Originally Posted by BetsyS
Another thing, for me, is that the seasons of life change.
When I had my first, it was just me and him. Dh travelled from early Mon morning to late Thurs night, every week. So, me and a baby. Aack! That's a long time without conversation, you know? And, at supper time, he was very, very fussy. So, I got in the habit of just waiting until he was asleep to eat. Cause it wasn't worth it to eat alone with a fussy baby sitting next to me. That worked, but I was eating at 9pm every night, too.
Fast forward 4 years. Now, dh is home in a timely fashion every night (goes in early to make it happen, but it's a priority now), and I have 2 other littles to feed. So, every night, I cook for 4 people. Well, these days, even if a little baby is fussy, I deal with it, and I still eat my supper. I might nurse at the table, I have used a highchair since birth to have him right next to me, and sometimes, he just sits on my lap. But, I eat when the rest of my family eats, fussy baby or not, because otherwise, the rest of the craziness of the evening gets in teh way, and I'll miss supper. Something that just wasn't the same with my first.
This is so true. When DD was born, my life revolved around her. I ate, showered, slept, cleaned, cooked when she slept. When she was awake, I was at her beck and call. She was pretty happy to amuse herself, though, so I did a lot of crafting... particularly since I got the things I needed to do done while she napped.
When DS was born... well, my life still kind of revolved around DD. She had to get to preschool, playgroup, swimming class. She had to have decent meals at dependable hours. She made requests of things she wanted to do (walk around the block, visit the little girl next door, go to the museum) and "no, we have to sit around and stare at the baby" wasn't really an adequate excuse not to do these things. She had to be home to nap in her bed... no more of this catnaps in the carseat/carrier/stroller. Now that I'm expecting #3, DD and DS are both in that camp where they have people to see and things to do and set schedules that they need to follow, and #3 will also just have to go along with it.
As my mother told me when DS was born: "It's a sharp learning curve for #2. They learn their place in the world real quick."
And yes, I do feel sorry for #2 (and #3) because my life just won't revolve around them the way that it did for #1. But #2 doesn't really seem the worse for wear, and he's exposed to "bigger kid" things that he might not otherwise be. And when they're not wrestling and trying to kill eachother, DD is great with him: "reads" him books and gets him toys and when he falls or gets frustrated she's often there even before I am hugging him and saying "It's okay. You're okay." It's really, really sweet.
And I can sometimes send her to attend to his needs, which makes things easier for me. Not major things, obviously (she is only 3!) but if I'm busy and he's frustrated with a toy I can ask her to go help him, or to go fetch him something, or to help me by putting his shoes on after she puts hers on. She's usually very, very proud to be the Big Sister and takes her role very seriously.
And, in a way, it works out on the other end: my younger sister got a lot of attention and extra travel and extra opportunities after I went off to college. There are a lot of perks to being the "only child" as a teenager instead of as a baby.