My most recent ultrasound photo is somewhere in my glove compartment, most likely glued to the back of an old parking ticket with a combination of Triple Paste and Crystal Light dust. My point is, that thing isn’t exactly laminated right now.
Sorry, Baby Number Two.
It’s not that I don’t care about you, it’s just that this is no longer my first time at the rodeo. The good news is this: I will probably be a much better parent this time around, one who won’t schlep you to the pediatrician for every bright red cheek rash and off-color bowel movement. Really, this is a good deal for you all around. You won’t be looking at me like, “Who is this fool?” as I attempt to swaddle you and end up in a frustrated heap of sweat and tears. Baby Deuce, you will be enjoying one of those shortcut Velcro swaddle things, cause what am I trying prove?
There will be no shower in your honor, your fetal photos will not be distributed to family and friends, nor will they even be regarded at all after the doctor pronounces you basically normal looking. I won’t be investigating your tiny, embryonic face for my nose or my husband’s brow or thinking it’s AMAZING when you suck your thumb in utero. I mean, it is pretty cool, but mama has stuff to do now.
Baby Number Two, while we’re leveling with each other (in what admittedly is a pretty unilateral Come to Jesus session here), you probably won’t be wearing any new clothes.
There, I said it.
Look, dude, if you were a girl I would have had to buy you new stuff, but you will be crawling around in what were once your brother’s $12 American Apparel cotton baby karate pants. They will be lightly stained, but otherwise clean and hygienic. You will have a sailor suit or two that your brother didn’t ruin, but adorable new Osh Kosh overalls or teeny-tiny checkered Vans? No can do, Number Two.
There is a good chance I will cry after you’re born, because the whole miracle of childbirth never really gets old, not to mention the relief I know I’m going to feel if you are healthy and safe. I’m going to get the old Pottery Barn changing table top out of the garage and will seriously consider hitting it with some Pledge before sticking it back on the dresser in your big brother’s room.
While we are getting things all out on the changing table, even your birthday week won’t be your own. You are due exactly three years after your brother. It turns out, your parents really enjoy New Year’s Eve and aren’t that original about conception dates.
You may or may not go to Mommy and Me music classes and movies and discussion groups, depending on how lonely and bored I get. If the other moms start to drive me nuts, see you later, Mommy and Me yoga. Namaste.
With the first pregnancy, I knew every day whether your brother was the size of a poppy or a lime or a mango. I was reading all the books and consulting cell phone apps. Now, not so much.
If it makes you feel any better, I’m not exactly non-alcoholic-wineing and dining myself, either. No pre-natal massages, no staring at myself in the mirror, no taking an endless series of baby bump photos, no slathering myself with expensive stretch mark cream. No relaxation tapes to prepare me for your birth. Make no mistake, I am hoping to birth you the old-fashioned way after your brother was breach and had to be sliced out, but I don’t really have time to meditate about it.
Last time, I had a selection of pregnancy pillows and maternity clothes and pricey vitamins and acupuncture. This time, I have a toddler. And some jobs. And a long and winding commute to daycare.
The dirty little secret is that on the first go-round, it wasn’t just that I was inexperienced and so everything was magical and new and terrifying and awe-inspiring and precious. Those things are true, and probably obvious to anyone who is currently pregnant for the first time. The secret is that I made a tacit, unconscious deal with the universe, one that is only becoming clear now. The deal was that if I worried about every single thing that could go wrong, it wouldn’t. If I never took it for granted that I would have a healthy baby, that I would deserve him and know how to care for him, if I was fraught with terror and anxiety, the universe would know I wasn’t getting cocky about making a human life.
This time, I know that bad things can happen. My worrying has almost no effect on the world. My worrying is about as effective a talisman as a rabbit’s foot. I’m not opening Pandora’s Diaper Genie and seeing what kind of nauseating crap flies free. I’m just plowing ahead. Without laminating.
You see what just happened there, kiddo? I was totally talking to you and I got sidetracked and forgot all about you.
My insouciance about you, your innate and powerful and kickass ability to thrive, nurse, sleep, survive any ineptitude on my part, sustain the slings and arrows and rashes and viruses of babyhood, that is the very thing I am loving most about you right now, 23 weeks into your life. Or is it 24? I forget.
Second-timers: Do you miss that old laminating feeling? Or do you embrace being a salty, old (that’s just me) veteran? How is it different?