(I haven't even started writing and I'm already choked up.)
You are almost 6 months old. When your sister was this age, I spent hours just sitting with her, watching her, singing to her, reading to her, NOTICING her. (When she was this age, I was also exercising for an hour every day, and had enough free time and optimistic energy to tell CG: "I think I may try to use her nap times every day to teach myself Spanish." HAHAHAHAHA.)
Because you are the second child, we were told we should ignore you, pay more attention to your big sister. You wouldn't know any better.
That's pretty much what we've done. At three and a half, your sister requires a lot of attention and interaction and you, generally, comparatively, don't. I nurse you when you're hungry, but I'm often trying to eat something, read a story to Z or help her get dressed at the same time. I come to you when you cry, but I'm often being trailed by a crying Z, who's isn't about to be outdone. Because you are the second child, there just doesn't seem to be enough time for anything but the basics. Your basic needs are met but the days race by in an endless blur of activity and as I'm putting you down for the night, I am often struck by how little I've actually had a chance to sit and notice, really NOTICE, you that day.
Us virtually ignoring you does have some benefits. You are currently THRILLED to have your diaper changed. It's like you've suddenly got the spotlight, the parental attention you crave, and you don't want to lose it. You open your eyes as wide as they'll go, stomp your feet and trill your tongue into endless screeches and giggles. Even when getting your boogers sucked out, you gaze at me in rapturous adoration and giggle when I begin this most unglamourous activity.
Because you are the second child, you've figured out you need to take what you can get.
The documentation of your life thus far is yet another example of the true cliche: the second child always gets the shaft. We took pictures of Zoe every. freaking. day. Literally. You? Well, about once or twice a week I stop to notice how gorgeous, how luminous, you are and I prop you up where there's decent light and run for the camera and try not to trip over the clutter and try not to upset Z by giving you too much attention and try to keep the dog from licking the camera lens and practically break a sweat (there's my workout!) trying to capture just one little moment for eternity because I don't want to forget this moment of you EVER.
As a first child, Z has a pretty full baby book, actually a "baby's first year" calendar with stickers for each milestone. I wrote in it each time she started a new food or changed the way she smiled or made a new sound or pooped a new color (alas, there is no sticker for that one).
I bought you a similar baby-milestone calendar before we left Pasadena and... I have no idea where it is. When we started feeding you rice cereal last week, I went looking for it and quickly gave up and ordered a new one from Amazon. What this means, of course, is that I'm going to have to make up the first five and a half months' worth of milestones.
I hope you don't hate me for this particular form of revisionist history. I'm sure you smiled for the first time somewhere in.... June? Let me just close my eyes and randomly apply a sticker somewhere here....
That's Z's milestone calendar on the left, complete with pictures and detailed information. Yours is... currently blank.In future years, when you are sure that I don't love you as much as your sister because of these inequalities, I hope it will be clear that what I lacked in meticulous, detailed memory keeping, I made up for in adoring, if scatter-brained, enthusiasm.
Today, I tried to take a decent photo of the two of us, and struggled.
But I will keep trying because I don't ever want to forget these sweet, fleeting days.
Because you are the second child, I know just how fleeting they are.
Your Clueless But Hopeful Mama