Growing up, I thought that my parents loved my sister more than me. I thought this because they were harder on me than my sister. I thought my sister had it easier because it seem like my parents were lax as far as the things that she got a way with. I thought to myself, “If it was me that did that, they would be all over me.” I thought my sister had more freedom than me. If my class was going on a trip out of town, I couldn’t go. But a few years later, my sister’s class had a trip out of town my parents let her go. I could not understand why that they were so cautious over my activities but was lenient with her. If I needed anything from my parents, I would have to earn it, wait to get it or get nothing at all. My sister needed anything, it was given to her. I was sure that she was my parent’s favorite and I was the black sheep of the family. I told myself if I had more than one child that I would not treat them any differently that I would not show any favoritism to one or the other. After having a second child though, I started to see things a little differently when parenting a second child.
With my oldest son, I see myself being harder on him even as a baby. I made sure that he hit every milestone that I know he could hit. Thank goodness he is a faster learner because I’m sure we would be butting heads by now. I made sure he had his vitamins every day, he was on schedule breast feeding until he was four months old and I made sure that he had his bath everyday. I was particular in his nap and bedtime schedule and if anyone interrupted it they would catch hell from me. In his toddler stage I made sure that he went to the potty every hour and a half to two hours, I made sure that he got outside to play so he can socialize (which isn’t too much of a bad thing), I made sure that if he pick something up that he put it back exactly the way he found it. Now in his preschool stage when he starts talking back or doing something he’s not suppose to, I would yell at him to go to his room without finding out way he’s acting that way. I make sure that he sits at the table properly. I make sure he puts his toys away before going to bed every night. I made sure that he says “Please and Thank yous”. It seems like I’m more impatient with him and I expect more out of him because maybe I expect more from myself and I needed to get it right.
With my second son, I can see a difference in my parenting. I don’t push so much with him as far as milestones. At this point going on seven months old, he hasn’t crawled yet. My oldest son started commando crawling at five months. My second son doesn’t roll over. Heck he doesn’t like it. My oldest son rolled over at three and a half months. Am I’m pushing him as hard as I did my first son into hitting these milestones? Nope, not really. I say to myself, “When he gets tired of lying on his back, he’ll roll over and crawl. He just not ready yet.” Would I have said that to my oldest? Probably not. He probably would keep practicing every chance he got until he learn to crawl which I probably did that to him anyway. My second son demand fed, didn’t need to put him on a schedule like my first son. As far as nap scheduling and making sure that the baby isn’t waken up prematurely? What nap schedule? I figure he would sleep eventually in the day and he’s pretty much set in his night schedule so I don’t have to worry about premature wake ups. It’s not that I don’t want my second son to succeed like my first son, it’s just not that big of a deal. It seem like I’m more understanding and patient when he comes to my second son. I knew what cry meant what and I knew that every cry wasn’t an emergency. I knew if his nose was stuffy. I knew when he was cold. I knew when he tired. When he would wake up in the middle of the night although I was tired and exhausted, I would let him play for awhile until he or I got tired and I would put him to bed. I think I cuddled with my second son more than my first because I was afraid of spoiling him.
All these things I do for my second son isn’t because I love him more, it’s because I become an experienced parent. I grew more confident in my ability to parent because I survived the first child and he turning out fine so far. Everything I experienced with my first son, my son second is going through the same things. I know what’s going to happen and I know how to handle it. Looking back at certain time that I was hard on my oldest trying to make him perfect and if my second son is going through the same milestones, I tend to ease up a little bit. I feel guilty of being hard on my first son so it look like I let things slide with my second.
My parents claim that they don’t have a favorite child and maybe they are right. It’s not that my parents favored my sister more, it’s that they trust themselves and gained confidence as parents to let go a little more. It seems like the first born is the “test baby” to learn from for the second child on. To see if what didn’t work for the first child, the parent won’t try for the second. Parenting gets easier after the first child and it seem like the parent care more for the second child and that’s not true. Parents aren’t afraid of making mistakes on the second child like they are with the first. So if you’re the oldest child like me and you feel that you’re parents favored your younger sibling than you, it may not be true. It’s just that they know that the second child won’t die if they put dirt in there mouths or jump off the couch and break their legs, or run around the house and injuring themselves to the point of hospitalization. It just sucks that the oldest have to test that theory and have to pave the way for our younger siblings to have the freedoms that they have today. To the people who are the younger sibling: You’re welcome.