Don’t we always here that?? The poor second child gets the short end of the stick. Not as many pictures taken. Even less printed and framed. Mostly hand me downs. Less attention. A more lenient and less stressed out mother.
We tend to kind of feel sorry for the second kid. But, I feel bad for the first kid.
My poor Edmund. My smart, sweet, handsome, outgoing all-boy boy! He is wild and hilarious and his energy is never ending! This kid could put the energizer bunny out of a job. He loves Daniel Tiger and doing flips at gymnastics. He wants to read and bake cakes. He identifies letters and colors and loves counting and singing. He is quick to smile and giggle.
This first child of mine, the one who made me a mother and has taught me so much…he is the one I find myself worried about.
I spend my days wrangling him around and trying to teach him lovingly to be kind and gentle. My mom says “That poor boy is going to think his name is no!” My mom and my mother in law are always encouraging me to be patient and gentle with Edmund.
As the first child he is held to an impossible standard. One imposed on him by my own pride and insecurities. I worry constantly about what people will think if he, heaven forbid, throws a fit! Or hits another kid, or snatches a toy! Will they think he is rude if he refuses to look up from his cake to say thank you? Will they think I am a bad mom if he wants to dance and run and shout at the worst times?! Will they not invite us back to their home if he digs in their cupboards or pushes their kid?
When he was a baby I was obsessed with developmental milestones. I was obessed with comparison.
Owen, the second child, is going to have a totally different experience because I am a totally different person. I am a better mom. I know that comparison kills joy. I know that getting dirty is ok. I know that what others think shouldn’t dictate how I parent.
I think that usually we pity the second child because they don’t get the attention that the first child had…but I think that is a good thing!
I have put a lot of pressure on Edmund to be “perfect”. I work every day to become a better mom to Edmund, not a crazy first time mom trying to mold her child into something she imagined her child would be.
So, my prayer lately has been that God will give me patience to let Edmund be Edmund. Patience to let him be a little boy. Patience to know when to be easy on him and when to reign him in.
A good friend and I were talking about our boys one day. His oldest is much like Edmund, smart, strong willed, funny and handsome. He told me “I can discipline my child into submission, but that will crush his spirit.” I don’t want to crush this wonderful boy’s spirit! I want to teach him to use his gifts to glorify God and help others. I want to help him learn and explore.
I love my little Owen. And I am so glad that I opened my heart and humbled myself and that I can be a better mom to him. I love my “big brother” Edmund. I am so glad for the gift of his life and I strive every day to give him more “yes”! I pray that God continues to pour grace into me so that I can be the mom each of my boys needs me to be.