Second child syndrome

Something which strikes me as very typical is happening with my second child; he is growing up with second child syndrome. I mean, I think in general he is just less high-maintenance than his brother, so he isn’t phased when O snatches a toy from him or knocks him down. But I am a second child too and I can see that he is One Of Us.

A couple of years ago, my mom moved house. I was pregnant with F at the time and I helped her to pack a lot of her stuff. In amongst the plethora of random crap under the bed in the spare room we found my brother’s baby book. I leafed through it and it was all meticulously filled in. Photos, milestones, first words… Everything was there. Every tiny little moment of his first 12 months on the planet was documented.

Then I found my baby book. The first few pages were filled in. My name, date of birth and birthweight, the little family tree, some cards from well-wishers.

And then.

Then… Blank. It was all blank. Apparently I stopped doing anything even remotely interesting after my first two weeks of life. I turned to my mom and asked, “Mom, why is my baby book not filled in? Like, at all?” She shifted uncomfortably from her head-in-bottom-of-wardrobe position, eyed me dubiously and replied, “Well, I was a bit busier the second time around. You know, your brother was running around and I just… I just forgot about it.” I was horrified. She forgot about me?! What the fuck?!

I mean, even I knew it wasn’t really like that. I didn’t stop doing stuff and she didn’t stop enjoying the stuff I did. My first words and steps were still as important to her as my brother’s had been… But there was no account of what they were or when they happened. And I swore to myself in that moment that I would not forget to fill my second child’s baby book in.

Guess what?

I forgot. I filled in the first few pages, and then I got busy and put the book away and I forgot about it. Don’t get me wrong; it is all filled in. Retrospectively. There’s a lot of “about 4 months” and “I think it was…”. And there are no photos because putting photos in the book would mean going into town to print photos. Who has time for that with two kids?! To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t even know where F’s 12 week scan photo is. I found the one from his 20 week scan in a drawer a few weeks ago, but the first one could be anywhere.

Also

I don’t iron his bodysuits. Sometimes it takes me a week to get around to putting his clean laundry away. I don’t change the sheet on his bed on the same day every week. His clothes aren’t necessarily co-ordinated and I don’t change them the second he gets them dirty.

I am a terrible mother.

OR I’m just busy and it’s more important to me that I spend time making moments with my kids than documenting every single thing they do.

Second children get a lot of stuff second hand. F sleeps in a cot that used to belong to O (the mattress is new). I push him around in a stroller that I bought for his brother. A lot of his clothes and toys are hand-me-downs. And I’m less neurotic about him too. When he falls down I don’t rush to his aid unless he cries or is obviously hurt. I didn’t worry particularly when it took him until he was 16 months old to walk independently, nor when he showed no sign of wanting to say actual words until he reached the 18 month mark.

So I didn’t fill in his baby book in real time. Does it really matter? Does it mean I love him less than I love his brother? Absolutely, unequivocally, NO. The truth is that you do make a bigger deal of documenting everything with your first child because it’s all new and crazy and, truthfully, fucking terrifying. Documenting the first year of your first baby’s life helps you to reassure yourself that they’re developing at a “normal” rate. And it’ll probably help you out someday when they have their own kids and they want to know when they started talking or walking because they’re freaking out that their own kid isn’t normal.

But I was more relaxed with F (after we got help for that whole reflux thing); I knew that there was a pretty wide range of “normal” and I knew that I could trust my instincts to tell me if something wasn’t right. When I think about it, he has a second-hand mother too, and the fact that I am pre-loved is probably a pretty good deal for him really.

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We do have a lot more selfies!

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51 comments

  1. beautybabyandme · April 17, 2016

    I’m not on baby two just yet but I can absolutely imagine this is very very true!! Great post really funny xx #justanotherlinky

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Def finding this with baby number 2 – and as for the baby book I didn’t even buy one (terrible mother). Still everything seems much easier second time round and much more chilled so being the second child means you don’t have to deal with quite so much mum neurosis! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 17, 2016

      To be honest with you, we only even had a baby book for F because a friend bought me one when I was pregnant with O and I’d already started filling in the one that I bought!

