The Truth About Two

One day it sneaks up on you.

You're watching your kids play (or fight), you're straightening the bookshelf, you're scraping yogurt off the sofa cushions--and you find yourself gazing at the baby.

She smiles at you.

She smiles and throws her head back and laughs then does that silly little dance, the one that starts with her pumping her left shoulder then moves through her arms and into her whole little body, before she squeals and waddles off atop plump little legs to torment the dog or poke at the VCR buttons.

And you realize you have fallen in love with her.

You have fallen in love with her just the same as you did with the first one. Just like everyone said. Just like everyone promised. Just like you wanted to so hard to believe during those nine miserable months, those sleepless postpartum days, those hazy, mixed-up early weeks when deep in your heart (you'd never say it out loud but) you didn't think it was actually possible.

You thought for way too long that you were the one exception to the rule.

You thought you were the one mother would spend her life faking it, spend her life "remembering" to love them both.

You forgot that it takes time to know a person before you can truly love her with all your being.

Then one day you find yourself spontaneously snatching her off the ground mid-play to kiss her head, so filled are you with emotion. She swats you away and wriggles back down to the ground, and it hurts your heart just a teeny bit. Hurts in a sweet way. In a not altogether terrible way.

It sneaks up on you, that day that she's no longer some eating-crying-excreting machine, some boring baby lump who just lies there expecting you to love her for nothing.

Now you love her for everything.

And she is loving you back.

The Original Perfect Post Awards 08.08


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh! My heart! So beautiful Liz!

It's funny how it creeps up sometimes... like BAM! Yhen you're thinking.. Oh. My. God do I ever love you!

8/20/08, 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It even happens when they're taller than you!

8/20/08, 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I've been following your blog for a while now. I loved this post. This just happened to me with my 2 1/2 year old son. I've fallen madly in love, and he knows it.

8/20/08, 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this post.... it happend to me with my step daughters too and i really wondered if it would - it took longer but one day I was thinking of the possiblity of them moving back to their biological mom's and I was like over my dead body!! I couldn't believe I thought that not after (VERY secretly) longing for her to come and get them........

8/20/08, 4:30 PM  
Blogger Marketing Mommy said...

I was just thinking this exact thing about my second-born little girl this weekend.

8/20/08, 4:30 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Such a sweet post. I remember when that happened to me with my #2. I'm really hoping it happens again with #3.

8/20/08, 5:05 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

That was the most simple but heartfelt expression of parenting love I've read in a long time.

8/20/08, 5:14 PM  
Blogger Zip n Tizzy said...

Just before I had my second, a friend told me "The first you love with wild abandon, and the second earns your love."
It's so true.
I can't compare the love, I love him so, but it grew on me as I was letting go of the guilt that I felt for my first.
And as for the guilt... they love eachother unconditionally too, so there was really nothing to feel guilty about in the first place.

8/20/08, 5:19 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

Yup, just like that.

8/20/08, 5:29 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Thank you Neil.

Thank you.

8/20/08, 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, I know exactly what you are saying. And yeah, it does hurt in a kind of sweet way when he pushes me away when I try to kiss him. He has bidness to take care of, I guess.

8/20/08, 5:35 PM  
Blogger Becky W. said...

I just found your blog and I LOVE it! This post is exquisite! Every word is so true. Having a boy first, then finding out I was having a girl next, I didn't think it would be so hard. But then it happens, just the way you say. Meet my two here: http://nooniebug.blogspot.com/

8/20/08, 6:28 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

I needed to hear this.
I am not convinced thus far, either, adn I'm glad to hear another skeptic say it happens.

8/20/08, 6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was so sweet. Thank you for sharing and reminding me that I still love that little boy who pees in his undies almost every day.

8/20/08, 7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, how miserable the first year of my second child's life was for me. Between the postpartum depression, the constant mastitis and unexplained recurring strep throat (in the summer!) and finally the appendectomy, I just went through the mothering motions. But I do remember that day she crawled up onto my bed, lifted my shirt and blew my belly while hysterically laughing. And I was sure I could love her forever.

