A slightly above-average achiever's guide to parenting
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The Road Already Traveled (a second child)
February 3, 2017
Alright, I'm by no means an expert in this "second child" thing. But I'm past the half a year point (what the what!?) and by this point I've picked up a thing or two. I've already offered my advice on preparing for and dealing with a second child over at the South End Mom's Blog here, but on a high level, I've realized that in a lot of ways having a second child has been a lot easier than the first time through.
A large part of it has to do with the fact that I'm much more confident as a parent. With the first one, everyone kept asking me "what are you so anxious about? what's the baby going to do?" and I kept responding "I DON'T KNOW! That's what's so terrifying." I wasn't quite sure what babies could do. I mean I knew they had limits and it wasn't like he was going to walk himself into a wall or take my credit card and go on a shopping bender. But could he just spontaneously start choking while breathing? How long after eating something could he have an allergic reaction? If I make him listen to Taylor Swift on repeat, will I somehow damage him forever? These were my rambling thoughts with baby #1. Now that I've had literally over 700 days with a small child, put him to sleep for naps or bedtime probably around 2100 times, fed him nearly 5000 times, and explained "we have to wait our turn to cross the street" at least a million times. I feel that I know most of the major stuff that can happen with a baby or a toddler.
With BFF, I'm more well versed in his cries. I know when he's wet verses hungry verses just pissed off that I've set him down while I dry my hair. I also know that even though the four month sleep regression is brutal (and it is), it's going to pass, as will teething, as will the 95 colds he'll get this winter.
And because of this knowledge, that these things will all pass, the time seems to be going so much faster. I know what's coming next, and so each stage doesn't seem to go on forever. It's like when you're traveling in the car somewhere new for the first time. On the way there, it seems to take forever. But somehow, on the way home, it seems to go by much faster. That's parenting the second time.
That's a huge reason why everyone seems to say that "it goes by so much faster" the second time around. And it's true. That, plus the fact that instead of praying for them to get onto the next stage, you're secretly hoping they'll stay small forever. Because with a second, you know all too keenly that pretty soon, they won't want to snuggle with you anymore. They won't need you in the middle of the night. They'll be busy crawling, and then walking and I feel like it's going to be a hop, skip, and a jump to college. At least, it feels that way at the rate BFF's infancy has seemed to pass by.