August 29, 2012 by Gina
Our third child will be making his or her debut into this world in mid-December (if not earlier). That got me thinking about how things are so different with my first-born who is just over three years old and my second-born, just over 14 months old. I parent differently now that I have two kids and I’m sure I’ll parent differently when the third arrives too. I do a lot of things differently with the second and I myself am the second-born and the baby of my family. So here’s how you know you’re the second-born (or that you are the parent of a second-born):
1. There aren’t any photographs of you: This HAS to be the number one indication that you aren’t the first-born! I have thousands of pictures of Finnegan, my three-year old. Getty, the 14 month old, has a few hundred but every moment is not documented like it was for Finn. I often excuse this one because my husband was deployed to Afghanistan for all of Finn’s first year so I took pictures and more pictures and then lots of video and made DVDs of them. The camera practically grew out of my hand. Not so much this time. The poor third child will be lucky to get a high school graduation picture at this rate, let alone a birth announcement! I still have to finish Getty’s “baby book” but I have that scheduled for a scrapbook retreat in Oct. I’ll get it done…really!
2. You still get rocked to sleep and you get a bottle of milk to go with it: Getty is off of the bottle completely…except for his one bottle at bedtime where I rock him to sleep as he sucks down that bottle. I swear Finn was off of the bottle at 12 months and 1 day because I followed those baby book recommendations from Dr. Sears and everyone else to the letter! I also put Finn to sleep while he was awake but tired and let him fall asleep on his own. Getty will probably have that bottle when he goes off to college but I won’t still rock him to sleep at night by then. Will I? I do put him down in that dream-like awake stage about half of the time so we’re getting there. Maybe by the time #3 shows up he’ll be done with the bottle.
3. Your parents don’t get upset when you write on the cabinets with crayon, eat dirt (or anything else that is on the ground) or fall down the stairs: Okay, that last one is an exaggeration, but as a parent you just aren’t as vigilant about what your kids are eating or playing with or doing. I can’t be – I have two kids and one on the way. I meet myself coming and going so how could I possibly know or care that the second-born just shoved a handful of sand in his mouth? I don’t care – it won’t kill him (I hope) and if he keeps doing it, well…that’s his problem!
4. The nap schedule is more flexible: Naps? What are those? With Getty, he always gets his afternoon nap but rarely gets his morning nap because we are usually meeting people for playdates, running errands or are just busy. If I was rigid about both naps we’d never go ANYWHERE and I would go insane. But, with Finn, I scheduled EVERYTHING around those two naps and rarely missed them! Guess baby number three will be lucky to get a weekly nap at this rate. I am very structured when it comes to bedtime and the whole bedtime routine and that likely won’t be changing no matter how many children we have.
5. You have no scheduled activities just for you: poor Getty – he’s not enrolled in Early Childhood and Family Education (ECFE) or gymnastics or anything that is just for him. Finn was enrolled in ECFE from 3 months old and gymnastics at 18 months. I even did other parenting classes with the kiddo. But, not for the second-born! I’m taking care of that soon though and registering Getty for an ECFE class that he can call his own.
I’m sure I’m missing a whole bunch of other second-born truisms but those are my thoughts right now. Have you noticed your parenting style has changed when you’ve added another person to the family or that you do things differently? What are they?