I finally can grasp the reality of non-first-born children kind of getting the shaft. I saw it happen in my own family: I was first-born, and my sister, who is 6 years younger than me, kind of took a backseat. Not that my parents didn't love my sister - they absolutely did and still do - but the older sibling required more attention. And I see myself following the exact same pattern.
Here's what I mean. People keep asking me how the baby is doing, which is so kind of them.
Is he a good eater? Does he sleep well? What developmental milestones has he reached? Is he a good baby?
Here is what my response has sounded like: "Thank you for asking. The baby's good. He eats, he sleeps, and he's growing well."
Now, I am 100% positive I was asked these same questions with Max. The difference is, my response then was similar to: "Oh, thank you so much for asking and taking an interest in my baby! He is doing so well. He loves to eat... can you believe he eats 4 ounces every couple of hours? He's such a big boy. He just loves to eat. And he is an amazing sleeper - he sleeps in his chair or bassinet for naps, and in his own crib overnight. Ever since he was 6 weeks, he has pretty much slept through the night, which has been so awesome. He is 98% for weight, and 99% for height. You can see that he has a big head... he's just overall a big baby! At least he's proportionate. He tends to get fussy at night around 5pm and cries until about 8pm. I think it might be gas. His pediatrician thinks he is growing beautifully. Did I tell you about the sensitive formula we started him on? Let me tell you...." And on and on and on.
I don't mean to paint the picture that I was an annoying, think-my-baby-is-perfect mom. I don't think I was. I truly didn't brag about Max - although he really was an awesome baby. I'd been through too much IF shit to know better... I never wanted to be that person who started raving about her perfect little baby in front of someone who really didn't want to hear all the details. I've always been pretty sensitive about that - so much, in fact, that some of my friends and family have asked me why I seem so reserved when talking about my kids. I just remember what it feels like to not need to hear about every single detail about a kid... there are some things that, frankly, can stay private.
It's just... Max was my first born. Everything was an adventure. Everything was a learning. And if people really wanted to know details, there was a lot I could share.
This time around is so different. I couldn't tell you how much Mason weighs right now... I know he's healthy, per his last pediatrician visit last week. I'm not really sure how many ounces of formula and breast milk he eats every day... we just feed him when he's hungry. And his fussy time? Well, not too sure about that, either... I think it's in the evenings, but we are so busy dealing with Max (getting him dinner, brushing teeth, off to bed) that I only realize Mason is crying when I pick him up to bounce him on my shoulder around the house.
My point of all this rambling is: I now know how second children (or third, fourth, whatever) are pretty much along for the ride. Max was the center of our universe, and frankly, he still is... he's a toddler. He's needy. He talks and runs and throws tantrums... all of which demand our attention. Mason also is needy, but in a different way. We've been through this before, so he kind of tags along with whatever we are doing as a family. I don't mean to imply that we aren't paying attention to Mason... we most certainly are. There are many newborn/infant needs that simply can't go unnoticed - the frequent feedings, diaper changes, etc. But all of that is now taken as a grain of salt as we focus more of our attention on our toddler. After we had Max, every feeding, every diaper change, every new milestone... it was our whole world.
Mason may be my second born, but he was never a second thought in my mind. He might just be along for the ride for awhile.