Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Second Child

It was a big day for my little one. In my digital photo organizing project, I finally reached 2007.

My daughter was born in the fall of 2006. For the last few weeks, the kids and I have been looking at photos and watching videos from my son's baby and toddler years. Although she is not in them, my daughter has enjoyed watching the videos more than anyone. Finally, she was the star of today's show.

Mother and Baby - Flotsam of the Mind
My daughter and I in the summer of 2007.

When my daughter was born, I swore she wouldn't get the second child treatment. Her baby book would be equally complete. I would take as many photos. The physical evidence of our love for her would equal that of her brother's. She would never be able to point to an object to justify an assertion that "he's your favorite."

I didn't so such a bad job. Her baby book is only so-so, but his is no great work. I kept the same calendar for each of their first years, where I marked down their first tears, teeth, and trips. Because I love photography, both kids' baby and toddler years are over-documented. The stories are what worry me.

My daughter can do a spot-on imitation of her older brother as a toddler. Correction: she can do a spot-on imitation of her father's imitation of her older brother as a toddler. She knows all the stories of the silly things her big brother did and said, and there were many.

We don't tell many stories about her baby years. In our defense, our son said some goofy stuff. He talked late and not that well. Our daughter, however, seems to have arrived fully formed. She was walking and talking and seemingly running the household at age one. She had only two bits of baby talk that I can recall.

While this is a truthful distinction and the story we tell her, it's not the only story. In reality, the first year of her life is a bit of a blur. We moved that year. My husband moved a couple months before the kids and I, when my daughter was four months old. The kids and I spent a few weeks in transit living with each of my parents and my in-laws as we worked our way from the Midwest to the East Coast. We move from a brand new condo to a house that needed work (and furniture and rugs and so on). My little one didn't sleep through the night until she was nearly a year old. I had a three-year-old, a baby, a husband who only could make occasional appearances, a house and a yard in need of attention, and I was oh-so-very-tired. 2007 is a bit of a lost year.

Mother and Baby - Flotsam of the Mind

No matter how hard I tried to keep up with first-child standards, my memory often fails me. I fear that, if not already, someday my daughter will notice and use this as her evidence for an unwarranted assertion that we love her brother more. I hope that's not the case, but I worry about it.

Until she is old enough to process these thoughts and accuse me, I will enjoy sitting her on my lap to watch her diapered bottom toddling across my computer screen. She loves to watch her baby videos and prefers those in which both she and her brother are featured. Perhaps because she never knew life without her big brother, even videos without him seem somehow wrong. I just hope she'll cut us some slack on the silly stories.

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