• Anna

    Godspeed, Dooce. I love you and your blog and I cannot wait for the lovely pictures of your newest edition.

  • http://corrinrenee.com corrin

    I am so happy my husband and I have decided not to have children. We like kids just fine, we just don’t have the paternal instinct to see the experience of child-rearing as life affirming and enlightening.

  • Darcy

    Heather,
    I have been a long time reader, but have not commented before. However, this is such a beautiful post that I feel compelled to comment. Thank you for putting in words what I have felt since my first child was born.
    Also, congratulations to you and Jon, I am very happy for the both of you! I’m sure that no matter what the temperament of the new baby, you and Jon will handle it fine. :D

  • http://shutupyoumoron.blogspot.com/ Lana Wood

    Hi Heather,

    Congratulations to Leta on her impending big sisterhood!

    I am not, nor do I plan to become, a parent, but I get “the secret club” thing. I got a taste of it caring for nieces and nephews when I was in high school and the closest thing my family had to a responsible adult, a terrifying thing to contemplate in retrospect, but nothing we questioned at the time.

    What I think the secret club comes from is from being responsible for the well being of another human being. Knowing that if you fuck up, someone else is fucked. I, and other people I know who have been through it got that from caring for dying parents. It is amazing how much you can accomplish in a day, how organized you can be, how clear priorities can become, and how in the process you become a “Steve Austin” version of yourself; “Better, stronger, faster.” To learn how to be selfless, and not resent it, and to take pleasure in small miracles every day.

    P.S. I love your dogs, I don’t care if one is species confused and the other eats poop. They make me smile every day.

  • SydneyAugust

    As a childless person, this post doesn’t make me feel great. Heather, what if I never have children? Will that mean I never get to be the best version of myself because there are no little people around to break me down and teach me the lessons? To let me into the ‘club’?
    I don’t mean to dismiss your experience at all. But I would like to think that all of us get broken apart and put back together again because that’s what happens IN LIFE. It’s part of getting older. And childless people learn just as many lessons – but maybe different ones, and in a different way. And we try just as hard as the parents out there to be the best people we can.

  • http://saiditbeforesayitagain.blogspot.com Sue

    So, speaking as a mom whose first unsleeping, still-relentless child (who may be part demon, but hubby and I are still arguing over whose side of the family that comes from) you quite possibly will have a second child who is sleep, food, and dog loving. For me, it was hard not to imagine my second child as anything but a carbon copy of my first. But even though they are of the same parents, gene pool, and all of that – they are two very different kids.

    Still wishing you all the best!

  • Anonymous

    When my kids were babies and toddlers, I thought I would miss that stage so much when it was over, but I have found that every stage is my favorite when they are in it. I even love having a middle schooler, and I never thought that would be possible. Teenagers are actually awesome. Huh!

  • http://tigerbug.blogspot.com Kate

    Heather, this speaks so much to my experience of becoming a mother and then subsequently becoming a whole(r) person…and the horrible, awful, pit of despair (refiner’s fire?) that journey was. I would *sheepishly* like to share with you what I wrote about it…although, I will warn you, it is in a letter to my daughter, in a format which is 100% stolen from you and your wonderful letters to Leta. [as a sidenote, I think it is a wonderful, beautiful, helpful and healthful thing to do, and I hope many more mothers and fathers steal it as well.] http://tigerbug.blogspot.com/2008/10/new-adventures-in-growing-up-dear.html
    Thank you for being a good mom, and for helping the rest of us as we all create our own journeys. I have no doubt that, whatever struggles your new little one will bring, you, and your whole family, will be just fine.

  • http://midgetviking.wordpress.com/ Ine

    Since you don’t allow comments on your pictures, I thought I’d just say that Jon really suits that pipe… And I am a militant ex-smoker. Not of pipes, though. Well, actually, I did once smoke a pipe. When we did an all-female version of Waiting for Godot.

    It wasn’t good.

    Neither was the pipe.

  • http://bloomingwelchs.blogspot.com/ Jennifer W.

    Perfect description of an indescribable experience. Parenthood has thus far been the most amazing, most difficult most emotionally charged and draining experience I could never have imagined until I went through it. I love everything about her, every minute of every day. Even the screaming and scratching. Amazing. Congratulations on Girl #2!!

