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Second child syndrome: Does number two get shafted?


Is Nora (at 7 weeks in this pic) already getting gypped?

I am the second child in my family and always felt like I got plenty of attention but now that I have my own second child I am suddenly feeling…short shrifted. How could I not have been? Not only was I the second child, I was the second girl. And I had colic! Obviously I got the hand-me-down clothes and never sat shotgun, but it’s more than that. With your first baby, motherhood is so new and exciting and scary and all encompassing. Number two is exciting, of course, but there just isn’t as much time to revel in it. Because you’re divided—your attention is divided, your patience is divided, your threshold for crap is divided (though, miraculously, not your love...that just doubles). You can’t possibly be everything to your number two because number one is still there demanding that you make him pancakes...with strawberries not bananas!

In our little family the SCS began before Nora was even born—if it weren’t for the project pregnancy blog (and the Cheetos cravings) I would barely have noticed I was pregnant. I never even got on the web to see if she was the size of a lemon or a squash or a grapefruit. With Alex, I couldn’t tear myself away from that stuff. And since her arrival 8 weeks ago today, she has continued getting quietly gypped. Here’s how: 

  • When speaking about Nora, it is not uncommon for me to refer to her as him/he.

  • Her bath towel has “ALEX” embroidered on the back.

  • She’s also using Alex’s car seat, which is red, and his Bundle Me, which is brown. On our first public outing, someone said, “Oh, what’s his name?” And how could I blame her?

  • We don’t have a single photo of her in our house. Granted we have quite a few on the computer and she’s only 8 weeks old, but still. We have a photo printer in our house. We have an empty frame on display in her room. We have no excuse.

  • I’m not doing baby announcements for Nora. I had planned to but I think I missed the boat and, frankly, between the blog and facebook, I really feel like I’ve covered anyone who could possibly want to know I had a baby.

  • I have also not logged a single entry into her babybook, which, P.S., was bought last week. To be fair, I only put about three entries in Alex’s book. Contrary to what you might think, I am not good at documenting my children’s lives.

  • Alex didn’t watch any TV until he was almost 18 months old. Nora has seen every episode of Modern Family (best show on television, btw....if you’re not already watching, hulu it now!), Grey’s Anatomy, American Idol (she’s rooting for Siobhan), and, most recently, The Hurt Locker

In some ways I think it’s good that we’ve loosened up a bit with number two. And being that Nora is the first granddaughter in the family, I know she will do fine in the spoling department. But I don’t want to completely drop the ball here. For her sake but also for mine. She may be my second baby but she’s still amazing and I’m so happy—and lucky—to have her here. And I want to make sure I enjoy her.

Do you have two? Does your second get the shaft in any way? I can’t even imagine having three (although it does explain a lot about my sister Meghan...)