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An Open Letter to a New Mom

Dear M,

The months of pregnancy are never enough time to prepare for a baby--especially your second--but I know that you are up to the challenge.

I was determined that the birth of my second son would be no less of an event than the birth of my first, however, I quickly realized that this time everything would be different. From the moment the doctor came in and sat down after only a few hours of labor, to the day they wheeled me out the door with a baby, a used car seat, a single bag and one small bouquet of flowers.

And he knew things were different too. Unlike his older brother who was very comfortable doing the first baby/first grandchild duties of being passed around without protest, my second one was clingy and needy. It didn't help that his naps were interrupted by a yelling preschooler or his private moments of nursing rudely un-suctioned so I could leap across the room to administer aid and discipline.

I know that you are a good mother, a conscientious mother, who will strive to replicate good mothering on this newest member of the family. Know that the rules are different for the next one. The next one will need more cuddling and less stimulus or maybe more eating and less sleeping.

And as they get older, you'll realize that all the great parenting you've done to get the first one to love veggies or sleep through the night was just a fluke. The second one will prove that you just got lucky (or unlucky) with the first one.

Be prepared to mount expeditions in your own home. Every trip up and down the stairs involves marshaling the older one and convincing him to go upstairs, yes, upstairs, no, you can't take that toy, just go upstairs, upstairs. Then, picking up the baby, then realizing the baby is wet, then changing the baby, then realizing it's almost time to nurse the baby again. Then starting over with your toddler, yes, upstairs, no, this way, no, UP-STAIRS, yes, OK, just let me get your brother... oh, no.

And this is assuming you just want to walk upstairs. You need an advanced degree in motherhood to travel upstairs with a baby, a toddler and something in your hands.

And after a few weeks home with your little bundle and his older brother, you may get the insane urge to leave your house. Don't do it. If you think traveling around inside the house is difficult, just wait until you brave the outside world--especially when you are outnumbered.

You will find yourself doing things you never thought possible--like cringing while your toddler crouches down behind the toilet to investigate something while you nurse his brother in the handicap stall of the Target restroom. Or abandoning your grocery cart in the parking lot, when you realize the logistical quandary of either putting the cart away and carrying the baby and toddler or leaving the children in the car while you put the cart away.

But life will beckon and you'll venture out and develop a system to keep it all together.

And you'll find that this little guy is yours. The older one will be claimed by your husband. Funny how men tend to gravitate away from beings that require midnight feedings and generate explosive diapers.

And you and your hubby can make managing your child a fun little game. "I got my son to bed already," he'll say. "What's that smell? Oh, it's your kid this time," you can gloat.

So my final advice to you--remember, I'm the one who knew about removing booties before the diaper--is to enjoy the wonderment of a new baby, comfortable in the thought that you've successfully raised this species before. And buy two of everything, because it really is a pain to go up and down the stairs.

Your Friend,


Photo: My first one takes over care and feeding of the second one. See, I trained him well.


  1. Misery loves comapny. I'm living the dream right now.


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