8/20/08, 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. We are almost 3 weeks in with #2 and although I'd never say it out loud, it's hard to imagine feeling for him what I do for my daughter (4 yrs old). I think part of it is that you get used to an older child who actually has personality, and then a baby is so...um...boring. I also had a terrible second pregnancy and am still struggling with a lot of pain (not birth-related) and lingering health issues, so I think part of me wonders if this second pregnancy was worth it or if we've made a huge mistake.

Thanks for helping me realize that eventually I will see it was worth it after all. I needed to read this today!

8/20/08, 7:28 PM  
Blogger Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

Beautiful, touching, and oh so true...

8/20/08, 7:38 PM  
Blogger Mandy said...

It took me a long while to feel "the same" about Jake as I did about Nate. I was preoccupied during my pregnancy about whether or not I would love my second as much.

Seems silly now, but it was very real for a while. Thanks for putting it down in words.

8/20/08, 7:55 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I needed to read this, with 2-week-old no. 2 on my lap.

thank you.

8/20/08, 8:42 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

It just keeps happening and happening. So often, the younger ones are reflected off the oldest and then they step out into their own and it is like, "WOW! That's YOU!" You've said it all perfectly and that last photo is gorgeous.

8/20/08, 9:08 PM  
Blogger Lori at Spinning Yellow said...

Yes, just like this for me with number 2.

8/20/08, 9:40 PM  
Blogger Anna Newman said...

new to your blog and hooked already!!!! only have one munchkin to love as of now but wondered how this all worked with more than one, NOW I KNOW!!!!! will continue to laugh with you daily

8/20/08, 9:41 PM  
Blogger tracey.becker1@gmail.com said...

HOW can she be that big already?? I mean, you just gave birth a month ago, right? RIGHT?!?

She's beautiful...

8/20/08, 9:43 PM  
Blogger caramama said...

That is sooooooo sweet! And she really has gotten big, hasn't she? She's so beautiful!

8/20/08, 10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's totally different with two becauase your attention (no matter how much we wish it wasn't) is split.

And while you're trying to still keep up with #1, that little #2 grows and becomes and is -- almost in a literal blink of an eye.

Amazing how the heart grows.

8/20/08, 10:02 PM  
Blogger Kristen Andrews said...

what a sweet post. I only have one but love the kiddo more than I could imagine and he had colic the first 5 months so I was conviced this kid and I would never get along.

8/20/08, 10:43 PM  
Blogger Desiree said...

I'm definitely tearing up a little. Beautiful & brilliant.

8/20/08, 10:53 PM  
Blogger Lady M said...

Teary-eyed. Yep, I feel just like that with the wee preshus one (I mean two).

8/21/08, 12:36 AM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

I want this to be true.

8/21/08, 12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the beautiful post! So on point and true ... I remember the day sooo clearly when our daughter and I made our connection. Not only was she #2, but she was a girl and I never wanted a girl. It took a long time (much longer than I like to admit), but I remember the moment perfectly. I never stressed about 'the moment' for the third, I think because I just realized it would happen when I wasn't so gosh darned tired!

Thanks for your beautiful writing!

8/21/08, 7:05 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

What a wonderful post - you sure captured the sneakingup phenomena. Is it not wonderful when they start loving you back - on their own terms. Just melts the heart.

Excellent post. Thank you.

8/21/08, 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, it takes some time to get to know them, doesn't it? And for them to start growing into who they are going to be.

I'm always mystified when people say they fell in love with their babies immediately. I was fiercely protective from the first moments, a sort of biological mandate, but I came to fall in love with each of them as we got to know each other over time.

Very nice post!


8/21/08, 11:38 AM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

not fair to make a crazy postpartum lady weep.

not fair at all.

8/21/08, 12:30 PM  
Blogger Ali said...

oh. i love love love love this.
it's so true. people tell you...you will have enough room in your heart to love the second (or third) the same way you love your first. but you don't believe it until it smacks you right in the face.


