My wife and I had our second child, Maarya, on September 29, 2012. She was born only 14 months after our first baby girl, Amina. Both babies were premature, making the postpartum period very challenging. The second time around it was a lot easier since we knew what to expect and how to deal with everything. I took a week off from work, but this time, I didn’t have to really run around getting baby items together because we had all baby items and girl clothing from our first baby.
Many things are easier the second time around due to experience, but it’s really hard having two babies so close in age! Amina is still a baby but compared to Maarya, she’s a big and strong “Godzilla baby”. We have to be very careful not to leave Maarya on the floor playing in her gym while Amina is around. Amina has slapped Maarya in the face, threw a book and a couple of toys at her, wiped the spit off her face very forcefully, and applied pressure on her sister’s stomach while trying to stand up. She doesn’t know her strength yet and how to pass a book or toy gently. On the other side, Amina has a tremendous sweet and caring side to her. Her first clear word was ‘Baby’ and that’s what she calls her baby sister. She kisses her head when Maarya is playing in the gym. She becomes distressed when Maarya cries. She pulls Maarya’s hands away when Maarya has her hands in her mouth. When Maarya is sleeping, she tells us to ‘shhh’ and puts a finger to her lips. She finds Maarya’s blanket and puts it over her, but sometimes it’s thrown over her face. She finds toys for Maarya to play with while Maarya is drinking milk.
I’m taking paternal leave this year from July to December and can’t wait to spend time with my girls. I plan on taking them to the park, toys r us, swimming, and anywhere and anything else a dad can do to spoil his babies!
Parental leave is such a huge benefit and we are lucky to have it as an option for working men in Canada. People often ask me if it is hard to step away from work for several months and I tell them that it is not hard at all: When people are older and look back on their life it is rare to find anyone regretting not having worked longer hours, but people often regret not having spent more time with their families.