If you have more than one child, you know that you're a bit more... laid back with the second. And if you have three or more, I bet you don't even know where your youngest is right now. Sometimes you even forget they're on your breast when you nurse them. Then you stand up, and -- oops! Sorry, baby! Anyway, here's some differences between the games you play with your first and your second kids.
1. Thumbkin versus Peekaboo.
"Where is Thumbkin?" has a lot of verses. Five, to be exact. Each one of them trilled lovingly into your first baby's delighted face. With #2, who has time for five stanzas? You don't even have an extra five fingers to use, since you're corralling your toddler. So you'll make do with a modified version of peekaboo where you just use your eyelids to cover your eyes, and not the hands that are busy wiping your firstborn.
2. Tag versus hide and seek.
With your first, you're running back and forth, tagging and being tagged. Just you two in your idyllic bubble. With #2, you choose hide and seek because you can start up dinner while you count, and the less work you do to find them, the happier they are. Expert tip: count to 100, not 10.
3. Hair salon versus mommy massage.
You'll indulge your first child, letting her play with your hair for an hour even if it means you have to spend 15 minutes detangling it and another 15 minutes washing it that evening. Who has that kind of time with your second kid? Let her walk on your back while you lay in a coma on the floor for five minutes and daydream about when you used to sleep through the night. It's how they massage people in Japan. Or something.
4. Finger painting versus good old crayons.
Why not let your first and only toddler cavort in finger paint, getting it all over himself and, secondarily, the paper? What a cute photo to send to the adoring grandparents! Sadly, by the time you have kid #2, you're all done with making messes that you, and you alone, have to clean up. Bring out the box of 64 crayons and some printer paper you had your husband "borrow" from work and call it arts and crafts time.
5. Sensory play versus real sensory play.
Only a first time mom is going to fashion a busy bag full of sensory experiences for her child, including but not limited to: beanbags, play dough, felt, and homemade "goop" from Pinterest. The second born plays with real life sensory toys, such as dirt, leaves, rocks, sticks, and -- wait, what's that? Is that a bug? In your mouth? Well, it's protein.
This post was originally published here on Dr. Psych Mom. Follow Dr. Rodman on Dr. Psych Mom, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Pre-order her book, How to Talk to Your Kids about Your Divorce: Healthy, Effective Communication Techniques for Your Changing Family.