      Like

  3. wendy · April 17, 2016

    I’m expecting baby number 2 and already noticing I’m worrying less/more chilled this time around. Some days I actually forget I’m pregnant. I have no doubt I will love thus baby just as much as my first but I’m sure I won’t have the time to do all the things I did first time around and hopefully I won’t find it all as terrifying xx #kcacols

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 17, 2016

      I definitely noticed that my pregnancy passed much quicker the second time around because I wasn’t obsessing about it the same way I did the first time. And I am a much more relaxed parent to my littlest one because I know that even though he’s been a little later with some things than his brother, he’s doing great and is just as smart and healthy. I do wish I had been able to breastfeed him for longer than I did though. That still cuts me up a bit sometimes. X

      Like

  4. twotinyhands · April 17, 2016

    I like the second hand mother phrase! I’m totally one of these! Mum showed me my baby book! A few photos and very little text. My first word was there, it was “me”! My brother got concord!! Still loved though! #KCACOLS

    Like

    • Motherhood IRL · April 17, 2016

      Absolutely. You’re just busier with more than one child, and when they’ve gone to bed you just can’t be bothered to sit down and fill in the bloody book. I remember being like “GET THE BOOK!” every time O did something new. I was much more subdued with F, but still
      Super proud of everything he does.

      Like

  5. I love this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. babiesbiscuitsandbooze · April 17, 2016

    I love this! My sisters had warned me of this so I have actually not got my firstborn a baby book! I have those milestone cards that I take pictures of him with and I’m obviously documenting things on my blog but as (at the moment!!) I think I want 3 or 4 kids I don’t want there to be loads of things I’ve done for TM that I can’t do for the others haha. I haven’t done professional photos for that reason, too. He has most things secondhand from friends babies and cousins. Inevitably, it’s different second time round but as you say there is no less love!

    I was the youngest of four and in the photo albums there seems to be a significant lack when I was first born. Apparently ‘the camera broke’ …sure!! Fab post. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 17, 2016

      We didn’t do professional photos either. Too expensive anyway! I must admit, the cot was second hand in the first place (new mattress, of course) because, again, SO EXPENSIVE! I actually lost a lot of the photos from when F was a newborn, but thankfully I put a lot of them on Instagram, so I’ve been able to pull them back off there. But I adore him, just the same way I adore his brother, and whether or not his baby book is filled in in real time is totally beside the point. I bet he has that moment in the future like I did though, where he’s like “hey mom, do you actually know when any of this stuff in here happened or did you make it up?” There might have been some artistic license involved…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. islandliving365 · April 17, 2016

    Oh gosh I have been exactly the same! FIlled in oldest’s baby book and then we came to Youngest and I don’t think I filled in one page – argh! I am a bad mummy! ­čÖé #KCACOLS

    Like

  8. justsayingmum · April 17, 2016

    Aww so so true – but sad isn’t it? I have 3 so you can just imagine what the attention number 3 got! I found a diary recently when sorting through cupboards – entitled “memories for my children” – only August to November 2007 – I was so disappointed when I turned the page and it was blank – so many things written that i’d totally forgotten which makes me think I must have forgotten so much more between then and now – so sad! Great read though #KCACOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 17, 2016

      I write a journal every night and I try to include stuff that the kids have done, but sometimes it just ends up being “kids were a nightmare today and I’m so fucking tired.” Not a great memory to show them when they’re older!

      Like

  9. I have just had my first baby, at the moment i cannot imagine having baby number 2! xx
    #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 17, 2016

      I definitely remember that feeling. When the second one was born, I remember waking up (I say “waking up”, but I don’t actually mean it literally because I don’t think I really slept!) the next morning and thinking “Right… Now what?” X

      Like

  10. Kat · April 17, 2016

    I have one child and I don’t even iron my own clothes really let alone hers, unless they really need doing. #kcacols

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 17, 2016

      Half the time I do the “ah, it’ll do!” thing when they come out of the dryer!

      Like

  11. G · April 17, 2016

    Awww bless you. it seems by the time the second baby (i’m one of them too!) comes life just gets in the way of the precious baby book..my daughter is almost 2 and i still haven’t finished her first year book but i have so many wonderful memories and thats what counts. i love the pre loved mother saying, genius! and i think second time round, you’re more relaxed like you said and put less pressure on yourself. We are thinking on number 2 soon, scary stuff! thanks for sharing and don’t feel hard on yourself ­čÖé #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  12. mumzilla · April 17, 2016

    My little sister never stops complaining about this seeming neglect haha! Where are the pictures of me as a child? *woe face* She neglects to notice that there are non of me either!!! #KCACOLS

