I had an interesting conversation yesterday with some moms I know about Second Child Syndrome. Something that I’ve experienced recently owing to the fact that I’ve recently had a second child. Duh. Turns out Second Child Syndrome is a lot more than just clothing and toy hand-me downs. It’s a totally different style of parenting, too.
Second Child Syndrome is the total opposite of First Child Panic that most moms seem to suffer. Symptoms of First Child Panic? Sterilising everything that the baby touches or puts in his/her mouth. Dummies, bottles, toys etc. Why? Panic that the baby might catch cooties from unsterilised things. Wishing you could sterilise the rest of the world and that you could ask people to wash their hands before touching the baby. Rocking the baby to sleep, every time. Because that’s the only way it works, right? Baby stimulation classes. Because how on earth can I stimulate my one-week-old to ensure that he’ll be more than just a rocket scientist one day? Drownproofing classes. Because you have a swimming pool and PANIC.
First Child Panic mostly revolves around fear of Breaking The Baby. Everything that happens, makes you panic. Baby has a fever? Panic. Baby sucks the cat’s tail? Panic. Baby rolls off the bed or falls off the changing table? Panic. PANIC PANIC PANIC.
Second Child Syndrome moms have reached a point where they’re pretty clear on what will and will not Break The Baby. And that not rocking the baby to sleep and not picking the baby up every single time he cries at night will not break the baby. Second Child Syndrome means I’m a lot more chilled with this small creature, and it has affected him, too. He’s chilled and totally low-maintenance. He’s quiet and in the first few weeks of him being around, I often forgot he was there until he woke up and his angry yell reminded me that it was feeding time.
Thanks to Second Child Syndrome I don’t need to rock him to sleep, because he will go to sleep within minutes of being placed in his crib, covered with a blanket and given a dummy to suck. In fact, it’s much harder to get him to sleep while rocking him, or holding him. He only ever cries when he’s hungry and is generally content to hang out in his bouncy-chair, or baby swing while I tend to other things.
I’ve only taken him to the doctor once. In three months, that’s nothing compared to the frequency with which we dragged our firstborn at the slightest hint of a sniffle. Even after The Toffee had his vaccinations (while he had a bit of a cough and snot nose) he didn’t make a lot of fuss and didn’t cry more than usual. He slept it off and still managed a gummy smile or four.
Second child syndrome. For the win. Luckily it’s been a lot more of this:
And hardly any of this. (So far.)
I’m hoping it stays like that, for as long as possible.