Walking in on your Vulnerability: Second-Born Guilt


March 20, 2014 by Katia

Nineteen Month Old came into this world two weeks ahead of time marking his path in life: not gonna wait. Not if I can help it.

At eleven months he was walking, no – running and opening fridge doors and other drawers, hunting down his own dinner, fixing himself a snack as he would bite into an unwrapped cucumber before I could stop him, because patience just isn’t a lion cub’s strong suit. I remember a conversation taking place between myself and my best friend back home. I had mentioned to her how surprised I was that at six months of age my baby managed to preserve his unique, unmistakable signature colicky newborn cry. My friend, superior to me in wisdom and a product of a larger family, delivered a convincing closing argument: second born genetics. They come with built in survival skills. Designed to outscream.

Observing him on his own and as he started interacting with his brother and us I knew one thing with certainty: here’s someone who can fend for himself if he ever needed to.

And as my baby was growing and morphing into a toddler I’d look at him with tenderness and exhilaration, soaking in every breathtaking detail but rarely did I look through that vision-blurring protective lense, because don’t you know it? This one is fierce, passionate, fiery! He yells, bites, kicks and growls! Whenever I looked at that tiny frame what I saw were his thick dark curls and I got distracted by a narrative I created. Here comes my little lion with his mane, roar and powerful jaws. I saw mighty Samson in an extremely cute package, a cartoon Samson if you will, and I found proof for his resilience everywhere. And while Four Year Old was always stubborn, independent and determined, Nineteen Month Old was his brother amplified, his brother with a kick. To drive his point home, in altercations with his sibling Nineteen Month Old relied on fists and teeth and I often had to step in for Four Year Old who never retaliated.

Mommy guilt

Update mom guilt checklist and add following item: not feeling protective enough of her second-born.

That is until I walked in on his vulnerability.

March 2014 640

Imagine the following scene orchestrated by Four Year Old, so typical in its atypicalness: a kitchen floor arrangement consisting of a tray and a chopping board. The chopping board rests on top of the deep tray.  Sitting on the floor beside it is Four Year Old playing rink master to his toddler brother, sweet-talking him into climbing on top of the contraption. Nineteen Month Old obediently obliges although struggles a bit to stabilize himself. Four Year Old’s smiling now, a sneaky smile with his voice rising up and dropping down dripping with insincerity as he lures his puppet in and then corrects it: no, no, you’re supposed to lie down on this, Daniel! The little feet on the board are immediately launched into action, responding with a little tap dance of uncertainty. A few hesitant attempts to reposition them followed by a clumsy, seeking to please belly- dive and there he is, positioning himself on his belly, face down, then turned to the side, not forgetting to tuck his hand under his right cheek attempting to recreate his “nigh-nigh!” game, as his legs are uncomfortably dangling off the tiny board. As I witness this scene, I gratefully embrace the ache and the warm and familiar sense of protectiveness filling my heart.

And then I realize. This was simply the kind of vulnerability I can recognize, but your everyday vulnerability might look differently than your brother’s. It might be a loud and explosive one, it might feel like fire, but it’s there and I need to learn to recognize it.  Even lion cubs need protection and I’m here.

I’m done with school, but my kids teach me new things about life every day.



Have you experienced guilt toward your second born?

This was an FTSF post on the topic “I’m done with school, but…”. Please visit the fabulous hosts:

Stephanie at Mommy, For Real

Kristi at Finding Ninee

Kate at Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine?

Janine at Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic

103 thoughts on “Walking in on your Vulnerability: Second-Born Guilt

  1. Yup, both my girls teach my tons of lessons daily and have been for the last few years. My younger is definitely louder now as a little girl, but as a baby she was the quiet one and rarely made a peep (she was my good baby), while my older was the colicky, moist baby. But yet now as kids, my older is more, quiet and reserved and she rarely tries to stir the pot to make a scene. So, I guess you just never know and like I said I am still very much learning these lessons daily here, too.

    • Katia says:

      That’s so interesting watching how personalities form and develop into different ones than you would expect. I know that I don’t really know and he may turn into this shy creature, come to think of it, they tell me I was pretty boisterous as a kid and then turned into a very self conscious and often reserved person. Thanks so much for your perspective, Janine!

