Child #1 is a huge adjustment. You hover. You lay awake at night listening to all the chirps and burps rumbling from this new little creature laying in the zoo-animal-bedazzled porta-crib next to you. You change your baby’s clothes every. single. time. they spit out the tiniest portion of bodily fluid. You change their diaper every. single. time. they pee or poop. You stare, for hours on end, at this tiny being that God gifted you. All the while simultaneously wondering how you got so lucky and how, on earth, you were going to survive the next 18 or so years.
You asked your friends and your pediatrician every question in the book. You read every book. You also, actually, followed some of said advice. You tried and failed and tried again. You wound up learning a lot more about yourself than the new little child that lay before you. You cried when they cried and you laughed when they marveled at the new world around them, seeing everything through their first-time eyes.
Child #2 is so different. You’re not an expert, by any means, but you go through a lot less diapers. #2 doesn’t get the hovering. Sitting and staring requires hours you don’t have because #1 is eating acorns and hiding his Crispix under the couch. #2 gets a lot less photos, a lot less gooing and gaaing. They may even get a lot less Mommy, as there’s only so much Mommy to dole out.
But #2 gets The Extra.
The extra love. The extra kisses.
The extra attempts at laughter.
The extra silliness and smooches and snuggles.
The extra advice.
There’s a lot to be said for being #2.