The Second Child: Some Notes on Two

I get distracted. By life. By stupid stuff. I’m trying to do better at putting down the phone with the Facebook and the Pinterest and the Etsy and focus more on the amazing young men I’m blessed enough to spend my days raising. They are both turning into such awesome little people. But it’s not easy sometimes. Especially being pregnant. And now, third-trimester exhausted by every little exertion pregnant.

But I have been meaning to write down, somewhere, the unique things about my current two-year-old, to whom I have unfortunately tapered off the monthly letters like his brother got up to two because he happened to be the first. At least I never was one to do baby books, because there would surely be a vast inequality in those as well.

But some of the things that Andrew is doing are things I’d like to remember. And just in case I don’t, here they are.

  • He wants to be just like his brother in all things, including bad attitude moments and temper fits. He tries to cross his arms, which he can’t quite do yet, and he will say, “Humph!” just like Michael.
  • He will come and ask for something, to play the tablet, the Wii, for a snack, etc. If the answer is, “no,” he will say, “Not talking you, Mommy!” and storm off to find the right answer elsewhere.
  • He loves his boxer shorts. So much that he’d rather wear a diaper instead of briefs when all pairs are dirty. He calls them, “bocket shorts.”
  • I don’t know if there is anyone else in this family who can make him laugh harder than his brother can.
  • He loves the Lego Movie and Star Wars. When I think his brother at this age was more into Curious George, Elmo and Thomas. Andrew doesn’t really seem interested in monkeys or Muppets in quite the same way as other little ones. Because his brother’s so long over it all, of course.
  • He is a climber and a jumper. Again, he watches his brother and will practice each move over and over until he gets it. Just like when he was a baby and working to crawl, stand and walk, he is tenacious about mastering those big-kid skills.
  • He’s pretty good at playing soccer. 
  • His use of utensils to eat is pretty impressive. Probably because he can’t stand to have food or anything remotely food-like on his fingers or hands.
  • He is a wonderful imitator. He can put on Michael’s mannerisms like a costume, and it’s pretty amazing and amusing to see this little mini-version of your big kid strutting around.
  • He is shy in new places unless his brother is being wild and crazy, then he will just do whatever it is Michael does. If he’s by himself, though, he is a lot more hesitant until he feels comfortable and confident enough to venture out on his own or hold a conversation. 
  • With family and friends he knows, though, man he can be quite the chatterbox. Which is great to see because his mastery of language and use of new words is quite impressive at this age.
  • Sometimes, he will just look in my eyes and smile. He says, “Mommy have brown eyes… and Andrew have brown eyes.” He knows the eye colors of Daddy and Michael, too, but he always seems happy that his brown eyes are like my brown eyes.

I’m so glad I get to hang out with him every day. And as much as I will miss my big kid when he starts first grade (!!!) in a couple of weeks, I am excited to have some more one-on-one time with my soon-to-be-middle child. He is wonderful and amazing, and I can’t imagine my life without his energy. Even if it occasionally reaches decibel levels I’d prefer to avoid.


I love you, buddy.


Seven Months

Dear Andrew,


Last week, you turned seven months old. It’s been quite the eventful month for you and for all of us. You took on the end of daylight savings time without much of a disruption, but a week later, we hauled you and your brother and all of our worldly possessions halfway across the country from our home in Virginia to make a fresh start in the land of your parents’ birth, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


I still have a lot to say for myself about this change, but as for you, you handled everything like a champ. You did pretty well on the long drive, even managing to tolerate the dark for a few hours without too much screaming. We had to make a lot of stops, and a trip that used to take your dad and me about 13 or 14 hours without any little boys along took us about 20 this time. But it wasn’t all you. And it wasn’t all your brother. Family road trips just take a little longer, and lucky for us, we will only have to do that drive again if we really, really want to. Because now that we’re in Wisconsin, vacations can be spent doing something other than coming to see your grandparents. And that was sort of part of the point of it all, really.


You are incredibly observant. And I know that you’ve been a little confused over the last few days. You look around at our bedroom, which contains all the same furniture and artwork that we had back in Virginia, and you look at me or your daddy and you really seem to be working hard to reconcile the space with the people and the stuff. It was amazing to watch you figure out your new reality. By now, you seem to have embraced it while I, I am still getting there. 


Your smiles help. You love being around your grandparents. I was worried that you’d continue to prefer only me, even as you had all these loving people reaching out to hold you close. And there are still times, especially evening times, when only one person will do. But you have made so many hearts so happy over the last several days with your openness, your curiosity and your loving and playful nature, including your own. I’ve enjoyed watching you explore these new places and these people that will be more in your life now that we’re closer to theirs.


This month, you got your first tooth. I thought you were coming down with a cold or a stomach bug because you’d been fussy with a runny nose and some, shall we say different, diaper contents. But a couple of days later, I stuck my thumb in your mouth to keep you from yelling during M’s nap time and lo and behold, I felt that sharp little spot sticking through your gums. 


I have to tell you, I wasn’t ready for that. At all. Your brother seemed pretty excited for you, sticking his own finger in your mouth to feel the thing I was so surprised about, but me? I almost cried. You are just growing up so fast, and with everything going on in our lives, it’s been hard for me to stop you, or even just to stop and enjoy you. Don’t get me wrong, every new thing about you brings me so much pride and joy as your mother, it’s just that sometimes, I don’t know, I’m afraid it’s gone so fast I’ve missed something important.


But maybe, it’s just that it’s never going to be enough for me. I will never get enough of your smiles, now with one tooth prominently poking up from your bottom gums. I will never hear enough of your baby giggles. I will never get enough of you pulling yourself up, losing your balance, and falling back onto your butt or to your hands and knees. Of your huge, open-mouth grins when you see me from far away and crawl determinedly in my general direction. Of you sitting on the floor watching your big brother. Laughing at him even when he’s not doing anything at all to try to entertain you, just out of the joy you have being close to him. Of your mimicking his lightsaber fighting moves where you hold one of his hand-made creations and wave it back and forth in your little fist. Of your hugs. Of your sweet cuddles, though somewhat rare, with your daddy. Of your babbling, or how your reach for our faces and pull us closer for kisses, Eskimo kisses or little raspberries on your chubby cheeks or neck. You do all these things, and my heart goes, “Do it again.” I want more. And still more. It will never be enough.