The Second Child Curse: How You Really Don’t Wanna Be The Second Baby

Her six-month milestone came and passed without a celebratory jig or hormonal tears of first time motherhood not at all like her older brother’s half-year day. For my first sweet cherub bundle of joy and light of my heart, every 13th date of each month since March 2011 was a big production because he made me a mama; he was my first-born baby. On his sixth monthiversary, we went out for fro-yo, took a million pictures of the big day, and I showered him with overt appreciation for his short presence. Six months after February 5th and a delay in acknowledging the otherwise big milestone because Instagram reminded me to update my second child’s month-age to six instead of four- or five I-dunno months when referring to her. Poor, poor second child. Subsequent birth order has its disadvantages.

Second Child Syndrome … is when your mom forgets you kinda exist. Wait, let me explain: I cried at each and every monthiversary for Humnoy because reasons. Hormonal or other. “Six months? It’s half a year! *cry-cry-cry*!” I take longer than needed to remember Lanoy’s birth date when people ask. Oops. I cry now only because I have two kids.

Helicopter response time This will either land me in jail or you’ll nod in agreement: You may have heard of the adage “babies bounce.” The first time Humnoy rolled off our couch, I cried and cried and called the pediatrician. You think I’m exaggerating but exaggerating is if I said I called the doctor’s office four times. Because I called three times. The last call the doctor had to lay it on me:

Doctor: “Mrs. [Laotian Commotion], I assure you he will be okay.”
Me: “*crying* But– but he did this eye thing that I had never seen him do before and I googled it and–”
Doctor: “Okay, if you notice anything where he’s not feeding or anything like that then bring him in but, please, I tell you he is fine.”

Lanoy has fallen off the bed, off the futon, fell on hardwood and linoleum flooring and my response time is nowhere near record speed like with her older privileged brother. My second stint made me more relaxed and definitely less paranoid. “Where are they now?” Humnoy actually was completely fine and the frantic Facebook status and WebMD fact-checking were completely unnecessary at the time.

Germs are good, germs are great I totally love the idea that dirt does not hurt. I was pretty lax with Humnoy eating unintentionally-dried blueberries in the living room corner when he was exploring. First-time motherhood primes you to yank out any and everything from your sweet precious child. Second children are simply left alone and are shrugged off. Lanoy has already had mouthed everything in sight including shoes. See “helicopter response time.”

Who did it better? Y’all know that we have super-babies. Now at six months, not only is she crawling but she is able to pull herself up to a standing with support position. Yeah yeah yeah, fine and dandy but nothing beats her super-big brother. I try not to compare the two but when you have two freak examples then what better way to gauge milestones than one advanced child to another? It’s better than me comparing your kids to mine, so ease off.

Size matters There’s a running joke in our house that Humnoy is so little that his baby sister will meet his stats in no time. Just in time to be able to finally have equal footing in disproportionate wrestling matches. Being the younger baby, you can’t really do much besides lie there and laugh through the torture. Humnoy has acquired little Lanoy as his personal jumping house. She just doesn’t quite know to to unfold out of the leg lock he has her in or to have a choice other than chewing dirty toddler fingers when he offers himself as a human teething toy. Her size does allow for more sympathy and quick response time when she wails from a stolen toy.

Overcompensated attention Ya know, we were supposed to wait at least three years before another kid. We are being extra cautious and making sure no more babies make an appearance before Lanoy’s next milestone. I am still riddled with guilt therefore I make it a grand point to pay attention to the older neglected brother. Overcompensating for this then leaves the other kid lacking my attention too. I’ll be honest and I have yet (maybe even never) to find middle ground. It’s hard to get your mom’s attention as she tends to the toddler toy tornado or scoop out the 38th spoon of Jif for him.

Honorable second child perks:

– Babies get lots of attention. I could try to explain how many innocent kidnap threats I received daily. Lanoy gets all the doe-eye looks and stranger germs because everybody just wants to see and touch her (this deserves an entire post on its own). This, of course, angers the toddler to no end. If babies seek any solace in this type if sibling fortune, this has to be it.

– I now know first-hand the saying “Has Daddy wrapped around her fingers.” GH is smitten with the baby girl.

– When pregnant and breastfeeding, my midwife gently reminded me that the baby will have to nurse first then the toddler. She seeks her revenge while they’re tandem feeding and her feet say, “Should’ve waited!”

– I was scared shitless having two little kids under the age of two at one time. As it stands, Humnoy is the only person to make his little sister laugh her heartiest little baby laughs after making that same face cry a second earlier.

The Laotian Commotion | Poor, poor second baby

How do you treat your kids differently the second, third, etc. time around?

