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The First Kid Is the Easiest

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Guest blogger Dani Klein Modisett: The other morning my toddler threw himself on the ground, tugging at his ears and rolling around the floor screaming and crying. So of course, I assumed he had an ear infection. I took him to the doctor as soon as the office was open.

mom and baby crying

"Perfect," she said, peering into his right ear. "And ... perfect on this side too! No infection, that's good."

I guess.  I felt stupid for wasting her time.

"But he was rolling around on the floor, hitting himself in the head.  It really looked like he was in pain, like he wanted out of his body."

"What happened right before?"

"His brother and father left to go to school and to work."

"I guess he didn't like that."

"Oh. Wait ... what?"

"Probably had a tantrum.  That's what kids do."

Yeah, kids, but he's not even a year-and-a-half-old yet!  Oh shit.

After we left her office, Baby G. didn't want to get in his car seat, so attempting to put him in it was like trying to fold 8-inch thick plywood with my hands -- plywood that is writhing and screaming.  I managed to get him buckled in, but still he wouldn't stop crying, unless I kept my hand on his knee. So I put my left hand on the steering wheel and reached back with my right keeping my hand on his leg the whole way home.  Thank God for the compact car, huh?

And he still doesn't sleep through the night -- most nights and he'll probably nurse until he's 30.

I don't want to be alarmist, but this was not my experience with my five-year-old. I hope there's nothing really wrong with this one.

Maybe it's true that "the universe" gives you the easy one first.  Otherwise how would we ever have the courage to have more?


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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jenny December 13, 2008, 9:15 AM

I dont think that you are given the easiest first, I believe that your kids tend to be opposites, at least thats what Ive heard. I only have one….guess which kind of kid I got first?? I love her dearly and I couldnt imagine life without her but I dont have the energy to do it again!

ashley December 13, 2008, 9:21 AM

Our son, who is now 6, was perfect when he was a toddler, he would play quietly and not destroy things and not climb on everything. Now our daughter is 18 months and she is an evil little thing!!! I have to pull all the chairs away from every desk and table in the house or she is up there. She goes through drawers and strings stuff all over the house. At least 5 times a day I find myself saying, “Lucas wasn’t like this, I don’t understand!” So frustrating!!!!!

Marquita December 13, 2008, 11:38 AM

My son,my only child,is just like your son. He will be 14 months old next week and already has tantrums. He gets fussy when he does not have his breast milk and likes person to person contact. So, maybe my second child, when I decide 2 have another, will be the “easy” child.

Rebecca December 13, 2008, 12:05 PM

I have 3 kids and in my situation the second child is definatly the easiest. My 1st one is still a handful!

Uly December 13, 2008, 3:17 PM

My nieces are just the opposite. The older one? ALWAYS getting into trouble. At three, constantly sneaking out of nap to write on the walls, steal sugar, hide and not tell me where she was (that was fun…!), throw things out the window…. And just putting her to nap! She’d scream, yell, bite, headbutt, kick, call me nasty names. If she didn’t need sleep so much, I would not have tried.

The second one? Oh my god. Put her to nap, and she snuggles up and goes to sleep. And if she should wake up during her nap she gets up, gets a toy - and goes back to bed! (She started doing that the one time I found she’d begun painting… and she’d carefully put her smock on first and was wiping up spills with a sponge.) I had to tell her that she’s not allowed to clean the bathroom herself, because she’d rather clean it than draw in it. When she gets in trouble she goes “Sorry, Connie, I love you!” instead of “I hate you, you’re mean, you’re NOT my FRIEND!!!!!” (okay, it’s just as manipulative, but it’s just so much more pleasant to deal with!) When she has a tantrum, we put her in her room and in 10 minutes she comes out and hugs us. Her sister? To this day, if she has a tantrum she strives to make us all miserable for at least 45 minutes - we put her in her room for her own safety.

ame i. December 13, 2008, 8:55 PM

My second was easier than my first. My first wanted to be held or carried in a “front loader” most of the time. The first time I strapped my 2nd girl to my chest she squalled. She loved to sit in her bouncy seat and look around.
At 10, daughter the first still fights going to sleep. Daughter the 2nd, at 8, will announce it’s time for bed when she is sleepy.
I can’t remember either having an out and out tantrum, and both are mostly calm and tranquil now.

Anonymous December 14, 2008, 11:02 PM

Hahaha! This is one of the better things momlogic has posted lately! It really made me laugh. I have thought the same thing about my dd during a tantrum!! I thought surely something had to be wrong. Didn’t take her to the dr b/c my husband so kindly pointed out the fact it was a tantrum and kids do that!! LOL!

steph December 16, 2008, 12:36 PM

I believed that whole bit that the first one was the easiest. And of course, with me comfortably resting on that wives tale or whatever…i got a super suprise. My little 1 yr old son is a ball of fire! Always going..going..going. NEVER has had good sleep habits for night time. I feel like i have not slept in forever! I go back and forth on having another..mostly not because the energy is not there. My son is the full package all by himself:)

Cassandra March 4, 2009, 10:10 PM

This sounds so familiar!!! I always call it the second child syndrome. It seems like everyone I know, including myself, their first child was an angel while their second child is a hellion. THis is definetely the case with my two boys. My first son was always quiet, slept through the night immediately, never cared if he was held or not, at bedtime all I had to do was lay him in his bed, say his prayers with him, and he would go to sleep. My youngest however, I thought he would never sleep through the night, he thought he had to be rocked 24/7, and now that he is a toddler he is into EVERYTHING! He throws himself down in the floor and throws temper tantrums, even beats his head on stuff when he is mad. Although I would definetely say my oldest is better behaved, I can always count on my little hellion to cheer me up when I am sad.

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