Lesson #8: No matter what you think before you have more than one child, you WILL treat your second differently than you did your first.
Before I became mom to multiple children, when I heard people say, "You won't care about [insert item here] with your next one," I would mentally gasp and think, all indignantly, "I cannot believe they said that! I will ALWAYS care JUST as much about EVERY DETAIL with my second as I do with my first."
Fast forward a few years to the present. Yeah, I totally get it now. It's not that you care less about the second child, it's just that you're so friggin' tired you can't summon the energy to care that he's wearing the Friday bib on Monday or that he's out in public with puke on his outfit. Hey, he's fed, clothed and well loved, what more do you want from me? (Those of you with only one kid are mentally gasping and thinking how you'll NEVER say this when you have another one. I am mentally laughing at you.)
The second child syndrome started with my little one the very day he (finally!) came home from the hospital. As I've said in previous posts, my babies were both born prematurely. This meant extended hospital stays for both of them. When my oldest came home after 56 days in the NICU, there was great fanfare. My family was here anxiously awaiting his arrival, decorations were hung, there was a welcome home poster, he was wearing a special outfit; it was a party! Little dude came home in a pair of monkey jammies about 2 sizes too big for him that I put on him because they were clean. It wasn't that I didn't want to have a big to do, it was mostly because I found out he was coming home, after 36 days "on the inside", as I drove to the hospital that morning. I called to let them know I'd be there for his feeding and they oh-so-nonchalantly let me know that he'd be going home as soon as they could find someone to do the snip-snip. I hadn't had time to get to the store and pick out a special outfit (yeah I know he was there 36 days but I was busy!) so I picked out the cutest jammies that were clean and called it good.
I would never dream of letting my older boy scoot off his floor mat onto-GASP!-the bare floor! I always sterilized big brother's bottles instead of just sticking them-GASP!-in the dishwasher. The first child's clothes were washed in Dreft until he was a year and a half. And always real Dreft, not store brand "Baby Detergent". A value brand diaper never touched his butt, and I would have died before I gave him-DOUBLE GASP!-store brand formula.
Yeah, well. A little dog hair never killed anyone, the dishwasher gets hot enough to melt plastic, and that other crap is all really expensive when you've got another mouth to feed and your child care suddenly costs more than your mortgage.
All I can say is thank God I don't have a third child. He'd probably be hitchhiking home from the hospital, his little baby thumb sticking out on the side of the interstate, trying to bum a ride. He'd be guzzling milk straight from the carton and have diapers made out of maxi pads and duct tape. But I would craft those maxi diapers with so much love. After all, it's not about the "stuff"- it's about the little people who wear it.