  2. He was running at eleven months? Whoa! My eldest walked on Christmas Day a few weeks before her first birthday and my youngest wasn’t cruising until he was 16 months. You got it in spades. Your rendition of your little man curled up on the chopping block tugged at my heart. May you have lots more days like that!

    • Katia says:

      I may have exaggerated just a tiny bit for the sake of literary effect (if that’s even a thing). He was definitely walking at 11 months which I was shocked about and I think that about two weeks or so after he started walking he began practicing running and never really walked since… He runs to get from point A to B 🙂 And thank you, Kelly, it certainly tugged at my heart too watching this, trying to put a stop to it, and I’m glad that you felt that tug too!

  3. MommyBegins says:

    eh, and I thought as a mom to 15-month old I had seen it all …
    Lord help me

    • Katia says:

      😀 didn’t mean to bring you down. On the positive side, there is NOTHING more rewarding than watching them hug and kiss each other and engage each other in play. They adore each other.

  4. I suppose this phenomena only increases with each sibling. Each has to fight for their way in the world.

  5. anolivedaily says:

    Second borns definitely have a better survival instinct. The first borns are coddled, but we seconds come into the world ready to fight.


    • Katia says:

      I know, it totally made sense to me when my friend mentioned it. I’m an only child and so is my husband, therefore some very obvious things about sibling dynamics often escape me… 🙂 Thanks so much for commenting!

  6. My second born (also the youngest) tries overpower her brother everyday. Everything is her’s and her’s alone. But when she thinks that it’s just the 2 of them, she turns into an angel. She follows whatever her brother says. So I guess she is looking for attention and it breaks my heart because we love them both so much and there is no need and we don’t want her to feel that she needs to fight for it. Sigh. Everyday is a learning experience.

  7. findingninee says:

    Awww, the kitchen scene is adorable. I can just picture it and the extra touch of tucking his hand under his cheek for the “nigh nigh” game is beyond sweet. I find the dynamics of birth order fascinating. Like, I wonder if being a lion is simply his personality or whether he’s in part a lion because he is second. The photo is gorgeous too – his sweet little face!

    • Katia says:

      That’s such an interesting question about what came first the lion or the birth order? I suspect he’s a double lion. Sorry, triple lion with a star sign to match 🙂

  8. Natalie DeYoung says:

    As a first born, I appreciate this look into second-born experience. What a sweet post. 🙂

  9. Yvonne says:

    Oh Katia, a beautiful piece. I do think there is a difference in how second-borns approach the world (I am one myself, but with 2 younger sisters too.) I gather I sometimes led my sister into trouble, but my mother has also told of scenes similar to the one you describe, and at that age my younger daughter would have done just about anything for her sister.

    And did I ever experience guilt toward my second born! I could fill a book with stories of my feelings of guilt. I felt guilty because she was so prematurely and that because of those circumstances I didn’t have the instant deep sense of connection I’d had with her sister. I did eventually bond with her, but the guilt lingered on. Like you say of your second-born, it seemed that her early birth reflected her attitude, because she was regularly charging into life – from wolfing her food to barging through the crowd to see what was going on when someone screamed at playgroup. I found her harder to understand than her sister, who was quieter and more reserved – with a personality more like mine. I felt guilty about that too.

    The irony is that the guilt didn’t do what I wanted it to do – make me feel more connected and more understanding – it did the opposite. It was only when I began to see that I was loving her in the way she needed, not the way her sister needed, that I was able to let go. I feel confident from what you write that you are giving your son the protection that he needs, not that his brother needs!

    • Katia says:

      Yvonne, the thoughtfulness and wisdom of your comments just always leaves me feeling uplifted. Thank you for talking about your own experience, which is OH SO similar to mine! I couldn’t read or understand a lot of his reactions because they were so different than his brother’s and than mine but I feel like I’ve got a better grasp now and I’m so relieved to have had that personal epiphany that vulnerability can appear in many different shapes, sizes and packages. I am SO grateful for your last comment, you have no idea.

