Sweet baby James turned one about two weeks ago.
I know. I can hardly believe it myself. To say that his first year was one of my most challenging would be… entirely accurate. Like, it was soul-crushing, haven’t-slept-through-the-night-in-a-year, crying-in-the-shower stressful and exhausting.
Not that it’s his fault. But between a baby, a deployment, a cross-country move (international for my husband), a home purchase and a renovation, life got a little overwhelming. Not to mention my kids were sick ALL THE TIME. We basically lived at our pediatrician’s office. And the gastroenterologist’s… the urologist’s…. the ENT’s… the ER.
So while I hate to see James turning into a toddler (too fast! too fast!), I am looking forward to a calmer second year. And befriending someone other than my child’s doctor. One can hope.
And maybe in this second year, James will finally start to get near the amount of attention his sister did at his age. I like to think the craziness of the last year contributed to the unequal attention Elisabeth and James received as babies. But let’s be honest – James is a second child. It was never going to be the same for him.
Before James was born, I accepted that his baby stage would never exactly mimic Elisabeth’s. But I convinced myself James would not suffer second-child neglect. I believed I could cuddle/play with/read to/lie around doing nothing with James just as much as I had with Baby Elisabeth, without Toddler Elisabeth feeling totally abandoned. I also believed I could do so in a way that wouldn’t make me totally insane. This is called delusion.
I quickly learned that life with the second baby is completely different than life with the first baby. Mainly because that precious resource you had as a first time parent – time – is now quite scarce. I finally understand why I am so much better adjusted than my two younger brothers. Sorry, Second Children. (I’d apologize to third children, but third children are too laid back to care.)
So here you have it. The most obvious signs of second-child neglect.
Baby 1: First babies are the ultimate time-suck. You sit around doing literally nothing except stare at them, in awe of every tiny movement and sound they make.
Baby 2: Ain’t nobody got time for that! One day you wake up and the newborn is no longer new. When did that happen? Who knows? Probably when you were teaching your first kid to use the potty or dress herself or read or…
Baby 1: Your first baby likely had a wardrobe larger than your own. And it was all to die for. You rotated outfits several times a day and photographed each one just to immortalize the cuteness.
Baby 2: No. Just no. Most mornings there is only enough time for one kid to get dressed, and usually it’s the kid that has to go to school. Second baby is usually sporting dirty PJs. Or maybe just a diaper. And not even a cute diaper. The cheapest diaper you can find at Target.
Baby 1: You meticulously record the length and time of every feeding to ensure your baby stays well satiated and on schedule. And that’s just for breastfeeding. When it’s time for solids, you bust out the fancy baby food maker and start pureeing all-organic meals.
Baby 2: You might just straight up forget the baby needs to eat. Why won’t the kid stop screaming? Oh yeah, you were supposed to feed him an hour ago. Whoops.
4) The First Birthday
Baby 1: Your first child’s first birthday is a monumental occasion and will be celebrated as such. For example, my first’s birthday was an over-planned, over-the-top, themed affair. No one should order an overpriced invitation and decoration package from Etsy for a first birthday party. No one should stay up half the night frosting and packaging individual cookies for party favors for a first birthday party. No one should have your house professionally cleaned before a first birthday party. But I did! Because, first child.*
Baby 2: Wow, that birthday came out of nowhere! You contemplate not celebrating with a party – but then the second kid will certainly develop a complex if he ever sees photos of his older sibling’s party. So you send out an Evite and run to Costco the day before to pick up some food. And voila! Party.
5) The Baby Book
Baby 1: You painstakingly chronicle every detail of your baby’s first year. Her first sneeze, her first smile (even though it was probably gas), her weight and height every month, her favorite food, book, toy, etc. Anything and everything – in the book, and accompanied by a series of super cute photos, naturally. Because this baby is more photographed than North West.
Baby 2: You buy a baby book. That’s all, Folks.
This is just the tip of the iceberg; there are a myriad of other ways James has suffered second-child neglect. But it’s probably best not to document them all on the internet. I obviously love James just as much, but with the second kid, there’s just no time for all the (totally understandable) ridiculousness that comes with the first kid. So what about you? How did things differ with your second?
*Actually, Elisabeth had two first birthday parties. Face palm away.