Shocking second child omissions

August 26, 2016

Dramatic scenes in our household this week, when a somewhat shocking realisation came to light about our second child. We realised that Florence – at the lofty old age of 22 months – had never seen Peppa Pig. I know! I know!

Shocking second child omissions - things my second child has never experienced

She knew who Peppa was, of course,  mainly from her hand-me-down clothing. But compared to her sister, who had seen them all so many times she could practically recite them before she could form proper sentences…I couldn’t work out how it happened. Peppa is practically a rite of passage for very young children, and parents, right?

The I thought about it for half a second and realised that I was totally sure how it happened. Eliza watched everyone’s pre-school porcine friend so often I gently encouraged* her to watch vaguely-intellectual-slash-educational-slash-haha-who-am-I-kidding-no-adverts-CBeebies instead (*flipped out and banned it completely, right before I banned all TV in our house for a while in a fit of post-pregnancy hormonal rage).

And by the time second child Florence was of an age to make sense of such things, Eliza was into TV proper (the soap opera-esque Topsy and Tim, the various political sages of Paw Patrol and the like). So that’s what TV we’ve watched, when we’ve watched it. Which still isn’t very often now *side eye*.

But this made me think. What other shocking second child omissions have we made? What are her cultural second childhood gaps we’ve been papering over?

Second child syndrome - all the things my younger daughter has never experienced

  • She has never watched Baby TV. I’m not even sure if this is still on! But it was a whole channel devoted to, basically, hypnotic fractal patterns and some odd programmes in bright colours (like one about a phallic vegetable chef and another about a grandfather who hid, fairly oddly, in a cupboard). We used to have it on occasionally when baby E wouldn’t sleep. But yep, Florence has never seen it and probably never will
  • She has never been to a baby class, baby group, baby massage session, anything with ‘baby’ in the title. She’s never hung out at Gymboree in the company of her sleep-deprived and manic mum singing and waving a scarf in her face while weeping silently behind her hands about what she’s become (joke! Kind of…). The closest she came to the baby gym was hanging out precariously at the top of our stairs
  • She never gets to go on the buggy board. Although she’s always along for the ride, it’s always in the pram. Occasionally, on safe trips to the park she gets to balance on the back while her sister sits in front, but I always get the fear the closer we get to the road.

But wait, wait a minute! Let’s look at the things she has had, as a second child…

  • She actually gets to watch TV. Peppa aside, I’m pretty sure Eliza didn’t watch much of it until I was pregnant (and exhausted, and in need of secret stealth naps)
  • She has access to all the grown-up good stuff. Like her older sister’s felt pens, which she’s obsessed with. Usually drawing with them all over her arms, when my back is turned
  • She gets way more attention, usually at odd hours, from much more relaxed and less neurotic parents. And she has an older sister. How cool is that? And whereas her sister was moved into her room next door at about seven months, she still sleeps in our bed, Usually spread out like a starfish, while we cling to the edges.

What are the things your second child hasn’t (or has) experienced? And on balance, is it really that bad being second?

Oh yeah, so we watched a couple of episodes of Peppa and she was hypnotised. And loved it. And I realised one of the worst things about it is not that Peppa’s occasionally rude, or that Suzy Sheep is really a bit mean. No, it’s that every episode is SO short. There’s no time at all to rush to the loo in the vain hope that you’ll be unaccompanied. No time to make – or drink – a hot tea. Not even enough time to sneakily check all the social networks at least several times to see what’s going on outside the baby bubble. Right, I’m putting CBeebies back on. Now where were we…?

More on second babies…what other mothers never tell you about two children, how not to leave the house in 5000 steps and telling the toddler about the new baby

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