• http://www.hagerdash.com HAGERDASH

    Great post. A lot of heart and soul, Heather. I do feel concerned about how all this public sharing is going to affect your little girl some day. But I can also appreciate how it has helped lots of women, regardless of whether they have children or not. I’m looking forward to reading your book when it comes out in March.

  • http://craftastrophe.net Craftastrophe

    My 2nd was a lot like Leta (and still is with the same kind of tantrums – they’re the same age). If we had him first, I doubt there would have been a second. My first was amazing. Cried only when hungry, nursed like a champ, slept loads. Wishful thinking your next will be sweet justice and a huge change from Leta’s babyhood. I know your pain!

  • alphakoshka

    So many of your stories about Leta remind me of the stories my mother tells (read: uses as leverage) on me. I was a bossy screamer, never slept, and would pick one food to eat per day (usually carrots, bread, or grapes, which I somehow managed to get my dad to INDIVIDUALLY PEEL for me). All my stuff had to be accounted for at all times and no one else could touch any of it on pain of the screaming. Dogs were disgusting and a waste of space on this (my) earth, and people existed only to entertain and/or serve me. My mother admits to being secretly a bit pleased whenever I hurt myself playing because it’s the only time my scrawny butt would so much as graze her lap. (If I were her, I’d have been pleased for other reasons, but she hasn’t copped to that yet…)

    My little brother, on the other hand, was (and is) irritatingly sweet and adorable, cuddly to a fault, and annoyingly eager to please. I so hope your second baby turns out like him – he was exactly what my mom needed, and he was also the best toy/minion a tiny dictator like me could have demanded. :-)

    Also, on a semi-related and possibly encouraging note – I apparently got all my matricidal rage out as a toddler, because I never did the standard angry teenager thing, and my mother has been my best friend since middle school (but not in a weird “I have no friends other than my mother” way or anything). So hey, maybe Leta will follow suit and you’ll get a reprieve from the crazy here in a few years!

  • http://likeatwister.blogspot.com Amber

    Well said. Not well enough to make me want to be a part of this secret club you speak of, but still.

    And now I will call my mother and wait for her heartfelt thanks. :)

  • http://stopscreamingimdriving.com Carrie

    And we are all on this crazy, wonderful, frustrating ride called PARENTHOOD together!

    Isn’t it fun? :)

  • http://www.jillshalvis.com/blog Jill S.

    Yes. Of all what you said, yes. I’d have said the same thing but you do it so much more eloquently. I have 3 girls, by the way. My first was a nightmare baby, and I do mean NIGHTMARE. She’s now a beautiful, smart, articulate WONDERFUL teen. Thank God we procreated two more times …

  • http://greeneyedmama.blogspot.com traceytreasure

    Great post!

  • Melanie

    The only thing you can for sure count on is that they will be different from one another as night and day. It took 6 years and an “oops” one night for the second one to come along because the infant stage with the first was SO HARD.

    The second was a sleep-through-the-night, eat all his veggies, sweet, snuggly kid. Everything the first was not.

    I’ll keep them both, but god knows how they both came out of me, they’re so different from one another!

  • agrajjag

    my older sister was a total bastard, but i (of course!) was the complete opposite. it’s the way it goes, and it’s why i’m never having another child ever because my two year old is a beautiful, smart, complete little angel and i don’t want to ruin it!

  • http://simplyblissful.blogspot.com/ Tracy

    I heart you. Per usual, you say exactly what I think & fear most in life. The reasons you list are precisely why I am both leery of & determined to have baby #2. What if baby #2 sucks? Those “what ifs” can go both ways, and you never know what you’re going to get unless you just go for it. Right? Right. But, parenthood is without question the best thing I’ve ever done, answers the question of why I’m on this planet, and if ever there was a reason to be the absolute best version of me that I can be, it’s for my gorgeous Ellis. I so hope that your new baby is a cuddler, though, because it’s the best thing ever :)

  • http://BabyBabyBlog.blogspot.com Leah

    Lurker here. I was beyond shocked when my second son turned out so differently from my first. My first was a good baby, my second is a SWEET baby and there’s all the difference in the world there. I love them equally, but my second has my heart in a special way. I’m sure you have thousands of people asking you to, but if you check my blog you’ll see my latest newsletter (inspired by you) to my second. His smile will make you ovulate, despite your current state of pregnancy. Falling in love with a newborn is the most amazing experience. I’m jealous of you, even despite having done it twice!

