The Second Child
I’m sure that every child will one day lament over their place in the birth order. The oldest likely complains that their parents were the most strict with them, the middle child complains that they don’t get as much attention as the oldest or the youngest, the youngest complains that by the time they rolled around, their parents just didn’t “care” anymore. As someone who suffered from middle child syndrome growing up, it pains me to admit that there might just be something called the “Second Child Syndrome.” I always heard people say that you will do things with your second child that you never dreamed of doing with your first child. Boy were they right.
Second Child Syndrome began in our house long before Xander was ever born. With Jack, I poured over everything pregnancy and baby related. With Xander, not so much. Jack’s nursery was ready by the time I hit my 3rd trimester. Xander’s was ready a few weeks from my due date.
At almost ten months into this two children thing, I can see Second Child Syndrome every where. Binkys are dropped and given back to Xander without a second thought. With the exception of a newborn clothes and a few pieces here and there, the child lives in hand-me-downs. I let him do things that Jack was NEVER allowed to do, like playing in the dog’s food dish (I actually had to fish a piece of dog food out of his mouth yesterday which reminded me why Jack wasn’t allowed to play with the dog’s food).
Yesterday while as I was getting off Jack’s bed, Xander managed to crawl right off the bed. It’s not high (just a mattress and box spring on the floor). He wasn’t hurt and he just laid there and looked at me like “What did I just do?” I picked him and and muttered a “You’re fine” and continued with our morning. Jack would have been fussed over and I would have felt like the worst mommy in the world.
I can count on two fingers the number of times Jack has shared a bed with us. Yup, two. That’s it. Sure every once in a while we go sleep in his bed with him, but we have been absolute in our stance of no kids in the bed. That is until Xander started waking between 5:30 and 6:30 on the weekend. Now when he wakes up, my husband scoops Xander from his crib and brings him into bed with us. It buys us sleep until at least 7:30. Maybe even 8:00.
I can’t figure out how you can possibly avoid Second Child Syndrome. It just feels like a natural progression as a parent. It’s like when you first leave for college. You take all this stuff that your a certain you can’t live without. Then your second year, you figure out what’s really important and take like 1/3 of the stuff you took the year before. With the second child you figure out that it’s ok if they sleep with you, or if they eat dog food. All that matters is that they are happy and healthy.
I’m sure when they are teenagers, Jack will complain that he was never allowed to sleep in our bed and Xander will say that we babied him too much. And that’s ok, just as long as they know that we love them. With all our hearts.
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