• Ames

    Very well said Heather! There is no book you can read, no class you could take, no movie you could watch that could ever adequately prepare you for parenthood. You just have to live it. Thats where it all sinks in.

  • cat

    simply wise. and spot on.

  • http://www.jcrservices.com Jessica Riesenbeck

    I was feeling so distraught this morning over how things have been going with my 4 year old–he is in such a difficult, defiant place right now. I love him (and his older sister) with all my heart, but they don’t realize that because I’m always “grumpin” at them. I worry about everything that happens–everything they say, everything my husband and I say to and around them. I wonder what type of people are they going to be when they grow older. When my son says hateful things–is that how serial killers start out? And, why so much guilt for us parents?

    But your post was so lovely that it made me realize that I have to stop worrying about who they might turn out to be and be thankful that my husband and I were so blessed to have them, have their love and to be able to love them back. I know this (that’s part of the guilt), but today I needed a reminder.

    Thank you!! And, good luck to you, Jon and Leta.

  • http://www.rogersclanadventures.blogspot.com/ Mrs.Rogers

    My Georgia is a lot like Leta and really made me apprehensive about #2. Hughie (yes, we named him after Hugh Hefner) was a nightmare for the frist 6 months with colic, but since then he’s been SO MUCH EASIER. For example, I’ll clip his nails while he sits patiently and watches with interest. With Georgia I had to literally hold her down with my legs while she screamed and hyperventilated throughout the entire process. I have a feeling this is what you’re going to experience with #2. You’ll be like – wait, this is too easy, where’s the catch? Pass the tequila!

  • Tonya

    Your sentiment about learning through your children is so powerful and especially painful for people like me; women that so desperately want to have the insight that only a child with your specific genetic makeup can give. A child that can perhaps answer all the ‘what’s wrong with me/what happened to me/why do I act like that’ questions. But will never be born to women that are infertile, like me. It’s like living constantly with a memory that is just on the edge of your consciousness.

  • http://krista225.blogspot.com Krista

    Your last two paragraphs are beautiful and insightful and so completely right on! Children teach us more about ourselves than years of therapy will ever accomplish. :-)

  • http://mycremacoffee.wordpress.com/ mirela

    Raising my son has helped a lot with better understanding my own childhood, but little to nothing in understanding my parents :) )

  • http://forgingahead.wordpress.com Kathleen

    The most well articulated reasons for having kids. Thanks for giving me a peek into the secret club.

  • mhb

    I’m the youngest of three, and as babies (and still, as adults) my siblings and I were so very, very different: the oldest, my genius sister, didn’t talk until she was two, but instead climbed on everything. When she did start speaking it was in complete sentences. My brother allegedly slept for the first five years of his life. I thought everything was hilarious and laughed a lot. I still do.

    My mom once told me that, a few weeks after I was born, she turned to my dad and said, “I really like this one.” And Dad agreed. I think it was helped by their knowledge that they couldn’t break me, and that they’d survived two other infants. They knew they could manage.

    Here’s hoping you’ll turn to Jon and say something similar a few weeks after this little lady makes her appearance. I think you might.

  • Lisa

    Children give us more than we will ever give them. They are gifts. It is a privilege to be a parent. If we do things relatively right, it is our job to be out of a job. To raise well adjusted, healthy contributing members of society.

    Mine are 20 and 14 and I love, love, love those wonderful people! It has all been totally worth it! From broken legs to finding marijuana, I had no idea how fulfilling being a parent would be.

    Congrats Heather and Jon! There truly IS more to bringing up a child than clothing and feeding!!!! Enjoy the journey, because before you know it, you will be taking pictures at their High School graduation……

  • http://www.iambossy.com/ BOSSY

    Bossy has been there and she says: Surely there has to be an easier way to acquire information. Maybe an information pod beamed into our cell units?

  • http://www.mamasalwayswrite.com Kathleen

    My second child is a far better sleeper, much more interested in light sockets, and happier to play by himself. He nurses for nutrition, not for comfort in the three-hour sessions I somehow was used to with his big sister, and far more interested in breaking things.
    I predict they’ll both be trouble, in completely different ways.
    It’s the true joy of having two kids!

  • Colleen

    Hi Heather – this is a lovely post. I love stories of perseverance and faith, and the growth and wisdom that come from it. I greatly respect what you’ve been through (and what you’ll soon go through)!

    But, on the other hand, this post confirms one of my fears about not having children. In the next few years my husband and I will have to decide about having a child and I feel like there are as many factors making the case for having them as making the case against.

    For: I already know he’s a wonderful father (he has a son); I am older and know myself and feel like I have the patience and humor and wisdom that my younger self never had; we have a stable household; I’d love to bring a life into the world and see the world with newness; I’d love to see what our child would be like; I know it would be a rewarding experience and I’m not afraid for it to challenge me and make me grow (like your post addresses); I’m on a program that is reducing my antidepressant.