  • Rachael

    I am the oldest of four children, and I am convinced that had there been better contraception back then my parents would have stopped after me. I think that I was “challenging” to say the least – apparently had terrible temper tantrums and nobody could figure out what to do with me. One of my earliest memories is as a three year old and being so angry that I picked up a stool and threw it through a glass door. I remember that immediately afterwards there was an eerie calm and I felt fantastic!!! Of course all sorts of hell then broke loose!

    You wrote a beautiful post, one to send to my mother!

  • http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/features_momsatwork/ Moms At Work

    I think about this crap as I’m trying to get pregnant with my second. Thanks so much for always sharing what I’m thinking without making me blab myself :)

  • Jennifluff

    You’ll be just fine. The second time around, it seems to go by so much faster. I think that just knowing the screaming will end, and knowing that yes, one day you will sleep more than 3 hours in a row is comforting and makes the whole experience a little more doable, dare I say enjoyable.

    My boys are so different. My eldest was the difficult baby. I was TERRIFIED to have another kid after him because he took all of my energy all of the time. But I knew I wanted two kids, and I knew he’d be a great big brother. And my youngest is so much different, THANK GOD. He’s not easy, but he’s different. And the icing on the cake is that they totally get along. Leta will be an awesome big sister.

  • http://www.thejadednyer.net The Jaded NYer

    Just be prepared… the second child is always the anti-christ. Case in point: my younger sister and my 2nd daughter.

    Godspeed, Heather… Godspeed!

  • Anonymous

    You are brilliant and articulate as always. I am recently married to my second husband. I had four young children when we got together…he had none. He has struggled over the last year to learn to accept that our kids will not and cannot appreciate us as parents…not until they are parents. It is not something a person can comprehend until they are in it. I love my parents more with every day I experience as a parent. He has found a new deep respect for his step father…now that he is a step father. It is just the way of it.

  • SuzieQ

    Just know that some day in the future your day will be made when your adult child is a mother and exclaims “I can’t believe it!! I just opened my mouth and out came MY MOTHER’S EXACT WORDS AND VOICE”. What a day that will be…and believe me, it WILL come..

  • http://www.richestlife.org Lori

    Ah, yes. My son didn’t sleep for more than 90 minutes in a row for the first 18 months of his life. I would have happily traded my husband for 8 hours sleep.

    My daughter, born 10 full years later (it took that long to get the courage up) slept through the night on her first night home from the hospital, and every night after that. Of course, when she was three, she crawled into bed with me and spent at least part of every night there until she was 11, but all was quiet.

    I often wonder how much of my own anxiety affected them. I felt so inadequate with my son (I was inadequate — I was a teenager) and I was afraid all the time. With my daughter, I was afraid only part of the time.

    I learned recently that the most important thing we can do for our children’s self-esteem is to have fun with them. The psychologist I interviewed put it something like this: “Their parents are the greatest people in the world to them, and if even their parents think they’re fun, they eventually go off to school feeling like they’re pretty fun people.”

    I wish I’d have known that when I was raising my kids. I would have done a lot less worrying about their self-esteem and their grades, and a lot more playing. I would have thought a lot less about getting ahead, and a lot more about getting happy.

    So, Heather and Jon and Leta … I wish you happiness. And I know that the happiness you experience will translate into a happy, healthy wee one.

  • Teresa

    Oh man, oh man, oh man. I love how and WHAT you write.

  • http://thekafskys.blogspot.com Rachel

    I have two boys who somehow manage to be both completely different, and yet exactly alike. I frequently wonder how we could have created these two little beings who are so uniquely their own personalities out of what is essentially the exact same genetic matter! Seriously?! How did they get so different?

  • http://laurelrants.blogspot.com Laurel

    WHAT IF SHE’S A REPUBLICAN? Someone had to say it.

  • http://www.d3voiceworks.com d3 voiceworks

    Our girl is a bit older than yours, I think (5 in early February) and much of the time that “cacophonous dialect of Fuck You” behavior is present. She’s regressing as the due date nears, so I suppose you ought not get too comfortable. It drives us completely batty. Or maybe it drives ME completely nuts. Regardless, every day is a new day. Maybe that’s kinda like what you’re saying.

    I’m hoping the brother will help shift things after what I anticipate will be a rough road of adjustment from Center of Universe.


