My second child is one-month-old and currently snoozing away on my chest as I type. It’s the only place he likes to sleep.
FYI, his name is Rad.
Now, in no way am I going to claim to be an expert on having two kids! I know I am a total novice at it. BUT if you are or were anything like me, the mere thought of your second child induced feelings of guilt and panic.
I would stare at Ginger (my 2.5-year-old little girl) and my eyes would swell with tears. I felt like I was cheating on her, like an unfaithful lover. How DARE I bring a man between us? How greedy and selfish of me to want anything more than my perfect, insane, little girl. But I did. I wanted a sibling for her so she could know the joy of their friendship. But still, I felt horrible.
Also, Ginger was a VERY difficult baby. She was colicky, and didn’t love to snuggle or be held. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED baby Gigi, but all the fuss about a tiny baby? All the hype about newborns? Totally lost on me. I still think a talking, walking toddler wins over a newborn in the fun department.
Most of my pregnancy was filled with anxiety attacks, both because of my hormones and because I did not know how I could possibly get through another baby phase.
And then he was born.
FINALLY, finally, I got to see why people die over new babies. And not just because he’s easier than Ginger (so far…) but because with your second baby you can relax and ENJOY them more.
As the haze of post-partum depression and anxiety clears, I find myself genuinely happy I had baby number two.
So in case you’re debating a second baby, or currently expecting your second baby and curled in the fetal position trying to figure out how you’re ever going to do it…I thought I’d share some silver linings.
Reasons why your second baby is MORE FUN than your first :
1. You’re a total pro for the birth and possible hospital stay.
Even if the birth is more difficult, you’re still familiar with the ins and outs of what might happen. You know what you ACTUALLY need and want in the hospital bag and you know to order WAY more food than your feel comfortable ordering. Yeah, they say you only get to order one entree, but don’t let that stop you from listing off ten sides. With my first baby I felt silly doing that, but not with number two. You just gave birth! Order whatever you want lady.
You also know NOT to feel guilty letting the nurses change ALL your baby’s diapers or take him in the nursery at night to “sleep” so you can get some “sleep”. You’ll be doing plenty of diaper changing and NOT sleeping at home. And if your baby has to stay in the NICU, like Rad did for four days, you’re even better prepared to handle it mentally and emotionally with baby number two.
2. YOU control the cry, the CRY does not control you.
With Ginger I remember feeling like her cry controlled my soul. Which is right and good, it ensures survival, and I don’t think you should let tiny babies cry it out. However, sometimes the cry just can’t be helped. And I think with the first baby that’s hard to accept. I had to learn that I control how the cry makes me feel and react, and that I was not a slave to it. When Rad cries I rush to his side, but within reason. I don’t hop out of the shower with soap in my hair, or start trying to console him when I am half-naked, because I’ve learned it can be an hour before you get to rinse the soap or put on pants. And when he has a fussy spell and just CAN’T be helped, I have the assurance that one day he’ll be a two-year-old who I can put in time out.
3. You’re not as freaked out over your baby’s crazy sleep noises and breathing habits.
We call Rad “the goat” because he makes the WEIRDEST goat-like noises when he sleeps. Ginger made odd noises too, and every tiny one would wake me up. Her speciality was escalating hiccups. With baby number two you’re able to laugh at and make fun of these noises, and not be quite so alarmed (or wake the baby up) when it looks like they have stopped breathing. You can sincerely enjoy these newborn nuances.
4. Blowouts and spit up are much more comical.
Again, the perspective that “IT WILL ALL BE OVER SOON” makes a giant blowout when you’ve forgotten an extra outfit, kind of hysterical. Sure, it’s disgusting, but it never ceases to amaze me that that much CRAP can come out of something so cute and small.
5. You already know who you are as a parent.
I had like a HUGE identity crisis trying to figure out who I was as a mom. Nursing and having a baby made me feel VERY un-Alison. It was very hard for me to adopt the new role as MOM without feeling like I wasn’t me. But with baby number two you’re already a parent. You already know how to be YOU and a MOM or DAD. And more than that, you know you CAN still be you. Just YOU with less time and less sleep and more stretch-marks.
6. Baby number two becomes your clandestine lover.
I remember my mom (who is a mother of five, yes five…) saying she loved the time in the middle of the night with her newborns. With baby number one, it’s hard to understand that. But with baby number two..that time becomes your special secret between you and your baby. You can sing, “I think we’re alone now” to your tiny little bundle as the two of snuggle and struggle in the middle of the night. During the day the older child still gets most of the attention. But at 3 AM you and baby number two have uninterrupted gazing time.
You can smell the crook of their neck, trace the outline of their perfect ear, and inhale every tiny bit of them and focus on 15 seconds of pure and total bliss. Sure this happens with baby number one, but with baby number two I’ve been able to enjoy it EVEN more because as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
So go ahead and worry about having enough love to share with another baby (you will) and worry all you need to and want to about how and if you’ll be able to do it (again, you will). Because no matter what anyone says or how much they assure you it’s all going to work out (trust me, it will) like all the best things in life, you just have to experience it to understand it.
I started to title this post, “Reasons why your second baby is easier than your first…” but after having to console Rad for almost two fussy hours while trying to WRITE this post, I decided “more fun” was more accurate. Because having to hold that tiny, squirmy little fuss isn’t any easier this time, but it is, somehow, more fun.
Happy baby making friends.
Remember when I was SO worried that I was having a boy?
Well, obviously you were all right. I’m so freaking obsessed with him it’s a joke. I definitely felt more of a connection with my girl before she was born, but the SECOND I set eyes on my lil man I fell head over heels in love. I’ve already been planning all the crazy threats I’m going to make to his future wife. She’s just not good enough…
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the baby #2 department!