Whenever one of my friends has a second child, I always ask some version of the same question – Do you love your second child as much as the first? Of course, I know the answer they will give –parents love the second one as much as the first. I, myself, am a second child and am greatly loved. Perhaps even favored. I digress.
What I really search for is that question that all parents have, I think, when deciding to have another baby. Because our first children are SO loved, SO treasured, SO cute and funny and charming and precocious…how can a second child POSSIBLY measure up? I also ask about The Connection. Did you feel it right away or did it take just a little bit longer because you were so infatuated with your first? Because why would you automatically love this child you just met? It takes time. Looking back, you know the more you got to know your first child, the more in love you fell. So by contrast, it would stand to reason that you would notice this lack of connection because you already have this amazing connection with your first. I got different answers from different friends. All of them confirming what I knew in my head but not yet my heart…of course you love your second as much. It’s different, and yet the same. Which, when you are searching for answers, is an incredibly annoying response.
So. After spending 4 nights in the hospital, I have this to report as a new mom to a second son. You DO in fact love the second as much as the first. You DO think they are the most beautiful baby you have ever seen, even though your first child was also the most beautiful baby you had ever seen. The good news is that your second child can be the most beautiful baby because your first is now the most beautiful preschooler (or toddler, or – God help you – high schooler) you’ve ever encountered. Baby Bean (BB) is just perfect. His cry is not abrasive. He eats like a champion athlete at training table the night before a big game. He likes his sleep (so far). He is just sweet in every possible way that a baby could be sweet. And I’m discovering that my question wasn’t so much could you love your second child as much, but would you love your first any less. And I don’t. Though I freely admit I enjoyed my time in the hospital with BB alone, I enjoyed saying goodnight to MB and having the quiet night hours with just me and my new baby to snuggle with in the bed and get to know each other. I will also admit that I would feel anxiety when MB was on his way over to visit, and overwhelmed at his…everywhereness…..while in the hospital. I swear, he’s like a Tasmanian devil. And he’s huge and loud and so germy. How have I not noticed this before?
I think I’m lucky that I have two such different aged children living in my house. So when I get fed up with one age, I can hand him over to his dad or grandparents, and enjoy the other one. They are so vastly different, it feels like patting my head, rubbing my stomach and standing on one leg just keeping everything straight. I have none of that New Baby Anxiety – is he eating enough? Should he be sleeping now? Should he be awake now? I do have some anxiety over MB, which shouldn't be surprising since I've been having anxiety over him since day one. He is, after all, my first...and this is another "first" for him. My goals for the next few weeks are to get to know this little guy, while at the same time trying to shower love and affection and alone time on my precious first born. Who will always be my baby too. Even when he’s 45.