    Against: I am almost 40 and he is 48; we don’t have a lot of savings at this point; the antidepressant has enabled me to enjoy a stable stretch of my life and I’m afraid of losing it; I have anxiety issues.

    And yet I’m scared about missing this exhilarating experience if we choose not to have kids. I’m struggling to come to peace about this and was wondering if you could address this kind of decision. You’ve seen all sorts of ups and downs being a parent and I’d enjoy your brand of articulate thoughts and humor. If you can I’d appreciate it!

    And again, thanks for sharing your story.

  • Anonymous

    This is an incredibly moving post. Thank you, Heather.

  • http://www.repliderium.com repliderium.com

    Just think how much would be lost and much less exciting it would be if the little buggers came with instructions.

  • http://www.missivesfromsuburbia.blogspot.com Missives From Suburbia

    So what you’re saying is that they do eventually learn to speak English? Because my 2.5-year-old is in that other phase right now, and for some reason, I now have a 6-week-old, too.

  • http://lovelaughslice.blogspot.com Domestic Goddess (in training)

    Utter Discontent, a cacophonous dialect of Fuck You. – That is the best definition of baby/pissed toddler talk I have ever read. I have a two and a half year old and a 5 month old and let me tell you. They are as different as night and day. Will had colic, but slept through the night at 1 month old. Jack is crabby 99% of his day, doesn’t sleep through the night, but is ok in his walker while mommy takes a pee. Its all give and take, but the rumor is that its worth it.

  • Annie

    Beautiful post, thank you.
    I was obviously delusional when I assumed that since my first baby was a breeze, all subsequent children would be the same way. Boy was I wrong. You (and Leta) have given me hope that my littlest one will get easier and perhaps someday I too will be able to “conjugate the verbs and assign the right pronouns” of his language. Congratulations for remembering to expect the unexpected with EVERY baby!

  • http://allyougetisme.blogspot.com/ Jess

    I have found that the first child is usually very helpful when trying to understand the second. Sometimes the second child starts talking later because the first is always speaking for them. Best of luck!

  • http://votrenam.blogspot.com Nicole

    My oldest daughter is incredible bossy, throws terrible temper tantrums and until she gets exactly what she wants when she wants is just scary! But my second daughter is literally an angel. I feel like having her I won the lottery. I tell people that it’s not having a bad child that is good birth control, it’s having an incredibly angelic child because I know I’ll never get that lucky again!

  • Heather

    When my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our second child we foolishly shrugged and said “well we already have one, what could be so different?” what we didn’t count on is that as we used to outnumber her by one she now has an ally. A 40pound hunk of a two year old boy ally that thinks she walks on water. This may not seem that ominous to people without children, but when your devious six year old insights her younger, more animalistic, louder brother to do her bidding, let me tell you… I love my children but when my husband gets a twinkle and a twinge to have another it insights such fear in me that I want to get my passport in order and move away to some island with a lepor colony. I quickly remind him that while Roz has one to boss around it is a partnership but with two… an army.

    I see alot of similarities between Roz and Leta, you don’t have a second child in your womb, you have a partner in crime cooking. Good luck, it’s fun.

  • LadyLadyLady

    You know, you could always teach baby #2 some basic sign language. Part of the reason babies get so frustrated pre-language is because they CAN’T communicate with you. Sign language helps bridge the gap…AND makes your life easier as a parent. That’s a win-win, if you ask me.

  • Lona

    Dear Heather,

    Can’t you get your provider (probably you and your husband self) to make a simultaneous translation into Dutch? It’s so funny to read this post.
    Also thanks for this day’s daily photo: I was wondering how you would choose to comment. And I was not disappointed.

  • Loren

    thank you so much for sharing this. my mom just came in town for a visit and we were talking about the differences between my sister and me. my sister is the older and did not like to be cuddled and would hit and bite and scream (she’s turned out to be a fine upstanding woman). and i was the cuddler, the sleeper, the easy-going one. so here’s to hoping…i think i’m a fine upstanding woman, as well. and i am a newlywed and we’re approaching the subject of children and i appreciate the healthy dose of reality you throw in with the hope and the happiness of children. blessings to you as you continue this journey.

  • http://www.broadystriumph.blogspot.com Broady

    My mom used to threaten me with “if you do/don’t (insert verb) this minute, your ass is grass and I’m the lawn mower.” I cannot wait until my son is old enough to carry on the tradition.

  • Laurie

    Thanks for reminding me why I had kids. With an almost 3 year-old and a 10 month-old (both girls), I needed a reminder!