  10. I don’t have a second born, but I really think you are being too hard on yourself! I want to send this to my sister, though, whose second born is fierce in some ways but still needs protecting, too, as you say. xoxo

    • Katia says:

      That’s lovely that you want to share this with your sister 🙂 I’m glad it’s somewhat relatable. It’s so interesting to go through the comments and learn about people’s similar and different experiences. Like I said and I think you know this, I’m an only child so a lot of these dynamics are foreign territory to me. XOXO

  11. Piper George says:

    Don’t they say that a third born is lucky to survive – the 1st is over protected, the 2nd you run to when there is blood and the third . . . if they make a noise they must be ok, right?
    My kids teach me something every day – that is just how far my patience will last. 🙂

    • Katia says:

      Oh, I have no idea what they say about seconds and thirds. I’m an only child and you know what they say about those, self-centered, much? 😀

      And, yes, I agree for sure with your observation on patience, which also directly correlates to amount of sleep allocated to me by same kids.

  12. Roshni says:

    I’m really amazed at how mature my second born is…neither of us can take credit for his exceptional personality! I do feel more protective to him than anything else because I myself am second born, so I know how it is!

    • Katia says:

      I completely get that, Roshni, and so glad for you that you did not experience that confusion. It sounds like Little A is quite the amazing little man!

  13. jasteck says:

    We do learn so much from our children. You are going to have amazing stories for years to come, Katia. I can’t wait to watch the journey. 🙂

  14. Jen says:

    Aw, now this should have been an Our Land! It still can be!
    This is beautiful. I don’t have second born but still feel that guilt some times when I am intolerant or too quick. Sometimes we think our boys are bigger than they really are.
    I don’t judge you, your boy is strong and someday will be something powerful and wonderful because you gave him the space he needed to be that Samson!

    • Katia says:

      Thank you, my friend!

      I hear you. Another thing my kids teach me about myself is that I’m far less patient than I fancied myself to be. I think that the intolerance is directly related to sleep deprivation, accumulated fatigue and certain behaviours which had they been isolated instances we wouldn’t have reacted to with such irritation, but since they repeat themselves they become triggers for us and often generate a disproportionate reaction. Anyway, it’s way too late for me to get all psycho-babble, hope this is making sense 🙂

      And thank you so much for saying what you did about my baby. That melts my heart.

  15. So well written. I only have one so I can’t relate on the sibling thing but they do grow & develop so quickly for sure. Your little one started walking so early! Mine didn’t til 16 months.

    • Katia says:

      Thank you, that’s very kind!

      I’m an only child myself, so these dynamics are fascinating to me. Yes, his motor skills are definitely advanced, my first born was more average in that sense, but he was talking SO early, which my second one is still working hard on. Another fascinating thing to watch is how differently they develop.

  16. Lisa @ The Golden Spoons says:

    Yes – I have experience this guilt and it is multiplied with my third! A long time ago, I did a little research and wrote a post on birth order theory. It is actually very interesting to see that there are some characteristics prevalent in many different children who fall in the same birth order. 🙂

  17. bethteliho says:

    Beautiful post and I love the photos of your cuties. 😉
    I definitely have experienced this. My 2nd is so different from my first, but I know a lot of that has to do with him dealing with a tired mom that gives in way easier than she gave in with #1. He’s got us wrapped around his finger a bit. He knows which tantrum to throw and how loud to be to get his way haha! But he’s aslo “the enforcer”; my tough one. He will beat the crap out of anyone.

    • Katia says:

      The interesting thing is that I don’t think my second one is SUPER different than my first which I think threw me off more than anything else and led me to believe they would be similar in other aspects as well, but the things that they do differ in are significant ones. And, I LOVE that you have an “enforcer”. That’s awesome, I’m going to groom my second born into becoming one… 😛

  18. Anonymous says:

    completely identify with what you said, but it’s taken my older boy a LOT longer to gain the confidence that my youngest one almost innately had (innate? or my neglect – HA). I think as moms we do what is needed. the second one doesn’t seem to need as much, until he does, and then you move your efforts where they feel right.

    • Katia says:

      Yes, you’ve phrased that perfectly! Thank you so much for sharing your experience and for coming up with such a perfect way to explain and describe this.

  19. Vinma Joseph says:

    Love this piece Katia! insightful and heart rendering.. As a matter of fact, I have a slight guilt towards my second born.. I feel that I don’t spend as much as time with her as I did with the first.I could be wrong..but that feeling is always there.. as if something is seriously lacking with my relationship with the youngest..

