Moms Talk: Second Child Syndrome
Second kids often draw the short straw (and get the last, smallest piece of chicken). Is this happening in your home?
"Kids are great... and they practically raise themselves nowadays. You know, with the Internet and all." - Homer Simpson
Second Kid Syndrome is very real, and you parents of more than one child know this.
Like it or not, the second child usually gets the shaft. I know it’s happened with my two children. Sailor is twelve, and Jack is five.
My husband and I freely admit that we spent a lot more time working with Sailor on reading and writing and music. Sailor has seen dozens of major theatre productions and has been to museums and concerts and shows in “the big city.”
Jack has seen Thomas the Tank Engine Live on Stage.
When Sailor was a preschooler, we spent hours and hours working with her on reading and writing. She wrote letters to us about her day when she was four years old. When she was five, we were hiding newspapers from her because she would spend sleepless nights agonizing over what she read in them.
My five-year-old son? Well, he’s an Angry Birds wizard, and he’s beginning to sound out words. I would worry about him reading this and having hurt feelings, but I think I’ve got time before that becomes a valid concern...
When Sailor was in preschool, I stayed right on top of things. She brought home her preschool calendar and it went right on the fridge, with important events highlighted and written on our family calendar as a precaution. Picture Day involved a shopping trip days in advance and waking up early to do her hair “just right.”
I forgot about Jack’s picture day last year, and he went to school with shaggy hair and wearing an R2-D2 tee. Jack is very concerned with fashion and how he looks (he likes to dress “like a gentleman”), so this was a problem. I ended up having to order a bow tie and take him out for a special photo shoot to make up for it.
I also attended Jack’s Muffins with Moms event in my pajamas, as I’m in the habit of dropping the children off at school before making myself presentable to the public, and I’d totally neglected to remember it was THAT DAY.
And there we have it. Classic SKD. It’s not that we love Jack less than Sailor. I think we’re just more relaxed about parenting and are more confident in a child’s resiliency than we were the first time around. Plus, Sailor’s here. Jack worships her. We’re hoping Jack will just absorb some of this stuff from being in her presence. Like osmosis.
Also, we’re tired.
On the plus side, I think Jack has probably benefited a bit from being raised in a less smothering way. He’s very confident (and he will tell you this himself), and he has a great vocabulary and is less needy. He has the opportunity to watch and learn from Sailor rather than having us try to cram knowledge into him. He’s doing fine, and he has no idea we think he might have been slighted, so please don’t tell him.
Are you experiencing SKD in your home? Are you worried about it? What steps have you taken to ensure equality among your offspring? Please share your tips and stories in the comment section. Let’s talk it out, moms!