The Second Child

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I was the first child growing up. I remember my sister always complaining that she never got anything new because everything had already gone through me. At the time, I thought she was being ridiculous. Who cared who had it first?

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But I’m here to tell you that that is a first child mentality.

It does matter who had it first.

Having two kids so close in age is sometimes a blessing and sometimes incredibly strange. Take this past weekend, for example. We hadn’t even packed up Bean’s high chair yet before Gracie was moving into it. And when Gracie was born, we practically kicked Bean out of the crib to make room for her. Sometimes they are so close in age that Gracie seems to nip on Bean’s heels of milestones.

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But I’m starting to feel a little guilty about that nipping. I really started feeling guilty when I looked around the other day and noticed that we have not bought ONE new toy for her since she was born. Sure, we’ve bought clothes and diapers and pink spoons and princess cereal bowls, but we haven’t bought her one TOY all her own yet. She has been using all of Bean’s old toys. And she doesn’t seem to care. If she can chew it, she doesn’t mind who’s chewed it before, I guess. But that just doesn’t seem fair to me.

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So, yesterday I went to Target with Gracie for the sole purpose of buying her a toy. A toy that is all her own. That no one else has chewed on or slobbered all over or dragged around before. It’s her very own toy.

And she loves it. Everywhere she hits or bangs, it lights up and sings a song. It’s perfect for her age right now.

The truth is, it’s easier to roll the kids down the same line of products. Just pass things along the birth line. It certainly saves money. And I know that babies can’t tell the difference and material goods shouldn’t matter and yadda, yadda, yadda… But second babies shouldn’t be second hand ALL the time, you know?

Having two kids is all about balance. Balancing my time between two babies needs. Balancing attention between two kids. Balancing activities and nap times and meals. Balancing hugs and kisses. I have to admit, though, sometimes I think the scales are tipped a tiny bit in the favor of the older child (…just don’t tell my sister I ever admitted that). But that’s something I’m trying to be a bit more aware of, especially as my kids get older.  Because sometimes the second child is twice as sweet!

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29 Thoughts to “The Second Child”

  1. Angela

    Those CHEEKS!
    How can you resist not kissing those chunky cheeks the entire day?

    ……just so freaking cute

  2. Catherine

    That is a SMILE! What a cutiepie!

  3. Heather in ND

    Your kids are TOO. STINKIN. CUTE!!! Goodness!

  4. So so sweet, Miss Gracie! So glad she got her own toy, I too have that “first child” mentality.

  5. Abbie

    My 6 month old just had brain surgery to remove a hopefully benign tumor. I keep thinking about everything we’ve gone through the last two weeks (she had a seizure out of no where and next thing we knew she was having surgery) and thinking oh god what if I always favor Emma because I am worried over things like this happening again. I think its a silly thought maybe but all my friends with one child say they are scared they won’t feel the same about their 2nd child since the first is so special. But obviously its not true. You are such a sweet and thoughtful mother to already be making sure to be fair. I hope I can be that way. I always want both or all three (whatever we decide) to feel special at all times.

  6. I’m a first child too. I remember my sister having a birthday party and getting this toy pony that you can ride on. I jumped right on it because I can kind of remember thinking it was my birthday. I must have been 3 or 4. There is this picture of me on pony crying my eyes out and my sister just looking at me like, “Get off my damn pony!”. I will have to try and find that picture.
    Despite the jealousy issues there is only one person in this world who can make me laugh to the point of snorting or not letting any sound escape. That’s my sisty.
    She’s also the only person that I would ask to help me try on 25lb wedding dresses for the first time and help me to butt shuffle into the dress…. I bought her a bottle of rum after.
    : )

  7. Hilary

    Just a suggestion for a future post: Like brother, like sister. Could you put up some pics of Bean and Gracie where they are the same age? I keep thinking that she looks so much like her big brother, but it’s hard to compare when they’re at different ages. They are so photogenic!

  8. Brittany

    I am the second child. My sister is 6.5 years older than me. I will say the worst thing was having to wear her clothes once I grew into them…they were so out of style by the time I wore them. Just make sure as she grows up that you pick “special” things for her of her own. It should be easier to manage bc of the gender difference.

