud was fine if he didn’t eat his dinner. It didn’t affect him at all other than to make him really quite hungry at breakfast time. Now we go through stages where he eats shed loads in one day and stages where he eats hardly anything. He’s much more relaxed, I’m much more relaxed and meal times are a pleasure and not a chore. He was never one for talking and didn’t say his first word until he was about 10 months old. He didn’t clap until he was 12 months old and was never a cuddly baby. He always wanted to be off doing his own thing despite the “I want cuddle” protests for people, especially his Nana! He was the healthiest baby I knew, only catching the odd cold and not visiting a Dr until he was 16 months old. He was a little baldy until he was 18 months and got his first tooth at 8 months, the others followed very slowly until he was well into toddler hood and he suddenly appeared with a mouth full!
My first shock from Spike was when he was born with hair! I was so used to a bald baby that hair really wasn’t expected especially because he looked so much like Spud. At 10 days old Spike showed signs of colic. He had always been slightly unsettled after feeding but I figured with him being so young it must be him getting used to life on the outside. We started on Dentinox drops but they made him worse so we went onto Infacol. He seemed OK but became more and more unsettled after every feed. I visited the health visitor who told me to stop breastfeeding to see if he improved and then after 2 weeks of no improvement told me I was making it up as I was unable to cope with two children under two. Eventually after many trips to the health visitors, for feeding problems and a manky belly button both of which were fobbed off every time, we saw the Dr for our 6 week check who told me straight away that Spike had reflux and needed his cord freezing with silver nitrate. Within 2 days of starting Gaviscon he was a different baby. He was happy and comfortable! At about 13 weeks we noticed that he wasn’t holding his head up properly and that his scabby cradle cap ridden head was going flat on one side. We tried everything to encourage him and eventually during a trip to the Dr about his skin they checked him for Torticollis. The Dr couldn’t feel anything abnormal so suggested we just wait a little bit especially as his head was rather large and could be too heavy for his little neck to support. After 8 weeks his body did appear to catch up with his head and he started to hold it up much better. He didn’t sleep through the night until he was 6 months old was pretty poor at napping. At 7 months he got his first tooth and now 2 months later we have our 5th popping through! It wasn’t until he was 7 months old that he sat up on his own and then 7.5 months before he started commando crawling. You could witness Spud practising skills like this but with Spike he goes from unable to do it to mastering it in the blink of an eye. At 8 months he started clapping and saying Baba and Mama. At nearly 9 months he still commando crawls everywhere and occasionally makes some effort to pull himself up but he simply doesn’t have the balance to sustain it. Since turning 6 months old he is a totally different baby. He is such a happy chap and will sit for hours in his pushchair not making a peep. As long as you feed him on time he just appears to cruise through life going with the flow. Food wise, he couldn’t be more different than Spud. We have yet to find something that Spike won’t eat. Even if his face appears to hate it, he still eats the lot! I think my attitude helps a lot. If Spike refuses a bottle I don’t fuss about it, I know that he has eaten enough that day and he has plenty of fat reserves (he’s 25lb 7oz!!) and I know that he will still sleep from 6.30pm until 9am the next day as well as have epic naps in the day. One thing I could never do with Spud was transfer him from his car seat to the pram or cot. With Spike it’s as easy as Pi. The lad loves his sleep!
I think because I have had two boys it has been far too easy to compare my children. Spike has stopped looking so much like Spud and now that he has his own personality and is developing in different areas at different stages I can see that I have two very different children. Spud is my independent, headstrong toddler and Spike is my cuddly, cheeky baby. I can tell you now that I think Spud will be the sporty one and Spike will be the geeky one. Only time will tell.