Diary of a Dad: Week 20 - Baby One and Baby Twoby Adam Riches
It can’t be easy being the second baby in the family. I mean, I’m sure it doesn’t have lasting psychological effects, but no matter how much we try, our second is treated differently to how our first little boy was.
It doesn’t take a genius to realise why being the second is a different experience to being the firstborn, but the more I’ve been thinking about it, the more I’m realising that being the second isn’t all bad...in fact, it’s got its advantages!
Baby one gets it all - literally your undivided attention. It must be a pretty intense experience really I suppose, but more often than not, parents pander to their first born's every need...partially due to the fact they are shitting themselves about getting it right, but also because...well you just kind of do because you know no difference.
Obviously, our second little boy gets attention, but it isn’t as uninterrupted. It’s impossible with a toddler who is hell-bent on single-handedly destroying the earth whilst simultaneously demanding a snack (and not the snack you have just made for them!!) and screaming. Parenting two is a challenge and sometimes you have to segment your attention. If you totted up the time baby one gets one on one, it would be so much more than baby two.
I remember when I was a kid I used to love getting hand-me-downs from my cousins, but it does kind of suck really when you think about it. Baby one gets a lot of things new, baby two doesn’t so much. We’ve found this makes baby two a bit cheaper, but it also means that they don’t really have anything that’s theirs if you’re not careful.
I think we’ve literally bought our second little boy a few baby grows and a toy or two since he was born...in honesty, we don’t need anything and we are reluctant to spend money on unnecessary stuff, you just kind of feel bad for them. We’re making an effort to make up for it in other ways. I mean, give it a year or two and he’ll just be playing with the remnants of broken diggers and tractors if we don’t - poor kid.
It’s not all bad
One of the main advantages of being the second born is that your parents aren’t complete fucking rookies. I’m not saying we are expert parents now, but during round 2, we are considerably more experienced. I mean, I’d never held a baby really until ours arrived. It’s like riding a bike really, once you’ve got it down it’s not so bad.
In round two, you’re slick. You can change a nappy one-handed, you know how hot a 38-degree bath is through some weird temperature gauge you develop through baby one bathing, and you just sort of know parenting stuff.
The outcome? We have been so much more chilled out with our second little boy and weirdly, I think that shows in his personality. I mean he’s still a nutter, but he’s quite happy with pretty much anything, and I know they’re all different, but he and his brother really are different. Maybe it’s us? Maybe it’s not. All I know is that if we are going by the fluidity of the day/ parenting ability, I’d so choose to be baby two.
Baby one or baby two, which would you prefer to be?