Family / Kids / Parenting

To Our Second Child with Love

IMG_2815You know how you have one dog and then you think, “Oh my god! That puppy is so cute! We should get another dog!” and then you decide there is no real difference between having one dog and having two dogs because your house is already covered in dog hair and you already have to buy dog food and go to the vet and take the dog for a walk so bring on the puppies! New life! Excitement! Adorable slobbery puppy kisses!

Then, you bring home the second dog and it’s a little bit overwhelming and you realize that having two dogs is more work than having one. In fact, you realize that there is some sort of weird mathmagical thing that happens where adding one more dog exponentially increases the amount of chaos in your life.

It’s the same with kids.

Of course, dogs and kids aren’t exactly the same. For one thing, you can put a dog in a kennel when you leave the house for mimosas. But, the strange mathmagic does apply to kids and that’s why second kids get screwed.

Soon after our first child turned one, we sat down and made him a beautiful scrapbook, carefully documenting his first year of life. We lovingly captioned photos and proudly noted every milestone and included every card and announcement and notable event of his year on the planet. That book sits on a shelf in our living room where he can look at it whenever he wants and see the first year of his babyhood in living color.

The tricky thing about having that baby book right there in the living room for everyone to see is that our second child has also seen it and has asked, “Where is my baby book?”

When she was younger, we would say, “We just haven’t had a chance to put it together yet but we will!” What she had instead was a Pampers box full of random bits of paper and pictures that was shoved in a dark corner of our bedroom closet and, as the years went by, we began to answer her questions about her baby book with, “But sweetie! You have a box of keepsakes in the back of our closet!” Not surprisingly, she was unimpressed. In the past year, she has vacillated between passive aggression (“It must be nice to have a baby book…”) to sarcasm (“I can’t find my baby book! Oh, that’s right. I don’t have one.”).

It’s understandable since she turned 10 last week.

My daughter was going to be away on a school trip for her birthday, so, I decided that I would use that time to finally put her baby book together. She left on a Monday and wasn’t returning until Friday which gave me an entire week.

I spent two days going through digital pictures to select the ones I wanted to use only to find that Luisa and I had already done that and they were in the Pampers box. I then got derailed by some unexpected plans and my son’s need for a haircut and then helping with homework. Even my trip to Target to get a glue stick and double-sided tape became about him when we argued about Hot Pockets in the frozen food aisle for much longer than anyone would believe.

And then, somehow, it was Thursday night when I finally sat down to put the book together and as I sorted the pictures, I realized the ultrasound pictures were missing and I couldn’t find them anywhere and so I had to find digital copies and order them. I couldn’t pick them up until Friday morning, so, that’s when I finally started the baby book that we’d put off for ten years–five hours before my daughter was supposed to arrive home.

I briefly considered pushing it aside once again but the baby book was going to be her gift because there was nothing else she really wanted.

So, I sat down and scrapbooked like my life depended on it, even getting a blister on my thumb from the scissors. Luisa arrived home from a work trip and was able to pick up our daughter so that I could continue working on it and I did finish…15 minutes after she arrived home, while she was in the shower.

That night, when she opened her baby book, her eyes were wide and she looked at us and said, “You got me a baby book! I can’t believe it!”

“Yes! We finally made your baby book!” I beamed with pride.

“Thank you so much!” she said as she looked through it with a friend.

IMG_2817Our second kid has recieved less attention than our first and sometimes I feel guilty but I know it’s not about our love for her but that mathmagical chaos of our lives. She also has lower expectations of us as a result which means that that every once in awhile, we can rock her world with a simple gesture and with the baby book completed, we can take some money out of her therapy fund. Mimosas for everyone–our treat.

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  1. Nah, nah, nah…I can’t hear you!

    I have sources that tell me that the work/chaos doesn’t even double, it’s better/easier the second time around. I’m afraid, as I embark on the Babymaking Journey again, I’m just going to have to ignore you & your Mathmagical Chaos Theory. It helps that we have also set the bar low for ourselves…we did not (personally) frame a single picture of our child in her 1st year of life. And scrapbooking, WTH is that?

  2. My kids are six and almost three and I have two Pampers boxes and no baby books. I even have an envelope right here beside my computer of a snippet of hair from the littlests first hair cut. Just hanging out here on my desk. I haven’t even put it in the box.

  3. Pingback: Where Are The Words? | Up Popped A Fox

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