Baby No. 2 is No. 1 for a Day

My second-born child, Riley, does not get a lot of one-on-one time. Whether we’re reading books before bed or cuddling on the couch, his big brother, Miles, is usually right in the middle of the action. Even when I was nursing (ESPECIALLY when I was nursing), Miles would manage to insert himself into things. Poor Riley doesn’t even get to bathe by himself.

Honestly, this hasn’t concerned me much. After all, Riley doesn’t know any different. That’s the way it’s been since the day he was born. And he doesn’t seem to mind. His big brother is one of his 3 favorite people in the world. (The other 2 change depending on whose plate he’s trying to mooch off of.)

I’ve been much more concerned about my first-born feeling displaced or left out since the baby arrived, so I’ve gone overboard trying to make sure Miles has plenty of Mom-and-me time. Like the day I took him out for a special birthday breakfast. Except he pouted, refused to eat his pancakes, and said, “I wish Riley was here. It would be more funner.” So much for that.

But last week Riley and I went on our own little adventure, just the 2 of us. A friend from college was throwing a birthday party for her 1-year-old daughter, whom I’d never met. The chance to see my friend, meet her baby, AND buy some cute girl clothes? Done!

The only catch was that C. and Miles couldn’t go and the party was a 1.5-hour drive away. The thought of spending 3+ hours alone in the car with Riley was daunting. And by “daunting” I mean that a combination root canal and bikini wax was more appealing. This child can scream loud enough to be heard in the next Zip code, and I would be contained inside a small metal box with him?!

I started preparing days in advance. I packed his CDs, books, snacks, drinks, and a special bag full of “car toys.” (Ones that didn’t make obnoxious noises or require parental assistance.) I mapped out our route, and an alternate route. I got a good night’s sleep and fueled up with a nutritious breakfast. Like I was preparing to go off to war. And then, we were off.

A few minutes into the trip, I glanced in the rearview mirror. Riley was sitting quietly in his carseat, gazing out the window. Occasionally he’d point out a truck (“cuck!”) or a bus. This continued for miles. I braced myself for the screaming and whining, but they never came. Even when we hit traffic and barely moved for 5 miles. And when we got to the party, he let me hold him and introduce him to strangers. He played, he ate cake, he let me change his diaper on a picnic table — with no drama, no struggles, no meltdowns.

Who WAS this child?! If you know anything about Riley from this blog, you know that he is not a calm, quiet, easy-going baby. He’s the complete OPPOSITE. He can shatter glass with a single scream. Goes from zero to tantrum in 2 seconds. Destroys household items with his bare hands.

Except on this day. This remarkable, unprecedented day when he was on his own. No big brother to antagonize him. No dad to divide his attention. No one to fight with for toys or food. Only Riley and Mommy, together. Just the 2 of us.

READ O’ THE WEEK: For you writers out there, “A working mother’s guide to writing a novel.” So it CAN be done…


Erin said…

Great post. Really hit home. I've struggled w/some mom guilt with knowing my oldest will never get the attention he used to get, and my youngest will never get the attention of an only child. Nice to know other mom's have thought about this stuff too 🙂

Mrs.Ebrahim said…

That sounds sooo sweet!! I am glad you were able to experience that it sounds amazing 😀
Can't wait to have my second, but not soon..

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said…

Awww! How sweet. Amazing how kids can do a complete 180 in different environments/circumstances. So happy to hear the day went so well!

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