  • http://misseireann.blogspot.com Erin

    My mother says my sister and I were as different as night and day. I was the first, difficult, colicky, stubborn, squirmy one, while my younger sister was the sweet quiet angel who loved to be held and did not give my parents a breath of trouble. Although apparently along with that stubbornness and discontent I also managed to have a rather sunny disposition, while my sister is the one making the sour face in all her baby photos.

    I am 5 1/2 months pregnant with my first and terrified because I don’t know what I am getting into here, not the least of which will be her personality. I can prepare for all the scary things like labor and delivery and breastfeeding, but what if she is difficult? How do I prepare for that? And what if she isn’t? I try not to worry but how do you keep from wondering what your kind of person your daughter will be?

  • http://www.hardtobehuman.blogspot.com Amy

    Reading this makes me want to go poke holes in the condoms and just say fuck it, let’s be parents and poor instead of childless and relatively middle class. Sigh.

    I’m sure this new little girl will delight and aggravate you in both familiar and brand new ways! Congratulations again!

  • http://alaskabeans.blogspot.com/ Krista

    HAH! You just THINK you are fluent in Utter Discontent but i guarantee it will be the same game all over again. It will be a different dialect of Utter Discontent the second time around, the meaning will be the same but you’ll have to re-learn the words and the steps. You’ll still start sweating as soon as the pitch reaches what is so aptly named the “fevered pitch.” You have great expectations for the second like “maybe they’ll like to snuggle” or “maybe they’ll like taking a bath or not sticking their fingers in light sockets.”

    My suggestion? Throw that all out the window and remember that even though they come from the same gene pool as the first and may look like a little clone of the first and may even be the same sex as the first…. they are guaranteed to be their very own person, some places will overlap into familiar territory but most won’t.

    Best of Luck to you, jon and leta it’s a fantastic ride . I can say that you get to enjoy more of the little things because you’re not worried sick about why they’re screaming, you’re better suited to realize that they are fed, clean and safe so you can just sit back and… sweat.

  • cj coats

    Such a lovely way to say “Parenthood is hard as fuck, but worth it”.

  • http://explorationsandadventures.blogspot.com/ Stacy

    Beautiful – you have a way of articulating what I feel (and personally cannot put into words!). My daughters are like night and day, but it is definitely easier the second time around…as you said, you will be so much more prepared to communicate with your non-English-speaking baby. And I bet Leta will be a great little helper!

  • Wedje

    “She spoke in Utter Discontent, a cacophonous dialect of Fuck You.” I love (love, love) that sentence and may steal it and apply it in areas of my life that involve more than my child. Thank you. I’m sure my husband has moments where he thinks this applies quite accurately to his wife’s dialect.

  • http://www.stacykathryn.com stacy kathryn

    Yay! Girls freakin rock!

  • Kimberly

    Beautifully spot on.

  • mae

    Oh, wait until you become a grandmother. You will learn so much more about Leta and, about yourself. All of the traits that Leta picks up from now until then will suddenly become a picture of who you and Jon are—together!

    The greatest part about being a grandmother is that it is not your PRIMARY resonsibility to teach the baby about life. That will be Leta’s job leaving you to love in a way you have never known before. And, such is life. The circle begins again. I SO love being a grandmother!!!!

  • JennH

    Each child is different as I am learning from my two girl toddlers a year a part.

    So ha, ha! Enjoy. At least the hand-me-downs are nice.

  • Angie

    Because raising Leta more than anything else in my life has helped me piece together the puzzle of what it means to be human. I understand my own childhood so much better, understand my own parents so much better,

    I would love it if you elaborated on this in future postings. It would be insightful to those of us not yet with children. Thanks Heather.

  • http://thelandofvariablegravity.blogspot.com Bonnie

    Utter Discontent – oh the memories of learning to speak and read it. The sound still twangs some deep nerve string inside of me and renders me noodle-legged and speechless!

    (sometimes Mommy just has to take a Time Out!)


  • Amelia

    I see I’m not the only one who loves this sentence:

    “She spoke in Utter Discontent, a cacophonous dialect of Fuck You.”

    Genius! You’ve heard it before, I know, but you are an amazing writer.

    (I’m a mother of an 11-month-old and 12 weeks pregnant, so I can relate to the language of Utter Discontent.)

  • http://tibbsfamily.blogspot.com amy

    Oh Heather, I’m sure everyone will tell you that they make the first one just good enough to fool you into having a second. And just good enough so you forget about their beastly beginnings, or at least forget about how bad it really was.

    Our first was a perfect baby – sleeping in her crib, in her room, from 8:30pm – 7am long before my 12 weeks of leave was up, nice disposition, never cried for stupid shit, easygoing, would go to anyone, very easy, very flexible. Never got sick. Hit all of her milestones right on time.

    We were fools.

