Wednesday, July 2, 2014

On the Birth of My New Nephew

Dear Aunt Banana,

You've had your second baby!!  Congratulations and best wishes!  Welcome to the world, second Cousin Hungry!  We are so excited and happy that you are here.  And we'll get you a better nickname soon.  (And first Cousin Hungry, welcome to the older-sisters club.  We'll talk about that later.)

As for having a second child, Aunt Banana, I send love and luck.  I have no real advice on having a second child, mainly because my second child came one minute after my first.  Besides, long ago, I made the decision not to give unsolicited advice to moms.  So this isn't advice.  Only observation and reassurance, because I have watched most of my friends have second (and some third) children, talking and listening to them about it.   (Which means this is all about moms.  No dads in my immediate family; no dads in my playgroup.  Sorry, Uncle Soccer!)

Of course, by those second children, even when I was asked for advice, I'd forgotten a lot about schedules, teething, colic, potty training, etc etc etc.  Just like the moms had.  But they figured it out again, under the new circumstances of having a toddler or preschooler at home, too.  You'll remember and figure it all out again, too.

They also figured out juggling divergent schedules (naps were skipped, meals were eaten in cars, first kids went on playdates unescorted, and some events just went unattended), carrying more stuff (not two separate bags, but a more overstuffed bag, and when possible a smartphone for entertainment--how I envied them that!) and prioritizing (houses were messier, get-togethers canceled last minute, Christmas cards late, more tv was watched.)

Those moms were, by then, less worried about teething and tv anyway and more concerned about how to love two or more kids at once.  "I'm ignoring the older one, because I'm always caring for the baby" they'd say.  "I can't give the new baby all the love I gave my first, when I would just sit and look and hold." And always, "There just isn't enough time." They fretted and were frustrated and even scared that they were messing up both kids at once, that it wasn't fair or balanced, that they had to decide, to choose, sometimes.  (And this was long before refereeing fights!)  But with experience, and more sleep, the moms figured it all out.  And you will, too.  There's not just one way, or a right way, to do any of it.  Each mom figures out her way.  You did it the first time and you'll do it again; you'll be everything you need to be and more.  You'll be wonderful.  You're the mom.

And so, we'll be thinking of you in the coming days, weeks, and months.  We know it can be rocky and unsettling, but also miraculous and amazing and affirmative, and so here's wishing you and Uncle Soccer and the two Cousin Hungries lots of love.  Co-opting Keats, I'll say, "that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."   And there's enough love to go around.


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