So I came across these lovely little baby sketches at the Awl this morning by Amy Jean Porter, whom I’ve never heard of, but who has apparently just had a second child and has access to some art materials. Please go take a look and then click back and read the rest of the post (don’t you just love instructions with your Internets?)
Now, I have nothing against this sort of art. Pretty is fine by me. Even the rather sappy-while-still-deadpan statements accompanying the drawings don’t upset me much, even though I’m not really a sentimental sort (I kick puppies). What struck me about them was how little emotion I’ve been feeling at the prospect of second child. I’ve been very happy with my girlfriend who is getting more pleasingly pregnant by the day; I’ve plotted and schemed and predicted about the impact on my son of the Upcoming; but the feeling stuff hasn’t happened yet, and I have a theory for why: I’ve done this already.
Four years of parenting has made me decidedly less sentimental about the entire process–confident, fearful, full of anticipation, yes, sentimental, not so much. The most pressing idea in my mind these days is that I get a chance to do things over, and do them right his time (fully aware that I will commit a whole new round of mistakes).
The first child is such an overwhelming experience. The lack of sleep, the change in the patterns and goals of your life, all the nonstop hullaballoo. Then, at some point, the baby stops being a baby and becomes a kid, you stop being you and become Dad, the college savings accounts get opened, and vacation becomes something you do with your mother to get some free fricking babysitting. You don’t step back and think much, or at least I don’t. And in fact, I must admit I didn’t do much stepping back and thinking with JP when he was young, either, mostly because I was too tired and busy.
Ah, sweet, sweet, unexamined life.