Friday, July 10, 2009

just enough love ...

Before I had kids, a friend told me she'd worried while pregnant with her second that she wouldn't have enough love to love the baby the way she loved her first, with an immediate and overwhelming love and attachment. She couldn't imagine feeling that level of love again, for another person. And then her second was born and she said the worry evaporated -- the love was there, to the same depth and degree as with the first. There was enough for both of her kids.

I've been thinking about this as L, our second, gets older.

She's now 19 months old and quite a character. I can't help but smile when I think about her and laugh when I watch her. She's got attitude and a slight lisp that, combined with a husky Lauren Bacall-as-a-kid voice, makes anything she says a hoot. She's also got an odd southern way of adding syllables to words that don't need them: kale is "kay-el", up stairs is "up stay-ers" "Where?" "Up they-er". Which is in some way fitting as she often seems a reincarnation of her maternal grandfather, a man from the deep south who had a wonderful sense of humor, along with a charm and charisma, and a willingness to jerk people's chains to get reactions, all of which looks recognizable with L.

Before L was born, I found myself wondering how I was going to find enough room for her in my full-to-bursting heart. Her older sister K had pretty much taken up residence there (along with her mom). K and I have a special relationship that is based on her being my first daughter, and on me not being around all day long so not having to discipline or instruct as much as her mom does. In short, it's a classic "dad's home" kind of attachment. I get to be the fun guy.

Now that L is here, I see what my friend meant about there being enough love. There's no question about it. They're both mine, and I couldn't love either of them more.

It helps that they're so different. K is sweet, tends to observe how things are going, and seems (at 3yo) to care what other kids think about her. She wants to be included, wants to be liked, and is a bit shy about joining others. L (at 19mo) seems less concerned with others. She pushes in when she's interested in something, bounces back when her sister grabs a toy out of her hands, and tends to be something of a trend setting in the house. She does things, rather than watching to see what other people are doing. This leads to her older sister suddenly wanting to do/play with/see whatever it is that L is doing/playing with/looking at.

It's a facinating thing to watch, and as it's so early in the process, I'm doing my best to not pigeon-hole either of them into a particular "type." Even though I just did in the paragraph above.

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