I had heard it before. The minute you have a second baby your first seems to grow up instantly. Like a lot of things I'd heard before, I dismissed it. 


I sat in the hospital bed, the curtain drawn back, holding my tiny newborn and waited eagerly to introduce him to his big brother. I heard him before I could see him, chatting excitedly to his dad about the balloon he had for the baby. His cute little voice filling my heart with love and pride. And then he appeared, around a foot taller than when I last saw him, ten hours ago. 


He swaggered into the room wearing his big brother t-shirt and gripping his balloon tightly in his giant hands. He saw me and bounded towards the bed with the biggest smile. He clamored up and hugged me tightly. I could feel his weight almost pushing me backwards. Who was this boy? It was only yesterday I was able to effortlessly carry him on my bump. For the first time, I saw what the rest of the world had seen for a year, my boy was not a baby anymore.


But then his sweet little face turned to me and he called me mama. 


He wanted to hold the baby, of course, he could, he was the big brother. I watched him gently look at his brother in amazement and my baby boy was back. Soft little hands holding a small version of his. His button nose mirrored by his baby brother. The same delicate features just slightly bigger now. In the space of a few hours, all of our titles had changed: a family of four, mother of two, father of two, big brother, little brother, oldest, youngest. It was going to take a little while for us all to readjust but it didn't matter.


I held both my babies in my arms and begged time to slow down. 


Michelle Greaves: mum of two boys, writer, photographer, traveller, secondary school teacher.

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