Friday, August 12, 2011

Ode to the Second Child

Being a first child myself, before having Casey I hadn't really given much thought to "second child syndrome."  In fact, when I was pregnant, my concern wasn't with whether or not my future baby would get enough attention; it was sadness over my loss of time with Braden.  I was on a leave of absence from work at that time, and Braden and I spent every minute of every day together.  During those last few weeks of pregnancy I mourned the fact that the days of just the two of us were coming to an end.  In fact, I harbored a great deal of guilt over this.

I knew that I would love my second child, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't worry that I wouldn't love him as much as Braden.  I just couldn't imagine loving anyone more.  Would there be enough room in my heart to love another child just as much?

Ten months out, the answer is a resounding YES.  I can honestly say that I love my little Casey munch so much I think I'll explode sometimes.  I can't believe I once resisted and, in a way, dreaded his arrival.  Just as I did with Braden, I have fallen in love with Casey in a hard way and think he is the cutest baby to ever walk this earth (equally tied with Braden of course).

Despite my equal love for Casey, I have noticed subtle signs of the affects of his birth order.  Nothing groundbreaking per se; just small things.  Most all of his clothes are hand me downs.  While Braden received numerous personalized items as gifts (a duffle bag, a lunch box, a bench, a puzzle, a book, etc.), Casey only received a lone onesie and hat with his name on it (gifted to us by a fellow second child who made a point to give a personalized item - thank you Ethan and Debbi!).  Braden has numerous photo albums and montages devoted to him and gifted from family; Casey has none.  When Braden was a toddler, I enrolled him in a music class and made periodic playdates with other toddlers his age.  Casey, on the other hand, is just along for the ride.  If Braden wants to go swimming, he tags along.  If Braden goes on a playdate, it's just a plus if Braden's friend also has a younger sibling.  

I've also noticed that Casey gets much less attention from extended family than Braden did.  Casey is definitely underrepresented in picture frames in the grandparents' and aunts' and uncles' houses. When family comes to visit, it is always a quick kiss and hello to Casey, and then a huge fuss over Braden.  Braden does demand this, of course, wanting to take visitors on a tour of the house and then go climb around their car.  Casey doesn't have the same capabilities to command attention.  But I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me, and I have found myself excessively defensive and overprotective of my precious Casey.  I can't help but want to be his voice:  "Don't forget about Casey!" I often say.

I have to admit, I have been guilty of the second child treatment myself.  It started with the pregnancy.  With Braden I was completely consumed by eating healthy.  I kept a pregnancy journal, wrote him letters, and obsessively counted down the days until his arrival.  With Casey, I indulged in soda and McDonalds.  I would forget how many weeks pregnant I was.  There were no letters or journal entries.

Once Casey was born, after a bath he was wrapped in a towel with "Braden" embroidered on it.  I am usually a few weeks late with updating his baby book.   I feed him jarred food instead of pureeing food from scratch.  Instead of limiting television, as I did with Braden, Casey is already an avid fan of Yo Gabba Gabba.  And just look at this blog- there are far more posts about Braden than there are of Casey. 

I can only hope that second child syndrome can be a positive thing too.  Casey is by far a much more laid back baby than Braden was.  He just goes with the flow, he rarely fusses, and he is always smiling.  He is much braver than Braden was, probably because I cannot keep as watchful an eye on him as I would like.  At almost ten months, he is a speed crawler, is pulling up on everything, and unequivocally chases our dog around the house.  He hits milestones without me even anticipating them, and he is a master napper and sleeper. 

With Braden going back to school in a few weeks, I am looking forward to more consistent Casey morning time.  I'm thinking of enrolling him in some kind of toddler class.  I'll start planning some playdates for just him.  I'll make him lunch from scratch.  For a few hours each day, he will be my only child.  He deserves that, and I can't wait to give it to him. 

Casey is a second child, and that will always be part of his identity.  But more than anything, he is a joy.  Pure, pure joy.  I love that kid.  So in honor of celebrating my second born, here are a few recent photos.  Can he get any cuter? 


  1. Reading this came at a good time for me. I love my little guy and cannot imagine loving another babe as much, although I'm sure I will. :)

  2. I have 2 boys and the youngest never could watch age appropiate shows because he watched what his older brother wanted. We actually had a Veggie Tales DVD we hid from his brother so #1 would not call #2 a baby for watching it. We would watch it when his brother went to soccer practice. A very resourceful 3 yr old move. We are rewatching all the Disney DVDs because we are sure the younger one never saw them, Bambi, Lion King, etc. They are 9 and 11 now.


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