Second Child Syndrome

I have heard plenty about the second child syndrome. I have never doubted its validity. It was enough to go to the playground with Kai and watch. There was I, following one step behind him, my arms stretched out in a catch position, climbing up the playground structures and fitting through impossibly small openings and tunnels just to make sure he won't fall or bonk his head. There were the parents of multiple kids, casually standing on the side, chatting away merrily while their offsprings collected bruises, scars and bloody knees.

Fiona will be 7 weeks on Thursday and this is what I have to say - she is a second child. Here are some examples:

- Baby #1: I did not let anyone hold baby #1 until he was about 9 months old. At that point he would freak out if the person holding him was not me, so I kept holding him until about two years of age.
- Baby #2: We went to a birthday party yesterday. Other than a quick feed, I did not even know where my kids were. The older one played on his own and the younger one was in a loving embrace of somebody else than me. Paaarty!

- Baby #1: Before taking a shower, I would write up a manual on how to soothe him (complete with pictures and demonstrations) and suggest solutions to a number of unpredictable situations (alien attack and zombie apocalypse included). OK, maybe I didn't, but I really wanted to.
- Baby #2: Me, to our house guest this morning: "I am going to jump in the shower. If she starts crying, just ignore her. I will be done in 10 minutes, she can survive that." If I rushed with the shower it was not because of the potential discomfort to the baby, but rather the potential discomfort to our guest, in case the baby would, indeed, start crying.

- Baby #1: "Oh, he pooped, we have to pull over and change his diaper. I don't care that we are in a dodgy part of Los Angeles, he needs a clean diaper NOW!" 
- Baby #2: Me, loading groceries in the car: "Honey, I think she pooped." Peter: "Do you want to change her now?" Me: "Nah, let's go home. I'll change her then."

When Kai spat up he would get a new, clean, dry shirt immediately. When Fiona spits out, I just turn her towards the sun, so it dries quicker. While Kai's cries made me jump and drop everything the very second they departed his lips, Fiona's are merely a mild inconvenience that has to be tolerated until I finish folding the laundry.

Maybe she gets less attention because she is such an easy baby. Or maybe she is an easy baby because she gets less attention. I can't tell. But she is definitely, unmistakeably baby #2.

Recent Posts by Andrea Chmelik

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