First Baby Vs Second Baby: Part Two

In families with multiple children, second child syndrome (SCS) is a common occurrence – as a younger child myself I have often accused my parents of loving my older sister more than me.

I’ve counted up the photos on the wall and whined because there are two more of her than there are of me… I’ve also made a song and dance about how all her baby pictures are in an album, dated with cute little anecdotes – while mine are loose in a drawer, somewhere…

But it wasn’t until I actually had two kids of my own that I came to realise why I had the hand-me-down clothes, sucked the cat’s tail, and was casually left to eat sand and cigarette butts on a beach in France. It wasn’t because they didn’t love me as much – it was because life with two screaming kids was bloody difficult and they didn’t have the time to breathe, never mind perfectly catalogue my life in chronological order.

As all mothers do, I have a lot of guilt over how much time I spend with my kids. I feel like the oldest one suffers because I’m spending time with the little one, but I don’t want the little one to feel like I’m neglecting her because I’m with him…But, in reality, my youngest is never going to have the same undivided attention her brother did when he was born – unless I can split myself in two, or find myself unlocking the secret to time travel…

From the amount of TV they watch, to the food they eat – everything is different second time round. The little one has to go with flow, the flow of their older sibling that is.

Here are some very real differences between having your first and second – some of which may, or may not, contribute heavily towards SCS…

POST-BIRTH

First 

Midwives are a little more sympathetic towards you; breastfeeding ‘buddies’ hang around outside your curtained-cubicle like milk-enthusiast charity canvassers, and if you cry (which you will), people make a fuss and do stuff for you.

Second

Once that baby’s out and the midwives know it’s your second, they’re outta there faster than Donald Trump at a women’s rights rally.

The problem is, you can’t remember jack shit about newborns – you’ve wiped that trauma from your mind and are left wondering WHAT DOES IT WANT FROM ME?! as a red and angry small person yells at you continuously throughout the night (see here for post-birth survival tips).

NAMES

First

Months were spent debating, short listing and obsessively googling hipster baby names that hadn’t already been taken by all of East London, or worse – a Kardashian.

Second

Child number two, basically gets named whatever was left over from baby number one. That’ll do.

VISITORS

First

Friends travel far and wide to visit you when you have your first child, it’s as though they’re following the freaking north star. You have more cards and presents than you know what to do with, all amazing and definitely not leftovers from when their own children were born.

Second

Minimal contact with the outside world – if you’re lucky a neighbour might shove  a baby grow through the letter box… On the plus, less presents equals less thank you cards and trust me – if you don’t have time to shower then you seriously don’t have time to express gratitude in your best cursive.

MAKING IT OFFICIAL

First

Registering the birth is a big deal for first timers. Both parents go, you have a little celebration that your baby is a real-life, actual person – maybe shed a tear at your ability to produce such wondrous offspring. Hurrah.

Second

You leave it until a day before the midwife legally has to do for you, and take your mum. It’s taken you so long to leave the house with two children you’ve completely messed up the baby’s feed times – the only tears you’re shedding are because you’ve had to whack your boobs out in the middle of the registry office, next to Bob – who’s come to register a death…

CLOTHING

First

Everything has to be new, pristine and even, dare I say it, ironed. John Lewis, The White Company and Mamas & Papa’s reign supreme.

Second

Gets all of it’s older siblings, sicked-on, poo-stained hand-me downs. On the plus, you’ll look like one of those über cool mums who doesn’t conform to gender stereotyping by letting your daughter rock out in a wrinkled, blue dinosaur t-shirt.

STERILISING

First

“Oh my god the dummy has touched our fairly clean, hoovered and Ebola free carpet for all of 0.005 seconds – get me the Miltons and a boiled kettle STAT!” A common sentence in a one-baby household.

Second

You just pick the fluff / dog hair off and shove it back in – if you’re feeling especially generous, you give it a suck first. Generally speaking, your whole outlook on sterilisation becomes very lax  – once you’ve discovered tap water doesn’t dissolve babies, that is.

FOOD

First

“She just loves a homemade, kale, broccoli and pea puree”. Your life’s sole purpose is to ‘out organic’ all the other mums in your NCT class. You’re a knob, you know you are – but you’ve read that unwashed, common carrots can kill and that’s not a risk you’re willing to take.

If Annabel Karmel hasn’t written the recipe – you ain’t cooking it.

Second

The kid gets fed whatever the oldest child is having – blended fish-finger, and beans  anyone? Ice cube trays contain actual ice for much-needed gin and tonics.

NETFLIX VS NURTURE

First

Baby number one grew up on undivided attention, baking, flash cards and poster paint.

Second

At 12 months baby number two can operate the Sky remote better than your husband, and you’re fairly convinced their first word was ‘Peppa’…

PHOTOS

First

There are a million pictures of the ‘special one’ around the house. Professional shoots, first Christmas, first birthday. That podgy face is so cute you’ve run out of frames.

Second

It’s coming up to their first birthday and you still don’t have any pictures up…You’ve been meaning to for 10 months but just haven’t had the time… You print a few token ones off so people don’t judge you when they come round for the party (you organised last minute, of course…)

Groups

First

Baby sign, messy play, baby sensory, and something about heart bleeps…you did them all. It’s all about early socialising and stimulus don’t you know.

Second

Groups? What? You don’t have time for that shit – they can come along to football, swimming and the Tesco big shop, what more do they want?!

They have an older sibling whacking them over head with Mega Blocks on a regular occasion – that’s socialisation and stimulus boxed off right there…Right?

Health Visitors

First

Weekly weigh ins and that little red book are your life. You know their age, not only to the week but to the day and their weight is THE topic of conversation is daily chats with friends and family.

Second

The weigh in clinics coincide with nursery / school drop offs and re-runs of Come Dine With Me – to be honest you have no idea where that bloody red book is anyway. Besides, they can polish off a whole tin of reduced sugar beans – so they’re clearly not starving.

How many weeks are they? Don’t have a clue – they’re circa one (ish).

Vaccinations

First

You dread them – they seem like the most horrendous thing you can do to a baby… You cry more than they do.

Second

You ask if there are any more they can have? You seem to catch everything they get – self preservation is a must.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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