Why it Sucks to be Second

I’m pushing my two kids in the supermarket, mentally patting myself on the back for successfully making it to the produce section without any tears. My first born is correctly identifying items as we pass them and my second is sleeping peacefully. I step away to pick out some organic tomatoes and return to my oldest poking the youngest in the eye, while correctly identifying "eye". Madeleine is now awake and happily goes along with the "game". This embodies the essence of being the second born: No matter how much we mind our own business, we will always, somehow, both physically and metaphorically get poked in the eye (and then kindly offer the other eye!) 

Milestones. Oh wow, Madeleine is smiling! When did Charlotte start smiling? Well I can tell you down to the minute because not only do I have it recorded on my phone, but I also wrote it in her baby journal. Did you document Madeleine’s? Yes, it happened on whatever day we put out the recycling.   

That’s rough. Remember how you felt nervous about having your 19 year old cousin hold your newborn? Now, I stage pictures of my 22 month old snuggling her 2 month old sister alone on the couch, because how cute is that? Don’t forget to support her neck!

Sharing is caring! I remember sheltering Charlotte from sickness by using my body has a human shield from any coughing or snotty rugrats on the playground. Yesterday, Charlotte literally sneezed in Madeleine’s face and then for good measure wiped it on her tiny baby foot.

Hand-me-downs. Please ignore the poop stains on this onesie that we took a hundred pictures of your sister wearing, but won’t get any of you because I need both hands free at all times and because eww poop stains.

I am the second born and it wasn’t until I had my second that I realized just how much we get short changed. Of course the love is completely the same but I've made it my life's mission to attempt a fair and equal world for my girls, because as even the name suggests, being number 2 is total crap. 

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The Curse of the Good Baby

I already took a gamble with the title, but if you are reading this, then I can only assume that you are: a. intrigued b. have a good baby yourself or c. my own mother. I will start off by saying how blessed I am. Everyone prays for health, happiness and a “good baby”. What does this really mean? Sleeps through the night, doesn’t cry with unfamiliar people, is flexible, naps well, and is genuinely happy. I can check all those boxes. Did I mention she has one dimple? (I sincerely apologize to all the brand new moms. If I came across this at 1 month, I literally would have screamed while throwing a pacifier and you can too, but that's only because you are no longer familiar with R.E.M. sleep. Let's chat again in a few months). Now that your eyes have glazed over, I am going to tell you why this is a curse. After the good baby, there is no direction to go but down. Any future siblings will have to compete with the wonderment that is Charlotte. This is the hard battle I must fight, but I will prevail.

She even smiles for the camera.

She even smiles for the camera.

My best friend was also blessed with the curse, and while she was pregnant with her second she would have people on the street tell her how difficult her next baby would be. Oh you won’t get another one that sleeps through the night. There are no boundaries when it comes to how people talk to pregnant women; inappropriate reaches new heights; rivaled only by how people talk to new parents. Whenever I tell others about my good baby they proceed to tell me how challenging one of their children was with colic or chronic diaper rash. I’m not sure if this is because they are waiting for me to give them a high five for powering through it or if they are just looking for a hug. However, I am aware that babies can be tough. Even good babies have their moments; like when Charlotte hits an octave that makes Macie howl and I haven’t yet had a cup of coffee. To my last remaining reader (hi mom): no baby fits perfectly into any one category and yet they each provide enough joy to last a lifetime. In parenthood you will see the good, the bad, and the ugly, so be prepared. At some point your baby will be good, the diapers will be bad, and the stink eye you give someone when they tell you to enjoy it now since she will give you all kinds of trouble in her teen years, should most definitely be ugly. 

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