You can find me tweeting my hatred for pants on twitter, filtering the shit outta my kids’ mugs on Instagram, pinning food I’ll never make on Pinterest, and being a SEO creep on Google+

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18 thoughts on “The Second Child Curse: How You Really Don’t Wanna Be The Second Baby

  1. I’m an only child. There were times that meant I was THE ONLY child. Ever. In the world. God help us if Meese doesn’t become a brother.

  2. I’ve actually been so nervous about this subject. I’m more worried Rayne will get the shaft when baby #2 is born because babies need so much attention, And she’s used to being the baby and getting everything from everyone. Rayne and I have been inseparable since she was born, like BFFs/mom and daughter, so it’s hard to picture another in the mix without disturbing the whole pot. I suppose eventually we’ll form a new routine that works for the three of us, but the first months are definitely a scary thought for me.

  3. Yep, scared poopless too. My lil boy will be 1 next week and his sister is due September. Ugh. I feel guilty saying she was a surprise but.. Would have waited, oh well. Feel so guilty for my lil guy that soon he won’t be the center of the solar system all the time. Sigh.

  4. I’m pretty nervous for baby #2. he/she/it is due in January and Eleanor will be 17 months. She can be pretty needy and we’re currently trying to wean her off of being held and picked up at her every whim. I don’t want to shock her her sibling is born. Ugghh

    • You know how hard it is for me but also how special it is for siblings. I tell you what: No matter how hard those days with two little ones seem, the one instance of a feel-good minute makes you forget how shitty it can be! That is the truth!

  5. Our second came along when our first was almost 16 months. It is like you dug into my mind and pulled out this post. Poor second baby, she spends a lot of time in her swing or getting tons of (probably scary)hugs, and the occasional smack from her big sister. That said she is the smiliest baby and I can clearly see the bond between my two girls already. It is harder having them this close, but I don’t know that I would change that if given the chance (which is not what I would have said when I was pregnant and chasing after #1).

  6. This made me laugh… I’m the second of four and have gone through some of the same things. But being the only girl in our family totally made up for it. Lol.
    Now in our own family I’ve been splitting my time between four littles for the past 2 1/2 years and come February it’ll be FIVE… Sooo, having two seems like a life time ago but I remember that being the hardest transition. Going from one to two is hard, after that, it’s just a way of life. My answer for the second born curse, have a third. 😉

  7. As the second child.. everything you have said is correct. Factor in I am the second child after a 13 YEAR BREAK and see why ..IT REALLY DOES SUCK!

    I was dropped down stairs, left alone after school for several years ( that’s right folks a latch-key kid, complete with dog companion). She didn’t do it because she wanted to or she was being evil, for some reason.. my mom thought i was mature enough to handle that type of pressure.. [GOOD LORD was she wrong.. meanwhile.. my brother sneezed … she was right there.. I could be laid out bleeding … she is squinting and screaming from a distance.. ‘come on sweetheart, lets go in the house so I can slap a bandaid on it. *insert camera pan of broken leg with blood & bone protruding*

  8. I love this one! My kids are 7.5 years apart. Each year that passed I grew more sad that my daughter wouldn’t experience the same sibling relationship I shared with my younger brothers. We suffered w infertility and after four years of failed fertility treatment and losing a baby in 2007, we conceived naturally! My miracle. With this being said I was in my drs office for every cramp that came worried my entire pregnancy. “You’re so much more relaxed with the second kid” never was true for me. With my first I went with the flow with my second I made sure to enjoy every single moment, every second. We decided on co sleeping, to be honest I never put him down. Of course I received criticism “holding him too much” ” you act like he’s your first” I could go on and on. My own mother noted that I was had more patience with my son than I did my daughter. That I didn’t make every food my daughter ate like I had my son, & again I could go on and on. My reply was simply I hope in almost 8 years time I’ve learned and grown as a parent and made adjustments. Still I often felt guilt. Each child has a special place ‘role’ to fill and we do our best. Bless you & your babies I look at woman with children close in age and see you guys as super woman !

  9. I am 9 barely 9 months postpartum and just found out yesterday that I’m pregnant again and I’m scared out of my mind mainly because I feel so guilty for the fact that I won’t be able to pay as much attention to my son. Glad to know I’m not alone for feeling like that. They will be 17ish months apart and just the thought it overwhelming.

    • I still feel that way and the second baby will be a year soon! The first few weeks were the most difficult. I think back and realize it is difficult with just one anyway so stressing over two kids just stressed me out more. Getting support is so important and if I hadn’t had any, I would be even more guilty.

      You’re a good mom, that’s all that matters. Your concern over it shows that. 🙂 good luck! Let me know if you have any other questions.


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