Second Child Syndrome

In a life, that now feels decades ago, when it was just me with a second baby bump and Pinky (and Hubby of course) friends and strangers all told me about ‘Second Child Syndrome’. At the time I simply vaguely listened, with a small, slightly vacant smile on my face. I didn’t really understand, first time parenting can be very stressful. Scrap that! All parenting is stressful but first time has its own extra charm. Everything is new, no stage has happened to you as parent before and although many stages are easy to embrace some are down right startling. Just because you know the terrible twos exist doesn’t make them any less of a surprise when they arrive. The first ever baby poo you get warned about…. There are no words to really prepare you for that, only experience can ease the shock. Add pregnancy hormones into the mix and everything is seems more overwhelming when talking to friends happily in the two child zone. So the idea that second time around could be easier was appealing but seemed incredibly unlikely.
Then the second labour came. It was easier. I mean realistically it hurt more, it was a longer process (both inductions but one longer than the other) but it wasn’t a shock. The memory of the pain was somewhere buried in my brain. The lack of sleep during labour was less of a shock as I already had had nearly two years parenting experience which comes with its own built-it sleep deprivation department. Quite simply I coped. Then Perky arrived. The sudden flow of love of no less overwhelming but again I expected it. Feeding was easier, also helped by the fact that Perky didn’t have tongue tie unlike Pinky (another story I will leave for another time). In essence although everything has been challenging second time round because I have been through it before the shock aspect is missing. I think it is the surprise element that the first child can utilise is what makes parenting so different first time.
Part of the less shocking parenting means that my approach is more relaxed. Obviously I am as rigid about the whole putting ‘inappropriate unidentifiable objects in the mouth’ thing, and still strict on the whole manners stuff. But second time around I’m more relaxed about most things. This, I think, is much of the cause of the ‘Second Child Syndrome’.
Perky definitely gets away with things Pinky never would have. Part of this is that she has an older sister she wants to keep up with. Perky idolises Pinky and she learns directly from her. In her daily attempt to keep up with her sister her physical stamina is greater, at only 18 months she has practically cut out her daily nap. If she sleeps for an hour it’s been a brilliant day (please insert virtual hug of sympathy here). Her spoken language is slightly slower, she doesn’t tell you what noise a cow makes on demand like Pinky could at this age. Her spoken language comes out in other ways and actual words are fewer. For example yesterday she passed wind, guffed, trumped, farted, botty popped, whatever you call it, she looked at me, pointed at her bum and very clearly said ‘pardon me.’ As clear as this was she still can’t tell me consistently what noise a dog makes no matter how much we practice and some days ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’ are words that leave a lot to be desired. However because Perky has a three year old sister there is constant talking in our house, from the moment we get up until the moment we go to bed and because of this her understanding of language is unbelievable. Perkys’ non verbal communication is also very good. With Pinky I had the time to decipher her moans, groans and grunts. If she pointed in a vague direction I could work out what she wanted after some trail and error. I do not have all this spare time to decipher these things anymore as I also have a three year old that has needs that require meeting, usually at the same effing time as her sisters. This has meant that Perky very quickly learnt an effective method to grunt and point which communicated her need to me the first time of asking. Her nodding and shaking of her head is always accurate and reliable and her finger point would hit the bullseye on a target every time.
Hubby passed comment the other day about how loud Perky is in comparison to her sister. This is a true comment, she is louder than Pinky has ever been, even now she is older. I firmly believe this is due to her ‘Second Child Syndrome’. If she wants to be heard over her sister who can talk and convey her requests then she needs to shout louder!
It may not be diagnosable but Second Child Syndrome is a real thing. Mostly I think it’s a good thing. It’s a sign that as a parent you are learning from previous experience and possible mistakes, it’s a sign you are evolving and adapting. If along the way you can also learn to cut yourself some slack and lose a little of the ‘Mummy Guilt’ then you really are winning.
I’m still working on that last bit…..



  1. Oh how gorgeous are your girls! Yes we are sorta experiencing the early bits of “second child syndrome” as well – my first is 3 years old and the second is 6 months old now. I absolutely agree that we are more relaxed second time round. My 2nd, Jared, is a more placid baby but the midwives said that part of it is also me being more relaxed – babies can sense that sort of thing, and with my first who wasn’t sleeping and was drinking around the clock, I was at a loss – whereas this time round it just felt like “I’ve got this” and if one thing didn’t work, I’d try another and eventually we worked it all out! Even at 6 months, this little one already sets his boundaries – if big brother gets in his space, somebody squeals really loudly to get mummy’s attention to save him. Plus he has already started fighting with big brother for toys – he can more or less crawl so tends to approach the big brother and the scuffle begins. Sigh. Fun days ahead though!

