Inevitably tardy letter to Neve on her first birthday

Neve at her first birthday party

Dear Neve:

In this age of blogs, when we share every (warts and all) experience as it happens, I sometimes wonder about how we will feel about all this openness years from now.

For eventually, despite my good intentions, you and Lily might be annoyed – perhaps justifiably – about your childhood being parsed and recorded and analyzed in this blog.

And when you finally read something like the post I wrote about not being at all sure about whether or not your dad and I should have a second child, as well as the panicky pre-partum blues essay I wrote while pregnant with you, you might feel stricken with worry about whether I feel I made the right choice.

But you shouldn’t for even a second, baby girl; I fell head over heels for you during your first 24 hours of life, when you firmly insisted that we both sleep right through what was supposed to be your 3 a.m. feeding. “A thousand blessings on your little head, Neve,” I said at the time, as you snoozed the night away. It sounds stupid, I know, but from the start, you seemed like an old soul baby who, for example, knew we could both use the extra rest after a crazy, eleven minute delivery (check out that story here); and this past year has only reconfirmed this idea, frankly.

For it often seems like it simply doesn’t occur to you to throw a fit. Generally, you accept the circumstances you’re in; you play with what you have in front of you; and you smile and laugh easily. Yes, you often suffer separation anxiety when I leave for work – which is hard on us both – but really, this underlines the fact that we have a healthy attachment to each other, and you recover quickly. And while Lily, as a baby, often wigged out when I put her in the stroller – which is why she sat on my shoulders as I walked her to daycare every day for months and months – you make peace with that and just about any other situation (longish car trip, running errands, restaurants) in which you find yourself.

Now I know this may be partly because, as the second child, you don’t really have a choice. Because you’re not, and never will be, the sole center of our family’s world, you just hang on and find enjoyment when and where you can. Plus, you have a highly entertaining big sister to watch. But regardless of why you’re the way you are, your low-key “roll-with-it-ness” makes me and others around you feel calm and at peace – an unexpected gift, to be sure. Continue reading

Transitioning from one kiddo to two (or, “I still love ya, baby!”)

So in the latter months of this pregnancy, I’ve been freaking out a little about how Lily will adapt to suddenly having an attention-hogging new baby in the house. After all, she has enjoyed the loving, undivided attention of two parents her whole life, and knows nothing different from that.

And while my yammering about this issue one night caused Joe to lie awake in the middle of the night, worrying about it, too, overall, I’ve been obsessing about this much more (shocking, I know). Mainly, this is because Lily’s very mommy-centric – 9 times out of 10, I’m the one she wants to do, well, any given thing – and because Joe won’t be producing milk anytime soon, the baby, by necessity, will be overwhelmingly mommy-centric, too.

So unless the opportunity to clone myself arises between now and July 10, I figure I’m screwed.

It’s funny. Joe, and many other people, point out all the time that everyone who has a sibling has survived the transition just fine, and rationally, I know this is true. Plus, it seems ludicrous to drive yourself crazy because you know your kid is going to be unhappy for a while. That’s just an inevitable part of life. But right from the get-go, your child’s happiness is what you want more than anything. That’s why we parents spend so much weekend time at the zoo, the park, at kids’ birthday parties, etc. You love to see your kid smiley and sing-songy and joyful, and you’ll bend over backwards to make that happen.

But when a undeniable limitation, like a new baby, enters the picture, there are inevitably going to be bumps in the road for your little one. Continue reading