April 23, 2012 by Melissa
So I really am enjoying my second baby and the milestones that she’s hitting, much more than I did with my first. I was more nervous, I guess, with Lucy. I was waiting for those milestones so I could check them off on those developmental guidelines instead of just letting them occur and celebrating them. Not that I wasn’t proud as hell when Lucy did things like roll over, or start crawling, or wave. I usually cried as these things happened. This time, though, I’m just letting them happen, and then rejoicing with Alice. I’m not really working at getting her to do anything in any order and she doesn’t have a parent peering over her shoulder, waiting for something to happen. It’s delightful.
The thing is I’m not a nervous or unsure parent on the whole. I’m fairly confident and relaxed but I am definitely more so this second time around. I think that’s common-may be why second kids are more relaxed themselves, not so Type A like their older siblings tend to be.
On a side, but related, note, several weeks ago I read a fascinating Time magazine article about having a favorite child. It essentially said that the majority of parents have a favored child, most kids know it, and most parents (if they’re worth their weight) will deny it to the end. Most people I know feel that there was a favored child in their own family, whether it was them or a sibling. I don’t have a favorite as of yet. I don’t know if I’ll have one favorite. I can imagine having alternating favorites depending on age, stage, activity interest, etc. and even having favorite qualities in each child. My own parents said something similar to me but why would they admit to having a favorite? Especially if, gasp, it wasn’t me? That was one thing the article was clear about-it’s okay to have a favorite but never let them or the other children know it for sure. Keep ‘em guessing…
I also read in the book NurtureShock that the relationships between siblings are usually the most important in a child’s development. If you think about it, that’s where you really learn your place in the world-how to share, fight, apologize, manipulate, compete, mimic, branch out. That’s why those relationships are so defining well into adulthood-why your siblings can push your buttons like no one else.
Finally, there was a piece in Time magazine about letting your kids go. It said the vast majority of people, when asked to think of their sweetest childhood memory, said their parents weren’t in the memory. They were remembering a task they accomplished, on their own, a friend they made, on their own, or an adventure done, on their own. So in trying to make sweet memories for my girls, I also have to remember to just let them play by themselves.
Oh, all the things to remember. It can get overwhelming to think about the psychology of kids when you’re a parent. I do have to remind myself that my girls are loved, safe, have a lot of hugs and kisses and celebrating from their parents, sister and extended family. What I fail to do or do wrong, at least they have those things, right? And they have a loving sister, most of the time, to carry them through the rest of it, whether they like it or not.