    1. Sounds like the fun is just beginning. Watching the sibling relationship grow is priceless. Being more relaxed definately translates to the children. Enjoy! Thank you for your kind words about my girls.

  2. Your girls are so adorable! I love that Wisley photo, it’s just gorgeous!

    I really hope that assuming we are lucky enough to have a second child that a lot of this is true! I was a very uptight mum to start with, and probably still am in lots of ways – I’d like to think I could take a more relaxed approach second time around. Less of the ‘mummy guilt’ would be lovely!

    You’ve certainly described me and my sister accurately – she is younger, and much louder, but also much more adept at getting what she wants, even now we’re in our 30’s!

    Thanks so much for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove – it’s a real pleasure to have you with us!

    1. Aww thank you! It is wonderful having two. I had no idea how wonderful it would be. I often wonder if things would be slightly different if we had a larger age gap that 23 months, perhaps of we had waited for a 4-5 year gap Perky pants could have had more one on one. But watching their bond is second to none and I wouldn’t change the closeness they have for anything. I’m sure your little boy will make a wonderful big brother if you had another, leading his brother or sister on his adventures X

  3. Gorgeous photo! I have 2 girls with the same age gap and I can completely relate to this. Second child syndrome definitely exists. My youngest gets away with so much more and is sooo loud to keep up with her sister. It’s lovely though isn’t it, watching their ever growing bond? I adore it. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove X

  4. Both your little girls are so cute. I think it’s so nice when children don’t have much of a difference in their age. I believe they are closer. I don’t think I am ready for baby number 2 yet but one day for sure! I am actually looking forward to this syndrome you are describing LOL. Tell me I am mad or a dreamer ! #SharingtheBlogLove

    1. My apologies as I just found this is my spam box! How horrid as this is a lovely comment! Thank you for reading. You are not mad, second child syndrome is lovely to experience and I agree with the smaller age gaps. I think it helps throughout life. XxX

  5. Oh yes Second Child Syndrome is DEFINITELY a thing! I have 2 girls and the second one is much louder and much more physical (trying to make herself heard and keep up with her big sister), but she’s also more shy (she’s used to hiding behind big sis!) #sharingthebloglove

    1. That’s not something I’ve come across yet as my eldest is already very shy, but I can see that shyness developing in her little sister. I can certainly see that she will hide behind her in the future.

  6. Oh I can definitely relate to this! My girls have a similar age gap to yours and I’ve been much more relaxed in my parenting approach with my youngest. She certainly gets away with things that her elder sister didn’t and she picks up things more quickly because she has a big sister showing her how to do them as well! She’s also noisier too. It’s a shame that Mummy guilt doesn’t disappear second time around though. Love the photo of your two girls together 🙂 #sharingthebloglove

  7. Oh it’s real alright! I’m definitely more relaxed about everything second time round because basically I have no choice. My two are polar opposites and meeting two sets of very different needs means less time to stress over the things that once seemed so important. As for being loud? Oh my word, my youngest can scream! It’s positively deafening. But again, it’s the only way to get herself heard and as hard as it is to listen to at times, I do love her feistiness!

  8. I totally get the Second Child Syndrome. I suffered from it myself as a second born middle child. Talk about issues! Your little ones are SO cute! My kiddos are at 2.5 and 5.5 months and I can already see the baby look up to her brother. Lovely post.

  9. Such gorgeous girls! Your two remind me of my two,similar ages 3.5 and 22 months. My youngest Mayhem is definitely the loudest and copies everything his brother does. Although Chaos always wants what his younger brother has too! We have our work cut out for us!#sharingthebloglove

  10. I’m hoping that I’m more relaxed when we have a second Bub. I was so ridiculous when my son was born trying to implement a strict routine which stressed me out! #SharingTheBlogLove

    1. I was ridiculous first time too. I think you naturally still stress about somethings but a lot of what I found a bit intense first time I didn’t really worry about at all second time. Plus with another child to look after there is a huge distraction from the little things.

  11. Although my eldest two are boys, you describe their relationship perfectly. My second has been more laid back and as a result so have I. My eldest will always be my pioneer and my second will benefit from that. This is a lovely post #sharingthebloglove

  12. This really made me smile as my second has just turned one and there is definitely a lot of this going on in our house. He will scream if he doesn’t get what he wants and definitely gets away with a lot more. We’re so much more relaxed and I wonder if that’s done it as its given him more space to potter about and explore. Your girls are so cute by the way 🙂

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