I’m starting to realize that some things are going to be a little different for you. Not better, or worse, necessarily…just different.
For one thing, there will be fewer pictures of you – not because I love you less, but because I’ve run out of storage space on my computer, and because I can’t as easily set you down to photograph you, like I did with your brother when he was your age. Now, I’m not only battling dog paws and noses, but I’m fending off your brother as well. Your brother loves you like crazy, but at 17 months old, his love borders on obsession and he wants to open-mouth kiss your head, your cheek, your hand, your foot or any part of you, really, any time he can get within an arm’s reach of you. And this is definitely cute, so I could try to get a picture of the two of you together, but I’m also sure he’s passing along winter’s seasonal germs and secretly trying to bite you at the same time, so I gotta be quick about it.
Also, you will cry more often, and for longer stretches of time, than Dylan did. I’m sorry about this one, but your cry just doesn’t jar me as suddenly as your brother’s did. I’m familiar with the sound of a baby’s cry now, and I can handle giving you a minute or two before I jump into action. I know that you will soothe once I get to you, but I can’t always get to you right away, because I’m probably nursing your brother or keeping your brother away from the ornaments on the lower third of the Christmas tree (why did we even bother hanging them that low?), or washing your brother’s hands after he doused them in the dog’s water dish (again), or keeping your brother out of the pantry cupboard where he likes to unravel the aluminum foil and saran wrap, and by the time I turn to you you’ve learned how to self-soothe, and you’re lying there quietly, sucking on your fingers and staring at the light filtering through the wooden slats over the kitchen window. Part of my heart aches a little when this happens, because you managed to overcome a little hurdle without me, but I hope it will make you stronger in the end. Maybe you’ll be more resilient and less of a mama’s boy than Dylan was in his early months.
Then, there’s your hand-me-down clothing – not that there’s anything wrong with them – but you might feel like they’re not special. Let me be clear: it was super special when your mama didn’t have to buy a wardrobe for your brother because of the generosity of a friend’s hand-me-down clothes, and it’s even more super special that your mama doesn’t have to buy a second wardrobe for you. Recycling is hip, Oscar, remember that.
There will be more. So much more. And even though these differences may not seem fair, please know that we know you’ll be ok in the end. We know this for two reasons:
- Fair does not always mean equal. Equal means the same, and we will not always be able to (or want to) treat the two of you the same way. We will do our best to be fair, but this might not always feel equal.
- As a grown second child I know there’s a really good chance that you and Dylan will grow up to be the closest of friends. In fact, I’m hoping you’ll adore your big brother the way I admired my big sister and tried to emulate her in every way. (I’m also hoping this won’t confuse you, and take you until your mid-20’s to realize that you are two very different people…). You have the rare opportunity to grow up together, side-by-side, and share in each other’s joys and discoveries. And that, my dear one, is the fairest way we know to teach you the meaning of friendship, something we value as equally as love.