As an only child, I've always been fascinated with something I know nothing about from firsthand experience—sibling relationships. Any of my elementary school friends can attest to the fact that I was a very inquisitive (to the point of being annoying) only child. "What's it like to have a sister? Do you two share clothes? What is her favourite colour? Does she ever get mad at you? Does she have a diary? Have you read it?" Seriously. I was a mini investigative journalist at the age of 7, and my focus was entirely on sibling relationships. It fascinated me, and it still does.
Now, as a mother of two, it's so exciting for me to witness this relationship grow from day one. And I must say, I can understand more than ever the truth behind the effects of birth order. Despite my best efforts to give my children the same experiences and attention, there are some things that are just different for a second child, and there is nothing I can do about it.
So, second child, I'm sorry in advance, but here are a few things you should know:
RARELY WILL YOU GET MY UNDIVIDED ATTENTION, SECOND CHILD.
I'm sorry, but it's true. You will always have someone else nearby who is clamoring for my attention. Someone else will always need their bum changed, or a drink of juice, or a snack. So I will become the multi-tasking-master and will cradle you in my arms as I do all three of these above-mentioned tasks at once. But don't worry, I'll try not to get poop on you in the process.
MILESTONES? WHAT MILESTONES?
Second child, I'm pretty sure you're developing well, though I can't be certain. I keep forgetting to actually read those Baby Centre updates that are emailed to me. But if you're still lying on your back and sucking your big toe by your 5th Birthday, I promise to look into things. Deal?
YOU WILL LIKELY GET POKED IN THE EYE.
When you have an older sibling, second child, I think you just have to be a little more...resilient. They're going to hug you, and tackle you in the process. They're going to give you a "high five," but bend your arm awkwardly in the process. Oops. And from time to time, they will intentionally stomp on your fingers. Just cuz.
I HOPE YOU LIKE HAND-ME-DOWNS.
Fortunately for you, second child, I'd rather put more money into your RESP than buy you fashionable sleepers that you'll shit in and grow out of in 5 minutes. When you become a Doctor (no pressure), you can buy yourself all of the overpriced clothing your heart desires. In the meantime, it's a good thing you look good in blue, little girl. And how do you feel about dump trucks? Good.
But at the end of the day, second child, it's a small price to pay for the joy of having a sibling. Sure, you might have to yell a little louder to make sure your voice is heard, but a quiet house is boring and somewhat creepy. With a sibling around, there will always be someone to laugh out loud with during the day and whisper to in the wee hours past your bedtime. You have a built-in best friend, and a partner in crime. You have someone to roll your eyes to when your parents are embarrassing you (sorry, it'll happen), and someone to help you remember the joyful details of your childhood. Although there will be times that your sibling drives you crazy, please remember that they were one of the first people to kiss you and love you. They helped shape the person you are today, even if they were responsible for some of your scars...
Going to have a second baby soon? Help your toddler transition to having a new brother or sister with these 4 steps.
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