There are a lot of advantages to having a second child. For example, when you leave the hospital with the second child Volkswagen arranges to have a minivan in the parking lot waiting for you. At restaurants, you can now request a table for four rather than dealing with that awkward table for three. And no parent needs to feel left out when going for a walk because each child can hold one parent’s hand.
Unfortunately, this too is only a theory as both kids invariably want to hold their mother’s hand. And you’re left with the diaper bag…and the stroller…and the lunch box…and the toys…and the books…and the stuffed animals…
The immediacy with which the dynamic in the house changes is staggering. One minute the only child is being doted on by both parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, and the next minute everyone is cooing at the new baby. Naturally the older child is left feeling very frustrated and confused. It is not surprising to hear the older child inquire, “When’s baby going home?”
It takes a very sensitive person, and you become grateful for their presence, who can size up the situation and give some much-needed attention to the newly appointed older sibling. It does not require much, just acknowledgment, a little positive feedback, an understanding ear, a supportive hug, perhaps a new bike and then attention can return to the baby.
This jealousy is a very natural emotion and will probably pass within the next thirty to forty years. Who can really blame them, though? Their initial time on this earth has consisted of constant doting and very little sharing, maybe the occasional co-operative with a cousin or fellow toddler at the park, but that is about it. Now they are expected to be content with joint custody of their toys, books and, most importantly, their parents’ time and affection.
Since this is the oldest child’s first exposure to the act of sharing it comes grudgingly and its progress is felt in small increments. It will also be hard on you to witness because, although it is not rejection, the oldest child will perceive it as such and act in kind.
It is painful to observe your oldest child playing alone while the adults “ohhh” and “ahhh” over the baby. Your child may bear it with noble stoicism, but you know inside it must be painful for them, and in turn for you.
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE LOWDOWN
Other advantages to having two children:
- It is divisible by two when you go on the rides at Disneyland.
- One parent for every child!
- Two kids requiring attention, two parents.
- More bathtub fun.
- Two kids, two laps, no waiting!
Although it is not all upside:
- Two kids, one bathroom, lots of waiting.
- Twice as much crying.
- Two kids/one tablet.
- Twice as many diapers.
- Double trouble!
- Limited TV time, unlimited choices, two opinions.
- Double the restaurant bill.
- More than double the groceries!
- More bathtub splashing!
- Double the mess.