    Like

    • Motherhood IRL · April 17, 2016

      There are loads of my brother and I up until my dad died, but my mom wasn’t much of a photographer and she didn’t take many after that, bless her. It’s easier for us though, isn’t it? We have camera phones and stuff these days.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mumzilla · April 17, 2016

        Yes everything at the touch of a button – plus we don’t have to get rolls of film developed xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Motherhood IRL · April 17, 2016

        We are very lucky. I really need to get a photo printer. I keep trailing to Boots and faffing with their machines! X

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Baby Anon · April 17, 2016

    This sounds familiar, my auntie has two lovely children and says the same about the second baby. It is all about time. I’m an only one for my parents but my baby book has been lingering unbothered for months now ­čśë x #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 17, 2016

      It’s hard to find the time to sit down and blog sometimes now, and I only started this a few months ago. So I really wish I had more hours in the day to blog and clean and fill in the flippin’ book!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. EllamentalMama · April 17, 2016

    Arh, I haven’t experienced second child syndrome yet as I only have one but I do often think because of being a single mum I kind of treated my son suffered from some version of second child syndrome anyway. I like it in some ways as I think I had to be more relaxed with the ‘small’ things because I didn’t have the energy (emotional or physical) but then I also feel bad for missing out on so much! Lovely post ­čÖé #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 17, 2016

      Thank you. I really wish I had been more relaxed the first time around, to be honest. Sod the book (which is beginning to feel like a metaphor); I wish that I had gotten myself together and done more stuff with my first baby. I was only 25 when I had him and I look about 15 and I was scared of being judged if he cried in public and I couldn’t comfort him. Now I don’t care and I just get on with it. X

      Like

  15. thesingleswan · April 17, 2016

    So, I only have one child and it is highly unlikely, what with being a single mum and all, that I will have a second. This is probably quite fortunate, because I have been a little remiss in filling in Cygnet’s baby book with milestones. I have his birth certificate somewhere… Will that do? thanks for your post. A second child is no less loved, just less documentation and since when did documentation become a sign of love. Kids just need your smile and that, I have no doubt, gets given equally to both of your children. Loads of love Pen xx #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 17, 2016

      I adore them. Both of them. Some days I find one of them easier to be around than the other (because TANTRUMS), but I love them both so much. I actually take a lot less photos of O since F was born because O doesn’t like having his photograph taken at the moment. It’s always lovely when I manage to get a photo of him or one of them together. But I feel like making the memories themselves is so much more important than taking photos or writing them down. Thank you for your comment. Such lovely words. X

      Like

  16. Allyson Greene · April 18, 2016

    Our daughter is my second child, and my husband’s first. This made me laugh because today at the layground she inevitably fell. We both yelled at the same time. His yell was a frantic are you okay as he started to run over. While I yelled something along the lines of you’re okay. The only reason he wasn’t right by here is I made him go sit with me to the side so she could have some freedom. I think the second kid might get the better deal, but Bug gets both from her Dad and I #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 18, 2016

      I vividly remember how much I used to freak out when O fell at the park or whatever. But with F, as long as it was just a little tumble and there’s no blood I just pick him up, dust him down and send him back on his way!

      Like

  17. Katy (@hotpinkwellies) · April 18, 2016

    My sister and I had this same experience in finding our baby books – mine was all filled out with every detail, while hers was a little lacking in lots of areas! I only have the one child so far, but I’m sure it’ll happen to me – the fact I didn’t even iron my first child’s bodysuits probably doesn’t bode well!! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 18, 2016

      You just get really busy when you have a second child, and you don’t have time to go running for the baby book every time your baby does something new. I remember what his favourite stories and songs were as a baby, it’s just stuff like when he had his jabs and all that stuff. I have no idea when any of that happened; I just know that it did! And who came to see us when he was tiny and what did they bring? I’ve no fucking idea; I HAD JUST PUSHED A HUMAN OUT OF MY VAGINA!

      Like

  18. The Mama Nurse · April 19, 2016

    You are not a bad mom, or else I am a terrible mom!! We are just busy busy. I figure as long as I can remember some important stories about the kids as babies, I’ll be golden. Last Christmas I also had some personalized books made with their names, pictures and a comment so that they can use it as a keepsake since my scrapbooking skills are crap.

    And really, they will have your entire blog to look back on!! ­čśÇ If you dare to show it to them hehe
    Tori
    http://www.themamanurse.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 19, 2016

      The personalised books sound great! Maybe I should do that. The reality is that I would love to do something like that myself because I love scrap booking… But I would need some extra hours in the day!