8/21/08, 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless You for this! I was 7 months with my first and tortured myself over it.

8/21/08, 3:23 PM  
Blogger Leann I Am said...

That is so true! The second one is so different from the first. Mine screamed all day, every day.

I don't know how many moms actually see their baby for the first time and fall head-over-heels for them. I know I didn't. I would throw myself in front of a bus for any of my kids....but I haven't always LIKED them.

I love the way you worded this. Thanks!

8/21/08, 3:56 PM  
Blogger Liz said...


am counting on it! my second child is only 10 weeks and constantly on the boob. i know that the day will come that i'll long to have her nurse, but that day is not today.

i do love her, though.

8/21/08, 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liz, I don't have much time to be online at the moment, but wanted to stop by and tell you how amazing you looked in my new issue of Parents. Good lord , we delivered within a month of each other and you have two kids. How is it that you look so trim, fresh and well rested while I'm still hoping for some kind of miracle cream that removes baby gut, cellulite and dark circles simultaneously? The girls look beautiful too and if I hadn't already determined that one was more than enough, this post just might make me change my mind.
Hope you guys are all doing well.
All my best.

8/21/08, 6:04 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Aw Tammy, it's SO great to see you here! I searched in vain for your address...email me? xo

8/21/08, 6:24 PM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

Obviously completely worth the wait (and self-torture). I'm very VERY happy for you and that WHABANG. Best blindside I've heard about in a long time.

8/21/08, 6:34 PM  
Blogger Maternal Mirth said...

That was just what I needed today ... *sigh*. Now I gotta go smoosh ma baby now :-)

8/21/08, 6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really know how to make me cry! Such a beautiful post, exactly how I've been feeling about #2 recently. Thank you for putting it in words so perfectly!

8/21/08, 7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such a nice post. I'm expecting our second next week and this will really help me get through the first weeks. It wasn't instant love with the first but somehow I was expecting it to be with the second and I most likely would have been very disappointed.

8/21/08, 9:15 PM  
Blogger Rosie : ) said...

It is quite unbelievable how they can wrap you up around their tiny fingers by one smile, one look, but there it is. :)

8/21/08, 9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember feeling guilty for having my second, how could I possibly love another child as much as I love my first? Then one day, seeing him sitting on the couch with my daughter and reading a book...well, it just takes the air away from you. What an amazing post.

8/22/08, 12:13 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I love discovering their personalities and falling in love as their real selves unfold.

You said it much better than I.

8/22/08, 12:43 AM  
Blogger Lara said...

pssst... i gave you an award at my place... :)

8/22/08, 1:00 AM  
Blogger Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels said...

Stella is going through the Terrible Twos. I hate the Terrible Twos. But I love Stella. She is funny, cuddly and smart. I could just eat her up.

8/22/08, 9:10 AM  
Blogger Laundry Lover! said...

So wonderful! Keep up the blog- I look forward to reading it during my breaks!

8/22/08, 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It happens every time, even when you're least expecting it. Glad the love affair is ON.

8/22/08, 4:34 PM  
Blogger Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

Hey lady, I have bestowed upon you an award--visit my blog to get it!

8/22/08, 4:51 PM  
Blogger Susanica said...

Beautiful. I think you have officially been promoted to Mom-201;-)


8/22/08, 5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. It's nice to know I wasn't the only one thinking I couldn't love the second one like I did the first. Those were thoughts I never voiced; just whispering in my head those nine months +. But you're absolutely right - it happens and when it does you lose all abandon! Who knew you could love so much?

8/22/08, 5:33 PM  
Blogger j.sterling said...

i love you. this was too precious.

8/22/08, 7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always enjoy reading your blog, thank you. Sometimes when I peak at my kids in my rear view mirror, I love them so much that it actually, physically hurts. The first time I felt that rush, I understood the definition of "a mother's love".

8/22/08, 8:26 PM  
Blogger Nichole said...

