I’ve always suspected it. And now my suspicions have been confirmed. Second Child Syndrome is real.
I fully realized the extent of Second Child Syndrome (SCS) a couple weeks ago, when I was forced to sit my baby on a public restroom floor so I could help her older brother on the potty. Yes, my baby girl had to sit on the nasty floor of a public bathroom. Owen’s firstborn ass was never subjected to such a horror.
Just another thing to add to the ever-growing list of inequalities for second children (and subsequent children). Trust me, it goes way beyond not having a “baby book” and wearing hand-me-downs.
Growing up, I often questioned my status as a second child – it sure seemed like I was getting the short end of the stick most of the time. These suspicions started with the “funny” story of how my father forgot to pick me and my mom up from the hospital after I was born. Less than a few days out of the womb and I was already getting the shaft. Nevertheless, my mother always tried to squelch my skepticisms. When I complained about hand-me-downs, she said “You should be glad that you have sisters to share with.” Share? Everyone knows that the oldest sibling does not share. Sharing never happened – my sister just took the best stuff and left me with the rejects.
Today I finally know the undeniable truth as the mother of a second child. If you’re not the firstborn, you’re going to get screwed over. It’s inevitable. And it’s no one’s fault. It’s just the way it is.
It starts before the second child is even born. I know because during my second pregnancy most of my thoughts revolved around my firstborn, just as they did during my first pregnancy. How would he adjust to his new sibling? Would I be able to give him enough attention? I mourned for the end of our time as “just the two of us.” I was already spending more energy on my oldest and my second was still in utero.
I expressed my worries to my mother; what if I couldn’t handle two kids? What if I was overwhelmed? My mother reassured me and said “Don’t worry. It’s easier with the second. You don’t care as much as you did with your first.” (Clearly my mother forgot she was talking to her second child. Thanks, Mom – glad to know you didn’t overexert yourself the second time around.)
If you need more convincing that Second Child Syndrome is real, I gathered up photo evidence that will leave you without a doubt. It wasn’t easy to compile these pictures because photos of second children are not easily come by. They are rare, like a photo of an endangered species in the wild or a glimpse of Sia’s face. For every million photos of a firstborn child, there are about a dozen photos of subsequent children, none of which are organized and seldom make it off the camera or iPhone. Most likely the mother doesn’t even know if it’s her second or third child in those newborn hospital photos. Case in point – here’s the gallery wall in our family room. Can you find Carmendy?
Eight months old and she still hasn’t made it into a frame. #secondchildproblems
So here’s a little photo series that I put together entitled:
Reasons Why Being A Second Baby Sucks
1. Your older sibling tries to strangle, shove, lick, and sit/jump on you and your parents take a photo instead of intervening.
2. You’re a boy and you have to wear your sister’s secondhand pink elephant and Rainbow Brite pajamas. (And then your parents take photos to embarrass your teenage self later.)
3. You’re a girl and your mom gave you this pre-owned binky that probably was never washed.
4. You’re ignored so long, you give up and fall asleep.
5. Your parents let someone who violently chucks Little People across the room and beats plush animals hold you.
6. Your parents, tired from raising their first child, let a toddler “take care” of you.
7. Someone is always bothering you when you’re trying to sleep.
8. Someone who still can’t be trusted with a regular cup or a pack of crayons is allowed to transport you around the neighborhood.
9. You’re forced into close, uncomfortable poses with your siblings.
10. Nothing has your name on it. Everything has your sibling’s name on it.
11. You have to stealthily steal your older sibling’s Lego blocks when he’s not looking because you have no toys of your own.
12. Your older sibling always gets the cooler costume.
But fear not, second (and third, fourth, fifth…) children of the world. There is hope for you, the victims of Second Child Syndrome. (Look at Prince Harry — he’s doing great!) Sure, you probably were never fed homemade pureed organic vegetables and your pacifier was most definitely never boiled after the first time you used it. But even though you never got the “only child” experience, you got something better: a mom who knows what the eff she’s doing (or at least a little bit more than she did the first time) and really does love you as much as her first (despite your older sibling telling you otherwise).