Sunday, April 22, 2007

And Baby Makes a Family

I was looking at baby books the other day because I need to get started on one for Julia before I forget things (good thing I've got this blog - reminder for baby book, she started rolling over like crazy yesterday, not just the accidental or tentative ones, she figured it out). I do have a baby book that I received when Hunter was born but didn't use because I already had one so I really don't need to get a new one. It's just that while that baby book is quite nice, I keep feeling like the right things aren't in it. The same is true of the ones I've seen in the stores, though, so I really might as well use the one I've got (unless I'm going to get ambitious and learn to scrapbook, doubtful). The main issue that I've had with them is that they all seem to have phrases like "and baby makes a family" or some such variation in them. My first reaction is that these books are not only incredibly cliched, but they are also clearly geared towards a first child because, of course, we already were a family (and for that matter, weren't we a family before we had children?).

The other day, though, I was thinking about something a friend told me when she first found out I was pregnant: she told me that when she and her husband had their second child they suddenly felt like they were a family. With one child, they brought him along wherever they went and it was like they were bringing along their little buddy, but with two they were a family wherever they went. I didn't grasp the concept then because I couldn't really understand how it was all that different, but I get it now. It's not just in the preparation time for going somewhere, it's also in how you're received when you get there (or at least how you perceive that you're received). With one child, there are such things as a quick trip to the store even if the other parent isn't home because getting one child ready really isn't that big of a deal. With two children, you make sure you really need that thing you're thinking of running to the store for because by the time both of them don't need fed, washed, or dressed it's likely that at least an hour has gone by(e). In terms of reception, I imagine that showing up at a restaurant with two children is a lot more terrifying to a server than when people arrive with one but I doubt, in reality, that it makes much difference. If the server is the type to pull straws for who gets the people with two kids, they probably pull straws for who gets the people with the kid too.

With two kids, you get brothers and sisters, oldest and youngest. You say things like my kids, you talk about your son when you've got your daughter with you, and you talk about your daughter when you've got your son with you; that way people will know you've got two amazing kids. You worry that you might compare them too much, you worry that you're giving too much time to one or the other, you anticipate the relationship they'll have with each other, you love how they interact with each other straight away, you're in love with this new family that you have.

We were a family when it was the two of us, we were a different family when Hunter arrived, and our family was reincarnated yet again when Julia arrived. I guess what I'm saying is baby did make a family, a reinvented version of ours.

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