I only have the one child, but the feeling is mutual. I can't begin to count how many times I rudely interrupt my daughter's play time just to smother her with kisses and whisper "I love you" in her ear.

I hope that, should I have a second child, it works exactly the same way.

8/23/08, 11:34 AM  
Blogger the new girl said...


So. So true.

8/23/08, 8:53 PM  
Blogger Amy @ Literacy Launchpad said...

I'm also one that needed to hear this today. I spent my Saturday with my screaming 7 week old son. I don't want to wish away his infancy, but am longing for the days when he does more than eat, sleep, poop, and CRY!

8/23/08, 11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, just like that! lol

8/24/08, 12:31 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

it was encouraging to read that these sleepless nights i am experiencing (i have a 3 week old) will not be forever, and one day my son's personality with shine through. thanks.

8/24/08, 3:11 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Awwww. This is a perfect passage to read after a crappy day of post 6 month vaccine yuckies.

8/24/08, 12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i loved this post. it made me cry. though i don't have kids yet myself. hearing you speak so openly about it all. that kind of love. i really appreciated it. even the steps it took to getting there.

8/25/08, 3:20 PM  
Blogger J said...

You know what I remember? (I only have one child, full disclosure here!) I remember that there was one tiny part of my heart that didn't yet belong to my baby, though I didn't know it existed. Then one morning, I got her out of her bassinet, changed her diaper, and brought her to bed to nurse, and instead of latching on like usual, she just SMILED at me. Gazed at me with her whole heart right there in her face, telling me without words how much she adored me and thought I was the be all and end all of mamas. That tiny piece of my heart, that I hadn't even known existed, went over to her right then. That's the falling in love thing, I guess. And I like to remember that gummy smile now that she's 12 1/2 years old, and mostly looks at me like I have arms sticking out of my head and boogers where my eyeballs should be.

8/25/08, 4:31 PM  
Blogger SARAH said...

I just have to comment to say that you made me cry! Of course, I'm due with my second little girl in about a week, so anything makes me cry... But, I love the way you describe how you felt looking at your second little one. Thank you for your words.

8/25/08, 7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, that's how it happens :)

8/25/08, 11:11 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I followed your lead and wrote about falling in love too. I'm at that same stage, like you!
I'll be back to visit your blog often, because I love your writing style and humor.

8/26/08, 10:42 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

The different kinds of love, and specifically the discovery of them, pure magic.

8/26/08, 6:21 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm with you! I know I've loved my #2 from Day 1 but also still feel that tinge of he'll never get the full of me that his brother got...how do we deal with that?!

8/27/08, 11:06 PM  
Blogger thecostofliving said...

This is the first time I've seen anything written about this. This is exactly how I experienced it, and I still feel guilty for feeling utterly disconnected and confused about my little boy for the first 10 weeks or so. He's 4 months now - things suddenly changed for me at about 3 months. But before that, I wasn't sure what to make of the squiggly worm who kept wanting me to feed him. I'm still not in love with breastfeeding, but I'm in love with him!

8/28/08, 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this post! It is so crazy how time sneaks up on you.

I'm putting you in for the Perfect Post Award!

8/31/08, 5:29 PM  
Blogger Rachael said...

Again with the tears! Wonderful.

9/3/08, 2:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful. It's amazing the moment you realize you're in love with these perfect little people.

9/4/08, 4:14 PM  
Blogger Shay said...

What a touching sentiment. Having had number two 3 and a half months ago, I now know exactly what you are talking about. Its not the same kind of instant magical bond as with baby #1, for sure, but it is growing every day and for this I am grateful.

I also feel much more calm, serene, and laid back this time, so baby #2 is under the care of a much more deliberate and relaxed momma.

9/5/08, 12:13 AM  
Blogger Run ANC said...

Thank you! I really, really needed to read this today. (I know I'm late, but I followed a link on a more recent post.

Really. Thank you.

9/11/08, 8:23 PM  

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