Tuesday, September 2, 2014

It Sucks Being the Second Kid

She's psychologically damaged from being a second child, I'm sure.
Our neighbors across the street are expecting their first child next month.  They are the epitome of the perfect Hollywood couple - she's a svelte, gorgeous blonde, he's a handsome and charming guy with a hipster first name - and they have that wide-eyed excitement that you often find in first time expectant parents.  The other day, as we were walking down the block on our way to the farmer's market, we passed their shiny new Prius station wagon, complete with a brand new carseat installed in the back and a "baby on board" decal already hanging in the rear window.  I love their hopeful eyes full of fantasies about parenthood and the baby that's soon to be living with them.  It's so encouraging to see a couple who are still optimistic and who have not yet been beaten down by the realities of life with children.  Oh, I remember those days, back when I was pregnant with the Muffin Man and I made an effort to look stylish and attractive despite my giant baby bump, and when I had a finished nursery a month before he was scheduled to arrive.  Those were the days, folks.

Because this is what it looks like when you have your second kid:

Your husband installs the carseat while you are in labor.  The first time around you made sure to have the carseat installed six weeks before your due date, and you made an appointment with the CHP to have them check to make sure it's installed correctly.  Ain't nobody got time for that! Slam that base on one of the passenger seats, do a cursory check to make sure the indicator on the seat isn't pointing to "certain death" and call it a day.

You print out all the hospital paperwork while you are in labor.  When I was pregnant with the Muffin Man I had a folder of paperwork packed in my hospital bag several weeks before his due date.  The folder was carefully labeled and contained my hospital registration, a copy of my advanced directive, typed out answers to any questions the staff and nurses might have, and my birth and baby care plans on brightly-colored paper.  This time around there was no folder, no brightly colored paper.  I sat at my computer at 5:30 in the morning, contracting every three minutes and praying that my water didn't break all over my Macbook Air, while trying to focus on changing the gender on my baby care plan from "he" to "she".

You do not have a shiny new car.  You drive an old car that hasn't been washed in over a month, and the backseat is full of stale snacks, dirty sippy cups, and headless toys.  Why spend the money on a new car when your offspring will make sure to trash the upholstery in just a matter of months?  Besides, those stale snacks have come in really handy while stuck in traffic on the 405.

The carseat is not new.  In fact, it may even be expired!  It's also been sitting in the garage for over a year and it's full of dirt.  You have every intention of washing it, but all of the sudden you're in labor and you just scream for your husband to wipe it down with a dishcloth and call it a day.  It's good for babies to be exposed to germs and dirt, right?

The nursery is not finished.  There are no pictures on the walls, you don't have a changing pad, and the crib is still not put together.  You should be able to find time to get everything done right before your kid leaves for college.

Further reading on the topic of second children being shafted: An Apology Letter to My second Child

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