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How my second-born child gets the best of me

Just as my heart doubled in size to make room for you the night you were born, I am making room in life for exactly who you are.

How my second-born child gets the best of me

Dear second born,

I want to tell you that I treat you the same as your older sis. But I can't.


Truth is, I've never treated you the same. You two are incredibly not the same—and to treat you so would be unfair. It would be unfair not to see your uniqueness—the special little person you are, with all your own needs, desires and expression.

It would be unfair to expect you to thrive on things that may fortify your sis, but leave you behind at best, and deplete you at worst.

I see who you are becoming and know where you are going. I know what you need, even if, especially if, it's different from your sister. So when I make you go to bed earlier, it's because I love you just as much…and that is what you need.

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Just as my heart doubled in size to make room for you the night you were born, I am making room in life for exactly who you are.

I am making room in life to see exactly who you are.

To see you, and how you light up around anything with four legs. Or scales.

To speak to you, always keeping in mind the way you need to hear.

To listen to you, as you bring my attention to the most interesting details I overlook.

To smile for you, so that you know that there is enough room in my heart for every bit of you.

To celebrate you, and that noble little soul that rests right on the surface, bared there for all to feel and trust.

I know, it's hard to be the second-born. I was one, too.

You have to work harder...to be heard.

You have to work harder...to be seen.

You have to work harder...to be yourself.

When I forget to see you, I react or respond with what's worked before, and my prejudice frustrates us both. Even though I am trying hard to do my best by you, because you are not the same, I make special mistakes, just for you.

When life gets busy and a little out of control, it seems like all the decisions get made around you, instead of with you in mind. And because you are younger, you just have to go with the flow.

When you are the second born, you can't be the first to try anything. And you have the benefit—or burden—of my experience with your older sis, and all the wisdom and bias that come with that.

I lie awake at night and try to measure the day—were there enough moments for and about just you?

For you, I have special worries.

For you, I know I need to open my eyes, really look, and not be influenced by circumstances and pressures that come from the daily mental load.

For you, I hope that I am meeting those very needs that are yours only.

For you, I want to make sure you feel seen.

My second born, you have such an important place in our family.

You are the one who rounds out our home in ways I could not have imagined before you, and now cannot imagine without.

You are the one who expands all of our hearts, filling spaces we didn't even know existed.

You are the one who reminds me to slow down, wake up, be present, enjoy now, because very soon you will be as old as your big sis, and I know how fast that will happen. I need to savor this journey with you.

And you are the one who teaches me to consider both of you, and how far a little empathy goes to making each of you happy.

My life would not be the same without you. We would not be the same without you.

And that special half of my heart can only be filled by you.

So, yes, I do not treat you the same. But it's always bourne out of the same love, the same desire to do best by you, the same caring and the same hope for you, the same amount of wishes, desires and dreams.

I do not treat you the same, but I am the same mama for both of you, who loves you both the same.

It's the love that's the same.

Love,

Mama

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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    And a tradition you'll want to keep for years.

    Gracious Gobbler

    I think I can speak for well, basically everyone on planet earth when I say things have been a bit stressful lately. Juggling virtual school, work and the weight of worry about all the things, it's increasingly difficult to take even a moment to be grateful and positive these days. It's far easier to fall into a grump cycle, nagging my kids for all the things they didn't do (after being asked nine times), snapping at their bickering and never really acknowledging the good stuff.

    But the truth is, gratitude and appreciation is the kind of medicine we need now more than ever—and not just because the season is upon us. For one thing, practicing gratitude is a scientifically proven way to boost our happiness, health and relationships. More importantly, we need to ensure we're cultivating it in our children even when things are challenging. Especially when things are challenging.

    I'm ready to crank the thankfulness up a few dozen notches and reboot our family's gratitude game so we can usher out 2020 on a fresh note. So, I've called in some reinforcements.

    Enter: the Gracious Gobbler.

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    So, what's new this week?

    Happiest Baby: Baby sleep solutions designed by the experts

    Created by renowned pediatrician, baby sleep expert and (as some might say) lifesaver Dr. Harvey Karp, Happiest Baby has been helping new parents understand and nurture their infants for close to two decades. Building on the success of his celebrated books and video The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block he's developed groundbreaking, science-based product solutions that conquer a new parent's top stressor—exhaustion.

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    WSEL stands for work smart, enjoy life—an ethos we couldn't agree with more. Founded by a stay at home dad who struggled to find a diaper bag that he not only wanted to use, but one that would last far beyond the baby years, these premium, adventure-ready backpacks are ideal for everything from errands to week-long getaways.

    Codex Beauty: Exceptionally effective sustainable skin care

    Codex Beauty's line of sustainable plant-based skin care blends the science of plant biology with biotech innovations, to create clinically proven, state-of-the-art products for all skin types. They're all vegan, EWG and Leaping Bunny verified and created in collaboration with Herbal Scientist Tracy Ryan who uses concepts dating back to the 8th century leveraging plants like sea buckthorn and calendula flower. Not only are we totally crushing on the innovative formulas that are in the packaging but we're in love with the sustainable sugarcane-derived tubes as well.

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