A good friend had her second child last spring. When I asked how it was, she told me she was totally in love with her second child; she couldn’t even bear to put her down. I was doubtful – how could I love anyone as much as I loved Robbie? How could I ever be more smitten than I was with Robbie? And then another friend told me the second child was “the one you can enjoy.” Again, I was doubtful. Nothing could ever replace the excitement of a first child. But then Alex was born.
He really is the child I can enjoy. With Robbie, I was terrified and overwhelmed. There was grad school, work, and an administrative practicum. We were a thousand miles from family. I’d never spent so much time with a baby, and I can remember thinking, at the end of the day, “I did it! I survived the day!” Then I was hit with the realization that no parent was coming to relieve me. “Oh, shit!” I’d think. “I have to do it all again tomorrow. And every day for the next eighteen years.” For some reason, this never occurred to me when I was pregnant.
It’s different with the second child, perhaps because (unless God is laughing as I type this) Alex will be our last. All of a sudden, I’m not worried about surviving the next day; I’m worried that the days are going to go too fast and I won’t have soaked in all the baby time. I don’t mind being up in the middle of the night to nurse because it’s only going to happen for a very little while. I’m trying to breathe in every baby-scented breath I can sneak because, all too soon, he’s going to smell like a sweaty little boy (which is wonderful in it’s own odd way).
Already he’s growing up too fast. We’ve passed being able to count his age in days, and I’m barely hanging on to how many weeks he is. Soon, we’ll be into marking his age by months and then years. Just today I registered Robbie for kindergarten. I’m so thankful to have so much time between the two of them because, just maybe, it will make the time slow down a little bit.