You may remember Part I of this post from January. Back then I was in the last weeks of my second pregnancy and was reflecting on the differences from my first. Well that pregnancy is now an almost 2 month old baby girl, and I’ve once again noticed many other differences in her newborn days than that of her older sister. I thought I’d share some of the humorous insights into the sibling comparisons with you. Of course, some are good, some not-so-good, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles! Let’s take a look at a few and see if you can relate and/or commiserate to some of these attributes of second-child syndrome!
1. Who needs a bath?! I mean for real, newborns don’t sweat or spill sticky foods all over them. The dirtiest part of them gets wiped down several times a day when they have diaper changes, so please don’t judge me when I say my second child didn’t receive her first bath at home for over 3 weeks. Whoops! I meant to get around to it but she was so sweet and cuddly I didn’t see the need to interfere. Her older sister was bathed within her first week of life, but oh well, it’s not a competition right?
2. Do you hear someone crying? Let’s face it. The second child will cry more. For two reasons: I have more than one child to care for….I might be in the middle of a scraped knee bloody bandaid crisis with the other sibling. Also I know a baby can survive through a few minutes of screaming. Yes I will eventually get to her and change her diaper, swaddle her, bounce her, or feed her but I know she won’t spontaneously combust if she’s got to cry it out for a bit until I can get to her.
3. Don’t pick her up by her head! The people there to love on my first child were my husband and me. The people there to love on my second child include my husband, me, AND her 5 year old sister. Who wants nothing more than to dote on her, but that also means lots of poking, prodding, kissing, smushing, and interesting tactics in how to hold a baby. I thought I’d covered all the bases of safe baby holding measures with her until I witnessed her trying to pick her up by her head the other day (!) Don’t worry! They are both okay after tears from both of them…mainly because I screamed and scared them when I witnessed it. I’ll look at it positively though as the second child will ultimately be more resilient right?! (The third and fourth ones are probably bullet proof!)
4. Sleep vs. Safety Recommendations. There was so much more guilt with the first child if I did something that went against safety recommendations (especially if it was from the Academy of Pediatrics). And some of you may disagree with me still, but I have no qualms this time around of co-sleeping or laying her whichever way she likes best in order to sleep. That’s right, she has slept in a swing, in our bed, in her car seat, and….the worst of all sins…ON HER STOMACH!!!! (Remember when that USED to be the recommendation?!) I realize the safety risks, so I check on her, but if it helps her reflux or sleep or comfort level to be in a different position other than flat on her back in a bare crib then so be it!
5. Can we get her a nametag? I named this child so you’d think I could call her the right name, but no. I often call her my older daughters name, my niece’s name, or sadly sometimes the dog’s name. I don’t know why its so hard to get the right name out, but I usually go through 2 or 3 before I spit out the right one. Hence the reason I just refer to her as “the baby” most days. I figure she’ll be alright, I quickly learned to answer to my older sister’s name growing up, and I turned out alright!
6. Perspective is everything. Not that I’ve perfected this mothering thing, but I do feel more confident this go round. I have more patience and less stress. I know these tough newborn days are fleeting so I don’t fret as much on cranky days. I will cuddle her longer, nurse her more, and complain less because thanks to that older sibling who is trying to pick her up by her head, I know she’ll be the big girl bouncing off the walls soon, so I will cherish her in this moment and yes, possibly end up spoiling her a little more. But that’s the second child syndrome perk right?!