To Kate, who just had a milestone day

Kate, you’ve been with us for just over 6 months. Your short time with us has been filled with moments of learning. The relative ease of caring for you in those first days shocked me. I had no idea having a new baby could make me so happy. Your sweet big brother and I worked so hard, so hard, for everything… until I had you, I had no idea how sick I was at that time. The guilt of those lost moments with him plagues me. You seem to have inherited your parents warped sense of humor, intuitively knowing what makes us crazy and picking away at those pockets of sanity. For example, while every other baby on the planet is content to sit in those wonderful Bumbo seats, you fling yourself around like a fish until you’ve got enough foot leverage to push, yes PUSH, your little butt out of the seat. Twice we’ve caught you before you landed head first on our dinner plates. You remain blissfully unaware of your desire to destroy brain cells and happily throw yourself around, a free spirit ready for the fall. Having you convinced me of something that I’ve wondered for some time. I am now confident in the fact that I make the world’s most beautiful babies. One might think that being the World’s Most Beautiful Baby-Maker would make me smug. But no, in fact, it scares the pants off me. I fear that the universe will present me with one huge smack-down striking one of you ill or hurt or worse. Josefina (our Peruvian nanny) gave me a red bracelet for you to wear to ward off mal de ojo, but I just can’t get the darn thing to stay on! It is very stressful to be the mother of the World’s Most Beautiful Baby. Please remember this incredible stress I’ve gone through for you when you consider what nursing home to put me in.

Even more than the cats, which you chase around the house in that bumpy crawl, your brother is the light in your day. Dad and I can act goofy, making our voices hit ranges that would embarrass us to tears if heard by the outside world, and you’ll generally respond with a happy laugh. But Will… his mere presence is enough to put you into hysterics. We’d like to believe that the two of you share a special bond of understanding. We’ve heard that older siblings can translate the rough speak of younger ones into sounds that us old people can understand. Granna swears that Uncle Skip was practically mute until Kindergarten because I translated all of his whispers and signals with expert attention. We are waiting for Will to carry on in this tradition. You talk a lot… A LOT… and often say things with such conviction that the neighbors call to ask why we are torturing that poor woodland animal and please, for heaven sake, let it go! It would be wonderful to explain that no, we aren’t performing any sacrificial rituals, but just trying to figure out whether you’d like applesauce or bananas for breakfast. So when you say something like, “AAAAWWWGGGGHHHHHAAAAAA” we eagerly ask Will if he can tell us what you are saying. He takes each request seriously, focusing and clearing his throat to answer: “Baby Kate said ‘AAAAWWWGGGGHHHHHAAAAAA’”. I guess you two have some work to do on that sibling communication thing.

You should know that, at least during my childless days, I lived a life that generally did not accept the notion of fear. Having your brother gave me a decent sense of fear, but it wasn’t until you came along that the overwhelming, crippling sense of fear set in. I used to live in a dream bubble where the risks of the world were muted and dulled; I could convince myself that if we were to fly off a bridge and into water, I could somehow transform into AquaWoman, pulling your brother to safety. Your addition to the picture brought reality into my focus. My cape disappears when bridges are near. The fear of loosing one of you is crushing; somedays I wonder if it has the power to take over. My love for the two of you is unconditional and nontransferable. I used to think I could overcome anything. Now, I am much more aware of the limits to my heart.