I can’t believe Jemima, my youngest starts nursery this week. Not only because rather predictably her babydom has gone way too quickly but also because sometimes I’m still genuinely shocked she’s here. This time 3 years ago I’d just found out I was pregnant which is usually a magical moment but I couldn’t quite allow myself to believe it as I had my first daughter through ICSI.
I’d love to say that it was like a fairytale and I knew my natural pregnancy was “right” from the start but I was continually nervous because I’d miscarried before. Besides as a former IVF patient, to me the most logical way towards a healthy baby was months of injections, scans, operations and tablets. A conventional conception to me was, well unconventional. Could I really carry this baby on my own?
As my girth began to grow, the hope that I may have a second baby naturally seemed almost real. Then finally my gorgeous little girl was born and that hope did become a reality. Jemima arrived angry and fashionably late, not early and serene as is often the case with second babies and has continued to laugh in the face of what is expected of her.
I was told “The Second Child develops quicker” and she’d definitely be walking early. Jemima chose not to. I guess why would she need to move when Izzie, her older sister was constantly putting on a cabaret right in front of her bouncer? And I remember a friend saying when she saw Jemima passed out on her baby gym again, “That’s my sort of work out!” Jemima will not rush for anyone.
Then there’s “The Second Child is a less fussy eater” myth. I don’t think so, Jemima went through some very odd food phases. She earned her nickname “Bam Bam” for tearing through strips of chicken with her gums then decided she’d eat nothing but grapes and bread for a few weeks. Jemima’s interesting culinary tastes continue but unless a child requests sushi and blinis I try not to overreact to Diva food demands,
And Jemima can be a Diva at times. It surprises me how often I hear, “The Second Child is more laid back”. Granted Jemima doesn’t lose her rag with the monotonous regularity Izzie does but she’s much more difficult to distract and always determined to finish a floor show during public paddys. Bribes will not buy Jemima’s cooperation and as helpless as this makes me feel, I kind of admire her strength of character.
I should of course not take bad behaviour personally and was even told “I’d be more laid back with my second baby”. Er no. I still panic if I can’t hear her chattering on the monitor in the morning and terrify the poor creature by creeping into her room and peering into her cot when she’s sleeping. It’s got to be a horrible shock waking up to a big face looming over you. Equally when she’s making too much of a racket I worry something’s wrong.
I also heard that “I’d know what I was doing as I made my mistakes with my first so practicalities like potty training would be easier”. Really? Now I’m fortunate to be married to a man who’s passion equals his potty training prowess but I did my fair share and still find myself in the peculiar predicament of begging a very small, very stubborn person to piss in a pot.
At the ripe old age of 24 months I remember someone remarked that my child wasn’t yet trained. When they didn’t get a reaction from me they went on to comment “oh well she won’t be going to school in nappies” in the tone of “she so will, you loser”. It still makes me smile how some parents get so competitive about their children performing in a potty.
And that sums up the last couple of years really, a lot of laughter and rebellion. I’m sad that our time alone is coming to an end but reflecting on the last two years, happily I realise I have few regrets. I have totally indulged and enjoyed my baby and not listened to people’s often hurtful and occasionally helpful comments about what my child should or should not be doing. As long as Jemima and the rest of the family were happy and healthy I was reassured I was doing the right thing,
I believe it’s the right time for Jemima to start nursery but I’m worried how she will react when I leave her for the first time. It’s only natural I’m nervous and there probably will be tears and tantrums. Jemima may take care of the tantrums and I’m fairly sure I will shed a discrete tear. I wonder how she will cope with her new environment and just how I’ll adapt to returning to work?
Has the Fax machine finally disappeared or will that same supplier still expect me to fax over signed order confirmations with the implication that I’m a little bit shifty? Do people still use corporate lingo like “I’ll keep you in the loop” or “You’ve got to think outside the box”? Will these phrases still make me smile? Will I ever get to grips with SEO as the book I’m reading on it makes me feel awfully sleepy?
There’s so much I don’t know and even more I’m unsure of but I guess that’s ok, Jemima has taught me that stepping into unknown territory can have some pretty amazing results. Sometimes we surprise ourselves and it’s true that ordinary people do extraordinary things.
I never dreamed that as an IVF patient I could go on to have a baby naturally yet the last two years have been incredible. Sometimes I catch myself looking into Jemima’s beautiful face and I’m genuinely overwhelmed, not only by the intensity of my love for her but also because Jemima reminds me that anything is possible.