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much, Vinma, I know these things are incredibly hard to share and I really appreciate you stopping by and commenting on this topic. Thank you for your sincerity! I think that a big part of it is thinking that since we’re second time parents we have a lot of things figured out and expecting that certain things will be similar and being thrown off when they’re not. It takes a while but we eventually find that different way in which we’re going to bond with our second child.

  20. Dana says:

    I don’t experience guilt, but there is a sense of sadness that my son was not the sole star in my life for three years like his sister was. But then I think of the three years that he will be the only child when she goes to college. He will remember that time, she doesn’t remember her only child time. I suppose there are pros and cons to your position in birth order, but mothers feel it all!

  21. Alyssa says:

    This was a great read! In my experience, my first-born was the smallest and youngest of all our friends children by a few months so she was forced to claw herself into a leadership role from early on (just another way of saying ‘bossy’ I guess!) She was born 10 days early, rarely liked to be cuddled as a baby and was walking before 10 months…anything to get out and on her own. My second, on the other hand, was two days overdue, was very laid back and loved to be snuggled (still does at 4 years old). Now, we have a third- She’s five months old, so we’re still trying to figure her out. It should be interesting to see where this goes…

    • Katia says:

      I find this topic of birth order so fascinating and interesting that your first-born possessed all the characteristics we attribute to second-borns. It’s not science, of course, more folklore, but I’d be curious to read some studies on whether there are any attributes that are more common in second-borns as opposed to first-borns. And how fun to have a third person in the mix! 🙂

      • Alyssa says:

        I was a phych minor in college (which doesn’t make me an expert by ANY means) so the whole birth-order thing is also very interesting to me! My oldest does possess a lot of the typical first-born attributes such as over-achievement and trying to appease everyone. So I wonder if all the children she’s grown up with were acting as a sort of surrogate older siblings, which led her to have the strong leadership role as well. Just a thought. We’ll see what the youngest brings, and whether or not this makes my second oldest the dreaded “middle monster”…which I also have my suspicions about. But that could take up a whole other blog 😉

      • Katia says:

        😀 HAHA! Well, I’d love to read that blog if you ever decide to write it.

        My first born is definitely eager to please, that’s so interesting, I’ve never attributed that to birth order! 🙂

  22. Dawn says:

    Katia, Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!!! I was so excited when I saw your article up today and couldn’t wait to read it. As usual, it was like reading a page out of my own life. My 19 mth old is a complete BRUTE! It took me 10 minutes longer than it should have to read your article because I had to stop twice to console the 4yo and scold the 19 mth old for hitting or throwing something at her. I 100% understand your slow to save/protect the second one. Their personalities don’t beg for it though…but recognizing when it is necessary is tough.

    I call my little guy “the sour patch kid” …he is so very sweet, but so very sour (downright rotten sometimes!).

    I love digging in to birth order psyche stuff with other Moms. So glad you wrote and shared this. And I am psyched it is getting FP’ed attention!!!!!!! 🙂

    • Katia says:

      So interesting how similar our family dynamics are? I read your comment when I was watching the boys solo earlier (I know, I know, I couldn’t help it) and as I was going the bathtime and bedtime routine I was reminded of your comment as I watched nineteen month old repeatedly toss the shampoo bottle at four year old who kept ducking and even laughed a few times as I was scolding the little guy (I think Four secretly enjoys watching his brother being undermined like that…).

      Thank you so much for commenting and sharing and supporting, you’re a good friend.

  23. What a lovely post and it brought me back 30 years ago thinking of my daughter looking up to her big brother. She was 2 weeks late, never wanted to leave her mama and still I allow her to make me feel guilty if I am not available when she needs me. She walked at 10months, her brother at 13; we put locks on cupboard doors above the counter for her….my sons wouldn`t dare but he did taunt her into deeds as well, but she was brave. She had traits of the explosive child (like the book) but she imploded and I am so glad I treated her the way she needed even if folks kept saying I was coddling her. Her brother had different needs and your post just brought a rush of love and warmth over me on moments I would look in privately to see them play and love together. I am a second child as well but so much more like my son (first born) but that is personality…I do get that my daughter had to find her place, her way to get her needs met and she still does it…the difference now, is she chuckles at how good she is at it:) Thank you for this lovely trip to fond memories. Oliana

    • Katia says:

      I love reading these comments. There’s something fascinating to me about family dynamics, perhaps it stems from the fact that I was an only child, and I truly enjoyed reading about yours and other readers’ personal experiences. Thank you so much for sharing!

