September 9, 2008

Seconds

How different life with a second baby is. Matilda is six weeks old today and already I wonder how it is that we second children out there don’t all have complexes. If Matilda could talk what she would say is, “Joe, listen, I know that Annie is cute and that she can say ‘dog’ and ‘dada’ and make the sign for ‘more’, but really, do you think you could give me a kiss once in a while? You are going to be one sorry dad when I decide to say ‘mama’ first, and instead of signing ‘more’ give you a certain sign that I’ve seen on those HBO shows that you let me watch. Oh, and by the way, the sign for more is done with the fingers extended, not balled up into hungry little, yogurt covered fists like Annie does.”

I guess she’s right. I used to joke with my wife about giving Annabelle at least a thousand kisses a day and I find myself doling out just a few for Tilda. I don’t think we parents of two do this as some form of favoritism. I think we do it because, one, we have no time for 41.66 kisses per hour, two, that we realize a six week old baby gets as much pleasure from being held as having your unshowered, three-day-old beard touch her face, and three, that we are literally, in every nuance of the word, exhausted.

This morning as I sat down to write, I thought I would peruse the pictures we have of Tilda so that I could post them within this entry. I realized that there aren’t many to choose from. The folder on our computer from July 2007 (Annie’s first full month) has 436 photos in it. The folder for August 2008 (Tilda’s first full month) has, shit, this is bad, 154 photos in it. Before you tell me that these really aren’t such disparate numbers, I should tell you that just about half of them are of Annie, and at least ten are of me with a helium balloon tied around my head.

Just ask my father-in-law Steve, another second child, about the photos of him around his mother’s house. He’ll tell you there are none, or maybe one. I'm sure a little chat with my sister-in-law Dani would give us a better result? It’s no use. I’m sitting in her living room now and the only pictures of her are either with her older sister (my wife), or are remakes of shots that her older sister was in years before. Uncanny how both of them look so pensive on their prom nights.

I need look no further than myself for the anecdotal evidence that we seconds are a forgotten lot, that is until we find our outgoing, some would say off-the-wall personalities. When I got married we decided to frame one photo of my wife and one of me for each year that we were alive. These frames would then be numbered 1 to 25 and serve as table markers for our guests. My wife’s family pulled out 25 candid photos from the thousands to choose from in no time flat. My family, um, couldn’t find the album that my photos were kept in. They swore to me that this album existed. However, without a chronological, pristinely kept form of organization to choose from, we went with a smattering of awkward shots and yearbook clippings we found in a dusty box tucked under the bed. In all seriousness, I swear that one of the pictures we used—for my fifth year I think—was of my brother sitting on a rock wall in our yard, chewing on a stick. How cute.

So today, I start a movement to honor our second children and let them know with a thousand kisses a day and the camera flashes to match, that we love them just as much as their predecessors. From now on, every post here at Unfinished Dad will have at least one new photo of Matilda. And don’t worry Annie, you can keep mugging for the camera too. If nothing else, we can pretend that you and your sister are the same person when this conversation comes up twenty years down the road.



Can you guess which photos are of Matilda and which are of Annabelle?







5 Comments:

Blogger DoulaMomma said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 9, 2008 at 1:44 PM  
Blogger DoulaMomma said...

There was an episode of that TV show "Roseanne", where the parents try to pass off pictures of the older kids when the youngest has a school project requiring a bunch of his baby photos...the parents get busted.

I've been equally fair (or equally lame) to my 3 kids - none has a finished baby book...all will have a therapy fund!

http://doulamomma.blogspot.com/2008/09/equal-opportunity-lameness.html

September 9, 2008 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger Dani said...

Hmmm I'm curious about the deleted post... some vengeful number one child posting rude remarks on your page? Probably an A-type who proved their superiority with perfect punctuation and cited references. Well there are also benefits to being number twos though... a tendency towards diplomacy, more level headed approach to stressful situations, and of course twos are way more beautiful (2 out of three were proven by scientists, citations unavailable). As for your babies it seems as though they both have inherited your big alien head, but super easy to tell them apart, Tilly is A&C, Annie B&D. Maybe the fact that Annie didn't eat for her first two months has something to do with how different they look right now. Liked your post, Much love from the EnZed.

September 9, 2008 at 11:44 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

You've got some nerve! That was you on the wall chewing the stick! If you can tell the difference between Annie and Tilda, then I can tell the difference between you and Lou. Just think how Bobby feels!!!!!!!!!!!!1

September 10, 2008 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Gallo said...

Oh, I can TOTALLY relate to this. Our two-month old has virtually never been photographed, whereas we have literally thousands of pictures of our 15-month old. I wonder if this also is related to the babies being so close in age? I mean, it's hard to take a picture when the young toddler is wrestling you for the camera!

September 10, 2008 at 7:44 PM  

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