  • natasha

    I am 11 days in with the second baby, my first (a girl) also being a non cuddler, non climber, good sleeper but a terror as an infant! This second one is a DREAM. I’m of course bracing myself for 3 weeks to see if he suddenly becomes a nightmare, but it is SUCH a difference having a kid who just kind of whimpers when upset, sleeps peacefully, gets soothed almost instantly. I hope you are also blessed with 2nd baby easi-tude!

  • http://www.myspace.com/pollyester74 Jessica

    I am so excited for you. You are right – children teach us SO much. My 3 year old was such a good baby that if I were able to have another, I worry it would be satan’s spawn. ;) I cannot imagine raising 2 alone so I happily embrace the one I was blessed with. I wish for you a baby who sleeps through the night at 4 weeks of age and who is curious but not too much of a handful!


  • Lynn

    I’ve never heard anyone else say “secret club”. That’s what I said shortly after my first was born. Now I’ve been in the secret club for seven years and I also understand why the first time I said that to a parent of a 10-yr-old just said, “It’s not exactly a SECRET.” You get so used to it that you forget how you used to be and feel. Anyway, thanks for reminding me of that “secret club” feeling, when I felt this whole new world opening up for me for the first time.

  • Emily

    What a great post. Really, thanks.

  • http://www.stuffcookswant.com StuffCooksWant

    It is a law of mankind that if you have one difficult to control, horribly-behaved, spawn-of-the-devil child, the next one is the easy one. It’s a written guarantee. You’ll get it at the hospital.

    Unfortunately for me, I had the easy one first, so I thought all babies took 5 hours naps, slept through the night at 8 weeks and never cried. HA! The second one would have been an only child if he had been born first!

    We tell him he has to take care of us when we’re old and toothless because he OWES us…and I plan on crying all night long.

  • http://kristanhoffman.com/ Kristan

    What a lovely post. :)

    Sometimes you make me terrified to ever become a parent, and then sometimes you make me… well, ever so slightly less terrified, with a side of Maybe It Won’t Completely Suck.


  • Kate

    This post almost made me want another. Thanks again for bringing me back to reality and not ‘will this ever end?’, because sadly, I know it will and I am looking forward to it and feeling sad about it at the same time.

  • http://www.texasheiss.blogspot.com Amy H

    extremely well put.

  • Lynn

    The thing that pissed me off about having the second one is that you finally know what you’re doing with BABIES – except now you have the older child to deal with, too. The kids, individually, are not the problem for me. How to parent the kids TOGETHER has confounded me since day one of the second. It’s a weird multiplication factor. It’s like the second one feels like more like you’ve added a factor of four. But maybe it’s just me…

  • Anonymous

    There’s some sort of weird cosmic balance when it comes to acutely temperamental children: I never, ever hear of anyone who is blessed with one, having two.

    It’s natures way of keeping everybody alive.

  • http://asianmommy.com/ Asianmommy

    It’s true–I’m a different person since becoming a mother. It’s scary and exhausting and wonderful all at the same time.

  • Karin

    awesome. absolutely wonderful post. I agree wholeheartedly!

    FWIW, we have one of each of the small human variety here, and although they are quite different in personality, they are very similar in temperment. that may have more to do wth the fact they are redheads, and grab life by the horns with every single move they make.
    at the end of the day, the real beauty of having more than one small person is the endless source of entertainment.

  • Josie

    Please savor every minute with your girls. I am an “empty nester” now and it feels like just a minute ago they were little and running around here. I have 3 daughters and the oldest (a brunette) is a lawyer, my middle girl (a redhead) is in medical school, and the baby (a blonde)is an engineering major at undergrad. My husband and I didn’t attend college and we pinch ourselves everyday how this blessing has happened to us!!

    Their personalities are as different as their hair!! Gotta love it!!!!!

    Love your website Heather. My prayers are with you for health and happiness.

  • http://www.sneathenfamily.blogspot.com Michelle S

    What to “they” say, nothing worthwhile comes easily?? They show us a whole new world that has all the screaming, pacing, spitting food, they also bring us the greatest love known to man. I loved your post today!

  • Anonymous

    I’d suggest sending this post to yourself when your 3 months into the post bith fanfare. U know, when the whys get blurred by the exhaustion. :) . Yay! for children. Makes sense to me anyway.