      Like

  19. Kerry · April 19, 2016

    All true, all the photos of my first born are filled in each month up until her brother was born and now they’re all over the place! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  20. The Pramshed · April 19, 2016

    I think this is so true, I only have one (so far) and throughout pregnancy and her baby life, I do find myself questioning everything. I can see that having been through it oncee, you would be so much more relaxed with your second child, but that doesn’t mean you don’t love them any less as you say, you just don’t need to worry so much. I have a baby memory book to make for my little one, and so far it remains completely blank, I really need to get on and create it, before it gets too late – thank you for reminding me. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday. Claire x

    Liked by 1 person

  21. crummymummy1 · April 20, 2016

    I don’t think there’s any avoiding second child syndrome unless you have a massive gap and are able to devote more time to number two! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 20, 2016

      I think that’s probably very true! Even if you wait until the first one is at school before having the second one, they’re still very much dependent on you at that age. And who wants to have a 10 year gap between their kids by choice? Even though F hasn’t had as much undivided attention as O, I’m sure they will grow up to be close and that’s all I really wanted for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I didn’t even buy these books for my second and third kids. I got bought them by a family member but I didn’t even get round to writing their name in it and I think I ended up passing them on to pregnant friends. I did fill out my first childs book but my eldest is 18 now and I don’t even know it where it is. Shocking I know.

    #stayclassy

    Liked by 1 person

  23. occupation:(m)other · April 21, 2016

    Ahh I love this, so true about there being a pretty wide range of normal…I think that’s going to be the biggest improvement in my stress levels with my second child. They have very little hope with anything else though as number one lives in hand me downs, has no filled in baby book and ironing? What’s that then!!? #stayclassy

    Liked by 1 person

  24. The Mum Project · April 21, 2016

    Love this, so true, I had sooooooo many videos and pictures of me as a baby and my brother only had a few (my Mom is kind of a crazy capturing the moment type woman! No joke there is an hour long video of me at 3 months old doing absolutely nothing). Anyway, I think even though everything is second-hand he has double the love now from you and his brother. : ) LOVE the selfie haha, I take way too many with Bear lol Thanks for linking up with #StayClassy!

    Like

    • Motherhood IRL · April 21, 2016

      I have so many videos of O just pottering around playing with toys when he was the same age as F and some of them I watch back now and I’m like “why did I make a video of this?!” So I try to make lots of F doing random shit too and take as many photos as possible so he doesn’t one day ask me why I don’t have a million photos of him not looking at the camera and videos of him doing absolutely nothing interesting at all!

      Like

  25. nipperandtyke · April 21, 2016

    Well, if not washing the sheets on the same day every week makes you a bad mother then I am bloody terrible. I have also not once EVER ironed anything that either of my children own. I don’t iron my own clothes! If I went in for inspirational quotes, mine would be “If it needs ironing, don’t buy it.” But yeah, you’re right when you say it is FAR more important to spend time with them making memories instead of beds!
    x Alice
    #kcacols

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 21, 2016

      It probably would have been a good idea for me to point out that I was totally OCD about everything with O when he was first born. He never slept on the same sheet for more than a week and all of his stuff was ironed and put away the same day in a categorised wardrobe. I’m probably crazy, to be honest with you! X

      Liked by 1 person

      • nipperandtyke · April 21, 2016

        Wow. You would probably not like my house. We go in for the “good for the immune system” school of laundry! ­čśÇ x

        Liked by 1 person

      • Motherhood IRL · April 21, 2016

        My house is a tip these days, trust me! X

        Liked by 1 person

  26. min1980 · April 21, 2016

    I have a confession to make. I have only one child, and I’ve never filled in his baby book. I was actually given scrapbooks at my baby shower, and I don’t even know where they are, only that they are lying unopened and unloved somewhere at the bottom of a pile of old bits of paper. I agree with your sentiment that it’s more fun to make memories, than to record them. Thanks for linking up to #StayClassy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · April 21, 2016

      You know that bit at the back of the red book, with all the pictures and the stuff like “lifts head” and “says mama to anyone”, etc? I started that with O and then just left it because I didn’t have time. When my mom found it and noticed is barely done anything in it, she was horrified! I secretly think this might be all her fault ;).

      Like

  27. Something Crunchy Mummy · April 22, 2016

    Totally agree and my second son has second child syndrome! Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

    Liked by 1 person

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