    Baby #2, who we do love a great deal, could not be more opposite. Has had random bouts of not sleeping through the night, has had to have antibiotics 3 times in her 17 months, cries all.the.time., disagreeable, not talking yet (may be a blessing in disguise), doesn’t like going to grammas, grampas, and aunts and uncles (finally getting over that). Just a completely different animal.

    The best part?

    Now that the little one is settling into who she is and becoming a little easier, the older one is becoming more beastly as she approaches age 5 (I think she’s a few months younger than Leta).

    Moral of this: It ebbs and flows, and you’ll just adjust to it, juggle them around, and overall enjoy having two. I mean, you can’t leave a kid to not have a sibling to bitch with about you guys in 20 years!

    Good luck!

  • http://www.katherineemmons.com Katherine

    Like the world that is accessed/known through the rearing of children, it’s scary to think of the other pockets of reality that are hiding in plain sight.

  • Kristen from MA

    RE: daily photo, 1/21/09

    ‘Unbecoming?’ NOTHING could make than man less hot. NOTHING! (You could say he’s ‘smokin’ hot!’ Thank you, I’m here all week…)

  • http://www.humanbeingblog.wordpress.com Lynn

    Here’s a thought: try teaching the new one sign language. I hear it works with babies and toddlers, although by the time I heard about it Lauren was starting to put words together besides a string of no No NOOOOs! Although maybe the only sign the kid will pick up is the universal sign of Utter Discontent :) . (I’m stealing that phrase, by the way.)

    As parents, we do the best we can. At least you have a sense of humor about it. There’s something to be said for self-deprecation in the face of a screaming preschooler who is flinging the cheese that was touching the beans against the wall.

    And maybe, just maybe, you’ll get rewarded with an Angel Baby this time around.


  • http://www.datingisweird.com Serial

    Ah yes, the secret club that parents never get tired of telling people without kids about.

    I am SO sick of my friends who are mothers looking at me all mooney faced and saying, “I can’t wait until you do this!” Because me? I can wait. It’s cool.

  • Catherine

    You know what? The second child is SO much easier. It’s really a totally different experience (and I have a feeling it will be doubly so for you, just because Leta was such a “difficult” baby).

    The older I get, the more I realize just how much value there is to having “experience”. Things that you used to struggle with, things that you used to have to put a lot of thought into before coming up with the solution, are suddenly easy, or at least easier, because experience has already shown us what to do (and what not to do).

    It’s wonderful, too, because with that second child all of the worries you had with the first are so much smaller, and the stress you feel is so much lighter. It leaves you with a lot more time (and patience) to spend loving and enjoying and being amazed by the child. (I’m convinced this is at least part of the reason why mothers always have such a tight bond with their youngest child).

  • http://www.any-mom.com Moltomom

    Wow…fantastic post. As I was reading, it struck me how much I’ve learned over the past three years with my son but haven’t really given it much thought until now. Your post made me realize just how important it is to sit up and take notice.

  • Beth

    Your insight into this second baby is exactly the way I am feeling right now. I am due in 4 weeks with my second child but, unlike Leta, my first has been relatively easy. She’s laid back and adapts to change even better than I do. But reading your thoughts on pregnancy this time around always makes me smile and I can’t read any of your posts without finding myself nodding my head in agreement.

    I especially agree with your statement about understanding your childhood and parents better now. My first child is only 2 years old so I can’t even imagine what she will show me in the next three years that Leta has already shown you, but my oh my how much she has taught me already.

  • Leah

    Ok..I have to ask; how do you not have one single piece of dog hair or dust ball in any of your pics?? The Daily Chuck today (1/21) for instance; not one spec of dust, hair, fur, dirt on that beautiful hardword floor. How do you do it???

  • Christy

    Add me to the list of women with daughters who are complete opposites. I thought my first was our hard one until the second one came along 19 months later…but to be honest, she is easier in certain ways.

    One of the reasons I love reading your posts (in addition to your gift of writing) is that Leta reminds me so much of my daughter who is about a year younger, so I sort of get to watch what’s about to happen with my little one.

    Number two was the one drawn to the outlets, the climber, the runner, the bold-in-your-face kind of kid who didn’t cry with every little bump or bruise.

    Yet, there are times that life seems like it’s repeating itself with the little one…some things are amazingly similar.

    I am really happy that you are going into it so much more prepared this time. I am anxiously awaiting the addition to your lovely family.

  • Dogmom

    You know, it was my choice not to have children. I’m 55 years old now, and when I do come into contact with someone, obviously, who is younger than I who has children, I feel slightly intimidated and in awe of that person. So I exactly what you mean when you say you were let into a secret club. I think you — and all the other parents out there, young and older — reallly were inducted into that siter- and brotherhood that I have no idea about. I can only guess. You know something that I do not, and I am amazed.