The Boy in the Pink Pajamas, AKA Second Baby Syndrome

The whole time I was pregnant with my second baby, I was concerned about loving him as much as he deserved.  That’s a screwed up feeling for a mom to have, I suppose.  But hey, I’m a screwed up mom sometimes.  🙂 

My second pregnancy was different from my first.  I absolutely HATE admitting this, but it didn’t feel quite as…I don’t know the right word…earth-shattering?  The miracle of carrying Corbin was fighting for attention against:

-I was even sicker.  I was sick with Lola, but my second pregnancy brought me to my knees (literally!  several times a day!).  It lasted until about week 18 or 19, too.  And then it came back a little at the end.  And I still had to parent a 2 year old.  Lola was in full on Mimic Mommy mode, and at one point she would pretend to throw up for fun, because that’s mostly what mommy did when we were together.  

-On top of this, Brian and I are on opposite schedules now.  So I had to be sick and miserable and parent our toddler ALONE most of the time.  This is when she learned, with unsettling accuracy, the Nick Jr. evening lineup.

-My body was not crazy about this pregnancy.  In addition to the sickness, I got WICKED diastasis recti (translation: ripped apart ab muscles), a hernia that I had to tape down because people kept thinking they could see my baby’s foot poking out or something, a separated pubic bone (fucking ouch!), and LOTS of back and spine problems that required me to wear uncomfortable brace-type stuff and caused me to lie on the floor crying more times than I’d like to count.  Also, a pitiful amount of acne. 

-There is not much hullabaloo with the second.  No shower, no registry, no picking out the perfect such and such, because you’re just going to re-use the last one.  Nobody wanting to sit in the hospital room during your labor.  Etc.

-Maybe this was only in my case, but there was SOOO much less spoiling. I MISSED the spoiling!  Of me. 

-And I was WAY less precious about the whole thing.  I could clean my own damn tub (sadly).  I would eat sushi, and once or twice I would enjoy a half glass of wine, which caused people to look at me with SOOOOO much disdain.

-There is no pregnancy journal.

And so on and so forth.  You have so much ELSE to do when you’re waiting for your second child.  Basically, I just didn’t sit around enjoying the Hell out of pregnancy and reading every word ever written on the subject and thinking hemorrhoids were totally worth it because I was making a baby!  There was some of that, but not nearly as much.

I harbored a secret knowledge when I was pregnant with Corbin: you don’t love the second quite as powerfully.  As a second child, this made me a LITTLE sad (but also explained a lot, lol), but I understood.  It’s okay, because it’s not that you DON’T love them.  They are your child and you love them to pieces.  Just not as much as your first born.  There it was.  The secret that no one would ever utter aloud.  And now I was privy to that knowledge.

And then I delivered the baby.  And within minutes I realized how stupid I was.  Like, that was one of the stupidest things I ever thought kind of stupid.  Like, when I think about it now, I am ABSOLUTELY BAFFLED by the ridiculousness of that notion and how far it is from the truth kind of stupid.  Like here to the moon far.  In fact, more like here to some other galaxy so far away that no one even suspects its existence far.

Here’s one thing that IS true about the second baby (at least in my family): he’s less spoiled.  I still believe in promptly attending to a crying baby, but I can’t spend AS much time doing nothing but giving my undivided attention to his every wish and whim. 

And the STUFF!

We didn’t even repaint the nursery.  We just decided the purple and yellow left over from Lola were Minnesota Vikings colors and went with that.  His clothes is mostly hand me downs.  This is partly because my sister and cousin both have boys who are older (Lola was the first of that generation in my family), and it’s also partly because boys’ clothes are just no flippin fun to buy, and people aren’t DYING to do it like they were with a girl.  In fact, pretty much everything he has/wears/uses is a hand me down.  I am broke.  I was just as broke with Lola, but I had stupid not-yet-a-parent notions about the importance of baby stuff. 

One little issue about Corbin using Lola’s hand me downs: they’re not all gender neutral.  All those ubiquitous cute pictures propped on the Boppy pillow?  Yeah, Corbin’s is hot pink:

And, frankly, I feel that in this picture, he is already expressing his annoyance.  “Geez, Ma, it’s bad enough that you make me use the pink stuff, do you have to photograph it?”

I ordered Lola a hand-made lovey when she was a baby.  She had no interest in it.  Corbin digs it though.  One problem- here’s what it looks like:

Corbin’s bathtub?  Pastel pink.  And there’s only more of this to come.  I imagine he’ll be using Lola’s tricycle (pink and purple), but DH will probably cave and buy him a different bike (Lola’s is Disney Princess.) 

We also have never truly kicked all of Lola’s stuff out of his room.  The second child never gets to know what it’s like to be your parents’ one and only.  He doesn’t get to chill out on the floor without Big Sister gettin’ all up in his grill.  He doesn’t get all of mom’s time, all of his own shelf space, or even bathwater all to himself.  He does get a built-in playmate, though, so that’s something.  As long as he’s okay with the fact that that playmate will spend many years using him as a pawn in whatever schemes she’s hatching in her evil genius mind (“Okay Little Brudder, let’s see how many m&ms you can fit in your nose, and if it’s more than 10, you win!”).  And that sometimes she hugs him too hard on purpose, because that way she can assert her alpha place and work out her jealousy issues without mom yelling at her for being mean to the baby.

So Corbin’s life will have a little more pink in it than some boys’.  He’ll live.  I’ve been pretty good about filling in his baby book, so he’s ahead of many second-borns (translation: me).  I think that one hundred photos documenting your infant is probably sufficient.  He doesn’t have to know that there are one THOUSAND of Lola.

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4 thoughts on “The Boy in the Pink Pajamas, AKA Second Baby Syndrome

  1. Steph, I love your writing! You totally crack me up! I want you to know though, I also felt similar feelings when I was pregnant with Lexie. I didn’t feel the same connection that I felt when I was pregnant with Derik. I was sicker than a dog until about 34 weeks, could barely eat, exhausted 24/7 way more than I ever was with Derik. It was just harder! I was very worried that I didn’t love her as much as Derik because of my feelings. I called my sil and talked to her and lo and behold, she too felt the same way about some of her subsequent pregnancies. I love both my kids with my whole heart, and idk, maybe I do love Derik more just because he was such an easy kid and she’s not.. idk. But you aren’t alone with these feelings. (oh and thankfully i had already gotten rid of all my boy stuff when she came along so I could still spoil her. LOL)

    • thanks. 🙂 I didn’t know you had a blog, nice.
      My mom told me that she didn’t think she could love a second as much, but then she did. But in my irrational pregnant state, I figured she was lying to make me feel better.

      • Yes, pregnancy makes us go a little crazy. LOL. I think things even out a little (unless you have a 3rd) when the older kid goes to school, then you have one on one time with the baby… or at least that’s what’s happened in my life. it’s been nice spending my days with lexie, but it was also nice spending my days with derik. 🙂 oh, and on the blog, yeah, i didn’t really advertise that i had one since i wasn’t really posting much, but i’m doing better (some nights) on that. LOL. I’m trying to update more often.

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