I am the mother of two children. My firstborn is my daughter Sydney. She is three years and three months old. She was born at exactly 11:20 on a sunny Sunday morning in April. My husband and I have her whole life documented down to the minute on the camcorder. We also have a three-volume set of photo albums cataloging her myriad of "milestones," including a series of pictures of the first time she batted a toy on her Gymini.
My younger daughter's name is Sydney's sister. Sydney's sister is a little over one year old... I think. I'm not sure what day she was born, although I'm pretty sure it was sometime in the afternoon. We have a couple of pictures of Sydney's sister on display, but most of them still need to be downloaded from the digital camera; ditto for the camcorder.
Okay, so I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea: The second child really does get shafted. After you've seen your firstborn sit up for the first time, crawl for the first time, take her first steps and speak her first words, let's be honest '- it's hard to drum up the same level of enthusiasm for the second (though you are of course delighted to see her thrive). You can't help but feel guilty that your littler one spends most of her time relegated to the car seat as you shuttle her big sis to her various social calendar engagements and after-preschool activities. Though your first child took long leisurely naps undisturbed in her crib, your second one is transferred constantly from crib to car seat and back again.
Yet despite the "been there, done that" perspective we may bring to baby number two, it isn't really all bad for the second child. Think about it: As a mom, you're considerably less neurotic, less nervous, less worried and less controlling. Instead of being constantly hovered over and checked for vital signs, your younger one is literally allowed more breathing room. And isn't that what birth order is all about: Younger siblings are commonly believed to be far less anxious than their older counterparts.
Take the playground, for instance. Thanks to me and my constant "Be careful!" cries, Sydney still hesitates at the top of the slide, while her sister (Emma, by the way) goes barreling down without a moment's thought '- and headfirst, no less! Boo-boos are catastrophic for Sydney, while little Emma isn't even phased by them. I also notice that Emma is much more adventurous and eager to explore than Sydney was at that age. Perhaps it's because Sydney had two parents within arm's reach ready to pounce at the first sign of "danger."
Luckily, despite the abundance or lack of attention my daughters received as infants, both seem relatively well adjusted. I suppose when it comes to parenting, there's always enough guilt to go around '- but daughter number two is too busy running around to notice.