Second Child

Dear Charlie,

I want to apologize.

I swore I wouldn’t fall into “second child-itis” with you and I have fallen. Hard. There are so many ways I feel like I am “failing” you.

With Eddie, I scrap booked the day lights out of his first year. I kept track and wrote down everything. I recorded first words and monthly milestones and growth patterns.  I printed pictures each month and clipped them together to make sure I would include them in his book.  I wrote letters to him on the 23rd of each month with all my notes on hand to reference and put into words.

I have not been this vigilant with your milestones.

Daddy tells me that I have been keeping it here on the blog…but when I do a search of all my posts for you, they are mostly letters–heavy on sentiment and feelings and light on the facts of your growth.

Part of me is sad about this.

second child

I mean, I had been so good about it with Eddie. But with Eddie I was sick. I had trouble being close to him without getting upset. He much preferred to be with Daddy than with me.  I clung to those stats.  They proved I was doing my job as his mom. He was growing and thriving and he was happy.

I think about writing things down about you a million times a day.

Just yesterday you said, “Ma Ma Ma! Juuuuuuu!!!” as you stood by the refrigerator. I told you to say please and you smiled that HUGE smile of yours with all your teeth and your squinty little eyes and cooed, “eeeeeeessss!”

I melted all over the floor.  You’re not even 18 months old yet.

second child

By comparison your brother didn’t say any real words until well after he turned two. And even then he wasn’t stringing 2-3 words together for a thought or request. He didn’t say “ma ma” until he was a full year older than you are.

It’s not a bad thing. You know Eddie, he says all the things now and he is so smart and articulate. It’s hard to really imagine him not having words.  I wrote down little notes each time he said a new word.

I have not written down any of your words, Birdie.  They just come too fast!  I think maybe the first word was “no”, but I could be wrong. Off the top of my head the words you have are:

  • ma ma
  • da
  • di di (Eddie) –which you don’t say very often. You just know who “Eddie” or “brother” is.
  • woe
  • yo (and also yo, yo! when Daddy comes home.  So silly!)
  • NO!
  • Juuuuu!  (juice, water)
  • mik (milk)
  • num num (for food)
  • ni ni (for goodnight)
  • bye bye
  • aw gu (all gone)
  • hi!
  • shoooooos (shoes)
  • bop (pipe, your pacifier)
  • boom (you repeat this after us, but you also use this for the word “poop”)
  • Ow
  • Di (diaper)
  • eeeeeeeesss! (please)
  • nus (nose)
  • tus (toes)

And I am sure there are more. You study what we say and try to repeat it. It’s so fun that even Eddie tries to teach you words.

second child

You are quite good at knowing all the parts of the face including some body parts like fingers, toes, feet, buns, tummy, and of course penis. Because boys are weird.

You are over 25 pounds and wearing size 5 diapers.

Size 18 months is a hit or miss fit for you. Most shirts don’t quite cover your big buddah belly, but the shorts are the right length.

You want to do everything Eddie does. EVERYTHING. If he is playing on a tablet or a computer or a video game, you think you can do it too.

second child

You are a climber. I’m positive some of my new gray hairs are because you can climb on anything you decide to climb. It’s also freaking Renae out at daycare this fall. She tells us with panic what the newest thing you have climbed is. Daddy and I just nod knowingly.  Yup. That’s Bird.

This summer you crawled up three concrete steps at the cottage and proceeded to fall down them and land on the concrete slab…on your head. You didn’t cry. You just stood up, rubbed your head (where there was a big scratch and a goose egg) and say, “woe.”  Then you walked away.

Your uncles are still talking about how you are indestructible.

second child

I knew you would be fine and I didn’t rush to you.  With Eddie, I would have cried and rocked you and fretted over a concussion.

With you, I gave you a pat on the buns and told you, “good hustle, Bird.”

Am I failing you?

I don’t think we are, but sometimes I question whether we are being fair.

You put yourself to sleep every nap and every night. Sometimes you cry. We let you.

We never let Eddie cry. Never. We spent HOURS rocking him and sleeping on the couch with him. Never did he cry himself to sleepy.

You normally just fall asleep, but when you don’t, we let you cry. It only lasts 15 minutes at the most. Then you are out.

Is this wrong?

Is it because you are the second child?

I think so. In part.

second child

But I also think it’s because you’re not Eddie.

You’re Charlie.

You are a different child.

Yes, you are our second boy. Yes, you are another Sluiter. Yes, you both have blue eyes, blond hair with curls, and a wicked cute smile and dimple.

But you are not the same child, so we are not parenting you as the same child.

You are fiercely naughty in a way Eddie never was. You ignore the word “no” unless you are using it against us. You laugh as you do something you know you’re not supposed to. Did I mention you climb all the things? Even our high top dinner table? You are rarely unhappy unless you are hungry or tired. Then your tantrums are fierce…FIERCE, I say. But quick. As soon as you have a snack or a nap you are back to silly Bird.

second child

And your cuddles. Oh you’re my cuddly momma’s boy. So different than the first time around with Eddie who was incredibly attached to Daddy.

