Everyone tells you. Everyone. But of course you don’t believe them. You didn’t believe them about breastfeeding hurting so bad it made you want to shoot yourself in the face. Why would you believe them about this?
But it turns out they’re right. (On both accounts. I can’t be around any weapons until my nipples are mine again. I like my face too much). And when it comes to having kids, the second time around is indeed completely different.
It’s not that you set out to treat your second baby differently. And it’s not as though you love them any less. You love them the same and for the exact same reason you love your first: They’re the most amazing human being ON THE PLANET (crazy how you gave birth to all the best people who’ve ever existed…what are the odds?).
It’s just that the situation has changed. Because as much as you’d love to take a snuggly nap with them or go on a gentle stroll through the park with them or even take five minutes to huff that magic-scented aura wafting up from the top of their head, you simply can’t. You can’t because chances are extremely high that there is a toddler trying his best to kill himself somewhere.
Not to mention you have more experience now. No longer can an 8-pound human trick you into believing that they can nap ONLY while sleeping on your chest. HaHA! Those clever little slightly demonic imps and their manipulative ways. But you’re onto their game. Here’s a section of the floor not covered in Legos, kiddo. Nighty-night.
And here are all the other reasons my youngest is bound to need a therapist some day:
The Scenario: The Crying Game
First kid: *barely mews*
Me: *sprints over immediately, hurdling toys and small pets* What’s wrong, baby?!? You alright? Aw, come here. Momma will make it all better. There, there.
Second kid: *has been screaming bloody murder for the past 22 minutes*
Me: *knee deep in poopy toddler diaper* Stop being such a drama queen! I’ll be there in a minute. Or possibly 45 minutes. Definitely before bedtime. You’ll be fine.
The Scenario: Stranger Danger
Close Acquaintance: Aw, may I hold him?
Me: Sure! *dumps gallon of Purell over their head*
Close Acquaintance: He is so adorable.
Me: *hovering uncomfortably close* Thank you! I just…would you mind…his head needs more support…oh god, please just give him back *rips him out of their arms, hunches over the baby all feral-like and growling*
Hobo on the street: Aw, may I hold her?
Me: Sure! *throws her football-style into his chest* Hey, I’ll be back in three hours. Probably. Have fun! Thanks!
The Scenario: Breastfeeding
First kid: *stares lovingly into his eyes, my own welling up with tears* I didn’t know I could feel this much love.
Second kid: *running down the street chasing naked toddler while baby clings desperately to wildly flapping boob* GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW! SO HELP ME WHEN I GET AHOLD OF YOU, KID! DAMMIT! YOU’RE MAKING ME LOOK LIKE A BAD MOM!
The Scenario: Dropped Binkie
First kid: Burn tainted binkie in ceremonial cleansing fire before running out to buy 36 brand new sterile binkies.
Second kid: Stick binkie covered in dog hair immediately back in their mouth, realize three hours later it was actually a section off the dog’s ancient rawhide bone, shrug and continue making dinner.
The Scenario: Nutrition
First kid: Pour over any and all literature regarding childhood nutrition. Join breastfeeding forum online. Breastfeed exclusively for the first six months before pureeing mountains of organic sweet potatoes and green beans.
Second kid: Hey, how did you get ahold of a slice of pizza? Can I have a bite?
The good news is that while my second little angel got the short end of the stick during her early years because of her unfortunate place in the birth order, it will be made up to her ten-fold during her teenage years. Because by the time we’re done surviving puberty with our eldest, we’ll likely be too tired to put up much of a fight with her.
And we will welcome her fiancé, Lizard, (you know, the one with the face tattoo and booming underground opium business) with open arms into our family.