  • kperdue

    Be careful thinking you’ve got this down pat. For real, I thought we had this parenting thing nailed before #2 came along. I was very silly. Adding #2 was harder than the first one — the entire family dynamic shifts (again) so be prepared for some discourse the first few months (and the occasional “what the hell have i done?!?!” scream).

  • Katie

    Thank you for saying what is quite often hard to describe to non-parents.

  • http://www.maternallychallenged.typepad.com tracy thompson

    Putting our first child to sleep was like defusing a live hand grenade. Every night, it took approximately one hour: reading story, rocking, lullabies, laying down gently….SCREAMING…repeat.

    Our second baby blew kisses at us as we left the room.

    Kids are like that.

  • Kris

    I’m stuck in the early stages of the screaming that never ends, with a very colicky 5-month-old child. We affectionately call him The Tyrant.

    Here’s wishing you much rest with baby #2.

  • Kiki

    Just starting first tri here, but with an eight-month-old. Should be interesting! I’m dreading the colic factor (Max was a colicky terror until 11 weeks), but push it to the back of my mind when it pops up.

  • http://www.jeremyharker.com/family Colleen

    I have the answer to your musing about light sockets. If she is curious about light sockets, your husband will most likely let her stick a screwdriver in one not once, but twice in a half-hour period. Yeah.

  • Karen

    Every word you wrote rings true for me as a mom of two kids. But I want to warn you about this statement:

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

    It will come back again in the teen years but with real words!

  • http://puanani-puanani.blogspot.com/ Puanani

    I remember having that moment of revelation regarding my mother. “Oh, she was just a woman who happened to have kids…I see.” It was so liberating to let her off the hook as I struggled communicating with my son who was fluent in Utter Discontent. He still is sometimes, but he is 15 now, so I can communicate more clearly with him, if you get my drift!

  • Megan

    Do you think women in poorer, developing nations spend this much time navel gazing about a basic biological function?

  • http://tigweb.blogspot.com jana

    I am three weeks into life with my second, and BOY did I need to hear this.

  • nathalie

    Hi, I know exactly the feelings you’re describing. My son used to have amazing tantrums and we were never exactly sure how to deal with them because they were so gigantic (until we realized that he was on the autism spectrum). Even now sometimes, if there is discontent (normal for a child really) I get tingles and hot flashes and want to throw myself under a moving bus. Yes.. but we are scarred for life! By the way… we have seen a homeopathic doctor who was able to help with the tantrums (almost non existent anymore) and we are continuing with other issues.
    I have to say that you are courageous. After all we went through with our son I am deathly afraid of having another one. I don’t think I have the stamina anymore.

  • Anonymous

    As to this “secret club”… I suppose the same could be said of my husband and me and our situation. So many people HAVE kids that by NOT having them, we’ve become part of a much more exclusive secret club. One that affords just as many, if not different, opportunities to learn, grow, and change.

  • http://www.postednote.com EDDEAUX

    Can’t wait to see the new kiddo and I hope to be a part of this secret club one of these days. At 33 I’m getting ready to settle down, I think.

  • http://www.balenttimes.blogspot.com Coleen

    Thanks. I needed to hear this!

  • http://www.fallforniagara.com/public_html/blog1.php This American Wife

    “this baby might not be as skillful a screamer, which sort of brings up all sorts of things that might be different this time around. What if this one actually likes dogs? What if she eats food? What would it be like to live with a kid who likes to be cuddled?Conversely, what if this one isn’t as good a sleeper? What if this one likes to climb furniture? What if this one is actually curious about light sockets?”

    That comparison just about sums up our daughter, Violet Jane, who turns 5 in late May and our son, Lincoln, who just turned 9 months today. Is it like yin and yang? Or combined chaos? A little of both most days.

  • http://allthingsbd.blogspot.com all things BD

    For me, parenthood crystallizes the idea that all the crap I used to worry about is just that: crap. It’s not important, it’s not CRUCIAL, it’s not life or death. It’s minutae, it’s myriad details of daily life and I simply cannot fathom how I ever lived giving them so much importance.

    My girls, my husband, taking a walk on a crisp fall day, playing a game of Uno, buying a box of Strawberry Shortcake bandaids because they are the cure for everything. THESE are the things that matter.

