Sunday, December 15, 2013

21 Weeks

When we were expecting our first child, the pregnancy was constantly in my thoughts. My free moments were filled reading parenting books, perusing lists of baby names, and selecting the perfect baby gear. Each week Amanda and I would look at our book on fetal development to see how the baby had changed over the last seven days and then faithfully update our families. The entire pregnancy was meticulously recorded and shared with photographs and writings.

This time, even though I am very excited to be having another child, days pass with me barely thinking about the pregnancy (a luxury of being the non-pregnant parent). I am so busy being a father, I am a terrible father-to-be. Amanda has reminded me many times that I have not taken a single photograph of her changing body. “I will after I [put Ezra to bed, wash the dishes, walk the dog . . .],” I promise, but I keep failing. Amanda has finally given up waiting for me. She has taken a “selfie.”

I am sorry, Amanda, and I’m really, really sorry, baby. If you are ever curious, you can read about your mother’s pregnancy in great detail here. Did I mention that is from your mom’s pregnancy with your older brother? If you want to know more about her pregnancy with you, you can look at this grainy photograph.

We are now halfway through the pregnancy, and I am beginning to worry about how little attention I have paid to it. Am I already, unintentionally, making our second baby, feel like second best? Our child’s place in birth order is new territory for everyone in our family. Amanda, Ezra and I are each the first-born child in our families. We will not necessarily relate to our new child’s feelings about being a younger sibling, but we will hopefully be empathetic. Having children allows you see the world through another person’s eyes unlike any other experience. Maybe through our youngest child, Amanda and I will gain new insight into our own brothers and sisters.

Amanda and my younger siblings’ photo albums attest that our second child will probably be photographed less than Ezra, but being the younger child also has many advantages. First, your parents are probably better at their jobs. Amanda and I spend a great deal of time figuring out how to parent Ezra through different developmental stages. Amanda’s mom once apologetically confessed to her that, “first children are really the practice child,” and she is kind of right. We now have some footing and experience to apply with our new child. Instead of fretting over choices and overcoming learning curves, we can now focus on getting to know our new baby.

The most important difference in being the younger sibling is that you are welcomed into a family with more people who love you. This includes a sibling who for better of worse will know you better and share more experiences with you than any other person in the world. He is waiting with many plans on what you will do together – did I mention first-born children are bossy?

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