  24. The Waiting says:

    The way you manage to describe these fairly typical domestic scenes with such poetry and detail is breathtaking. I think we moms have a special talent for recognizing these small moments as something beautiful. Well done, friend!

    • Katia says:

      Thank you, my friend! I think that this is what my best friend once referred to as my ability to see the tragedy in everything, but I think I like yours more… 😀 My heart broke a little bit watching my tiny one in his weakness and I’m happy if I managed to evoke some emotion in others.

  25. I am the second born and I have a very strong affinity to my second born. When people ask me how it is to have a second child I describe it as this, “Our first, I knew when he got every single tooth and with the second one day he was sitting in the high chair and my husband walked by and he said something like, HEY DID YOU KNOW HE HAS TEETH!” Yeah, it was news to us.”

    • Katia says:

      As an only child that’s something I haven’ thought of either, parents developing a strong affinity to the child who corresponds to their birth order. I find this topic so so fascinating. Oh, and I love the example about the teeth, it’s so true and it made me laugh and sigh almost simultaneously…

      • My husband is an only child and it was a huge adjustment when we had our second son. I always tell everyone I had to do a “sell job” to have a second. Of course, he has adjusted but sibling rivalry is beyond him some days and he often takes our oldest son’s point of view. There are so many things we each bring to the table as parents given our own families of origin. It is an adventure, shows daily, 24 hours long. 🙂

      • Katia says:

        I love that you did a sell job on having a second one and more so that it worked! 😀

  26. Great post! I can relate to this! My second-born refused to eat solid food until he could feed himself. He would never take a bottle – went straight to the sippy-cup. At 9 he is still trying to do and out-do everything his big brother does. But he also has this incredibly tender side. You described your little ones so beautifully!

    • Katia says:

      That is so interesting, your little guy and mine definitely share a lot of characteristics, as they do with my older one. Similar to the sippy cup story, both my boys never used pacifiers, but only Nineteen Month Old insisted on feeding himself. And, yes, he’s go such a tender side to him as well! He’ll often hug me and I always marvel at the fact that in this union it’s him and not me who is the active side, pulling me closer into the hug. 🙂 Thank you so much for your very kind comment!

  27. A beautiful post!
    My second born was just the way you describe. She always knew what she wanted and would not hesitate to try and get it. Very determined and confident. She still is :-). Her older sister does not have her confidence, unfortunately. She had the undivided attention of the whole family until her little sister came along. She then had to share and she struggled. It was sad to watch.
    My first born always needed more protection then my second born. She still does. She is a mother herself today and expecting her second 🙂 child.

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much!

      The interesting thing is that my first born was such an extroverted little boy, extremely confident but something happened that shook that confidence. Maybe it’s just a developmental stage, maybe it’s the birth of his brother, I’m not sure. He is still extremely outgoing but sometimes he’ll flip. It’s interesting to watch 🙂

      • That is interesting because it is exactly what happened to my first born. She turned from an extremely lively and confident child into an introvert. But I don’t think it was because of her sisters birth alone :-). These things are interesting to watch! 🙂

      • Katia says:

        🙂 I’m sure it’s a combination of things.

  28. Amlakyaran says:

    very nice post… thanks

  29. Pete Buckley says:

    My two year old just wants to do everything his six year old brother does and he’ll give it a good try most of the time too. They both launched regular raids on the fridge – cheese and yoghurt pots were usually the main objective…

  30. great article, inspired me to write my first post, so thanks! Birth order is fascinating the more anecdotes you hear isn’t it?

    • Katia says:

      Oh, it truly is and an only child I feel like I’m totally treading in unfamiliar waters.

      And wow, I’ve inspired you to write your first post! Amazing. Best compliment ever! I’d love to read it.

