Friday, August 7, 2009

Sad but true, about child number two


I think every parent decides before the birth of the second child that she will make sure that the second one does not get ripped off/short shrifted. Everyone warns you that number one gets a million photos and number two gets three pics: birth, graduation and wedding. Number one gets a tome of scrapbooking and number two gets a piece of loose leaf with measurements from birth and the first doctor’s visit scribbled on it.
Well, I too started out with good intentions….But then, the night that Joonas was born (three weeks early), it started. As we headed to the hospital, Pentti grabbed his camera, as an afterthought. Granted, we never thought we were staying since I wasn’t in labour (my water had broken and the doctor just wanted to check me out). Anyway, imagine if Pentti had not grabbed his camera. Classic second child stuff: yeah, sorry Joonas, but we have no pics of you being born. No, you weren’t adopted, we just didn’t have the camera with us…” We also didn’t bring any clothes for Joonas to the hospital. Pentti did of course go home to get some later, but still.
With number one, you are so careful and consistent. Soothers and bottles get boiled and sterilized regularly. With number two, the soothers get a once-over, maybe some dust is blown off and back in his mouth it goes. Bottles are kept clean, but often you will hear the following exchange: “how old is the milk in this bottle”, “I dunno, I think that’s the one I filled this morning”….and in his mouth it goes.
Matias had no candy until he was at least 2. We watered down his juice to cut down on the sugar. Joonas has been eating sugared stuff from birth (almost). His favourite foods are pulla and banana loaf. He knocks back those juice boxes no problem. I did try to put some juice from the box into his water bottle, but he couldn’t figure out that it was the same stuff and refused to taste it from the bottle. So, I gave up.
Matias watched hardly any tv until after 2. He may have caught some by accident if we were watching, but we never actually sat him down to watch anything. Joonas turns the tv on himself and sits back on our bed to watch at his leisure.
I took Matias to music classes and to Mother Goose and to the public library story times and Music and Movement. I took Joonas to Mother Goose once.
Being the second child does, however, have some advantages too. With Matias we stressed about potty training for months. With Joonas, we’ll let him decide when he’s ready. We clued in with Matias that stressing didn’t help and probably slowed the process down. With Matias we worried that he wasn’t talking soon enough. Joonas will talk when he feels like it and that’s just fine with us. With Matias we had the energy to play (and win) the battle of the wills a lot. With Joonas, we give up a lot. So, he gets his way a lot more than Matias used to. This is of course only an advantage from his prespective.
I do feel guilty sometimes, but there is not much I am willing and/or able to do about it. With two little ones under foot, I need to pick my battles and I have realized that many of the battles that I thought were worth winning, aren’t.

1 comment:

It's great! said...

What an honest look at the realities of life. Loved it! The firstborn/otherborn situation is a topic that's come to my mind lately too, so it's great to get your first-hand experience which I definitely take as advice. Thanks!