My Huge Parenting Fail

I’ve failed my son. I know this. It was inevitable, I guess, that being the second child, I’d drop the ball somewhere. We all hear about second child syndrome, and I’m very aware of it. We are a lot more relaxed second time around, and I don’t get so hung up on development, milestones and what others tell me. I go with the flow, watch for his cues and take it from there. But this has led me into this dire situation in which I now find myself…

photo 1 (37)He doesn’t know nursery rhymes. Yes, at the grand old age (he hasn’t a clue about the Grand Old Duke, by the way) of 20 months, I doubt he’d recognise any. OK, maybe Incy Wincy Spider, and Round and Round the Garden, but they’re more action songs, aren’t they?

I suspect that by the same age, Boo had been exposed to pretty much every nursery rhyme known to man. I vividly remember singing Sing a Song of Sixpence to her when she was still in her Moses basket. At four and half she still has one sung to her most nights, but Little Man? Nope.

Why, of why has this happened? Poor little thing. Well, I’ve narrowed it down to three key areas.

1 – When Boo was a baby, all the way through the toddler years, we’d play music at mealtimes and crafting sessions. We have quite a collection of nursery rhyme CDs and they were always on. Now? Yes, we still have music on, but it’s Boo’s ‘Now Disney’, or ‘Frozen’, playing again and again and again… Little Man does know ‘Let It Go’ 😉

2 – Boo was tricky to get to sleep. We lingered, we sang, we soothed. So she had nursery rhyme after nursery rhyme sang to her at naptimes and bedtimes. Little Man just wants to get into that cot, grab his dummy and taggie, and he’s set. No need to linger or chat, he clearly wants you to leave so he can get on with the important business of sleeping.

3 – Playgroups. We have failed on so many levels here. Boo went to them regularly, and there were invariably nursery rhyme sessions at them. Little Man does not go to any. Oh, the guilt! Firstly, it was because he always preferred morning naps, and all of our local groups are mornings, so we missed them. Now, though, I confess, it’s because I don’t want to get back into that routine just yet. When Boo starts school in September, we’ll return to that circuit, but for now, I’m just enjoying watching my two play together and on play dates.

But, I do want to take him out into the toddler world. We will go to groups, and eventually, he will have a few sessions at nursery. My fear is that this huge gap in his upbringing and education so far will be exposed and all will know. He will not hum along to Baa Baa Black Sheep and he will not lie down when he’s supposed to be a sleeping cow. OK, don’t panic. I have until September. We’ll cram…

Wish me luck!

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46 thoughts on “My Huge Parenting Fail”

  1. You probably do more than you think, it’s just with the second it seems to go so quickly. I feel I do more with my daughter(2nd) than I did my son, but with him I was still kinda new to it, with her it’s just second nature.

    And if that doesn’t make you feel better, I forgot to buy my son a birthday card this year (he was 6), at about 9pm on the eve of his birthday my husband said to me ‘he’s got a card from us right’. Um no….dons the bad mum cap 😉

    1. It does go so quickly the second time round. It’s just different pros & cons for him, I think.

      Oh dear, that does sound like a story your son can make you feel bad about for years!

  2. Oh that made me laugh Jocelyn! I’m exactly the same with EJ (other than we do go to a toddler group on Friday mornings with JJ – who is too old and bored of the whole thing! – but it doesn’t have any sing a long sessions, the highlight being ‘biscuit time’). I had exactly the same thing of having to stay with JJ singing for hours at bedtime before crawling out of the room on my hands and knees whereas I can practically throw EJ into the cot and he’s happy as a sandboy! We have never had nursery rhymes playing in the background at home though – I sometimes play a bit of radio chart music to them in the car but never succumbed to endless nursery rhymes like I know my sister did (I still remember not being able to go on a car journey with them without some kind of nursery tape playing!) – maybe its more of a girl thing? At any rate I do also slightly worry about the experiential gap between them… On the other hand I’m a second child and I survived! X

    1. Yes, I had to crawl out of Boo’s room! Whereas, Little Man couldn’t care less! Things are different with my approach, but then, the children are very different to each other, too. We have a lot of nursery rhyme & Disney CDs here…pity me….!

  3. Blimey, if that makes you a bad Mum I have no idea what it makes me – LP doesn’t even know nursery rhymes! She can just about do a bit of Twinkle Twinkle and an e-i-e-i-o but apart from that she knows nothing like that! I must be a complete mother failure! hehe x

  4. Life at the Little Wood

    Oh Jocelyn, I so know where you are coming from here! Annie is starting school in September and I often have a panic that she’s nowhere near the stage Eva and Noah were at, at this point. It’s definitely the curse of the second (and third!) child! Great post xx #badmumsclub

    1. It’s so hard! Time flies and you’ve more than one to concentrate on! And of course, they’re all totally different and individual, too, so it feels unfair to compare. I’ve still clearly let him down here, though…!

