Second Child Syndrome

As the oldest of four children, I spent a good portion of my teenage years listening to my youngest sister complaining that she had fewer baby pictures than me. Of course, she was right.

 But hearing this, I resolved that my daughter would never feel the pang of Second Child Syndrome in all it's many forms.


And I kept that promise. For two days.


The first time it happened was when a friend asked how far along I was. With my son, I was able to rattle off – to the minute – at exactly what stage of gestation he was. With my daughter, I waved my hand vaguely and answered, "First trimester" as I desperately counted backwards from the due date for a more exact number.


Then there was the bedroom. Whereas our first child had a fully decorated room before he was the size of a mango, our daughter's room was decorated around the same time as we realized we should pack a bag for the hospital.


And I'll never forget the day I brought her home.


My son came home to a house professionally cleaned and festooned with balloons. Extended family filled the living room, welcoming him with cheers.


As we pulled into the garage with our daughter, my husband and son got out of the car and went inside. I followed, carrying our baby girl snuggly against my chest. Walking into the master bedroom, I carefully set her in the middle of the bed and went to use the bathroom. After I came out, I walked down the hall to see what the boys were doing. As I got a drink of water, my husband looked at me, "Where's Elizabeth?" I made my way as quickly as possible to the bedroom where she was sleeping peacefully.


Now, 21 months later, Elizabeth is still the victim of Second Child Syndrome. Although, I'm starting to realize that there are some perks as well.


She was allowed to eat and drink a wider variety of foods at an earlier age. She's been to Disneyland and fearlessly rode Dumbo. She plays with toys marked 3+ and gets to stay up a little later than her brother did at the same age.


And, of course, the most important perk of Second Child Syndrome: She has a devoted big brother who is her constant companion.


Did your children ever experience Second Child Syndrome?