You only technically become a parent once. You can have more kids, sure, but you are already and forever a parent. The second time is not new to you, it’s new to them. Which leads to the following logical conclusion—the second child is less exciting than the first.
I knew it right from the moment my wife told me she was pregnant. And though she chided me for my lackluster woo-hoo, I think she was feeling it, too. It wasn’t disappointment or ungratefulness or anything negative; more like hearing the bell for the eighth round sounding. ‘Again? Already?’
The second time is, well, the second time. Especially with a toddler around. The first time, we had nothing but time. Time to come up with the perfect name, time to birthplan and assemble and accessorize. Time to mentally focus. This time we’re blogging for baby names, ready for it all to end, yet scared for it all to begin. What happened? When in doubt, blame science.
Wikipedia gives us this definition: The law of diminishing returns states that in all productive processes, adding more of one factor of production, while holding all others constant, will at some point yield lower per-unit returns.
Baby-making is a productive process if ever there was one, and therefore subject to the law. Like riding a new roller coaster or traveling to a new place, the first time is 100% new, mysterious, unknown. There’s nothing like it in the world; I learned far less about what I was doing than I did about myself. The act of discovery becomes the process.
I think the law can be skirted with Mother Time. The nostalgia factor. We lived in Japan for a couple years, several years back. Even though we both loved it and instinctively wanted to return, deep down we knew it wouldn’t be the same. The law would be strongly enforced. We waited. It’s been several years now, and I finally feel ready to return. Enough will be the same to recapture and reminisce, but more importantly, enough will be different to create new firsts.
The problem with baby-making is that most people (us included) having multiple children prefer to have them fairly close together in age. There hasn’t been enough time to cover up the tracks of the sleepless nights, the crying, the spit-up and constant drone of the breast pump. The path can still be seen. And who knows? A little bit of familiarity on this particular journey might not be such a bad thing. We may not know exactly where the rabbit holes lie. But we at least know to look for them this time.