Birth order stereotypes aren't always true.
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.
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.