  • http://fusionofme.blogspot.com/ Aisha

    It’s stuff like this that makes me love reading your blog. Thank you for being willing to share your life with us.

    I may or may not be ridiculously sentimental and peppy right now ’cause of that inauguration thing.

  • http://www.sullyboo.com Sully

    What a beautiful comment! I just hope that I can discover these sort of things with my future children.

  • http://imagine1community.blogspot.com Heide

    That is such a great description of parenthood. Thank you for verbalizing the highs and lows of such an amazing journey.

  • http://www.mindofmelis.blog.com Melis

    I love the way you phrased it- “like we had no idea there was this much to know until our children showed it all to us”. I SO GET THAT.

    Excellent post- and speaking from experience, that whole screaming till it feels like blood is pouring from your ears thing ends relatively soon. Also, if memory serves correct, most second babies are the easygoing, whatev types. My second, 18 months younger than her sister, was easier it seemed.

  • http://tao-of-joe.blogspot.com/ Joe

    Well, I will tell you that when my son was born, it was 6 full months of no sleep, what seemed like endless crying, and two adults asking themselves why in the hell would they want to be parents. Then my daughter was born and behold – total silence. One wake-up per night. Slept soundly.
    I wish the same for you.

  • kate

    thank you, thank you for saying all of this. my kids are not quite 2 years apart – what were we thinking???? – and I often see similarities between Leta and Lucy, but Zoe? oh, man, we broke the mold with our second child. she is full of fire and she’s hysterical and she’s downright ornery. I love that two people made from the same parents can be so incredibly different. I also love that you admit to not knowing what to expect. I think I was SO guilty of thinking I knew it all after having one child and thought number two would be a breeze – BOY was I wrong, but would never, ever do it differently. I wish you could know how thrilled I am for you and I don’t even know you! enjoy every minute of it…

  • http://www.lindseyandray.com/ygd Lindsey (Yankee Girl Designs)

    Dooce Got Me Knocked Up!!!

    I made that “Wired Mama” necklace and sent it off to you a few weeks ago and god help me the other day I found out that I’m pregnant w/ my first child! After months and months of trying it’s finally happend, I think sending you the necklace is what did it :)

  • http://journeymama.com Rae

    Mine are all so different. But my second was AWESOME. The sweetest, easiest baby in the world.

    Of course, now she’s kinda the toughest. I don’t think you ever can tell. It’s one day at a time, around here.

  • Anna

    Oh my gosh! I haven’t heard of anyone else talking about that recurring panic. I know it well, but instead of it centering on crying, for me it centers on sleep. My husband and I spent our son’s first seven months last year waking up every hour or two all night every night, and during the day he would fight sleep and fight sleep and when he finally, mercifully dropped off, he would often wake crying just a few minutes later, just about the time my blood pressure came out of the rafters. It was inexpressibly horrible and hard, and I learned two things: to fly into a panic when he wouldn’t go to sleep, and to hoard and protect my precious little bits of sleep. I still do both even though he is a much, much better sleeper. It would be swell to get past that.

    You are right, though, about what we learn from our children. It is an almost magical process, watching these tiny people master the essentials, and gradually the complexities, of being human. And it’s really an honor to be the people most responsible for caring for them and teaching them until they are old enough to make their own mark on the rest of the world.

  • http://www.monkeythoughts.com Monkey

    My experience with having two kids had led me to this conclusion: if you’re going to expect anything at all, expect the exact opposite. *You see, personality genes only have a short supply, so they have to be rationed off amongst offspring. One kid gets the brains, the other gets the creativity and so on. That’s how they mess with you.

    *This is total bs, but it makes sense to me so it must be true.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/redjade/sets/72157612458729456/ Mandy

    Reading this reminds me that being a parent is a learning process. That you don’t know it all right out of the gate. Being a person who must know EVERYTHING before jumping into it, I need these reminders. There really aren’t crib notes for parenthood (no matter how big that section in Barnes & Noble is).
    This reminds me that I will do just fine when my child comes along. Thank you for that.
    Much love to you and your growing family.

  • michele

    this journey with these small (alien?) beings has shown me just how much you can love someone and has made me see my very uncommunicative elders in a whole different light…there were just NO WORDS for them to describe the depth of this connection between parent and child even when I thought there was NO connection.

  • Anonymous

    My sister and I are so different, we might as well be living on separate planets. Is it possible that siblings who are similar to each other in taste and temperament are actually the exception?