June 6, 2012 by Gina
My baby boy, Getty, will be one next week! How did that happen? I can hardly believe a year has passed since he came into our lives. This milestone had me thinking this week…about birth order, families, raising boys…lots of issues. But mostly, I was thinking about Getty and how different it is raising him together with an older sibling.
Getty is a very content baby – he will sit in the room and observe everything that is going on. He’ll occasionally “talk” or get upset if he’s hungry, tired or his big brother is sitting on him, but he is just a happy, contented child. He has such a different personality than Finn did at this age and I wonder if that’s because he’s the second child or because he has some built-in entertainment with his big brother or if it’s just who he is. I’m sure it’s a combination of all of those factors – some nurture and some nature.
I realized Getty doesn’t get the same attention that Finn did as an infant. He just can’t – there’s only one of me and I only have two arms. Evolution hasn’t yet given us mothers a third arm that grows once we have children and then falls off after our children are infants. Goodness, that would be nice and helpful! At this age, it was Finn and me – Brian was deployed and so we only had each other. I read constantly to Finn, we walked miles upon miles and were constantly on the go visiting family and friends. Getty may not have that much individual attention but he does have and has had his dad as a constant since he was born. It’s been terrific to see Getty react to Brian and see the influence that a father has even at such a young age.
Getty also has his big brother, Finn which can be dangerous at times but in the end will be a blessing. It’s adorable to see Getty follow Finn around the house and try to keep up with him. He imitates Finn and they “talk” at the table, in the tub and in the car. When Finn isn’t wrestling or sitting on Getty, he is a loving and caring big brother who is already watching out for his baby brother.
Despite all these positive aspects of being the second child, Getty certainly gets the short end of the stick at times. I know I don’t read to him as much as I read to Finn. He loves it when we do read to him and I’m trying to read to him several times a day because I know how important this is for development. Getty’s naptimes aren’t as sacred as they were for Finn at this age. We’re almost always at home for the afternoon nap but the morning nap is often on the go or skipped altogether. I just know we’d never get out of the house if I was as strict about naps with Getty as I was with Finn. Getty also hasn’t done Early Childhood and Family Education (ECFE) through our school district which we’ve done with Finn since he was 4 months old. This fall, I’m enrolling Getty in his own ECFE class so he can experience some special time and learn in such a nurturing environment.
I’m the second child (and the baby) and I’m sure my parents felt some of these same things raising me with an older sibling. I think I turned out just fine but I am more aware lately of how Getty is developing and how his being “number two” might affect that development. Many of you mothers and fathers have already navigated this terrain (and have number three or four too). How have you handled these issues? Do you think about them?