Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Had My Second Child

Baby No. 2. Last time, you were anxious because you’d never experienced it before. This time, you’re anxious BECAUSE you’ve experienced it before. A few thoughts from one who has been there, done that. If anybody else wants to chime in, we can make this a veritable can of worms for those on the verge of Nest Expansion.

  • Each child is completely different from the one who came before.
  • Of course you will love your second child as much as you love your first…you’ll just love them differently. Sound familiar? It is the ultimate “Having Your Second Child? Let Me Give You Unsolicited Advice” response. I had always assumed that this different but equal love would be based on the strikingly different personality of the second child. Not so much. I have come to believe that you love your children differently because you yourself are different when you have them. There it is, the big secret of having another child.
  • In the personalities and actions of at least one of your children, you will have to pay for all the things you and your husband did to your parents.
  • If the first child was angelic and you looked with pity (or condemnation) upon other parents, the second child will introduce you to the pleasure of eating Humble Pie. Possibly lots of it.
  • When you don’t treat Number 2 like you treated Number 1 , you don’t need to feel guilty. The first time around you didn’t know anything. While No. 2 may not get No. 1 got (especially that undivided attention), No. 2 has the benefit of all the knowledge, wisdom, and skills you muddled through with No. 1.

And now, for my personal favorites, the practical things. I’m assuming that you know all about diaper changing and sleeping patterns and how to set up your playpen. Here are the things that really matter.

  • When getting two children in and out of a car, first assess the mobility of the elder. Is s/he still young enough that they might dart into traffic? Put that one in the car first. (I know, it seems obvious, but it’s not when you are experiencing Post-Birth Mommy Brain).
  • When going anywhere by yourself during the first few weeks (or months), always take the baby carrier/carseat into the store, even if you intend to carry the baby while inside. That way, when you get back out to the parking lot, you have somewhere to put the baby while you put Mobile Older Child into the car first.
  • What about putting the shopping cart away like a civically responsible adult? Abandon it. Always abandon it. Or, if your rule-abiding self cannot deal with the guilt, park right next to the cart corral even though it means you have to tote two children 10 feet farther. Don’t laugh, I still debate this one every time I go to Target.
  • When Older Child is old enough to stay put and not run in front of cars, tell him/her to stand next to the back tire while you put the baby in the car. This is especially useful when the baby gets old enough to be indignant that you left her/him stranded in the cart while attending to the older sibling. Make it a habit.
  • Having your second child makes you wonder why you ever thought going grocery shopping with only one was difficult. I’m assuming that having your third will make you wonder why you thought TWO were difficult.
  • Realize that, when out and about, sometimes the most prudent thing to do will be to abandon ship. Leave the cart standing there full of groceries, grab your children, and head for the nearest exit. Put a touch of comedic drama into the act by imagining a loud voice over the intercom commanding, “ABANDON SHIP! ABANDON SHIP!” Put on your most innocent face as you walk away.

Obviously I had lots of trouble going places. If only someone had told me these things…


One thought on “Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Had My Second Child

  1. Unfortunately in BC, you deposit a dollar coin into the cart … no abandoning ship in this economy.

    I’m just worried about my son’s love of the drums and a newborn in the next room.

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