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L’invisible

A second child often gets much less attention than the first. A repeat father wonders if he can make it different for his newborn son

By Sam Leith   June 2011

Follow the leader: second children often emulate their older siblings, who resent them

When I had my first child—a daughter, Marlene, now nearly two years old—I hit on what seemed to me an effective metaphor for what was going on. I was moving from a Ptolemaic universe into a Copernican one. Before you have a child, you are the centre of your own universe: everything revolves around you. Parenthood gives you the proper—the Copernican—sense of your marginality. This new thing takes its place, and you are in orbit around it.

I went on to realise—a much more important realisation—that the…

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