Everyone forgets the second child
You do feel for your second child sometimes. They arrive into a ready-made family unit. There is already another child who is used to being top dog. Invariably that older sibling is walking and talking so already demands more attention. They end up fitting in around whatever routine you have. Everyone worries about how your older child is going to react to the new arrival. While that is indeed an important consideration, you can spend all your time focussing on your first child and forgetting about what your second child needs to feel stimulated and included.
This was brought home to me the other day when I picked up Georgie from her day nursery. The first thing the manager said to me “your daughter is an absolute delight”. Of course I had that proud parent moment, but then I thought “wait a minute, she’s been playing grumpy baby at home”. When I told my wife this she reminded me that at nursery, Georgie is in a room with similar age children and she has the attention of 3 adults who will play with her and give her activities to do.
I instantly felt guilty because at home I often get distracted with jobs around the house and leave Georgie to play in the playroom. She plays nicely by herself but I’m reminded that she also needs lots of attention and playing with. When we collect her big sister from her nursery school she then demands more of my time simply because she can talk and run around and tell me what she wants.
Galla, when she was the only child, got lots of attention when she was Georgie’s age, naturally because she was our first child. We were enjoying experiencing all the new things she was doing each day. Now Georgie is following those same steps, she’s a little behind where Galla was at this age to be honest. So we are always comparing her to what her sister was doing at this age.
This is unfair, as all parents know, each child is unique and develops at their own rate. Now I realise why Georgie is being particularly grumpy. She’s 13 months old, is cruising around, very almost walking. Not talking yet but she does a good line in baby babble. She must be so desperate to articulate what she wants to do or play with and can’t tell me.
So I promise little Georgie that I will henceforth make sure we have lots of playtime together. You get your fair go at doing painting and other activities. And I won’t get distracted doing the laundry…..well maybe a little bit. We love you little one and can’t wait to see what an incredible little girl you’re turning into.
Have you had similar experiences with your children?