What I Didn’t Expect About Having a Second Child


Expecting a child always comes with unsolicited advice. Especially on how to help the older child adjust to the new addition of a baby. I was told about 1-on-1 time, how to avoid other big changes, how to introduce the baby, and how to involve him in caring for her. The thing no one warned me about is how quickly I’d be reminded of my son’s newborn phase.

Reliving those moments has been such a pleasant surprise.

I saved a lot of my son’s clothes, and when I put my daughter in them, I was transported to those first weeks with him. The sweet sighs during a nap, or the smiles he’d flash while getting his diaper changed. The sight of the tiny clothes he wore to his first doctor’s appointment, or the pajamas he wore after his first bath. My son can now dress himself and is fiercely independent.

But those clothes reminded me of when he needed me the most.

I put out the kick-and-play mat, and as soon as I heard the animal-themed songs (purple monkey in a bubblegum tree IYKYK), it felt like I was looking at my son cooing and smiling while kicking away. It reminded me of when he first started to reach for toys or batting at the dangling animals.

I was reminded how impatient I was to see what toys he’d like and now my house is covered in the evidence of him playing.

Like my son, my daughter also loves having her diaper changed. She kicks and smiles and laughs just like he used to while on the changing pad. I heard his first laugh during a diaper change. I remember the shock and surprise of hearing it for the first time, but it is one of my favorite memories of my son.

Seeing her in the same crib, and the same clothes, and using the same toys just brings my heart joy.

I remember rushing the newborn phase with my son. I wanted to see him reach the next milestone and on to the next new thing. Having the insight the second time around is a nice reminder to try and enjoy these moments with my daughter. Now I know that this road of raising children is so wild, stressful, beautiful, and short. Before I know it she’ll be a toddler running around after her big brother. She will be doing some of the same things he’s learning to do now.


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