  9. I totally agree! We are right there with you right now. My daughter ends up with my son’s old toys (but I think she prefers it that way). I think it works out well that the younger baby is a girl because you will always be getting her new girly things of her own as she grows up. That was a sweet idea to go and pick her out a new toy 😉

  10. I think you’re totally right. I only have one, and money is tight, so I didn’t really buy her anything. I just figured between the shower and my very excited mother, we would have all we needed. But, as the weeks of my pregnancy went by, I just couldn’t bear not buying a toy for my baby girl. I ran out and bought her the cutest play food. I am so glad I did because she loves it!

  11. Hey Katie, I have a 3.5 year old and an 8 month old and I just got the perfect toy for them (I know this was a post about her having her own toys but I still, I had to tell you about this toy) it is perfect for both age groups, and I tell my older child that it belongs to the younger one but that her baby sister is choosing to share it with her (as to encourage sharing, since she has to share so many of her toys with the baby) Here is a link, it is a winner : )

    http://www.target.com/p/LeapFrog-Shapes-Sharing-Picnic-Basket/-/A-13058783

  12. HA. Wow. This post just enlightened me as to why I am an almost 30 year old who refuses to buy used stuff…I am a first child and have always had and still do have first-child-new-toy-syndrome.

  13. Kelly

    This made me smile for many reasons but mostly because as the 2nd child I never had my own stuff. I actually refused to wear jeans for years because I thought they were uncomfortable and rough- turns out I was just wearing my brothers hand me downs. Once I got my own I realized the power of awesome jeans 🙂

  14. Another first child here and I never understood why my sister complained so much about getting everything second hand. I had good taste, darn it! But now, as a parent, I can see how that would be a problem. And wow, Gracie is just so flipping cute!

  15. Gracie has the best smile!

  16. Look at those teeth! She’s such a cutie pie. So excited for her and her new toy! And hey, now if she ever complains about this in the future like Ginny did, just point to this post and say, “Look! I bought you a toy all your own! I have proof!” 🙂

  17. kk

    i’m actually a third child and my kid will be my first. I actually want him/her to use all the old stuff from other kids…just to kick that first kid mentality haha. I got all the old toys when i was a kid but my mom did buy me new clothes because my sister and i were 5 years apart.

  18. Andrea

    Gracie is such a doll! I love your blog because it is right where I am at in life too. I have a 2 y/o and a 6 mo/old, both girls. So this post hit home for me. Since we have 2 girls, the second has not even got new clothes, room decorations, or toys- we just have everything from our older daughter. I can see this being an issue in the future, but as of right now, it bothers me more than them. BTW, we have the learning bug too, love it!

  19. Grandma

    Gracie – Christmas is coming!!!Christmas is coming!! X O X O

  20. I’m also a first-born and I really think that because of it I like to have new things rather than borrowed..guess I am just not used to it! Life might be a little cheaper if I was the second child. Luckily for my parents, my sister thought I had good taste so she loved getting all my hand-me-downs.

  21. lol this made me laugh, i am the 3rd child so you can imagine the amount of things i got passed down lol, gracie is super cute by the way as if you dont know x

  22. The trick is to have them a year apart. I’ve done that twice, and both times the pair were so close in age, they wore the same size, so they BOTH got new clothes, and each had their very own crib/high chair/toddler bed. In the first instance, the second one passed the older one in height at around age 7/8, so then the younger one got everything new, and passed it on to the older one. This might work with twins, too. 🙂

  23. Carrie

    Ohhh Katie she makes my ovaries hurt! We have that toy for our daughter (13 months) as well, she loves it!

  24. alison g

    OMG just LOVE that last picture!!! She’s just so sweet, I could HUG her to pieces!!

  25. OH MY!!! Those cheeks and smile!!!! Shes beautiful!

  26. I’m a first-born as well and I never understood the hand-me-down complaints too much either. But I do understand being kicked out of your stuff to force the hand-me-down…and that used to bug me. Like the time my parents said that it was time that I bought a new car and gave mine to my sister because she was getting her license….when I spent all my savings on that car to begin with! not that I’m still holding a grudge…

  27. I’m bookmarking this baby as we plan to have our second kiddo! I totally agree 🙂

  28. We have that toy. It is quite possibly the loudest toy on the face of the planet. I put like 3 pieces of packing tape over the little speaker and it’s STILL LOUD. Nonetheless, Eli has loved that toy since he was Gracie’s age… and he’ 16 months now. He’s really into putting the shapes in their places. 🙂

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