  5. Do not beat yourself up, Jocelyn. You sound like such an amazing mum! Having big brothers and sisters is so much better (and fun) than singing nursery rhymes with your parents! He will be one of the cool kids with ‘Let it go’! x Mel

  6. I completely relate to this! But, your second child is very loved! And, think of all the stimulation Boo is getting from having an older sibling. DOn’t feel guilty about any of this lovely, it’s the same for everyone xxx

  7. Oh Gosh – YES! The Chunky Monkey has total second child syndrome, although in some ways I watch child number 1 look on as if to say “Seriously? He’s getting away with that?” because I just can’t be arsed anymore – so look at that as a positive 😉

    Loved this post! x

  8. I think most people feel this way about their second hon, goodness knows how I’ll feel when it comes to my third!

    I wrote a very similar post when my 2y3mo was Little Man’s age, but you know what? She is more advanced and articulate now than her sister was at this age. From two her language (& physical abilities) just sky rocketed. It’s amazing to watch 🙂 Fab post xx

    1. That is interesting, and Little Man is more advanced than Boo in some ways, though she takes the crown for speech – she’s never shut up! Thanks x

  9. Snap! But you’re forgetting the crucial difference-they have older sisters. My son can sing most nursery rhymes and I certainly haven’t taught him them. Either that or it’s Cbeebies that’s done the teaching 🙂 #TheThemeGame

  10. I second everything that others have said. Don’t feel bad as everyone is the same. My second child is 11 now and knows the nursery rhymes and he doesn’t feel as if he missed out on anything 🙂 Having said that I also feel guilty about not taking Harry to any playgroups 🙂 x

  11. I worry about the EXACT same thing! Sammy is 18 months old and we rarely ever do nursery rhymes. It’s because life is so busy with an older child at school and I have a good 2 or 3 hours less per day for quality time with him because of the school run, after school groups, homework and all the other associated activities. So the poor love spends far more time being pushed around in his buggy.

    HOWEVER (yes there is a flip side!) he has an older brother and that is such a precious and valuable thing that our first borns will never know. He gets far more running around and going nuts time than Daniel ever did!

    So I try not to feel too guilty and instead embrace the differences in their upbringings.

    (Although maybe I will chuck on a nursery rhymes cd in the car every now and again!)

    1. You are so right. He has had more running about, playground and park outings and fun family day trips than she’d had by this age, and he gets a playmate around him all the time, too. Just different, I guess, but yep, I’ll pop that CD on now and then 😉

  12. Oh Jocelyn I am in exactly the same predicament here albeit with a younger second child who hasn’t the language to show me up yet!
    In some ways i am looking forward to my eldest starting school, also in sept, just so i can actually spend some quality time with my youngest and take him to some groups just for him. At the mo he just gets dragged around wherever we are going poor wee bugger 😉

  13. I often feel bad that my boy is missing out on all the fun things his big sister got to do. But they have the sibling interaction, and I’m sure that’s priceless. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. 😉

  14. Ha! As a fellow mummy of 2 I can completely relate to this! I used to worry about it all the time. Now my youngest is coming up for 4 and those worries have (almost) gone. She doesn’t seem to have suffered too much! 😉 xx

    1. Ah, that is reassuring to know! His sister sings to him anyway, and his love of Let it Go continues to grow!

  15. Oh bless you, he’s had the joy of having an older sister to keep him company. I don’t think he’s missed out and you’re certainly not a bad mother. I wouldn’t worry about the nursery rhymes either. I spent 4 years singing them to Monkey, he never showed a blind bit of interest until the last couple of months and now he sings them over and over and tells Daddy P off for not having ‘his’ CD’s in his car!

    1. Ah, well that makes me feel better. I just hate having done for one and not the other. But she likes them and he shows no interest whatsoever!

  16. As mums we are, without doubt, our worst critics. Your youngest is clearly loved, happy and content so you are doing something right! I think we all drop the ball with our 2nd child sometimes and at 20 months you’ve recognised it way earlier than most 🙂

    1. We are terrible critics, aren’t we? I’d say he’s a more content child than his sister ever was, so maybe he doesn’t need those nursery rhymes after all?! Thanks x

  17. Oh, this made me smile! I got away with it with the boys because they were in nursery… So, I was off the hook in terms of teaching them things like this! It’s all down to me with the wee girl, and if a second child gets less attention, a poor third child…?! Having said that, I do take her to a music class 🙂 Although her song repertoire is currently Hey, Baby and Oh my darling Clementine (hubby likes to teach them tricks!). Nursery rhymes though… Nah! We don’t really do them! Great post 🙂 Thanks so much for linking to #ThePrompt x

    1. At least she has music class! I do have 2 lined up for Little Man when Boo starts school, so we’ll see how he goes then…! Thanks for hosting x

  18. Can totally relate and empathise! 2nd child currently 17 months and was actually incredibly chilled out as a baby … which only meant that 1st child monopolised my time even more. You will be surprised at how much they do know and pick up from their elder sibling … here’s hoping anyway 😉

    1. I think you are right, and my two are close, so she’s always ‘teaching’ him things – some good, some not so good! Thanks 🙂

  19. Gosh, there are so many parallels between your LO and my #2, its funny how we give this change of childcare a name – second child syndrome – when really its just that we’re happier to go with the flow and let them take the lead. I am sure your boy is better at sharing, better at interactive play, has more people to love him ( a big sister) and has lots of you time. So there are lots of positives to be taken from the second-chikd-syndrome…thats what i tell myself, anyway!! Enjoy the time together and there’s plenty of time for him to learn how to sing along to The Grand Old Duke of York!!

    1. I think you’re quite right, well, hope you’re quite right! It’s difficult to quantify and really understand the bendy is of having an older sister to play and interact with all of the time, and she plays so well with him. She likes teaching him words, amongst other things, which is sweet to hear – she breaks them down carefully for him!

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