    You are an amazing mom and an amazing writer. Rock on.

  • Susie

    I was completely prepared for my second child to be as challenging as my first, but the truth was, she just slipped into our lives, and everything was so much easier. Was she different? Yes, but I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that WE were different. We were more practiced, knowledgeable, PREPARED. I predict this little one will just slip right in, and you will all be surrounded by this little golden aura…:)

  • http://www.myspace.com/outnoise Aime Malcolm

    My two boys are four years apart and get along great 95% of the time. That’s saying a lot because one is 9 and the other is 13. They prefer to play with each other over friends many times.

  • http://katehopeeden.blogspot.com katehopeeden

    I have three girls who are all completely different. When you first start out, you compare the little differences like sleeping and eating and talking.
    But with my older daughters being 10.5 & 12 now, you start to see those glimpses into them being grownups and you wonder what kind of adult you are raising.
    Parenthood is so very strange and so very quick.
    Yesterday my twelve year old was a baby and now she wears a bra. WTF?
    ~K

  • http://idroppedmybonbon.blogspot.com mpotter

    boy, you’ve got a way with words.
    our little bean also speaks the language of utter discontent. only, i’m not very fluent in it.
    yes… the pacing- how will i ever forget those hours??

    but even moreso than your way with words is your ability to grasp your life. that last paragraph & 1/2 had me speechless. and jealous. i am so very not introspective or insightful. and this whole mothering gig hasn’t hit me quite that way. she’s 6 months old and i’ve heard people say that type of stuff. but i have yet to feel it.
    but it’s awesome that you are coming out so ahead.

    The Mr. & i have said on several occasions that if people had first children like our littlebean, there would be a lot less kids in the world.
    but i’ve read about leta & see that you had some very similar issues with her. so i look very forward to reading about princess aurora. kudos to you guys for making your family that much better.

    i hope she’ll be a wonderful & seamless addition to your lives. and here’s hoping she’ll be a calm baby who enjoys sleep!

  • http://parentheticalthoughts.wordpress.com Emma

    Considering how different so many siblings are from one another, I think there’s a good chance your next one will like dogs :)

    Also, I think it’s human nature to introduce more chaos once you think you’ve finally got things under control.

  • http://www.surprisingwoman.com/blog Brenda Kidman

    This post is so true!

    You think being a parent is great though, just wait until you are a grandparent. It just doesn’t get any better!

  • LB

    oh how I hope what you say in those last two paragraphs is true. I’m 8 weeks along and have my first doctor appt next week. I have seriously wondered if I’d be secretly relieved if my doctor told me whoops, we made a mistake, you’re not really pregnant. I just don’t know where I will summon up the constant energy required for a baby. Basically I’m scared shitless and found your words comforting, so thanks.

  • http://notinsaneperse.blogspot.com Kelly

    My first was a lot like Leta. He made me wait nearly five years before having my second. She was so fun that I had a third about 20 months later. Either the babies are getting easier, or I’m becoming a better parent and completely fucked my oldest kid up. Jury’s still out.

  • Laura R

    I have had many revelations during parenthood, but my favorite by far is the adults voices in Charlie Brown specials-” Whaa whaa whant wha whaa”– that is all the kids hear- no wonder we have to repeat ourselves 100 times!! I never truly got that until I was a parent- it was a beautiful moment!

  • Heidi

    Believe it or not…the second one teaches you things too. They are different lessons, but still very good ones.

    My second time around was much breezier (not sure if it was my improved mental state or my second’s easy way), but it erased a lot of bad memories I had with my first. In a way, it eased the pain and disappointment I felt having not “enjoyed” my first child’s newborn days. It gave me new perspective, and made me think back on those early, fumbling days of parenthood more fondly.

    I’m hoping you and Jon are just as lucky the second time around!

  • Anonymous

    To #313 Megan:

    What makes you think they wouldn’t? My impression (and I’ve lived in one poorer, semi-developing country and chatted with mothers there who talked a lot about their children and their parenting experiences) is that, all over the world, mothers can’t get enough of talking about motherhood in all its aspects. I have a friend whose husband claims that in any gathering of women that includes mothers, the conversation will eventually devolve into comparing birth stories — that it’s the primal Ur-topic for motherkind.

