Parents like to joke about how lax they become with the second child, which is definitely the case for me. While I was relatively relaxed with my son as a first time mom, I’m already finding how different things are with my daughter. I’ve also come to realize that I enjoy the toddler years much more than the newborn phase. After being in the world of toddlers where my son can communicate in full sentences, is potty trained, and can follow directions, being thrust back into the newborn world of trying to decipher cries and a monotonous feed - change diaper - sleep cycle takes some adjusting to, especially with less sleep! Newborns are also not that fun since their personalities haven’t fully developed yet. I love seeing how my son’s 2.5 year old brain interprets the world. My husband and I already talk about how sad we will be when he stops calling a banana “bamana,” and a peppermint “peppermoni.” Or asks about something by saying, “where is them?”
While I know my daughter is going to be just as much fun and probably way more of a handful than her brother before I know it, there are some differences this time around that can probably be attributed to being the second child:
Her health. I nursed my son for a year and he didn’t get his first cold until after I weaned him. I don’t think I used the snot sucker on him until 8-10 months. He also didn’t get his first real diaper rash until he started teething molars around 10 months. My daughter, meanwhile, already has a stuffy nose and is recovering from a diaper rash at 7 weeks, despite being breastfed. I’m sure some of it is attributed to the weather, being born at the end of the winter, but she’s definitely exposed to more germs thanks to her big bro.
My patience. I can’t say for sure whether my son was objectively a “better” baby than my daughter at this age because I know I was way more patient as a first time mom. Perhaps my son’s cries were more predictable, but my daughter is thankfully a better night sleeper than her brother at this age. All I know is that after being able to converse with my son who explicitly tells me his needs, trying to communicate with a hysterical baby who’s been fed, changed, and is in a great sleeping environment but won’t sleep can be frustrating! Since I know things get better with time, I almost wish she would grow up faster right now so we could skip certain things and get to a more fun age in a few months.
My heart. Before we were pregnant with our second children, some friends and I joked about how our first children are the best and any subsequent child wouldn’t be able to live up to them. As a parent to one child, it’s hard to imagine how you could possibly love another child as much as your first. But your love increases. I found that my heart somehow grew to encapsulate more love for my daughter, because it’s not like I took love away from my son to make room for her. I embrace the differences between my children and love them for the individuals that they are. And I can’t wait to see my daughter’s personality develop and fall even more in love with her.
What else has been different for you the second time around?