I’ve been a bum about writing things down, yes. I’ll try to get better. I want you to have as rich of a pile of my memories as Eddie does. I want you to know about yourself in a time that you will not remember. I want you to have that.

You are my second child, but you are not second place.  You are not less than First.

You are different.

You are my Charlie T Bird.

And I love you with all of my heart and soul.

Love, Ma Ma

It’s Not All Bad

Lately I have noticed that each time I write about my pregnancy, I have some complaining to do.  And it’s true, this time around all the yucky feelings that I had with Eddie (morning…er all day…sickness, back pain, reflux, etc.) have been magnified to the point where I need to treat almost all of them with medications this time.

This pregnancy has not really been all that bad, it’s just that sometimes, at the end of the day, the barfing and the exhaustion are what I am focused on.

And that is not fair.

Not to you, not to my family, and not to Charlie.

To even it out, today I am going to list some of the best things about this pregnancy.

It’s winter instead of summer.
Yup, this is definitely a positive.  Eddie was born June 23 on a day that was 100 degrees and humid.  My last month of work consisted of me trying to keep my hugely swollen feet wedged in flip flops while I waddled and sweated through my lesson plans (we don’t have air conditioning).

This time, with less than two months to go, I have almost no swelling except for a little bit in my hands.  Thank goodness for sub-freezing weather!  I would SO much rather be cold than hot while I am pregnant.

I am too busy to worry about things…much.
During my pregnancy with Eddie, I read all the books, scoured the internet, talked to all my friends who were already moms, and just did a LOT of thinking about the pregnancy and the baby.

This time, I haven’t cracked one book or gotten swept up in any internet searches.  Shoot, I haven’t even had time to worry about what the state of the nursery is.  I am just too busy.  It’s a combination of working until the end of the pregnancy this time (last time school was out at the end of May, so I had almost a month of just sitting home waiting) and having a two year old who demands my attention, thoughts, and worries.

Eddie is in love with Charlie.
Every evening, Eddie and I curl up in our chair to read books, but now that time also consists of discussing Charlie and which books Eddie wants to read to him and how Eddie wants to help him with his bottles and how Eddie is a “big bro-ver” and Charlie is “baby Char-ee”.

There is much tummy patting and peering into my belly button.

We talk of Eddie’s new big boy room (where “Gampa” is making the bed) and how Charlie will move in soon.

The newest announcement is that Char-ee will cry very “youd” and Eddie will go “bum bum bum” on the wall. (what? where does that kid come up with this stuff?)

I am sleeping better this time around.
Don’t get me wrong, I have weird dreams and I am exhausted all the time.  This time around, however, I find that I am smarter about going to bed early and taking Tylenol PM if my back hurts rather than just trying to sleep without help (which never worked).

Cort and I are now quite aware that sleep deprivation is a MAJOR trigger for my anxiety and depression, so we have both worked extra hard to make sure the recognize when I am hitting that point of needing to just stop and sleep.

Charlie is a mover.
Eddie moved a lot.  There was no reason to ever “count kicks” with Ed.

With Charlie?  There is even less of a need to count anything.  It’s like he is setting up uneven bars and training for this summer’s Olympics.

While the random foot to the lung or rib or spleen isn’t always comfortable, it’s really fun to SEE him moving in there and feel him reacting to Eddie’s voice and touch, and to the bass that I may or may not have cranked on my daily commute (hint: I play my music loud.  what?)

I’m not nervous about becoming a mom this time, but excited about having sons.
Eddie is going to be a big brother!  Charlie will be a little brother!  I will be the mom of BOYS!  This is going to be good times.

Cort isn’t as weirded out by a creature living and moving in my belly this time.
I remember the first time Cort felt Eddie kick.  I mean really kick.

I was pushing on Eddie’s foot and he would kick back, so I told Cort, “hey, feel that?  Push on it.” So he did.  And Eddie pushed back.  And Cort almost jumped across the room.

This time, he knows what to expect and he is always finding ways to touch my belly and rub it and say hi to Charlie.  In the night I will feel his hand go from holding mine to resting on my stomach hoping to feel a little kick from his boy.

Everything is fleeting.
Last time around, while I knew in my head that everything was a phase (I wasn’t going to be pregnant forEVER), I didn’t know what the next phase looked like.  I didn’t know how long each phase would be.  I couldn’t see any ends to things because I didn’t know what I was looking for.

This time, I am surprised when each phase ends and I enter a new one because I haven’t been searching for the end of anything.

Everything is moving much faster to me this time.  Just when I was getting used to being in my second trimester, it was over.  Just as I am getting used to being pregnant, I have a c-section date and an end in sight.

Isn’t it weird how two pregnancies can be so very much the same and completely different at the same time?

My biggest wonder this time around is not what motherhood will be like, but what will Charlie be like?  Will he be like his brother?  Probably not.  He will probably just be his own person…but what will that be like?

In exactly 8 weeks we will begin to find out.

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