    Of course, I haven’t lived everywhere in the world, but I think my guess is about as good as yours about whether or not most people like to talk about their life-changing experiences.

  • Sherri

    I had never thought about stapling my son’s lips. Hhmm…it just might work. I have a five-year-old son and a 21-month-old daughter. Other than the obvious, they are nothing alike, and you’re right: children help make sense of this whole crazy life thing. When my son was three, he announced, “Uncle Craig, I Has Angst.” Yes, at three he was already internalizing his emotions. My daughter is much more palm side of her hand up in your face and “STOP IT” when you tell her that knives are not toys. And your stories about Leta always reassure me that my son is normal. For the first time ever yesterday, he did not freak out in a restaurant because THERE. WERE. CARROTS. ON. HIS. PLATE. Thank you Dooce for contributing to me being a happy Mom! I wouldn’t trade this first job for anything in the world.

  • Tracy

    Don’t ever think you know their language because that is when WHAM!!!! you get slapped in the head with a reality dose. I had a nine year old and just 17 months ago had another. I thought I had the whole thing figured out or at best, thought I could figure it out. NOPE. She changed our world and even though she is crazy – in the words of Jon and Kate plus 8 “she is our crazy.” Best of luck and I look forward to future blog entries about the next one.

  • http://agreatleapinthedark.blogspot.com April

    Oh, you almost changed my mind—in favor of having kids. Almost…

  • Yet another Jennifer

    Love, LOVE this post, Heather. Pure, poignant poetry.

  • http://www.goodbooksnw.com Hillary (no, not her)

    Beautifully said, Heather!

    Just think how much MORE flexible you will become after baby #2.
    Best wishes to you and Jon.

  • http://www.lovemaegan.com …love Maegan

    I’m pregnant vicariously through you ..lol.

  • http://amygirl312.blogspot.com/ Amy

    What a great post. I’m dealing with my own emotions of being a parent for the first time and this helped put some of those into words. Best of luck with the rest of this pregnancy.

  • Shelley

    You really have no idea how fluent you really are in Utter Discontent. I really feel like parenting the second child (my boys are 2 & 4) was so much easier than it was the first time around.

    And yes, kiddo #2 will actually eat food (he has to, he is built like a football player vs his string bean brother), is slightly more cuddly, LOVES dogs (unless one is close enough to touch), and is equally as good of a sleeper (although they are both typically early risers – UGH). He is mostly mellow, until he is not and then he has quite a temper.

    The differences, though, are not just in the kid but also in the parents. We didn’t completely ruin the first one, so odds are #2 will be OK. You really do know what you are doing now. (Or is it that you know that none of us have any idea what we are doing and that’s OK.) You know that sometimes the baby just doesn’t stop crying and you won’t be able to fix it. You know how to deal with a stomach virus without having to make a beeline to the pediatrician. You know that giving your kid peanut butter before she turns 16 will probably be OK. Everything is so much more laid back the second time around. At least that is my experience.

    -Shelley (due May 21st with a girl)

  • Erin

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – ‘Raising children is like being pecked to death by a chicken’. Amen.

  • http://maarmie.blogspot.com maarmie

    Truer words have ne’er been spoken.

  • http://www.annalogs.com/ Anna

    After an especially trying day with my 3 sons all I can say is /cry!

  • jewed

    Yeah,you may get one that is into exploring everything…one that makes you consign your cute little vignettes and antique store finds and pottery hippos etc to a far dusty corner of a cupboard underlock and (hidden) key for at least 5 years,turning your house into basically a padded cell,with every ‘childproof’ device on the market. No,no,not that I’m talking from experience at all…

  • http://jenontheedge.wordpress.com Jen on the Edge

    Mother Nature never ever gives you the same thing twice. Of all the families I know, I’ve never seen it any other way. If you had a good sleeper the first time around, you’ll get an insomniac for Round 2. If you have a tough child the first time around, the second one will be easier.

    My first was a crappy sleeper, but an easy toddler. My second was practically narcoleptic, she slept so much. That’s because she was storing energy for her second year of life, when she damn near killed herself about a dozen times. I started going gray during one particular six week period when my #2 almost drowned at the beach (in spite of being attached to two adults), nearly ran off the edge of a mountain (again, attached to at least one adult), and ran into a field where a large pissed-off bull was hanging out.

    Never again.