It's 4:27 a.m. on a blissfully quiet Saturday morning. I'm the only one awake, sitting in the living room with a sleeping baby resting her tired head on my shoulder. I can feel her rhythmic little breaths warm my neck as she drifts off into dreamland.
Do babies dream? I've always wondered. And what do they dream about? Lightly scented wipes? Better tasting breastmilk? A Seinfeld reunion? Anyway, it got me thinking.
LIttle Quinn is now 8 weeks old. There's not much we can do with just 8 weeks of total life experience. Her only skills at this point are sleeping, eating and pooping. (But she's mastered all three, believe me.) The rest of the time, she just sort of exists. But it's a beautiful and heartwarming existence.
Before she was born, I quietly (and with some amount of guilt) wondered how I would ever love her with every ounce of my being, the way I do with Harper? How could I? Harper has me wrapped around her tiny finger right now. From the minute she wakes up in the morning with her arms outstretched calling for "Mama," to the babbling stories she tells me on the changing table about gosh-knows-what, to the way she asks for more cheese (tzeeez peez), I fall deeper and deeper in love with this child every day.
And I'll admit, while Steph and I were thrilled to be expecting another little girl, a small part of us questioned how she would fit in. We were a party of 3. Party of 3 for vacations, for breakfast, for rental cars. Party of 3 for Saturday morning walks, coffee runs, Christmas holidays and Passover Seders.
Would it even be possible to seamlessly transition into a party of 4? Would this new baby understand our routine and our schedules and our life that we set up already? Would we have room for another? Both in our hearts... and in the apartment?
These (now) ridiculous questions became more and more intense as the baby's due date approached. The morning of February 4th, after my first contractions, I looked at Steph as were approaching the hospital and I asked her if we were ready to do this. As she carried three bags, the camera, the carseat, my hairdryer, a pillow and 8 zillion other things for me, she calmly looked into my anxious eyes and said, "Why did you bring so much stuff???" We both laughed out our nerves and as we walked into the hospital, Steph confidently whispered to me, "Now let's go meet this little girl."
The truth is, of course we were ready. And of course we would love this new addition. The heart has an infinite amount of space for love. I love my family, my friends, Golden Girls reruns, the hidden Thai place on the corner, the gym, my new iPhone 6, a good night's sleep, my childhood dog Rusty, my best friend Marni, waterskiing, my Puma's and the occasional Diet Coke. And yes, I love little Quinn every ounce as much as I love Harper.
But right now, I can appreciate Harper a little more. And I don't feel guilty saying that. It's not one ounce deeper than I feel for Quinn, it's just different. I appreciate Harper, I relate to her, understand her, communicate with her. I see parts of myself in her. I want to sit across from her at the diner. I want to catch her at the bottom of the slide. I want to hold her when she's hurt and carry her when she's tired. I want to watch her dance and play and color and learn and grow. That's a different kind of love than the pure "getting to know you" love I feel for Quinn.
Well, this little baby is starting to stir. She's ready to eat again, so I better wrap this up. Here's the bottom line: While I love this second baby as much as the first, it's a different kind of love. It's a fill-in-the-blank love that will fill itself out as we grow deeper into our party of 4.
Just don't even THINK about a party of 5.