I’m a second kid. My husband is a second kid. We both know how this is going to go.
The first kid gets millions of cute pictures. From first food on faces, to first steps, to that just too awesome moment in time that needs to be captured. The second kid gets school photos. The first kid gets an elaborately decorated nursery with a matching color scheme. The second kid gets a hand me down crib that is hopefully set up before they come home from the hospital. The first kid gets new clothes that match. The second kid gets clothes that hopefully aren’t stained already.
I see moms in some of my groups who feel badly for their second kid, but meh. I’ve been there. I survived. Uphill, in the snow, both ways. My husband and I joke about this all the time. I mean sure, we’ll try to make sure to take more pictures and get our second kid something new every once in a while. But if it doesn’t work out that way? I don’t think that her world will be crushed. By virtue of the fact that we recognize the paradigm, we’ll naturally subvert at least some of it.
We tend to be more easy going because, let’s face it, kiddo #1 is calling most of the shots. Apparently we tend to be more self-centered as well. Ok, I can see how that might sound like a negative, but hear me out. Our parents are paying more attention to our (generally) more demanding older sibling, so we find ways of entertaining ourselves. Fast forward 30 years and we’ve figured out how to keep our adult selves better entertained and perhaps more fulfilled with the lives that we’ve chosen. Perhaps. I might just be making stuff up and trying to spin something good about my “self-centered” self.
But we also get more experienced parents than our older siblings. Oy, I remember the first time that daycare called me and asked, “What do you want us to do?” I was all, “I don’t know, I’ve been doing this for all of 4 months here. I’m not exactly skilled labor yet.” When they call with that same question about #2, I’ll be all, “Ok, here’s our game plan.” Haha.
I laugh at myself every time that I pretend that I’ll *know* anything about how things should be with kid #2.
But I imagine that at least SOME things will be the same. I mean, they’ll both be female infant humans. Heck, I’m already a poopy vagina cleaning rockstar.
But I digress. Researchers studying nature vs. nurture used to like comparing children from the same family because it was believed that they had the same home environment. But that turned out to be a load of bull. First children and second children are raised in practically two different homes with totally different family influences. And I guess my point with all of this is that that is OK. One is not better or worse.
As long as we don’t favor one child or laboriously compare them to each other, it’s ok for their lives to be totally different.
They’re different people and should be treated like different people. They’re going to grow up to be different people whether I like it or not, and it’s a much better use of my time to help them figure out who that is going to be than to try to make sure that everything on the surface is the same. Now, I just get to learn a whole new human. If only I had the confidence of my toddler when she says, “I got this.”