I’ve been quiet since the birth of my second daughter 3 weeks ago. A little too quiet for my taste, so here’s a quick personal post (apologies to those anticipating my usual hardcore technical content).
Lots of people write their impressions as a first time parent, but there’s not much to them. Usually it’s stuff like “Babies are small” and “I’m overwhelmed.” (trust me, I said brilliant stuff like that a couple years ago after my first). This time I’ve got all of the mechanics down pat (cooking while holding an infant, the proper bouncing to rocking ratio, etc) so I’ve had different observations that I was too blown away to notice the first time around. Let’s hope they’re useful to anyone contemplating a second child.
- Typing with one hand is hard and slow.
- Watching a newborn is like driving – doesn’t nearly use your whole brain but occupies your body enough that all you can do is think.
- No matter how much your infant cries, if you jump up from playing with your toddler to care for the infant, then the toddler learns that crying = results. Bad lesson.
- Being able to fall asleep fast is useful, since you never know how long you’ll get to sleep.
- Some items of housework are important (clean laundry, empty sink) while most others are not.
- If you want your kids well taken care of during the day, make sure your wife gets to sleep at night.
- Anything you want done, get it done fast (see bullet #2 for explanation).
- Love doesn’t happen automatically, it needs to be cultivated. While I’m thrilled about the newborn, I don’t have the same feelings towards her as I do towards the toddler because I have years of memories, experiences, and interactions with the toddler. But that doesn’t diminish what I have for the newborn – I’m already so much closer to her than I was two weeks or even one week ago.
- Following up the last point, you have to put in the time and effort if you want to enjoy your kids. Just like you’d never expect to learn something you didn’t work hard at and experiment with, you probably won’t love your kids as much if you don’t put in lots of consistent time in caring for them.
It’s been a great couple of weeks and I look forward to decades more with my two little girls!