• Oliver Messner

Second Time Around

Updated: Jul 11, 2019

On the thirteenth of September in 2010, my wife and I were blessed with our daughter Kira.

It might be cliched but it feels like it happened only yesterday and not almost nine years ago. After months filled with trepidation, anxiety, anticipation and basically running around like a headless chicken, the day finally arrived and we were off to the hospital. Due to complications, my wife needed a cesarean and I was hell bent on being right there in the operating room, to witness the birth of my first child.

Camera in hand, more nervous than Ally, I was definitely not ready for what was about to happen.

Movies and television like to gloss over the actual details and paint a pretty picture about the whole thing but do not do the topic justice. I was shocked to the very fiber of my being at the way the doctor and his team went about the procedure. They were extremely professional, efficient and at the same time very blase, even humorous about the whole thing the entire time. Getting the soon to be parents laughing and really doing a great job of calming us down..... I never felt so utterly helpless in my entire life.

Long story short, what followed was a mere quarter hour ( although it seemed to last for an age and a half ) of the most amazing spectacle I had ever witnessed, culminating with the doctor extracting the tiny, screaming, bluish-purple bundle of joy that was my daughter. After repeatedly asking and making sure that I really understood the procedure, the pediatrician let me cut the umbilical cord. Healthy and weighing in at 2.4 kg, 45 cm in height Kira came into this world.

The next few days passed in a haze. Both the women in my life were discharged from the hospital without any issues and our new life as a family unit began. I actually postponed a rather large job by about three weeks because I was determined to be at home to help my wife as much as I possibly could. The first days of parenting were an extremely nervous and emotional time for me. Here was this little being, tiny, fragile and totally dependent on it's parents, that I helped bring into this world. I thought to myself : " Wow, you've really done it, your'e an actual, honest to god dad......, and immediately afterward, HOLY CRAP, you've really done it, your'e an actual, honest to god dad! I realized then and there, that it was time to bring my A-game, man up and take some serious responsibility.

Life definitely changed. All kinds of people were giving me well meaning advice concerning parenthood, what to expect, how the way that becoming a father would alter my priorities and the way I viewed the world. While all of this information was appreciated, it honestly, in no way whatsoever, prepared me for the real deal. Priorities and outlooks did change, habits were altered, etc. but the one, most fundamental change in me must have been the setting in of a sense of real purpose. Having a kid is the perfect kick in the proverbial ass. A motivator to try and better yourself, do as much as you can and generally just puts quite a big weight unto your shoulders ( at least that was the case with me). Now in no way was everything rosy, there were the first few months of very little to almost no sleep, feeding the baby, the diaper changing, the constant fear of making mistakes, trying to be as helpful as possible ( but secretly knowing that I was being more of a hindrance to my wife), the diaper changing, the bathing, the ever present tiredness .... oh, and did I mention the diaper changing. At the time I honestly did feel that I was in way over my head but, somehow, we managed to get through all the challenges most first time parents face and I cherished every memory of that time.

Kira was amazingly docile and, barring the times that she inevitably got sick, a joy to take care of. She mostly listened to what you told her, never had any of those tantrums I had other parents tell me about, their eyes large and glazed, as they recounted tale upon tale of the horror that is the tantrum and after a time, she even started sleeping through the night without any hassle. We were generally suprised, having none of the issues we had heard so much about. So we decided to do the obvious and have another child.

We tried and tried for years but it just never happened. Then, keeping up with popular established tradition, we tried some more. We were hoarding most of the baby things left over from Kira's birth. The crib, baby bed and strollers, among others were still in mint condition and it would be pointless buying these all over again. After a bit more than five years later, we resigned ourselves that it just wasn't going to happen, gave away all the things that we had been storing and proceeded to carry on with life.

As is so often the case and life being what it is, Ally fell pregnant and my second daughter Mia was born on the tenth of October 2016, weighing a healthy 3.4 kg and measuring 54 cm . We were overjoyed and I thought that this time round should be a walk in the park..... but of course the powers that be had other plans and, while my first child was very much her mother's daughter, the second was anything but and definitely took after her father.

From the very beginning, Mia was, for lack of a better word, a handful. Loud and hyper active, she kept us on our toes from the very beginning. It was and is actually amazing, borderline jarring, how different my two girls are. If you compare pictures of them at the same age, it's immediately apparent that they are sisters but that's about where the similarities end. Where Kira was quite, often shy and attentive, Mia's loud, in-your-face attitude and selective hearing floored us all. Nothing was ever easy with her. From a standard diaper change to going out for groceries, 9.5 times out of 10, something was bound to go wrong. There is a reason that I call her El Demonio.

We had grown accustomed to Kira's and to a slightly lesser degree, my nephew Sven's more timid and docile approach to life in general. Keeping up with Mia has proven to be unbelievably difficult and I feel that I have aged considerably in the two and a half years since her birth. Inquisitive to a fault, joyful when something can be destroyed,demolished or taken apart and way to smart for her own good, my little monster does fill my heart with joy. I can't help smile when she, even after yet another one of her escapades, looks at me with those big blue eyes and the now common ' WHAT? ' expression on her face.

What also shocked me, is how much I had forgotten in the six years since my first child. Everything has had to be learned anew. Diapers, bathing, changing, feeding, etc. , everything was a fresh challenge and for all intents and purposes I might as well have been a new parent.

I was wondering if anyone else can relate to this, or has their own story about something similar and would love to read about it in the comments below.

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