December 30, 2009

A Sign of Things To Come?

DSC02021F inally, I’m back. Finally, for me… you may have wished I was still away. However, I digress. ChristmasKwanzaaNukah is over, we got through the hailstorm of gift opening and lights and dazzle and stomach flu and now seem to be back in some semblance of normal. Life is going at 100 kms an hour and I barely remember the last few hours, much less a week ago.

Version 1.0 got totally spoiled. I mean, like rotten. She had so many presents this year that she actually asked to stop opening them. She was weary by the time we were done. “Come on, honey, just one more present…” “Noooooooo!”. In hindsight, we should have split them up over a few days, but I admit to being a bit more excited than her at the prospect of her being spoiled.

One person that was *not* spoiled… Version 2.0. In fact, we completely forgot about him/her. Not one gift, no stocking, no honourable mention in Christmas cookie decorating even. Fair enough, the little tyke isn’t going to remember yuletide in utero, nor will it care whether or not it was acknowledged with a small token of a hopeful future under the tree. But, for me, it’s a stark realisation of how different things will be the second time.

When I was pregnant (very) with Version 1.0, Christmas time was only weeks from her emergence, and she was the first child for us, the first niece or nephew for my sister, the first cousin for her kids, etc. A representative fraction of gifts were for her, and we talked about her non-stop (in non-gender-specific terms).

This time, I barely remembered being pregnant. How could I, while contending with stomach flu blowouts (both ends), baking gifts, wrapping presents, shopping, not drinking (grumble), preparing savoury feasts and generally entertaining Version 1.0?

All. very. lame. excuses. But, are they? Is all the hype with our first just because we have nothing else to be distracted by? Everyone smiles knowingly and says “Yup. That’s how it goes. The poor second child never gets the attention of the first.”

I was a second child. I do not ever recall feeling inadequately attended to (except when it suited my melodramatic fancy to insist I was terribly hard done by in order to get something I wanted). I hope to never have Version 2.0 feeling inadequately loved, but here’s the thing... I don’t think we could ever keep the pace with the attention we have lavished on Version 1.0. We just cannot. It will be impossible. There will never be as many photos, as much documentation, as many considerations. We’d have to basically quit the rest of our lives and spend every waking second compensating.

I’m already feeling guilty. Poor bugger. But he/she will never know the difference, right? Provided that we are fair and equal in our attention once he/she arrives? That’s what counts, right? Not the number of presents under the tree, absence of baby showers, plethora of hand-me-downs…

Right? Do I need to start searching for a therapist now?


linseyv said...

We joke about "the shafted second child" but some months I have more photos of Tasha because she SITS STILL and her brother won't.

I wish someone had told me to take the first round of gifts and half them rather than DOUBLE them. We are drowning in toys over here, it's obnoxious. :)

Richard said...

A) it WILL be ok. B) there is only so much time in the day, so you divide. Both kids get half (or thereabouts, probably v2 will get >50% for a while) and that's a good thing. As a first child, I can appreciate all the lavished attention, but as a parent, I know that 2 kids are a more reasonable number - kids shouldn't get 100% of parents' attention. And as one of four, all of whom turned out OK, I bet you'll make it work so that v3 and v4 (if you go there) will be fine, too. And v1 will cope. They just do.

Jame Healy said...

I was a third child ... and spoiled rotten. Loved it.

Jen said...

The second gets less of your time, but also gets compensated by having a big sister to lavish attention (slash abuse) on him/her. Seriously though, what it lacks in attention from you is totally made up by all the awesome things about having a sibling. It really does work out in the end. When I was pg with my 2nd, Mom-101 had a great post about this...I can try to dig it up when I'm not mobile.

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