Friday, November 12, 2010

That Second Kid Never Really Had a Chance

Thing 1 was always kind of flighty. He is dreamy and doesn't always pay attention. We have to ask him to do things 10 times before he actually does them. He plays with three toys at the same time and knows what is happening with all of them! He drags his feet, and always waits until I count all the way to three. He never enjoys cleaning up, and when he does it usually is motivated by the threat of a time out. But he looks you in the eyes and he always wants company when he plays with blocks. And he is very sweet with the kisses.

Thing 2 likes order. He always helps out. He is a pretty lousy climber, so I don't have to worry about him scaling the radiator (which Thing 1 did at around 16 months). He doles out the kisses regularly, wet sloppy ones. When I open the door to the apartment he always runs out the door toward the elevators. And when I find him down the hall, around the corner, he is just standing there smiling. But he whines. He has to have what he wants. He has trouble sharing. He always want to do everything himself, he wants no help. And sometimes I will be in the middle of playing a game with Thing 1 and I realize that Thing 2 is just sitting in the corner playing by himself. He is happy, just playing by himself.

I am a second child. I have one older brother. There is definitely a sense of competition between siblings. I am starting to see it with my two little Things. They are starting to fight over toys and other things more and more. The dynamic with two children in the house is intense. When we only had Thing 1 we paid him tons of attention and engaged him. We entertained him for almost two years! Thing 2 had built in entertainment. Overall we found him to be a much calmer child. But I think that had more to do with the fact that he had so much more to look at! As long as Thing 1 provided a show, Thing 2 would be quiet and contented.

Thing 2 has definitely learned to take care of himself in a way. He feeds himself (Thing 1, even at three, cannot say the same thing) He will play with toys by himself, because he can't always wait around for me. And when he sees us give something to Thing 1, well that just ends the world for Thing 2. Recently we had a cupcake treat after dinner. Thing 1 finished his dinner (with considerable help) and we brought out the cupcakes. As soon as Thing 2 saw the cupcakes well that was the end of his dinner. He really should have eaten more, but it would have never happened. TV is much the same. We watched Thing 1's TV watching so closely. He really didn't watch much at all until around 20 months. And even then it was tightly controlled. But the TV was a blessing when we brought the new baby home. And even though we monitor the programming, because it is on for Thing 1, Thing 2 invariably gets to watch TV from a very young age.

As a parent balancing a toddler and a new baby is hell on earth. No one is ever happy with anything you do. Now things are much better in our lives. The boys play together. They make each other laugh. But I can't help but think how different things are for my chubby Thing 2. I am a different parent, and he is a totally different kid. But how much of his personality is the way it is simply because he is the second child? There definitely are times when I wish I had more time to just be with him one on one. I am a second child, so I know what it is like to always be slower and littler. I guess I want to even the playing field for him a little bit because I know what it is like for him.


  1. I keep running into the same lesson again and again. My boys are now 9 and 6. They learned to ride a 2-wheel bike the same summer. They started showering instead of bathing at the same time. The younger one started getting an allowance younger than his big brother. He sees movies I'd rather he wait to see. There are perks for him, and sometimes perks for being older. I'll have to assume it evens out because it won't ever end.

  2. I'll admit, I feel bad for the younger son because I spent more one-on-one time with the older kid. Now, to help offset that, I will pick him up from the day care early, leaving the older until about 5:30 to pick up. That gives me 2-3 hours, depending on the day, of one on one time with my youngest. Of course, I don't know what I am going to do with any more kids I have, since I likely won't be going to school and will have to work. I'll figure it out.

    I definately feel you on the TV thing. I don't think our oldest would have done TV at all, except a neighbor gave us Curious George for his 2nd birthday. It took him several months before he would sit through an entire episode...and now that is all he wants to do, is watch movie after movie....all day long. Yet another reason I leave him in Day Care, because I know he is playing with friends and doing activities and field trips.

  3. Thanks My Kids Mom and Dianna. I felt like I got some great "adult" years with my folks after my older brother went to college. And I think I need to start having some special Mommy-Thing 2 time.