      • Hi, just getting into a bit of a rythmn of writing, that seems to be the hardest part for me, did you have the same experience?
        – boys out at football this morning so a few moments access to the ipad to myself!

      • Katia says:

        The rhythm? Yes, absolutely. There was about a month’s gap between my first two posts for which I had the ideas prior to writing and my third one. It was actually a comment from a coworker when I came to visit the office while on mat leave, who asked me about updates to my blog that got me moving. I got into a really rigid schedule of writing once, then twice a week. Now I’m cutting myself some slack, because who else is going to do that? 🙂 Hope that’s helpful, feel free to email me if you want to talk about this some more 🙂

  31. cazzarama says:

    We left my younger sister on a train platform once while on holiday in France! My mum still feels bad about it. My sister’s 35. x

    • Katia says:

      Oh, that’s a hard one to forget! 😀 (I can totally see now, though, how it is quite possible for something like that to occur amidst the madness of travelling with two or more kids).

  32. christenelle says:

    this doesn’t have to get worse with each one- because each one is different! we had 4 in 4 years- and each of them has a particular way they love to be loved. Whether it’s eye-contact (no. 1), tickling (no. 2), helping mommy (no. 3) or being held (no. 4). If we are too quick to slot them into birth-order, we can miss some of their unique traits. But it’s a lovely, messy, emotional adventure. Say no to guilt- each new child gets a “new” mommy, so it won’t ever be the same, but that’s a good thing! Say yes to loving them for who they are- sounds like you’re doing that 🙂

    • Katia says:

      That’s such a beautiful comment and I think it perfectly captures the spirit of being a parent. I agree with you about the looking at the individual characters rather than birth order, but there’s something so tempting about finding comment traits to help us “understand” them better (sort of similar to astrology, in a way). Thank you so much for stopping by and providing such wonderful perspective!

  33. Kimberly M says:

    I only have the one turd.
    My husband and I always wanted three…but life happened and then scaled it down to two…and then life happened and my husband still holds onto #2 while I don’t.
    With that said, I always try to picture us with two. Like why don’t I take the huge mother loving risk of going really mother loving crazy to have one more.
    And I just don’t see how I could love another as much as I do with my son. I was one of five and I assure you that I never felt that I wasn’t loved just the same as everyone else. Yes, I was the oldest and had to let the other’s shine and yes there was jealousy but I never thought any less of my mom.
    You’re a good mom Katia.

    • Katia says:

      I totally get it, Kimberly. I was telling my mom I don’t know how it was possible to love someone who wasn’t Ben. When Daniel came along I had to repeatedly reassure Ben that Daniel is not taking away from my love to him. The way I would address it was by explaining to him that I have two hearts. One for each. I totally feel that way and this, to me, was one of the biggest surprises about motherhood. 🙂 And thank you for your final remark. I was worried about being judged for this post. xo

  34. Heather says:

    For those thinking the second born is always more resilient, I would say, it’s not always the case. As a first born, I was definitely the stubborn independent one. “no mom, I’ll walk to my first day of school all by myself.” and opening the fridge to fill up my bottle. I will say, younger born do have the advantage of looking up to a person not so much bigger as something to strive for. My brother was much less independent as a child, but he’s now off on his own. Sometimes it’s just personality.

    • Katia says:

      Agreed. I’m sure there’s no “one size fits all” explanation for this. Personality definitely plays a huge part (if it’s not, in fact, entirely up to personality) but it’s so interesting to read these comments and compare my own experience to other people’s.

  35. Jules says:

    I love this! As a second born I can identify pretty well with your son. 🙂 I was what my mom called, “spirited” and no.1 was definitely the eager-to-please child. I never understood why I couldn’t do what he did (still don’t). ;D I agree that the need to “fight” is ingrained, and truthfully it has served me well.

    Your point is spot on. Each child shows their vulnerabilities in a different way, and that which bothers one won’t necessarily bother the other.

    You got this!

    • Katia says:

      Okay, you have no idea how grateful I am to hear this from a second-born. I’m obviously still struggling to understand a lot with #2 as well as with #1 but that vulnerability realization felt like an epiphany and I’m so so glad to get your perspective on this!

