Category Archives: family

The second-child syndrome

“You said I am gonna get a sister. But it’s a boy. I can see.”

“How long would he be lying on your lap? Tell him it’s my turn now.”

“Ask him to shut up crying. Tell him I have got school tomorrow.”

“Put me to sleep like you do with him. On your lap.”

You think it’s another hapless case of ‘two under two’? Well, you’re not entirely wrong. My elder son who was almost 5 at the time of his brother’s birth, behaved worse than a child under 2. The smart, sensible and slowly-getting-matured boy of mine showed bouts of unreasonable outburst, the moment he casted the first glance on his sibling.

When I got a call from one of my friends, who had given birth to her second child just days before I had, I expected a similar cry for help. But since her first-born is a girl, she had a different story to tell.

“She can’t get enough of holding her brother. She wants to baby sit him already! How’s it with your boys?”

“Oh! They are happy to be together, it seems.” I said, with not much conviction as I eyed the elder one who was sitting in a corner with a grumpy look. (I had just turned down his demand to carry him to school that day.)

Life was ‘oh-so-perfect’ when Parth, my elder son was born. I had come across a lot of families where even after a child, there’s a want for another.  Some yearn for a little princess after a naughty little boy. Others feel the need for a boy to complete the family.

But with us, there was no scope for another. We were a perfect small, happy family. My son was growing up fast and was quickly approaching the age when his immunity could be trusted upon. The harrowing fortnightly visits to the paediatrician, were gradually becoming less frequent events. We were glad for being able to spend more time together as the kid was becoming more independent.

But as fate had it, we were to welcome the next bambino in the family. And with him coming, we couldn’t help notice the chaos that came along. We knew we were going to be neck-deep in mental, physical and financial mess. Still, we jumped in.

To make matters worse, it was a troubled pregnancy. There was no trace of the much-famed pregnancy glow on my face! Acidity, nausea, dark patches, pre-natal depression and to top it all, blogs on pregnancy asking me to ‘celebrate’ the phase made me want to punch right into every smiling face.

No, I didn’t rejoice even a minute of my second pregnancy. I couldn’t wait for my due date, not because I was excited to hold my baby, but because I wanted this phase to get over.

And then came ‘Shivaan’.

Life rewound 5 years.

We found ourselves back in the paediatric ward – Fortnightly vaccines, repeated checkups, rushing in for common cold, diaper rashes, colic and what not.

I had progressed to the tab named ‘school-going’ on parenting websites. The new one’s arrival was all the way back to the ‘newborn’ tab for me.

I changed from a sane, sensible mom to an irate, baffled one, who would snap at everyone (including the kids) at the drop of a hat.

Apple pies, surprise stuffing paranthas, cupcakes and pizzas gave way to quick-cook oatmeal.

Weekly art and craft hours, visits to the park, weekend drives were things of the past. And that turned my perky 5-year old into an impulsive brat who believed his brother is the villain in his life.

For the first six months after my delivery, I reminded myself every 6 minutes- This too shall pass.

Yes, we didn’t plan Shivaan. But as they say,

“if it’s planned, it’s human; if it isn’t, it’s divine”.

Shivaan is now 6 months old. And the family of four looks saner now.

When I see the brothers play, I breathe out.

Now when I see the little imp pulling his brother’s hair who replies with a smile and a cuddle- ‘Shivu, soon, you’ll get your own’, I feel like celebrating!

“Mom, save my worksheets for Shivaan.”

“Another story, please. The more stories you tell, the more I pass on to Shivaan.”

And life is beautiful again.

It’s a divine plan, I am convinced.

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