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Everyone told me my second child would be so much harder than my first, but they were wrong

When my husband and I found out we were having our second baby boy, we were absolutely elated. But then we immediately started hearing the "second child" comments from everyone.


The main comment we received was that the second child is always much harder than the first. The first child is normally the well-behaved one and the baby is the wild child.

I was extremely hormonal at this point and I ended up crying myself to sleep one night thinking through all of these warnings. If these things were going to be true of my second child, I felt like I was in trouble.

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Could I handle this?

What people who didn't know me didn't realize that my first son, Henry, who was about two and a half at the time, was the king wild child. He was a bruiser, a climber, a jumper, my no-fear-fence-climbing kiddo. He had earned his nickname of "Hurricane Henry" for a good reason.

Henry is tall and solid. People have always said that he looks like a football player—even when he was a baby.

So I was prepared for my second baby, Simon, to come out and be a big, stubborn, strong-willed boy.

Well, he came out at 8 pounds, 2 ounces. But he didn't cry. He just looked up at me with his big, bright, twinkling eyes. He seemed so calm.

I knew from there on that this baby was very different from my firstborn. It's so amazing how a baby so tiny can show their personality so soon. But Baby Simon did.

He was the sweetest, most laid back, happiest baby I had ever met. He hardly ever cried. Once he started smiling, it was constant. Nothing bothered him and honestly, he had me wrapped around his little finger.

When we took him to his first doctor's appointment at about a week old, they showed concern that he hadn't gained enough weight. Long story short, we found out he had acid reflux and he almost fell off the weight chart.

We had to take him in every other day for a couple weeks to make sure he gained weight once he started his acid reflux medicine. At one point, he was at 2% on the weight chart and I was absolutely beside myself.

I remember thinking, How could this be real? How could my baby boy be so small? Was he okay? His brother was so strong!

I got all in my head and started blaming myself. Thinking that maybe I did something wrong when I was pregnant. Maybe if I hadn't worked out, he wouldn't be so behind. Maybe I shouldn't have had those morning cups of coffee so I could keep up with my toddler and work full-time while pregnant.

I spent so much time thinking about what I did wrong and comparing my youngest to my oldest that I was starting to have issues with my anxiety.

After a couple weeks on his acid reflux medicine, my son started gaining his weight back. And he stayed his adorable, smiling, laid-back self.

It was then that I realized I couldn't spend my time comparing my sons. They were two completely different people and by comparing them, I was just causing myself unnecessary anxiety. I was wasting time worrying about things I had no control over.

So I let it all go. And it was the best thing I could have ever done.

I am able to enjoy my time with my kids and don't worry about growth charts and the fact that Baby Simon is a month behind on his milestones. All children grow and learn at their own pace. That's the beauty of being different.

Yes, I am a worrier. But these little boys are my heart and soul and I just want the best for them.

And I have learned what is best for them. It's for me to stop worrying so much. It's for me to embrace their differences. It's for me to learn about each of them individually as we go. So far, I have learned that some children run and jump and other children do puzzles and read books.

I am so glad that my parents didn't compare me and my sister. Because we are complete and total opposites.

So I'm going to keep that in mind. I won't compare my baby and his brother. Because they are also complete and total opposites. And that's okay.

They will fight. They will pick on each other. They will probably throw things and wrestle and roughhouse. But they will love each other, and that is all I can ask for.

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A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

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If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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