Thursday, April 4, 2013

Second Child Syndrome, a.k.a. Shafted


You know how you can tell Thumper has a big sister?

Pink and purple were the first colors she learned. And words like “princess”, “crown”, “fairy” and “wand” (said in perfect toddlerese, of course, like pin-ceth, complete with the adorable lisp) entered into her vocabulary way sooner than it did for Little Miss, who didn’t show interest in the kingdom of pink and princesses until she was almost three. Damn you preschool!

Thanks to these same footsteps set by her older sister, Thumper has also mastered tattling. “Missy’s hurting me!”

Blaming: “Missy did it!”

Complaining: “It’s too wowd! (loud)”

Being dramatic: “Daddy’s downstairs, the whoooole time!” (upon realizing that he never left the house to begin with.)

Talking back to the TV: “Where’s C?”, a character in Super Why asks, to which she responds, “Wight there!” or when he asks, “Which of these will help Rapunzel get down from the tower? Bed, book, or ladder? Is it bed?” and she yells back, “No! Yadder!”

Wanting to be included: “Wait! I want go with you too!”

Staking her claim: “Hey! That’s my puhple ah-pa-pus (octopus)!”

All this before turning two. I can only imagine what four will be like.

Oh, but there’s more.

Unlike her sister, who learned preschool humor, like using “butt” and “toot” inappropriately, a few months into preschool, Thumper is already getting creative with them. Her favorite, which makes us all giggle, even when we try not to, is to replace song lyrics with “butt”.

“Twinkle, twinkle little Butt!
How I wonder what you Butt
Up above the world so Butt
Like a diamond in the Butt”

That is all her, and she’s very proud of her version, barely holding herself together with each line and cracking up at the end. She’s such a character. Our little imp.

While much of it is personality driven, you can also tell that she’s learning some things sooner than most firstborns because it’s harder to contain what she observes and obtains from her worldlier-than-her big sister.

It’s not uncommon to hear a volley of “butt” and “toot” between them, and somehow, the following has made its way to our bath ritual: “Yuck (look) Mommy, I’m nakey!” utters Thumper as she parades around the house sans clothes, and then she turns to moon me, “Mommy, ‘mack (smack) by butt!”

Apart from developing language at a quicker pace, which I think is wonderful for all of us as she’s able to express herself better, “I don’t yike thith!”, hence fewer tantrums, Thumper pretty much gets shafted everywhere else.

As a second child, Thumper never got her grapes cut past 12 months. I think I was still carefully preparing Little Miss’ food at age 2, double-checking for choking hazards. When I was making baby food for Little Miss, I followed the solid food charts religiously, steaming, pureeing, and feeding her zucchini at 6 months, spices at 8, eggs at 12. I rarely strayed.

With Thumper, she had her first taste of table food - Italian wedding soup, to be precise - at 8 months, when at that age, Little Miss was mashing her gums and four front teeth on sweet potatoes.

With Number Two, I’m careful, just not vigilant.

Needless to say, 95% of Thumper’s wardrobe used to be her sister’s. Case in point: See the outfit above on Thumper? This is Little Miss with the same dress. Someday, I probably won’t remember who’s who.

When we went shopping two weeks ago, we came home with an entire bag of spring clothes for my four-year-old and one measly dress for her little sister, and it’s only because we wanted them to match on Easter. Investing in clothes for Little Miss now means less expenses with Thumper later. Good news for us, not so much for the little one.

IMG_2599Egg hunt in action. So much for matching - we didn’t even make them pose together for pictures.

I also ordered Easter gifts from Amazon for Little Miss and realized that I should probably have included something for Thumper’s basket the night before the bunny was scheduled to arrive. Yes, a little late. And that’s how she ended up with plates and bunny lollipops from a grocery-store shelf that has been picked clean, whereas her sister got a dress and two CD’s she loved.

On the plus side, Thumper got an earlier start on Easter candy binges. I think it worked out in the end. At least for her.




Now that I’m writing this, I do feel bad for shafting my little one. It’s certainly not indicative of how I feel, because I don’t – can’t – love her any less than her sister. In fact, on most days, I’m walking on clouds when it’s just the two of us at home. I do absolutely, unequivocally adore my little imp.

My little Baby Pickle, as I like to call her, although she doesn’t even like pickles. And at 22 months, she’s no longer a baby either. *sigh*

However there is one thing that Thumper has that Little Miss never did at this age: Me, at every hour and every minute of the day. With my first child, I was a working parent, and Little Miss spent most of her infancy and toddlerhood at a daycare, something I feel guilty about to this day.

And now that I’m a stay-at-home mom with part-time freelance work from home, I feel I get a do-over of sorts with Thumper. I spend my hours with her cuddling and playing while her sister’s in preschool, and I get to witness new milestones and not just hear about it from a caregiver. Whether or not I record it, well, that’s another story. (See Second Child Syndrome.)

When it’s just us, it’s sometimes my favorite part of the day, and as Thumper nuzzles her head on my shoulder and randomly plants a kiss on the nape of my neck, my guilt over her second-child syndrome dissipates a little.

I may not cut her grapes or buy her new clothes, but I’m here to wipe her snot and kiss her boo-boos. Every time she needs it. I think it’s a pretty good tradeoff.

And I’m quite sure she thinks so too.