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The Surprises (and Not-So-Surprises) of a Second Child

harper_quinn_announcement So, we are officially the proud parents of two littles. That's right - on Friday, November 13th, we welcomed our daughter, Harper Quinn, into our silly little nuthouse. I thought I'd share what we've learned in the brief time that we've officially been "not quite outnumbered but each have full hands" parents of two (and as second timers on "Team Green" - surprise gender!). Let's see if any of you parents of 2+ agree or have dealt with any of these things! Surprises - It's a Girl!!! Everyone - strangers, family, coworkers, even me at points - INSISTED it would be another boy. I carried the same way, had a completely identical pregnancy, and the baby was "all in front." Ha. As we walked into the hospital at 5:30am, we saw a terrified new daddy wheeling his juuuuust born little (I mean little) girl by us and I had my first twinge of "I kinda hope it's a girl..." I had told people that we'd be super surprised (and ecstatic) if it turned out to be a girl, but that was the first time I allowed myself to have a wishful feeling about it. So, needless to say, the cheer we gave when the announcement was made was glorious. Plus, my husband is from a two-boy family, so it was about time they got a little lady in their lives. - This time, I watched. Since our practitioners don't advise VBACs and our son was 10+ pounds (and super late), we opted for a second C-section. I wasn't necessarily pleased with the choice, but I was resolved to simply have a healthy child. But, one thing I did try this time? Asking the couldn't-be-sweeter anesthesiologist to hold a mirror so that I could watch the birth. Oh. My. Goodness. I'm so grateful that I was told about this option in advance! It was a total out-of-body experience and the tears flowed (then the joy, when her gender was announced). It definitely helped me connect to the experience more completely. - The pain. Okay, since I already had a C-section with our son, I thought I knew what to expect. However, with a toddler to chase and life still in full swing, I've definitely felt more pain and twinges all over the place, with little extra time to rest, or heal super calmly. And, while we're at it, I'm way more hormonal this time. Lots of tears (no baby blues or PPD as far as I can see!) over stupid little things. - Her personality. We all know how special our kids are, right? Our son is super intelligent, precocious, slightly high-maintenance, active, and sweet. I found myself hoping that our next child would be a carbon copy and having a hard time envisioning someone NOT like Hadley. Being from a family of four and knowing that all of our personalities are different told me that the odds weren't in our favor. So, of course, she is *so far* incredibly different. Calm, good-natured, quiet, pensive, aware of her surroundings...but, also super sweet and adorable. ;-) Plus, they look a heck of a lot alike, so that's pretty awesome. - Parenting worries are totally different than what we had expected. We knew it'd be a tough transition for our son, no matter how much he really does show that he loves "his baby." For the most part, he ignores her and doesn't have blatant issues with her being around whatsoever. But, clearly there's a transition happening, and he's acting out in the brattiest, most disappointing of ways. On the other hand, we had expected to completely forget the ins-and-outs of caring for an infant. Surprisingly, though, it came back pretty much immediately. Plus, her low-key demeanor doesn't hurt the situation, either. *whew* Thank goodness for small miracles. Not-So-Surprises - Transitions are not a toddler's favorite thing. As I mentioned above, we had expected to have a bigger challenge on our hands with the baby. But, the challenge, so far, has been solely in the toddler realm. In some ways, it's exactly how we had expected it to happen; in other ways, it's far, far more difficult. Dealing with an obstinate 3-year-old (especially with an unhealed C-section incision) is tough, but we're trying to remember his side of things in the meantime. The best parenting lesson I know, thanks to Hadley, is that everything is a phase. Some phases are just longer than others, but this, too, shall pass, and we'll miss this when he's a teenager. Maybe. ;-) - Less attention. We've had a lot less attention from friends and family and, ohhh, it's generally a wonderful thing. There were a few visitors in the hospital, but the stay was overall far less stressful and packed. We knew not to schedule a million visitors upon returning home, and those who come are super helpful. - Advice is still to be taken with a grain of salt. The first time around, we got SO MUCH ADVICE about EVERYTHING (gotta love when someone with zero breastfeeding experience gives their two cents...). This time? My husband has been told numerous times "wipe front to back." Um. Thanks. And that was literally the only thing he had already known about baby girls, so it's not super helpful. The generalizations are pretty annoying - the "wait until she's a teen" and "buy a house with an extra bathroom" (okay, that one may be true...we've only got one) - and make me think, like, I'M A GIRL. And I had brothers. Our teen years were all very different, but our behaviors were markedly similar. So, why don't people say those things about boys? Ah, so it begins. What about you guys? Were there any huge surprises for you the second (or third or fourth...) time around? Anything that you were better prepared for?
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