      • Jules says:

        Absolutely! 🙂 Happy to share. Thank you, also, for sharing it from a mom’s perspective! I know it was hard for my mom, for my vulnerability came through fighting. The harder I fought, the more vulnerable I was. It took her til I was in preschool to really understand that.

      • Katia says:

        I get it. Now.:-) And thanks so much again for reassuring me I got it right.

  36. Same deal here .. Poor guy, is a doll !! Looks super adorable but when he tried to grab his or older brothers toys.. My 5 yr old steps in front of him and snatches it all away.. Poor baby keeps staring helplessly. I had my full focus on my older one all this time and I hardly have time to applaud my younger ones tiny personal achievements. Between chasing the older one and taking care of the kids , I have a very string guilt of ignoring the little one.. And that’s exactly why all his life I will probably let the little one get away with anything .. The guilt

  37. Thank you for the great post! We call our second born, the little enforcer. He follows his instructions with great enthusiasm. He also has intolerance for any deviation from the instructions. He will often “correct” his almost four year old brother with hitting and biting too. I think it is definitely a second born trait!

    • Katia says:

      Oh my god that’s so funny except it feels totally wrong saying that because poor four year old brother! Mine was randomly dishing out head punches this morning as the rest of us were trying to put on eleventy layers of winter clothing (what’s wrong with that picture???). I wish I could say he was simply enforcing, but sometimes I really don’t get it…

  38. There is a huge difference between my two boys’ personalities. My second is just as you describe yours: fearless, doing things a lot quicker than his brother, and with just a sense of nothing fazing him. Sometimes, I find myself treating him differently, too – he needs less attention, and sometimes I worry that even if that is the case, it is still my duty as a mum to provide it equally.

    • Katia says:

      I understand your concern completely and feel the same way. As a baby I’ve certainly devoted less “personal” attention (and more functional) to my second-born recognizing that my first born was lost and needed so much more reassurance and attention now. Now I still often feel like I’m more emotionally available to my first one, but I think that it’s because at this age he still needs more reassurance than his brother, I think that as moms we are able to fine tune and adjust ourselves to the situation at hand and I’m sure you’re reading your own “family map” correctly. 🙂

  39. Jetendra says:

    I am very happy to read your article. Thanks 🙂

  40. Tanya says:

    This stands so true – my second born is at best fiesty to all ends of the earth. My 4 year old cowers at her entering the room knowing something is going to break out. I personally call it second child syndrome and the guilt is mostly around less time to spend one on one.

    • Katia says:

      Oh yes, less one on one, less exclusivity and undivided attention, I know all about that and agree with you completely. Thanks so much for commenting!

  41. Love this – resonates completely!

  42. I have one child, but I am the oldest of 4, and I can attest to this notion, but reversed. I, as a first child, was very independent and self sufficient, my mom and dad had it made. But then my sisters came along, and boy did things change. They were, and still are, dependent on my mother, act like children, and so on, so forth. My mom always felt guilty because she let my sisters become so dependent, and spoiled. They aren’t considered adults in my eyes, but they have the age to prove they are. I was the one who was sort of left behind (my little brother too). But hey! I turned out alright! Your son will turn out alright!!!

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much, it’s so kind of you to share your own experience to reassure me! I can tell he’ll turn out alright, I think that self flagellation comes with the territory to some extent. I just try to keep it at bay. 🙂

      • I’m thinking that all that self flagellation does come with the territory, especially with crazy little boys! lol. My son is 18mos, and he is always doing crazy stuff to himself. 🙂 He is WILD. A lot like yours! 🙂

  43. Jeremy amrith lay says:

    since i have followed your blog please follow mine at http://www.jeremyamrithlay.wordpress.com as i hv enterd for a blogging competition and desperately need followers

  44. AMomBlogs says:

    I have two daughters I think the order of birth and how they interact with each other would be different if they were boys or one boy one girl and the age difference is a big factor. My girls are 7 years apart and watching them grow up has been amazing, I will miss them when they move out on their own.

    I’m writing AtoZ “Things My Husband Has Broken” http://AMomsPointOfView.com

    • Katia says:

      “Things my husband has broken” is such an awesome title! And sorry for starting from the end…

      I know girls interact differently than boys. It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall for one day to find out exactly how. 🙂

  45. Lionel Sneed says:

    Thank you for sharing

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