Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Hand-Me-Down Child

Dear Monkey,

Being the second child has its advantages.

You came into a home already filled with toys, books, stuffed animals, a playmate, and parents who weren't nearly as terrified by the whole process as they were the first time.

I didn't experiment with sleep training. I didn't experiment with discipline. I had learned from my mistakes with your older brother. I had found things that worked relatively well and was excited to implement them early and more efficiently the second go around. As a result, you slept better, you were scolded less and cuddled more.

Being second definitely has its perks.

But I'm not going to say it's perfect.

I wonder how you feel hardly ever having anything new. Most of your clothes, most of your toys, most of your books, are all on their second go around, many of them a little worse for wear. When I unpack the winter sweaters, before I put them on you, I stop and get sentimental about how your big brother had looked wearing them. You get to play with train tracks and Legos, because that's what we already have.

When you finally graduated from your hand-me-down tricycle, paint already chips, there was no new shiny big boy bike for you. It was putting the training wheels back on Big Brother's bike. And still, when you want to ride your bike, you ask if you can ride Bug's bike, despite being told that it is actually now your bike.

It appears that maternal guilt has no limit. There is no reason I should feel bad that you have to play with toys that already have bite marks, and make memories in outfits that are already filled with memories. You can learn to ride a bike just as well, regardless if the bike is bright shiny new or dusty and faded. There is nothing to feel bad about.

Other than the fact that I want everything for you. I want a bright shiny new world for you, if only because it feels that that is the best way for me to show you how much I love you. Even when I know that's not true.

I felt just as much love and pride when you rode that older bike as I did when your big brother rode it.

We aren't substituting, watering down, or trading out memories. We are making more.



  1. There is absolutely no justifiable reason (in my mind) why this post should have almost made me cry, but it did. So sweet.

    Flintstone is still sleeping with a lot of pink blankets from Punky even if he doesn't get a lot of hand me down clothes.

    Just think of it from a Toy Story perspective. How happy those toys must be to get that much more love before having to move on.

    Oh, by the way, I think Toy Story is a disaster when it comes to anthropomorphizing toys making it THAT MUCH HARDER to get rid of ANYTHING in my house.

  2. I love that you get to hold onto some of those clothes and toys a little longer, use them a little more, make more memories. There is nothing to feel guilty about!

  3. Monkey will embrace much more of his world, new as well as old, and appreciate it all, because of his valuable place in his world.