One of the things we worried about the most when expecting our second child, was how his/her arrival would impact our first child. I wondered if I would be able to give enough attention to both children, how I’d juggle breastfeeding with a potty training toddler, how I’d deal with sleep deprivation and function enough to care for a toddler, and how I would manage feeding separate meals to different aged children (purees vs. regular kiddo foods)…among many many other things.
Being almost a year in with baby number 2, I can confidently say that MOST of my worries were eased and managed fairly well. There’s something pretty amazing about becoming a Mom.. you worry about everything, only to find out really quickly, that you are super human and can tackle just about ANY challenge that comes your way. In the moment, you don’t even think.. you just act… and that’s how we make everything work! That’s why when people ask, “How do you do it?” The answer is almost always, “I don’t know, I just do”. If only we could JUST DO with all other aspects of our life.. just buy that purse you’ve been eyeing up, or quit your job that you’ve been at for 15 years but hate. I think Nike was on to something when they coined the term “Just Do It”. Okay.. I digress. How did I get so off topic? Geez.. okay, back to what this post is supposed to be about. THE SECOND CHILD.
For us, having a second was much easier than having the first. The pregnancy was less stressful, the labour mind you was MUCH WORSE, and the first year has so far been much more easy going. As a rookie Mom, you worry about sleeping arrangements, breastfeeding, introducing solids, homemade food, organic and all natural products, haircuts, skin bumps, diaper rashes, creams, formulas, the list goes on and on and on. The second time around…. you don’t have time for worrying! You know the fundamentals, you know that cosleeping will likely not cause harm or create a lifelong battle of sleeping arrangements. You know that baby poop can be yellow, orange, greenish, brownish… it can have stringy looking things, or clumps, or be purely liquid. It can shoot up the back every single time, and you know that when that happens, it’s time to up the diaper size. You also know the best stain remover for removing the inevitable poop explosion stains. (Rookie Moms – BUY THIS) As a result of knowing these things, you worry much much much less. What this does however, is ensure that your second child totally gets shafted!
I know what you’re thinking… wow Shannon.. that’s kinda harsh, isn’t it? Well, stay with me here..
Just because you worry less, doesn’t mean you care less. Duhh.
It does mean, that your second child gets 99% second hand clothes, because you know damn well that buying all new clothes for a second child is just plain silly. They grow out of them faster than it takes to wash the next size, and you’ve realized that second hand clothes are in near perfect condition, because someone else’s child grew out of them before they could even wear them more than once.
It means that you buy your baby food in jars because you don’t actually save a ton of money when you factor in the time it takes to make your own baby food; and it’s just a giant pain in the ass to remember to take out frozen puree to thaw it in the fridge for 24 hrs so that you don’t have to use the microwave. (Full disclosure – I totally still made SOME of my own baby food, froze it in ice cub trays AND thawed it in microwaves. Oops)
You might wait 1-2 days max to try a new food instead of the 3-4 recommended…and if you’re anything like me you’ll introduce finger foods a lot sooner than you did with your first because you know it’s so much nicer when they can feed themselves. Am I right, Mamas? In fact, B is just shy of a year and has been eating finger foods since 7-8 months, and barely eats any purees now. He actually prefers feeding himself, and I even make pancakes with his oat or rice cereal. SO MUCH LESS MESS!
In addition to earlier finger foods, you’ll also feed your second child foods in their first year that you never dreamed of feeding your first child. I realized this last night when we had frozen pizza for dinner (hubby is on afternoon shift, so it’s just me and the kids – don’t judge me), and instead of making something different for B, I cut the crust off and gave him PIZZA for dinner. That never would have happened with K. He’s also eaten french fries, and tasted a cupcake. You guys, K didn’t even get sugary cake for her 1st birthday, but instead I made her a home made cake using apple sauce and bananas instead of sugar, and cream cheese for icing. Yep, I’m that asshole Mom.
Another thing I’ve noticed with number 2, is that B hardly has any possessions of his own. When we had K, her nursery was stocked before she even arrived. I was fortunate to be given a baby shower, and we were spoiled with gifts, keepsakes, stuffed animals.. the works. B’s nursery had bare walls and shelves. It actually made me sad that he didn’t even have 1 single stuffed animal that was just HIS. Of course, this changed after he arrived when he received a few small things… but not to the same extent. Obviously, Christmas came and he received some toys as well, but with there being two kids I find myself always thinking “What can I get him that K will also enjoy?”. As a second child.. I know that as you get older this parenting mindset blows. The “joint” gift for Christmas was often the latest video game console…. and I was not at all into playing video games. So lame.
Lastly, the attention you give your second is considerably less than your eldest especially during the first year. I know this sounds odd, considering babies demand so much attention. Here’s the thing though.. when you have a toddler, they have feelings, emotions, can have memories, can express themselves. I once read that leaving your baby alone for a few minutes to focus on your toddler is preferred versus walking away from your toddler to tend to the baby. Honestly, this made so much sense to me. I never wanted K to feel like she had been replaced, so it was really important that she was given as much of my attention as I could offer. Of course, I had to explain to her that I needed to tend to her brother, but I included her whenever possible. She was my sidekick. So that meant that B was really left to cry or fuss around much more than I ever let happen when K was a baby.
Anyways, my point here is that you just can’t be bothered with baby number 2 to spend time focusing on the stuff that ultimately doesn’t really matter. So, in a sense, you could say that your child totally gets shafted. He or she is not getting your full commitment to offering the cream of the crop. Very few brand new clothes, jarred baby food, pizza and not organic chicken and rice for dinner, limited toys, not as much 1-1 time, you get my point. However, here’s what I’ve realized. THIS IS NOT AT ALL GETTING SHAFTED!! As a result of taking a more relaxed approach to parenting, Momma-bear is calmer, less stressed and happier! WIN-WIN. Pizza for dinner? Hell yeah… limited toys? Please… second kids have access to a plethora of toys that their older sibling had to acquire over multiple years. Cosleeping? Come on. What baby wouldn’t want to snuggle up next to two giant boobs all night long? And have you tried pureed baby food? Ugh. Give me the damn cheerios and cheese! I can also say that buying second hand baby clothes has resulted in a much richer wardrobe for B. We get to benefit (for a fraction of the cost) from the silly parents who splurged on ralph lauren, nike, and gap clothes. K was (and still is) a big time Carters/Oshkosh girl. We love Carters.. but if I throw on a name brand shirt on B knowing that I spent $2-3 for it.. I’m giddy inside. For the record, I am absolutely obsessed with a lot of the small “mom” shops on etsy and such.. but so many of my faves are in the US and with shipping/exchange rates, I just can’t.
Having a second child has been the absolute best decision we could have ever made, and although I’m sure K despises sharing her toys, and now has an annoying little brother who pulls her hair on the reg, and yells at her because he has no words.. they are both super lucky to have each other. B’s got a pretty sweet deal, having an older sister to show him the ropes, steal crackers and milk from, and who has a ridiculous amount of toys that he too gets to play with. Shafted? I think not.
What are some of the things you worried less about with Baby No 2?? Anyone have more than 2 kids and find that with each subsequent child the ease becomes even less?? Leave me a comment below. 🙂