The tetchiness of bringing home Baby No. 2

We’ve been thinking second-child thoughts all week here at the Mommy Prayers summer shack — primarily because firstborn’s been away in the White Mountains all week, which makes us realize we have a second child, and, furthermore, the kid is good company.

But also because a friend has just had her second baby, which brought back memories of those ticklish early days trying to get the older kid to not just not-kill the baby, but actually like it and welcome it into the family. Hellish.

Nobody captures that tetchy emotional dance better than Catherine Newman in Waiting for Birdy — have you read it? Best new-parenting memoir since Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions. (that’s not my original thought — some lovely blurber said it on the cover of Catherine’s book before I did. But I agree.)

She’s just so spot on about those first hours and days, hiding the precious newborn — which, after all, you worked a long and hard time to conceive, gestate and birth and would now like to cuddle with publicly — from his or her sibling.

In the hospital, Newman hears her three-year-old Ben coming down the hall: “I scrambled to get the baby into her little crib, the way you might, say, hide a bong in the closet, and shoo the smoke out with your hand. Baby? There’s no baby.”

Exactly. The second-born (and third, and fourth, and…) is your little forbidden secret. For awhile anyway.

Those same emotions inspired Prayer for Bringing Our Second Baby Home:

Dear God,

Hoo boy. This is the tough part — well, the emergency C-section was tough, too, but this is tough in a different way. Here we are, walking through the door with beautiful Baby No. 2, and the look on her big brother’s face is enough to make me call for another round of postpartum drugs.

Oh, we’ve talked this all through, but no amount of words can change what’s just happened. He used to be the center of the universe, now he’s just a star — a very very bright star, but now only one of a pair.

As the joke goes, you’d be upset too, if your husband told you he loved you so much he wanted another wife “just like you!”


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One Response to “The tetchiness of bringing home Baby No. 2”

  1. Capability Says:

    Great Prayer – and I love Anne Lamott – Operating Instructions is wonderful – will check out your recommendation for Waiting for Birdy – Good new mommy gift along with Mommy Prayers.

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